Living in Melbourne usually means, 90% of the windsurfing you do is on Port Phillip Bay. The Bay is home to (usually) reliable southerly sea breezes that sees heaps of local windsurfers sneaking in sessions after work thanks to daylight savings. While the bay is perfect to get your fix of water time between general life obligations, there seems to be a growing number of crew who are setting their sights outside of the bay – to the surf.
There are tonnes of great wave sailing spots in Victoria. Many of our beaches offer Esperance-like, clean, hollow beach breaks and there are lots of different reefs mostly around Torquay, Western port and Phillip Island. Essentially, for a wave sailor in Victoria there are a lot of good options. The only problem is consistency. Unfortunately we are not blessed with 25 knot cross shore sea breezes like WA is. So for those who are keen to ramp up their wave sailing skills, teeing up a day for practise can be hard – especially if your water time is limited to weekends.
With these obstacles in mind, it was decided to make the most of a solid forecast lining up across a weekend in early January. With a small to medium sized swell and nice South Easterly winds, things were looking great for a wave sailing social event at Woolamai, Phillip Island. With a few days notice, some interest was whipped up with crew from SHQ Boardsports and Sup Wind Surf hosting the day. An informal structure that focused on water time, combined with some key tips on technique and wave knowledge throughout the day worked really well. Despite the wind being a bit more offshore than forecast, a lot of people got out and scored their first true down the line waves.
Jono, who lives on Phillip Island and runs Sup, Windsurfing and Surfing lessons was stoked:
“To share a lifetime passion of windsurfing waves at one our best spots with a crew of keen sailors was fantastic. The enthusiasm from guys I have shared good times in sailing with in the bay was rewarding, and I was stoked to host them in my backyard at Phillip Island. The waves jacked up for a while, which was creating some challenging conditions and a bit of hard work. For the guys with a bit more experience it was perfect. A few guys were ripping it up pretty quick. It was cool to preach what we practise on the beach beforehand and keep firing everyone up through the day. Phillip Island is great fun, I’d love to host more people down here for all of the sports we do.”
Personally, I was really happy with the turn out, we had about 20-25 sailors turn up on a beautiful summers day at Woolamai. It was awesome to see guys who hadn’t really sailed in down the line, cross offshore style conditions give it a solid go. Everyone seemed to enjoy the casual format and were absorbing the feedback from us as instructors. The highlight for me was watching a couple of guys dropping into some nice sized waves full speed, and making a few turns down the line all the way back to shore. Seeing that level of progression for people who were totally new to these sorts of conditions was great. Looking forward to doing it again – hopefully soon.
Keep an eye out for the next wave sailing social day, there will be interest to run them throughout the year on any weekend with suitable conditions at a variety of different spots. If you are interested in signing up for updates, get in touch with me through the form in the contact section.
All photos thanks to Mark Sedgman.