Road Trip to Narooma With Bob Hope and Bing crosby
The South coast of N.S.W. has always been one of my favourite destinations, particularly if you travel prior to their holiday break. My first visit was during the summer of 1962, when we stayed in a caravan park at North Tabourie on the outskirts of Ulladulla. We hadn’t progressed to the Okanuis of the day and were still riding the Coolite Bodyboards that produced the hideous rash on the chest. At any rate as soon as dad parked the car we sprinted to the top of the dune to check out the beach. The waves were a spectacular glassy 5ft and they were being ripped to shreds by a pod of some 50 dolphins, bodysurfing then with a flip of the tail they’d fly through the air over the lip. I’ve seen heaps of Dolphins since but even having shared a wave with one at Spooks there’s been no time that has captured anything like that magical moment shared with my brothers and sister.
With the local footy finals wrapped up on the Saturday Gary Colling and I departed early Sunday morning, reaching Merrimbula in just over 6 hours, we almost waxed up at the bar but decided to push on due to an inconsistent swell. Dalmeny offered up some 2ft peaks in the protected corner before nightfall and although still cool the water temperature was up some 3 degrees on Vico. Gary’s mum Thel has a neat house overlooking “Carters” a right hander that breaks off the headland and is within walking distance. She treated the two old coots like kings during our stay and without doubt would be a star on master chef. On my last trip with Fordy the bank at Narooma break wall was sensational, this occasion it was nothing special but luckily Carters was a sharp hollow 2 to 4 ft for most of the time, and on the day of the Noreaster we drove to Ulladulla and surfed good waves up to 6ft at the Bombie with our old legend mate Keith Bingham. There were quite a few locals out for a Wednesday arvo (12) and among them local boardmaker Vern Jackson was testing out an experimental Bonza (shots below) for another manufacturer. Vern didn’t hold back, he claimed it was the worst board he had ever surfed. Come to think of it, our very own Alan Francis brought back some pretty bizarre designs from there some ten years ago and hasn’t been the same surfer since. Vern has a good solid business doing customs and also pre-shaping for other crew.
Vern and the experimental Bonza
On the last two days I had no problems wearing a 3/2 steamer at Carters where the crowd was only half a dozen guys, one of which was a good surfing mate from Rye in the form of a very fit Lee Manners. We also caught up with Ackers another Peninsula surfer who has a surf shop on the main drag and has made his home at Dalmeny for nigh on 10 years now, and still charges pretty hard when the swell is pumping on this beautiful stretch of coast. The locals were headed up by a super friendly guy called Limo who asked if we knew a fellow Victorian called G.T that he had recently shared a few waves with. Of course we did and so we both passed on some of our best Garry Taylor stories that G.T would have been too modest to mention (Gary Colling was G.T.’s school teacher at Baxter Tech). It seems Garry (G.T) now living in Harrietville still enjoys a road trip and once your motoring along telling a few youthful tales as we did, the South Coast is a lot closer than what you think.