Jay Davies in “La Bonne Bonne Vie”
Hey, you like the breeze in your hair and the salt slipping through those toes? But today, you ain’t feeling a wiggle? Jay Davies, a man who clocks more time in the water than most, has you dialled. Jay, you see, lives in Western Australia, a cornucopia of surfing-til-you-can’t-stand-up-no-more. He’ll get up early and chase […]
Hey, you like the breeze in your hair and the salt slipping through those toes? But today, you ain’t feeling a wiggle? Jay Davies, a man who clocks more time in the water than most, has you dialled. Jay, you see, lives in Western Australia, a cornucopia of surfing-til-you-can’t-stand-up-no-more. He’ll get up early and chase groomed Heineken bottles then when the wind hits mid-morning (and it always hits), he’ll go find ramps. And won’t have to look hard. If you live at a city beach, you’ll know the hopelessness of looking for the least crowded peak, but in WA you’ll mostly be left searching for someone to surf with.
So what happens when Jay hops over the dirt to the east side of this island, to the mid-north coast of NSW? Do the less-accommodating variables eat away at his thrill to surf? Stab wished to find out, so we challenged Jay to a complete day of surfing. Like, in the water at five am scratching sleep outta his peepers, to towelling off in a carpark lit only by the very last afternoon embers. The idea was to exhaust Jay and stretch his enthusiasm to a point where he’d need to compose a reinvigoration arsenal. Jay was swimming with anchors that evening after nine hours in the soup, but Stab is cruel and Stab syphoned Jay’s findings while they were still fresh in his mind, before he dropped his head onto the feathers.
Words by Elliot Struck
Video by Harry Triglone
1. Think About The Afterglow! Enjoy Your Crispy Skin! If you’ve got a day free to surf, pretend it’s a weekend in LA where you know you’re gonna sleep on the plane ride home. If you’re psyched on surfing, that should be what you feel when you have a day free to surf. Whether it’s shit or really good, you should have that attitude. The best time I have is when I’m hanging with mates I haven’t seen for a while and the waves are one-to-two-foot onshore slop and there’s nobody around. And because there’s no one around, it’s just us mucking around. It takes you back to those moments when you’re a grom, and that’s why you do it. You wanna be like, “I’m so fucking excited and I don’t care what I catch, I’m just excited to do it.” The feeling afterwards when you’re having a beer and you’ve got a burnt, tight, crisp face is amazing. Your skin might hurt but your soul is very settled and content. I definitely have times where I can’t be bothered. You just go through it every now and then. When you think, I couldn’t be bothered putting on my wetty. I don’t know what it is you lose touch with, because you know that when you do go, it’s the best thing you’ve ever done. You’ve gotta look past it to the end of the surf and how good you’ll feel afterwards. Every time, no matter what, regardless of whether you surf for three hours or 20 minutes, you always feel the same thing, which is better. The ocean’s a cleanser.
Even when the beach ain’t a beach (Belongil) and the waves lack zeal, you must still reach for your craft. For what’s better, asks Jay, time on the couch or time in the drink? Photo: Duncan Macfarlane
2. Wrap your memory bank around you like a warm blanket! When you think about going for a surf, you think about getting down there, getting your wetty on, waxing your board, when you’ve gotta come in, all these things. You never think about the actual surfing, about standing up on a wave. It’s strange. Catching waves is the main joy that gets you more excited than anything. That’s the perfect thing. Thinking about riding a wave, that’s what the people who live in their vans on the beach have figured out. The guys with dreadlocks and the most beaten-up surfboard you’ve ever seen. That’s how they think and how they feel. It’s about riding a wave, instead of all the cool shit you have. And we lose our grip on that. That’s the only reason you fell in love with this, when you first paddled into a wave. Doesn’t matter if you were five or 20. I was 10 and I paddled into a wave and it was the most exhilarating, enjoyable fucking thing I’ve ever done. And I thought, “I wanna have this feeling for the rest of my life no matter what.” And that’s what you get every time you stand up. All those other things cloud it and you forget about it.
3. Sip from the fountain of youth! There’s so many different variables to stop you surfing as you get older. When you’re young, your parents drop you at the beach with five dollars in your hand and you’re like, “Alright, see you after!” You’re in your wetty all day long. You’re in your wetty sitting at the kiosk getting red frogs to keep you going, drinking one cup of water all day, but you’re just on fire and nothing else is on your mind besides throwing your body into every closeout barrel that you can get near. Getting belted and loving every second of it. You’ve gotta remember all that.
4. Mini golf is just as fun as the driving range. Swing where you can! When it storms, non-surfers will say it’s gross and it’s so good to be inside, but all you’re thinking is, somewhere would be absolutely firing right now. We get big storms in the west. And they make these weird swell-and-wind combinations which create these novelty waves that never usually break. Which is amazing ‘cause on the other side of the Cape (Naturaliste) where I live, it creates these crazy long lefthand points. Not perfect, just super novelty. It creates the biggest stir at home. You see the map, see it’s gonna be northerlies and there’s a 20-foot swell. Everyone knows about it and they all wanna go to this point. You go there and it’s packed. Everyone’s waiting for it to hit and then all of a sudden it’s three foot. The scene is so vibrant!
5. Be a Yes Man! Look for other Yes Men! It’s so easy to find faults when you check it but hard to find good things. Think about how often you say, “The wind’s not quite right,” or “It’s too small,” compared to “Well, it’s howling onshore but there’s a little right every 10 waves in that corner, let’s go do it!” I find at home that if I’ve been surfing every day of the week, I feel overcooked, and that’s when I make excuses. “It’s cross-shore, it’s low tide, there’s no one out,” whatever. But then I go back the next day and do the same thing but I have a mate dragging me out. Or I’m the one telling everyone it’s pumping and we should be out there. Someone just needs to say, “Look, let’s just get out there ‘cause once we do we’ll be so psyched.” Which you always are. It’s hard to stay in that frame of mind all the time. If you look for it, there’s always something to get you psyched. Like, today we rocked up at this spot and there was this guy waxing up in the carpark so quickly going, “It’s fucking sick out there! Get your board! Don’t even check it!” He was so pumped, swearing that it was as good as it gets. He was fully on his own, bolting down the beach as fast as he could, pulling his wetty on. It was absolutely intoxicating. His excitement was just like… He was the best person I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t wait to get out in the surf with him.
See! A paltry serving of juice still satisfies. “Thinking about riding a wave, that’s what people who live in their vans have figured out. That’s how they think and how they feel. It’s about riding wave instead of all the cool shit you have.” Photo: Duncan Macfarlane
Buy Stab Issue 65 in its digital form, over here.
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