I believe every person has a place where their heart feels at ease; whether it’s a city street, a peak or forest.
I see pictures of the point pop up from time-to-time like echoes of another world. Usually the same angle, shot from the car park lookout, with a longboarder easing across one of the endless faces, navigating the suck rock or the flat section in the Fishing Cove. It’s a place Betjeman wrote of often, rare and ethereal and full of a peculiar, light joy. I miss it, this place of fickle frustration and constant alert, to which I gave ten years. I believe every person has a place where their heart feels at ease; whether it’s a city street, a peak or forest. Every surfer has a wave of particular identification, to which they are most connected. It’s been years since I surfed the point, but I still think about it almost every day.
I first saw it on a school trip to the church. We were rubbing the graves with tracing paper, recording the names of the dead as the swallows whipped through the gable arch. Two of us stole away, ran through the marram grass and there she was. Spinning close to the rocks, breaking long and clean at just the right stage of tide to really run, nobody out. I stood for a long time in silence trying to make sense of this thing I did not understand: the way the waves travelled across the estuary in endless bands, and rolled for what looked like forever, the white crest gathering and fading, sprinting down the bar and backing off. There was nobody out to get a sense of scale, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of it, this giant playground of a thing. I’d never seen a pointbreak before. The connection was made.
By luck really, two friends had nearby houses. The point sits in a place of multi-million pound property, favoured by royals. The illusion of a rugged, country feel is maintained purely by an old-boys golf club and robust nimbyism. Most of the houses are second, third, fourth homes sitting shadow-like through the winters when the point breathes into life.
My surfing crew and I bought wafer-thin toothpick thrusters. One day, surfed out on a big swell, we stopped by the point at sunset and I saw a lone fleet figure trimming on a small wall for what felt like forever. He went right by us, gliding away. ‘Kook,’ someone ventured. ‘Looks weak,’ grunted someone else. But something had lodged in my mind. The next term I took my student loan and blew it on an ugly 9’10’’ Stewart noserider and I started to covet the point and learn the vague factors that brought it into being.