What to do this winter? Hmmmm, what to do? Riiiinnnnggg. Cobe: "Hello? Ummm, I think so. Hang on, let me ask Mike. Mike, you wanna go to Australia next week?" Me: "Obviously, Cobe. Hook it up." Cobe: "All right, Bill, we're there!"
For 15 hours Cobe and I sit on Qantas getting all our mental pictures of Australia straight, kangaroos hopping everywhere, a koala in every tree and boomerangs whirring by our heads. Obviously, we've watched Crocodile Dundee one too many times because when we drag ourselves off the plane in Brisbane, much to our dismay, all we see are cars racing past, people hurrying by and construction sounds in the distance. For a second we think we've gotten off in L.A. but as soon as we hear our distributor, Phil, say the expected, "G'day mate," we figure we're on the right path.
Phil gives us the five-cent tour of Brisbane and before we can say, "Vegemite," he sends us on our way to judge a contest 30 minutes north on the Sunshine Coast. We wake up the following morning trying to recall what all those "special" Aussie beers had in them and head out to the contest, ready for a day of judging and one or two - OK, Cobe, you can go three - times of exhibition riding.
The contest goes well, with quite a few S-bends, tantrums and big spins, only to be rained out in the finals. Afterward, Cobe and I are invited to stay a few extra days so we can hang out and take in the local scenery. Bad idea. The local scenery consists of pub after pub and the rest of the Sunshine Coast trip is a bit cloudy. I can tell you, though, the Sunshine Coast is the mecca of wakeboarding in Australia, headed up by the extremely talented Luke Wolf (15), the extremely insane Lydie (Craig), and the rest of the super-cool riders and spectators at the cable park. (Now we know where Shannon gets it.)
Next stop, the famous Gold Coast for three hours of insane shore-break surfing before we hook back up with Phil and jump on a plane to Sydney. Still no kangaroos and koalas. Not even a stupid bird in sight.
We hook up with some local shop owners and head to the water to do some photos and have a cookout. (Oh yeah, lots of beers too.) We spend the remainder of our trip in Sydney riding wakeboards, motocross bikes on the streets of Sydney in the middle of the night (thanks, Howie), and generally causing chaos.
I think I speak for both of us when I say we felt as at home halfway across the world as we do in our own backyards, and we have all the great people we met along the journey to thank for their hospitality - you know who you are and you're welcome in our homes whenever you need a place to crash. Also, a huge thanks to our sponsors who made this trip possible. First and foremost, Fulltilt, for the reason to ride a wakeboard, and Billabong. Also muchas gracias to Black Flys, Homeboy Shoes, FSL Fossil watches, The Wave, Snowave, Blink 182 and StraightLine Ropes and Handles (Mike); and Wet Tech Wetsuits, Arnette, Reef, Tigi, Heckler Brau, The Wave, Snowave, Blink 182, Animal Watches and StraightLine Ropes and Handles (Cobe).
Oh yeah, just for the record, we did see some kangaroos and koalas in a zoo. Gee, we couldn't see that here.