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Dale Stanton: Mates, 1000kms and Gnaraloo

Chris Evans | An introduction

Dale Stanton is a kiter, shaper, photographer, adventurer and all round waterman! Kiting since 1999 Dale’s kiting accomplishments continue to grow and gather momentum. A quick snapshot on how far Dale’s come since 1999 below:

2017 – Overall champion – Ian Young perpetual trophy – Lancelin Ocean Classic
2017 -4th Lancelin Ocean Classic Kitesurfing race
2016 – 3rd Western Australian Kitesurfing State Titles
2015 – 1st – Lancelin Ocean Classic Kitesurfing championship (waves)
2015 – 1st Place RedBull Light house 2 Leighton – Twintip
2014 – 1st Place Lancelin Ocean Classic – Kitesurfing Marathon
2012 – 2nd Place – Redbull Lighthouse to Leighton
2011 – 1st Place – Redbull Lighthouse to Leighton

Quipmo are absolutely stoked have Dale shares his latest adventure with us – Mates, 1000kms and Gnaraloo

 

Dale Stanton | Date 7/01/18

Gnaraloo – let’s make it happen!

 

So I get a call from an old friend from Melbourne and he’s toying with the idea of a Gnaraloo trip. To put it in perspective its been about 7 years since our last kiting/windsurfing trip together and life is pretty busy these days, more so when you run your own business. My first instinct was to say, “Are you kidding me, that place is amazing, I can’t believe you’ve never been there, lets make it happen”. I didn’t think it would as there are a lot of things that need to fall into place, especially when you live a few thousand kilometres apart. Safe to say a few phone calls and emails over the weeks with a solid swell and wind forecast before you knew it I was picking them up from Perth Airport straight into a 12 hour drive north (about 1000km).

 

Now if you haven’t been to Gnaraloo, its unique. The first thing is, you need to take your own water, fuel and camping supplies, they say normally about 10L-15L a day per person, so for three people staying 7 days thats a lots of space that could be used for surfboards, kites and all the other fun toys you need up there. Gnaraloo is about 2 hrs north of Carnarvon, not to mention a long and bumpy ambulance ride back to town if you ding your self up bad so make sure you take a decked out first aid kit. I never travel without a roll of fixamol, betadine, hydrogen peroxide and antiseptic powder. Any surfer who’s travels the globe knows this is essential kit.

 

 

Before we left we did some planning and figured I didn’t have enough camping gear to deck out the gang so we booked a cabin up at the homestead.  Best idea ever!!!!! I didn’t have to mini tanker of water and the cabins had a fridge, freezer, shower and a few other mod cons that you don’t get sleeping in a tent. This was my first taste of luxury in the desert and it was worth every penny.

 

 

So we got on the road around 10am after a some flight delays and arrived in Carnarvon at about 8:30pm. Thankfully I just missed clipping a large cow that decided standing in the middle of the road in the dark was a good idea. Hitting the beast at 100km/hr would make a mess of my car and be a trip ender, if not a free trip to hospital.  I recommend stopping in town at some of the local farms to pick up some fresh fruit and veggies. (just follow the signs) It tastes amazing and is good value. I do the same on the way home and give away boxes to my folks.

 

A quick run around to get some last minute booze supplies and were were on our way. The remaining part of the journey takes a little longer as its on sandy corregated tracks and there are plenty of roos to dodge. If you’ve got this far to only to see the bitumen suddenly disappear and you’ve never driven on corregated tracks before, this is a good time to let your tyres down to about 20psi. It’ll definitely make the trip smoother and keep the fillings in your teeth from falling out. Make sure you take a compressor to pump your tyres up on the return trip.

 

We arrived at the homestead at about 10:30pm which is some 15 mins north of the main camping ground (3mile) and the Melbourne boys were shattered. They had been up since 3am eastern stardard time and it felt like 1:30am for the poor buggers.  A quick beer and straight to bed for some well earned shuteye.

 

The next five days were filled with lazy mornings, lots of coffee, a few desert board repairs and a bucket load of water time. It blew 20-30 knots from the south most days with the wind coming in around 10am. The swell built gradually throughout the week to peak at about 3.5m. Ideal really as you don’t want to rock up and have 10ft bombs exploding on your head the first day and 2 footers at the end of the trip. By the last day I was starting to blow bubbles in my coffee I was that excited… tombstones pumps on a swell that size but its also flippin scary. Daniel from Kiteaddiction in Myaree also made his first trip to Gnaraloo, it was great to see him tearing the bag out of a few bombs and big thanks for the supplies run from town. (cheers Dan)

 

As hard as it was, we all shared the time behind the camera lens so we could each other on film. Hopefully in 20 years we could look back and reminisce about how good the trip was.

 

Highlights for everyone   

 

  • Gnaraloo bay for a relaxing swim in the mornings

  • Whales swimming through the lineup and tombstones

  • Gourmet breakfast cook ups on the bbq with fresh produce from Carnarvon

  • A hot shower at the end of a long day

  • ICE COLD BEER from the Engel.

 

Gnaraloo Station has a website and they have plenty of FAQ’s, maps and advice for travellers. The station owners are more than happy to answer any questions you have so enjoy and get amongst it.

 

A huge thanks to:

 

Cheers

Dale Stanton

Follow Dale’s adventures on both Instagram or Facebook here!

 

And to rent gear off Dale and maybe hit him up for a tips in the process simply head over to Quipmo 

 

Have you got gear … 

If you’ve got gear be sure to get it up on Quipmo and let’s make someone’s adventure today!

 

In adventure,

Chris and the Quipmo team!

Check out quipmo.com and start your adventure today!

Sign up to the Quipmo mailing list now and stay up to date with all things adventure! 

Adam and Gita – Bangkok to Lauang Prabang on bike …

Chris Evans | An introduction

Adam Mitchell is a highly acclaimed and award winning theatre director www.adammitchell.com.au having been Associate and Resident Director for Black Swan State Theatre Company, Black Swan’s HotBed Ensemble, and in addition to his independent work, regularly directs Theatre, Opera and Music Theatre for The West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). He’s always been hugely talented and success was largely an inevitability.

Adam and I know each other from a very different world however for we first met and became very good friends at the ripe old age of six, as students of our local kindergarten. Our days largely spent trying to mine the elusive ‘choccy brown’ from the kindergarten’s sandpit – which in reality were simply different coloured rocks but to a six year old – carried great currency. Many of my fondest childhood memories are of times with Adam and his family, including taking the zodiac up the river with Adam and his dad, or trips up to Wedge Island. In fact I still think I’m nursing bruises 30 plus years later from being towed behind a quad bike whilst riding a sand board! Thousands of hours on the tennis court together, actually thousands of hours of me getting flogged on the tennis court by Adam, thousands of adventurers, thousands of stories.

Upon reflection, perhaps the thing that has shone most brightly through Adam through all of these years is his spirit and conviction to cut his own path. To forge his own journey. There really is something very special in someone chasing their own dreams, tackling their own mountains and treading their own adventures. This next instalment of our Stories and People series penned by Adam really sums up adventure perfectly, in that one has an idea, and makes it happen. And perhaps there’s a very clear lesson in that for all of us, adventure really is that easy and adventure really is that available, all we must simply do is choose it.

 

Adam Mitchell | Date 30/11 /17

One of the best ways to see the world is from the (padded) saddle of your bike.

 

My girlfriend Gita and I had been trying to get away on an extended trip for years, and the budget being what it was- all roads pointed to South East Asia.  We had both spent time in Thailand and I’d previously had a ball in Laos, but neither of us had ever really cycled further than getting home from the pub.

The plan was simple; land in Bangkok and then take two months to amble north through the back roads of the country. From the northern boarder of Thailand we would then embark on a slow boat through the mountains to Luang Prabang Laos, and then tack south heading down the Malay Peninsula towards the islands of Ko Tao and Sumi.

We had neither decent bikes or any level of fitness that would prepare us for the 2000km journey, though the deal we made with each other was that if it got too mountainous or there was too much highway riding we would simply jump aboard the next train

 

 

We bought simple bikes and attempted to string together a series of warm up rides around our city. On ride one I got a flat tyre (I wasn’t carrying a spare), and on ride two, Gita fell off and ended the day in the hospital with 12 stitches. Our confidence was dented. Jump forward two weeks later and we are trying to survive on the busy, yet courteous streets of the Thai capital with just two panniers each. Gita 6KG, Me 5KG. That was it! With all supplies bike repair kit, spare tubes etc in that.

“On ride one I got a flat tyre (I wasn’t carrying a spare), and on ride two, Gita fell off and ended the day in the hospital with 12 stitches. Our confidence was dented. Jump forward two weeks later and we are trying to survive on the busy, yet courteous streets of the Thai capital with just two panniers each. Gita 6KG, Me 5KG. That was it!”

 

We hopped a train north to the ancient city of Ayutthaya (we decided getting out of Bangkok on bike was suicide), and the cycling began by following the Chao Phraya River into the former capital of Siam. Meandering through the ruins of the UNESCO world heritage site on bike was a great way to acclimatise to heat and humidity. From here we had many early mornings to try and escape the heat of the day and slowly threaded our way through villages and small towns towards the metropolis of Chiang Mai. The humidity was so oppressive 50 or 60kms felt like a full days riding, and we tried very hard to be off the road before noon.

 

Through the ancient city of Sukhothai and the bustling market towns of Phitsanulock and Chai Nat, the Thai people are friendliest and most welcoming we’ve met. We were certainly a novelty is some dusty manufacturing towns, but in every spot we were directed to the tastiest thai foods imaginable and icy cold Singha beers.

From the lifesaving roadside breakfasts of banana and sticky rice porridge wrapped in banana leaves to super spicy curries and everything deep-fried and served on a stick, Thailand is all about the food.

Chiang Mai was far busier and touristy than it had been when I’d visited 10 years earlier, so we upgraded our cycles for a motorbike and headed towards the mountains and the Mae Hong Song loop. This is a 600km circuit through some of the most scenic and death defying mountain roads you can imagine. Four days of fear on the motorbike navigating hairpin turns was actually more exhausting than the cycling. It was nice to be cooler riding through the beautiful misty valleys along the Myanmar boarder following the narrow cliff top roads and of course eating the local spicy everything.

Back on the bikes and headed east towards the boarder of Laos and an obligatory travellers experiences, the two-day slow boat to Luang Prabang.


We loved the boat thing and the night stop over at Pak Beng. The isolation of this walled city and the influence of French colonists are astonishing.

From the Buddhist Monks daily collection ritual to the amazing pastries and coffee houses on the cobblestone streets, it’s an unlikely cosmopolitan mix literally in the middle of some serious jungle.

 

From here we boxed up our bikes and boarded a flight back to Bangkok. Riding south was less picturesque, it was hard to get off the highways, but the town of Prachuap Khiri Khan and hitting the water festival at Hua Hin were highlights.

The Elephant Refuge  www.thaielephantrefuge.org
about 30minuts from Hua Hin is our recommendation for travellers wanting to see elephants in an ethical way. A brilliant organisation that rescues elephants from right across the county, it’s a seriously good organisation and no, you do not get to ride them.

The last few weeks were spent in recovery on the beautiful beaches of Sumi and Ko Tao. We couldn’t recommend taking a biking adventure more. It’s a wonderful way to see the world, and there’s a whole lot more world to see!

 

 

 

Have you got gear …

If you’ve got gear be sure to get it up on Quipmo and let’s make someone’s adventure today!

 

In adventure,

Chris and the Quipmo team!

Check out quipmo.com and start your adventure today!

Sign up to the Quipmo mailing list now and stay up to date with all things adventure! 

 

Gavin Pratt – from Burleigh to Shanghai

Chris Evans | An introduction

Gavin Pratt (Fats) is a surfer, coach, athlete, and just an all round champion. We’ve been mates since early primary school and have shared plenty of adventures together – from Gnaraloo to surfing in New York to volunteering in an orphanage in Mexico to Margaret River to the Goldy and Byron to Guatemala and Nicoragua. Plenty of adventures and plenty more stories!

Fats has always been naturally good at stuff. When we were growing up the lucky bugger would be a natural at whatever he tried his hand at – captain of the East Fremantle colts, state volleyball, districts cricket, boxing or in the water – he’d just pick things up quickly. But that was a long time ago and being a natural has a life span and a useful life. Far more impressive than his collection of silverware is his character and specifically his humility and his persistence. A steady march forward. With each goal achieved he would once again lift his eyes up to his new horizon, and start moving towards that new peak in the distance.

There’s undoubtedly a lesson in this for all of us – ability is absolutely important, and in a lot of circumstances it’s undoubtedly a tick to play, but over the long haul, life rewards prolonged effort. There’s plenty of talented people who hit their peak in their teens, or twenties, and plenty of people who plateau in terms of ambition and focus – and that’s totally ok and everyone has their path, but there really is something inspiring about the journeyman and those that just keep taking those small steps forward. Those that continue to grow. This is what makes Fatty’s journey inspiring and one that we can all take something from for it’s the journey that is the reward. And here’s the rub – ability is all well and good, but it’s Fat’s character that makes him a champion!

Fats shares his latest instalment with Quipmo – moving from Burleigh to Shanghai.

Gavin Pratt | Date 11/11 /17

I was at a crossroads and a decision had to be made.

At the time, I was living what I thought was the dream life. My own business (coaching athletes & general populations) on the Gold Coast, was affording me a great lifestyle and also allowing me to rack up the hours in the some of the best waves in the world, almost daily.
 


At home in front of the camera.

 
However, there was still something eating away at me. Was this it? Do I just do this for the rest of my life? There had to be other places to explore and different personal challenges ahead… surely?

Coincidentally, I then got an email. It was from a well-known strength & conditioning company is the USA called EXOS, and they wanted to know if I was interested in moving to China to help prepare elite athletes for the largest sporting competition in the world, The National Games of the People’s Republic of China.

Whoa.

China wasn’t my first thought when I was wondering if there was more avenues to explore in life, but hey, why the hell not give it a go?!! So my girlfriend and I packed up our life and moved to Shanghai to search for greener, more-eastern pastures.


 
China is a different beast altogether. Not only culturally, but in pure weight of numbers. The city of Shanghai has the same number of people as the entire population of Australia….and that’s just one city! Things are just done differently here and it took a few months of adjustment to work ourselves into the ‘system’.
 
Fats presenting at the Shanghai National Strength & Conditioning Association conference!
No waves for miles – why not go and crank out a half marathon to kill some time


The coach in action

Han going over the specifics of Supplementation for Injury & Performance, at the Shanghai Research Institute of Sports Science

However, this wasn’t my only challenge, as I’d gone from surfing almost daily to wondering when I’d get the opportunity to surf next…and where? Surfing to me is a medication. It pushes me to perform better than before, like a good hit of adrenaline. It makes me relax like mediation. Finally, it keeps me focused on the important things in life, such as my health and loved ones. So when this ‘medication’ is taken away from me, things start to get a little shaky (and if I’m being honest, I tend to get a little grumpy too!).

 “Surfing to me is a medication. It pushes me to perform better than before, like a good hit of adrenaline.”

I had to come up with an alternative way to approach my surfing, knowing consistent waves at my doorstep were no longer available. I work 6 days per week and have 1 weekend off per month, so my idea was to approach that weekend as a 2-day strike mission to places I haven’t surfed, with the hope of stumbling upon a wave that made the travel time entirely worth it. Rather than look for perfection, I had to readjust my line of thinking. It would be more like an adventure of journey and discovery, and if waves happened to be the end result, I’d be even more stoked with the outcome.

With this line of thinking, I have managed to surf new countries, including China and Taiwan, with some small islands around the place being my next line of focus. I’ve also managed to score a couple of epic sessions with 1-2 people out, making my time at Snapper and Burleigh seem like a nightmare (but the waves there are just so good!).

“Rather than look for perfection, I had to readjust my line of thinking. It would be more like an adventure of journey and discovery, and if waves happened to be the end result, I’d be even more stoked with the outcome.”

 
I’m not sure how long I’ll remain in China, but no matter what happens next, or where I move to, the idea of ripping off Rip Curl’s motto, “The Search” seems to be an appropriate moniker to live by. Get away from the crowds, find your adventure and enjoy the fact that your life enables you to experience such amazing things.

To be honest, I miss the Gold Coast like crazy. It really is home. However, the opportunity and experiences we have had since moving to China have been life-altering and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The best thing we can do is to get out there and start exploring this amazing planet! Yeeew!

 

And if you’re ever in China or are keen to hit up Taiwan for a wave, why not rent a board off Fats and maybe go and chase a few waves together as well!

 
 

Have you got gear … 

If you’ve got gear be sure to get it up on Quipmo and let’s make someone’s adventure today!

 

In adventure,

Chris and the Quipmo team!

Check out quipmo.com and start your adventure today!

Sign up to the Quipmo mailing list now and stay up to date with all things adventure! 

Questions with Owen Thomas

Chris Evans | Date 29/10/17

Owen Thomas is a surfer, farmer, metal head and shredder, husband, dad and all round bloody champion, and after releasing his own brand of surf wax and deck grips he’s now keen to add backyard shaper to that list too! Owen spoke to Quipmo about what it’s like being a surfer in WA’s south and what inspired him to pick up a plane and have a crack at what many think about after having been in the water all day and then necking a few beers but very few follow through on.


The big man throwing buckets at Bingan

#1 With a young family, a farm, a love for making music, and a bit of time in the water, how on earth do you find time to make wax & deck grips and how on earth are you finding time to shape boards? 

I don’t! Well a bit of time management I suppose. I’m not really a sit in front of the TV type guy-usually if I do it’s Netflix and chill-so I choose to spend my off work time creating stuff, mostly at night. Because I have a flexible job and I’m my own boss essentially, I can sometimes squeeze in the odd bit of sanding at work while I wait for the mixer (food processor for the cattle feedlot) to do its thing. Sometimes at night I can’t be bothered getting dirty-or staying dirty-so I do music. Other nights if I’m in the mood I do shaping or make a wax batch. Bear in mind this stuff is super duper low level stuff, I have like two shops that stock wax and due to the ‘nature’ of the wax it’s a niche market if you will, part souvenir, part Eco friendly. Add to this I’m not exactly a perfectionist, maybe an imperfect perfectionist where I’ll rush stuff, then critique the bag outs of it after!

 

If you’re keen to get your hands on some awesome NDSW gear, just head over to their fb store via: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Nativedogsurfwax

 

#2 Aside from a love of surfing, what inspired you to make wax / deck grips and also get into shaping?

The wax thing came from ordering some custom wax bars for our wedding, we then decided it’d be cool to stock some in Bremer for the hell of it with Native Dog on them. The supplier shut down or something so I gave the beeswax route a go, had some pretty dodgy brews and even put them out there-wasn’t a good idea! But I think I have it pretty sorted now, we have a warm and cold water brew. I’ve always wanted to shape a board, so I ordered a few machine blanks from shapers and glassed them, they turned out ok-a little heavy tho. Glassing is a whole Other craft. After that I got onto Swaylocks forum (amazing resource for any budding shapers) and saw some of the amazing backyard shapes dudes are knocking out with EPS (expanded polystyrene). Totally different methods of whittling the blank down than conventional poly boards and a lot cheaper. Also using epoxy resin is awesome because you have a lot more time to work the resin. Still rough as buggery and only two complete handshapes in, but learning so much every time. I figure I can hone the craft on the cheap stuff then when I wanna invest in the good stuff it’ll be a lot less stressful.

#3 How did you start off and how are you finding the shaping journey so far? And #4 What shaping set up did you start with?

As I said, started off glassing a few machine shapes. Went ok but a tad heavy. After a bit of research I realised I could do EPS and epoxy, less toxic and smelly plus a fair bit cheaper because the foam and epoxy is easy to find and on swaylocks dudes have been making boards out of household/hardware style stuff for years. The first true handshape was a twinny, I used templates from blending curves and cut my blank from a square block of foam. Pretty wonky looking shape as the EPS I used was super low density-soft and hard to work with. The thing went pretty awesome but was flawed by the light glass job and no stringer so I creased it first surf, fixed it and creased again after a few weeks of solid thrashing. I cut the rocker from templates made from Ply and used a Hotwire bow I made, some fishing trace wire hooked up to a car battery. Made some shaping stands out of scrap steel from the farm. That and a big of sanding paper and blocks and good to go.

#5 How many boards have you made so far and how have you found them in the water?

So I’ve glassed 4, and handshaped two. The first one is ok, needs a bigger wave to get going, a semi step up type thing, I think the finboxes didn’t have enough cant angle, along with a diamond tail makes it a lil stiff. Second was actually a damaged blank, part of the nose was snapped off/crushed so I tried to re shape the nose, looked pretty horrible but was a bit looser than the previous-same blank. First EPS handshape was the twinny, went awesome! So loose and fast but not strong enough. Second handshape was a 6’0 sorta high performance board, but I added a stronger and a balsa wood deck for strength. Prob too much weight. Goes good in solid beachies and paddles well, but the rails are way too knifey. The third one is gonna be full wood covered but with a light glass job, it’s a stumpy short board and I’m trying to copy the rails of an existing board. that’s the struggle with surfboards it’s a lance between strength, weight and performance.

 

5’9x20x2 ½ with extra snazzy custom tote bag inlays that Owen’s friend designed with photos of flotsam from Cocos island 

#6 Any thoughts / tips for anyone looking at having a crack at a blank themselves?

Definitely get onto swaylocks forums. Some insane builds and ideas for backyard shaping. You don’t have to go buy a blank from old mate local shaper, you can buy a block of EPS from a building supplier. Hang on tho, it’s a full on nerdy wormhole once you dive in!

A dude I met living in the cocos islands, Russell, put me onto swaylocks. Due to the geographical location it’s super expensive to get traditional materials to the island, and swaylocks is what got him onto using EPS and materials without the specific premium markup of traditional surfboard materials.

 

Owen ensuring that the next generation of Thomas’ share the froth!

#7 Talking now about music, you’ve played in a number of great local WA bands, growing up what surf flick’s soundtrack inspired you most and why?  

Bands were fun, but a bit conflicting on surf life. If I was to be in any band it’d be Parkway Drive. They play heavy music and surf the world. Pretty amazing. Surf flicks, prob green iguana, bunyip dreaming, gripping stuff 2(Aussie rock and just sick tunes) and some of the early Taylor Steele had wicked punk tracks from Pennywise, NOFX and millencolin

#8 I haven’t seen the remake of Point Break … and don’t really think I want to, but has it inspired you to release a new Point Breakdown ep?

The new point break sucked-as expected. Zero substance in terms of dialogue. Basically just a Hollywood extreme sports video. How can you possibly top those Classic one liners from the original?! I don’t think movies are made with that in mind at all these days. Yeah it inspired me to write another song but not with any of the garbage they call a script from the new one!!


#9 You’re clearly a creative guy and are prepared to just have a crack at things, have you always been like this?

I think so? Sometimes being involved or keen to try so many things can lead to the detriment of the other but hey, if you’re having fun doing it and learning stuff then who cares?! Better to create and give stuff a go than to sit around and waste your life watching TV. Although it is good to chill every once in a while.

#10 You’ve obviously been back down in Bremer Bay for some time now, do you think part of the charm of being out of the city is that you end up getting to focus more on things you’re passionate about like family, surf, music, wax, deck grips, shaping etc?

Definitely way less distractions. It’s not a raging social night life down here, especially with kids. So most of that stuff is at the beach surfing, camping, free diving or just going to someone’s place for dinner. Plenty of time to tinker on little projects.

And on that note … just like offering tips on how to get the little people on their way for bath time …

And if you’re ever in southern WA’s Bremer Bay, why not rent board off Owen while you’re at it. 

Have you got gear … 

If you’ve got gear be sure to get it up on Quipmo and let’s make someone’s adventure today!

 

In adventure,

Chris and the Quipmo team!

Check out quipmo.com and start your adventure today!

Sign up to the Quipmo mailing list now and stay up to date with all things adventure!