From the pages of Surfing Life 331 – The Waves Issue
Words: Wade Davis
Images: Andrew Shield
Obsession isn’t rational. Sometimes we obsess over things that we shouldn’t, things that we can’t have. Sometimes it’s romantic, and other times it’s called stalking. Sometimes we know that our obsession is bad for us, yet we can’t help but pursue it; we still find ourselves pining over things that we know are bad for us because we hope that the next time will be different, despite knowing with all our reason that when we have it in our grasp, it will almost infallibly let us down.
Noa starts this interview by saying, Yeah, DBah… I fucken hate that place, and we instantly feel like he’s the wrong man for this piece on wave obsession. But of course not, he hates it because he loves it, and he’d probably stalk it if DBah had a garden that looked into DBah’s bedroom window…
Oh, and Noa doesn’t hold back with the colourful language, so if you don’t fucken like swears, maybe just focus on the pretty picture.
“DBah is so annoying because it’s such a good wave and everyone fucken goes there, which sucks. But you need it though, because when it’s shit everywhere, DBah is good. It’s weird, because the waves are always so good here, so you want to surf it, but there are too many people to deal with, so you’re like, I’ll just go and surf some shit bank and it’ll be sick, but then that just fucken sucks and you end up back at DBah.
“When I first started surfing I thought that DBah was a big-wave spot. I only surfed Snapper because I thought that DBah was too big. Then one day I went over there and I was like, You can go left? What’s left? Can I go left? How do you learn to go left? So by the time I was 10 or 12 I had to go over to DBah because of the Occy comp, and they used to have the Rip Curl Grom Search there, too, and once I started going over I liked it, even though it was so crowded even then.
“I only ever used to surf at the Wall, because it was really easy. You could just come in and go left at the end of your wave, and then just shoot back out through the rip, and for someone who’s 12 or 14 who can’t paddle that well it was great. Now I never surf the Wall, I only surf Lovers. I can’t surf the Wall anymore, I hate it – it’s so crowded. And that’s only happened over the last few years, where people have cottoned on that it’s just so good.
“But I’ve got to surf DBah, because it’s such a good wave. Every time I paddle out I’m like, Is it going to be fucked? and when you think it’s going to be fucked it might be good, and vice versa. It’s a head fuck, because you can’t control anything at DBah – crowds, conditions, nothing – and that’s good, if you have a good surf, but if you have a bad one you have all this stigma built up from how many times you’ve surfed there, and you’re like, Fuck this, this blows, this suuuuuuuckkkks! And I’ve surfed it at least a thousand times, and of those I reckon I’ve had about 100 good surfs.
“Of those I can remember two pretty good ones: there was one where I was just surfing with this bodyboarder, Rob Laurie, and it was pretty sick – as soon as it gets four-foot out there everyone goes to Snapper and there was no one out. And another time I was surfing with just Parko and JS out on our own bank, and I was like, Woah, I’m in the middle of DBah and there is no one out.
“But the problem is that even though I know that DBah will be pumping when it’s four-foot and offshore, I’ll still check Snapper and see a good one and get out there and then have a nightmare and get real eggy. That’s what I’ve been doing the last five swells, accidentally seeing a bomb and going out at Snapper, but I should just go straight to DBah. I should know better.
“DBah’s why I started doing so many airs, because there are such good air sections out there, but it’s just frustrating trying to get a wave. That’s the only problem out there. It’s so crowded that I’ve just been surfing Froggies lately, just pulling into closeouts. Fuck it, just snap a good board.
“So I reckon Jack Freestone’s the best out there, because when it’s southerly he can still do airs on the rights somehow – he always just goes to fucken town out there. I don’t know how he does it, he just always seems to go to town out there. Seeing him sucks me out there for sure, like, it’ll be shit and I’ll see him do something sick and it’ll suck me straight out there. I’ll see him and be like, It’s good, it’s good, and then I’ll get out there and be like, It’s shit, it’s shit, I’m getting toasted out here, and then I realise that it’s just because Jack rips. That’s why it looks good. I’m like, Oh, I should have thought of that! It wasn’t the wave that did that air, it was Jack.
“The thing is, if there was no one out there you could get so much damage done, but you never get it like that. If you could get heaps of waves out there you could really fuck shit up.
“DBah’s just like a shitty bar that you like going to, and you know it’s shit, but it’s good, you know? It’s like the Rattlesnake, or Neverland, you always end up there, and you’re like, Fuck this shit, I’m never going there again, and then the next weekend you’re like, I’m there! It’s the same at DBah, it always draws you in. It’s just a vortex.”
Noa’s DBah Top Five
“My top five would be Jack Freestone, Mick… Joel’s really good at the Wall, too; and then over at Lovers, Damon Harvey, he’s amazing out there, and super mysto, and Vasser. That’d be my crew.
“DBah has been the break that turned me into the surfer I am. I think that it’s been like that for all of us, but Jack especially. He’s probably the best surfer out there – even Mick out at DBah, he goes well out there because it’s so tricky and it throws something different at you every time, and that’s so good for your surfing.”