Like thousands of Australian families we pack the car with kids & summer toys & head north to the golden sands & sunshine of the north.
I was lucky enough this year to wangle a loaner V10 from Tony at Epic in Sydney, a black elite carbon layup, like the one you see on the posters. I haven't paddled a V10 before, having developed my ski paddling over the past couple of years in my trusty V10 Sport, so I was pretty happy to get my hands on one to test out on the clear & varied waters that characterise Noosa Heads.
Another little tradition when I come up here is to organise a paddle with my mate Gary Forrest, the top instructor up on the Sunshine Coast and one of the few to have done the crossing out to Lady Elliot Island. Gary runs an instruction business out of his home waters in Moolloolaba, and is a rough water paddler of the highest calibre.
This year we met up on the river with the intention of breaking out over the bar, and paddling along the National Park coastline and into Alexandra Bay, a 16km return trip with enough fun features and point breaks to amuse us.
Gary took along his Rockpool Taran, the one he, err, bought off me for a rather low price, three quarters of the way through a lively night at the Currumbin Surf Club. It was no longer purple with yellow starfish, instead now in Gazza's customary all white colour way. It looked crap...
Punching out through the bar was so uneventful we decided to turn around & catch a wave back inside & do it again, second time around we very nearly got thumped.
The paddle out into Laguna Bay is one of life's pleasures, azure waters, warm almost to the point of not being refreshing, a brilliant sunny day & the volcanic headlands that on their day present some of the world's finest point breaks.
We turned the corner at Hell's Gates where a small rebound was chopping up the water surface, enough to make life tougher for me in my new ski. I was grateful to clear the mess & turn & catch a great little wave into the beach at 'A-Bay'.
After a short breather we broke out again, this time watching a few big sets out the back before picking a lull & scootling back out to sea.
We then ran back along the cliffs riding runner after runner, poking our noses into the famous breaks at Tea Tree, Car Park & Main Beach along the way, before one last long ride through the bar.
A great paddle with a great fella, I wish I could do it every day. I've cut a fun video which you can see below.