I recently purchased a 2017 model Himalayan from Paul, a fellow member of the Royal Enfield Club of Australia, who had already placed an order for the new EFI Switchable ABS model. Not having ridden one before, I wanted to test the Himalayan out in the bush, which you really can’t do on a dealer demo. I wanted to see if I liked how it went off-road and on the highway, not just around the block. I had seen another member Peter, ride his on twisty tarmac on country roads and it seemed to go pretty good. So since there was quite a wait for the new models I bought the bike off Paul without so much as a test ride. I then had some time to try it out and make a decision.
After some test rides on the Hume and Pacific motorways, I knew it was going to be similar to other Royal Enfield singles, more of an 80-100 kph “B-Road” bike. At 110kph indicated it sits at about 5500 revs and the red-line is 6250rpm. At 100 on the speedo, you are doing 92-94kph on the GPS.
I went on 3 off-road rides for which I did trip reports ( see below )
Earlier this year there was an extensive delay in getting new bikes out of India to Australia so the wait time was 6 weeks or more.
For a period of time I had been enquiring as to availability, lead-time and colour options and hadn’t actually committed to putting a deposit on one as yet when I received a call from Santina of Revelry Cycles saying that there was one available, due to land in the country very soon and it was Lake Blue. I bit the bullet and placed a deposit.
As soon as I knew I had one “in the bag” I went about planning what accessories and modifications I would do.
It’s taken a while to compile this info but here it is.
On my 2017 bike the rear shock had sagged a bit and the front forks felt very soft.
Having dealt with the guys from SuspensionsRUs in the past with my Triumph Tiger suspension fix, I decided to go with their recommendation of YSS and purchased a shock and fork kit.
I actually ordered the kit for the old bike but never fitted it as a 2021 model became available quicker than expected.
As you can see, in a feeble attempt to create progressive suspension the OEM spring has tightly wound coils at the top, which just bind up quickly and you end up with half a spring. The OEM fork springs are the same.
The YSS shock has rebound adjustment and a threaded-ring preload adjustment. This gives you more tunability but it requires you to remove the rear internal guard to perform preload adjustment as the OEM shock is run upside down and the preload is at the bottom allowing easier access.
Installation required the removal of the battery and airbox in order to fit the shock
Since I do some rides with luggage and others without, I decided to trim the bottom off the guard to expose the preload adjuster. This means I don’t have to remove anything to make adjustments to preload settings.
The YSS fork kit comprises new fork springs (without the tightly wound coils at the top), PD (Progressive Damping) valves which act as cartridge fork emulators, new preload spacers to suit the spring length change (due to insertion of the PD valves), and preload-adjustable fork caps.
The upgrade was not as hard as I imagined and gave me the opportunity to remove some items that I deemed unsightly.
I started out by removing the wheel and then the brake calliper and ABS sensor. Then it was time for the fork brace and mudguard, which I had plans for.
I got one fork off and then followed the instructions which advised me to remove the oil and replace it with 20W.
To get the oil out you need to turn upside down and purge all the oil by pumping it until the oil stops coming out. I bought 1 litre of Bel-Ray 20w as the fork kit only came with a 250ml top-up bottle of YSS fork oil. You need about 410ml in each leg and an air gap of 220mm which I checked using a tape measure set to about 222mm and used it like a dipstick. You can buy a fancy contraption from MX Store if you want to be 100% precise. Then I installed the preload-adjustable fork caps.
Once I had done both I reinstalled the forks. I chose to leave the gaiters off. This will spark some debate but I want to be able to achieve two things. Firstly, improve the look. The chrome fork stanchion breaks up the all-black appearance of the standard forks and secondly allows me to monitor fork travel by being able to see the tell-tale rings of oil/dust left on the fork legs and then adjust preload accordingly. Another thing is preventing trapped moisture from coming in contact with cheap Indian chrome and damaging the forks.
Where’s the mudguard you ask ?. Not quite in the bin but it really does look terrible. I did put it back on recently for a road trip where we expected lots of rain but for off-road riding, I think I will leave it off for the interim and see how it goes.
UPDATE – the mudguard would be in fact useful in heavy mud to prevent the oil cooler clogging up but on a recent 300km trip on wet dirt roads the spray pattern seemed similar to another bike with the mudguard fitted.
Dirt bikes don’t have a guard that runs within a centimetre of the front tyre, so I came up with a solution to raise the fork brace, to which the mudguard attaches, by 20mm.
This was an easy $10 fix from Bunnings Hardware. PS these are the 2 left-overs – you need 4 of each.
Bark Busters, LED indicators and Tail-Tidy
One thing I have found with dirt bikes is that blinkers are sacrificial, they will either be knocked off the bike or fall off eventually due to the rubber mount perishing or succumbing to vibrations. I needed to get Bark Busters so I went for the optional LED indicators as well.
This gave me an idea for a “Tail-Tidy” that would lead me to another modification.
On the 2017 bike, the taillight was just about to fall to pieces. I took it apart and had to buy some new screws to hold it together. Knowing this would probably also happen on the new bike I wanted to replace it. The pannier racks include a blinker relocation kit mounted on the cross brace and this had a flat section perfect for a flush-mount LED tail/brake light.
The Bark Busters LED indicators are curved to suit the shape of the handguards. For me to be able to use them on the rear I needed them to be flat. So I had to cut off the plastic contour with a hacksaw and then encapsulate them with epoxy. I could then mount them with double-sided tape to the 125mm x 50mm Aluminium angle that I cut 40mm wide to fit the tail light mount. I sprayed the angle satin black to match.
Wiring was a pain. I didn’t want to chop the existing connectors so I could put it all back to factory spec. A trick I used on the tail-tidy I did on my 650 Interceptor was to make up a new rear wiring loom for the new indicators and lights. The LED indicators require some resistors to control the flash rate and these had bullet connectors which I removed and added spade connectors to match the original indicator connectors. Job done, nothing chopped or hacked. The tail/brake light also had a separate loom which had a plug under the pillion seat, so I disconnected that with the OEM taillight and used spade connectors to fit into the plug. Again no cutting off plugs from the original wiring.
Once the bulky-breaky tail light was removed there was all this space between the rack and the pannier cross brace and the panniers themselves. I started hunting for toolboxes and then had an idea. A flat-mounted ammo box from Repco would fit and allow easy access and would also have a sealed lid. I decided to utilise the taillight mount, as being pressed metal, it was fairly rigid and already had some rubber grommets perfect for providing a good vibration-free mounting point for the ammo box. The Bark Busters kit was designed to suit both the Himalayan and the KTM 390 and, for the latter, it came with 2 aluminium spacers for the bar ends which were surplus.
I used these, coupled with rubber washers, to act as stand-offs from the cross brace and they lined up the ammo box perfectly with the taillight mount.
Drill a few holes and fit some rubber and nylon washers and fixings and it was done.
Speaking of bling, SRC Adventure Moto make some pretty good looking and practical accessories for your Himalayan and are very helpful with full instructions in PDF and follow-up emails from Tony the importer.
I think the only thing I haven’t got is the side stand foot enlarger and the rear cargo rack.
REAR BRAKE MASTER CYLINDER GUARD
REAR BRAKE FLUID RESERVOIR GUARD
EXHAUST HEAD PIPE GUARD
OIL COOLER GUARD
FUEL TANK + BRACKETS (3 LITRE CAPACITY EACH SIDE)
So I use one of the 3 litre tanks for fuel and the other for spare water, not drinking water as the tanks are not food grade plastic. When camping after a day riding dusty roads it is handy to have some spare water to have a wash and for washing up cooking gear without using your drinking water.
There are 1 Gallon (3.8L) ROTOPAX water tanks available from Motorradgarage if you need extra drinking water.
FUEL TANK AND BRACKETS
A lot of people in the Royal Enfield Club swear by Air Hawk seat cushions so I thought I’d try one, so I picked up a Dual Sport model from Motorradgarage whilst I was there .
There was an article on the internet talking about the curvature of the seat causing problems and making you lean forward onto the tongue of the seat etc. As it turned out I had the same problem. The fix is to cut a section of foam mattress and place it under the Air Hawk. It stops the seat from collapsing into a curve and allows the air valve to sit behind it, which was sticking into my butt cheek.
Glen from the Royal Enfield Himalayan Australian Group on Facebook makes some useful accessories for the Himalayan.
Ezzee Rack Pillion Seat Rack with legs (makes camping stand)
I had some throw over panniers that I tried to use on the old bike and found that they hung too low and I was also concerned they would damage the pillion seat. Once I saw Glen’s rack on Facebook I ordered one and it fixed both of the problems.
This is the standard model above
The main supports fit into two mounts that attach to the frame and is secured with R clips. At the rear it has a mount that clips over the first bar of the standard Himalayan rear rack.
When I got the new bike I ordered another one but this time the camping version which has legs at the rear that fold down to make a stand for pots or other utensils.
The addition of a MX bar pad makes a great back rest
I used it on the last camping trip to keep the soft esky off the mud and wet ground.
Ezzee Stand (for changing front tyre)
When you put the bike on the centre stand it raises the rear end which is great for oiling the chain. However, the front tyre is still in contact with the ground as the balance point of the centre stand is forward. Removing the front wheel can sometimes allow the bike to rest back on the rear wheel. There usually is weight on the front tyre which makes it hard to change and then can result in the forks ending up on the ground once you do remove the front wheel. At home in the workshop I use a piece of wood or a hydraulic stand however this is not available in the bush.
The Ezzee Stand mounts to the A frame section of the bike’s down tube, between the steering head and the bash plate. It uses a hook welded to it to slot in one of the holes in the frame brace and its own natural tension holds it there. I had some interference with the SRC crash bars so I bent it slightly to fit and added some Velcro to secure it.
When in use it is removed from the bike and the large hook at the top is inserted into the centre slot of the bash plate and when you push it back it raises the front tyre allowing you to remove it.
STEDI LED Headlight Upgrade and Driving Lights
I decided to install a LED headlight as a bit of an experiment and also so it would match the light colour the two driving lights I was intending on installing as daytime running lights where the indicators were.
This was a bit of a gamble as I didn’t take into consideration that the Himalayan headlight body is recessed to account for the instrument panel. Once I got the kit I thought how is this all going to fit inside.
The kit comes with a H4 LED globe with a massive heatsink and a control module the size of a match box.
I was right it didn’t fit.
The power cable comes out of the back of the heat sink and was being bent at 90 degrees pressing hard against the housing and the headlight still would not close properly.
So I made the decision to forge ahead and drill a hole for the wire in the back of the housing directly behind the globe heatsink and mount the controller under the instrument panel with double sided tape.
I wanted to install the small MCX5 5w DRLs (Daytime Running lights) next to the headlight where the indicators were mounted on the side bars. Unfortunately these were out of stock so I had to go for slightly larger and more powerful MXC10 10w LED driving lights
The 2 x 10W lights will draw about 1.8amps, not a lot but close to the 2amp limit of the switch and thus requiring a relay where the 5w ones would not.
I may order the 5w when they come back into stock and put the 10W on another bike or mount them somewhere else. I originally ordered some mounts for the crash bars but the power cable with Deutsch connectors was too short and would leave the bulky connector hanging in the breeze, hence putting them near the headlight.
Its all a bit of an experiment at this stage. Until I know if I can get the 5w DRLs for the upper mounts or some wide beam LEDs.
I haven’t completed the wiring yet.
I also need to install a fuse box which was an idea I got from a fellow member of the Himalayan page on Facebook, Ossie, who mounted a Jaycar 6 way Fuse Box with bus bar under the seat in the small compartment built in to the rear guard. I will also mount any relays required in the same space.
So in other words this project is still work in progress. A bit like the rest of the bike. Stay tuned.
The Dual Sport Motorcycle Riders Association posted a ride calendar on Facebook and listed a ride that I had been meaning to do for some time. A ride that I had not done but the bike had done before when Paul, the previous owner took the bike to Taralga and beyond. The group were intending to ride from Mittagong to Taralga via the Wombeyan Caves road and back via Swallow Tail Pass and through to the Highway via the Canyonleigh Road.
The idea is to carry one full of water for washing up when camping and the other with spare fuel.
These attach using Rotopax style holders that fit through the jerry can and have a t-bar bolt to secure them.
I also fitted the leather panniers I bought with my Classic 500 years ago from Motociclo to use as tool/spares bags.
I have a compressor and a jump starter on one side and a tube, a tyre repair kit and spare clutch and brake levers in the other.
The pillion seat rack I bought from Glen off the Himalayan Facebook group holds the tool roll and tyre levers etc.
DSMRA is a national club with branches in most states and sub branches in major cities. They run graded Enduro and Adventure/Dual Sport rides and hold an annual premier event in Canberra called the Kowen Forest Ride which attracts around 850 riders. Now that I have done my complimentary ride with them I think I will join up and try to fit in a few ADV rides in between all the other stuff I do.
So I spoke to the ride organiser Tim Clarke who happened to live in Baulkham Hills. We decided to meet at Norwest Maccas at 630am and jump onto the M7 from there. I initially intended to trailer the bike to Mittagong and save the boring 100 kilometres each way of the Hume Hwy. Riding @ 5000 rpm sitting just on 100ks on the clock (93 on the GPS) and getting passed by trucks and learners isn’t my cup of tea, but since Tim was riding a Dual Sport bike as well, a KTM 640 Adventure, he wasn’t in a hurry we decided to ride down together.
We arrived at Mittagong at about 745am and topped up fuel at the first servo in town and then headed to Maccas to meet the other riders at about 8am. There were about 9 in the group, from memory a BMW F800, BMW F650, KTM790, KTM640, KTM390, AFRICA, WRF250, HUSABERG, and the Himalayan.
After a coffee we started out and headed to Wombeyan Caves road and regrouped at the Bullio tunnel.
The road was dirt from just before the tunnel which lies at approx. 764m ASL and descends via a rough fire trail with switch back corners down a ridgeline into the valley to the Wollondilly River Ford at about 200m elevation where we stopped again to stretch the legs and get out of the heat.
We climbed up away from the river towards the caves with some more interesting and challenging terrain which was tackled standing up for most of the sections and then detoured onto Langs Rd and then back onto the Wombeyan Caves road which by then was a fast gravel road almost all the way to the Taralga Rd.
We got to Taralga at about 11am and we had lunch at the café as it was too early for the Pub Bistro.
The trip home was via Swallow Tail Pass which winds down to the Terlo River and back up through farmland along the Canyonleigh Rd to the Highway and then home.
The off road riding was a mix of low speed 2nd gear 20kmph on climbs and descents and up to 60kmph on the open fire trials and about 80kmph on gravel roads.
The Himalayan went really well in the dirt considering the extra weight I was carrying, approx. 10kg on the front and similar again on the rear. I didn’t bottom out the rear shock too badly despite some big potholes and a very soft spring. The front took some hard bumps too which didn’t seem to faze it. It was the first time riding the new Mitas E-07s on dry dirt and not mud like last time. They performed quite well and I only had a few issues mainly some lock ups due to overenthusiastic rear braking and a bit of a sketchy front on what seemed like fine power on hard pack, from time to time the dirt would build up into mounds on the road, due to cars tyres, where changing lines around corners was a little un-nerving. On the gravel they were great. I was pretty impressed that the bike kept up with the group only getting passed by a few of the bigger bikes on the straights and by some of the smaller more off-road oriented bikes on some of the uphills. It did not miss a beat.
It was a long day but worth it, If I did it again I would probably take the slow way down via the old Hume Hwy (which makes it an even longer day) or trailer the bike to Mittagong and enjoy the ride home in the truck in airconditioned comfort as the bike is just not suited to hours of freeway riding.
A great ride with a new club and a nice bunch of people.
This year a few of our members having purchased bikes from them, were invited to attend the One Ride organised by John from Motociclo one of the Sydney Royal Enfield Dealers.
The One Ride is a Royal Enfield global ride day and is typically arranged by dealers as a way of inviting their customers for a ride.
There were 4 bikes from the Royal Enfield Club of Australia, Bruce, Roger and Narelle, Trevor and Heather and Craig plus about 8 of Johns other customers making a dozen or so which was a good group for a Sunday ride.
We met at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels at Tempe where we were given our One Ride T-shirts and posed for a group photo
From there we followed the Princes Highway south on our way to Sublime Point Lookout but did not get very far before the traffic stopped dead with an accident not far up ahead holding things up.
It wasn’t long before we were moving again
We stopped a few times to re-group along the way but soon we were out of the city traffic and on the highway
Sublime Point has a cafe and picnic area servicing the visitors who arrive either by motor vehicles or via the walking tracks that terminate there.
The lookout is 415m ASL so the views from the escarpment down to the Illawarra coast are fantastic
An excellent Sunday ride with fellow Royal Enfield owners
Thanks goes to John from Motociclo for organising the ride
Thredbo – Anzac Weekend 2016 Scroll down for latest posts
Since it was the end of school holidays combined with Anzac day, Angus and I thought it was a good opportunity to have a last ride on the mountain before it closes for winter on the 1st of May. Craig Martin was coming down after work and another mate Chris Curtis was also riding this weekend who I was keen to catch up for a ride with. I used to ride cross country at Lake Parramatta with Chris but have not ridden downhill with him.
We left home about 430pm and had a quick trip being a Thursday, stopped for the obligatory Maccas, this time at Goulburn and then stopped again at Cooma to clean the windscreen and stretch the legs.
Slight rain had activated my rain sensing wipers smooshing all the bugs that we ran into on this balmy autumn night to the point that it was becoming difficult to see properly. It was 28 deg.C when we were stuck in some traffic on the M7 and about 20 deg. C when we got to Goulburn at about 7pm.
I wanted to have good vision for what I knew was waiting for us on this unusually hot night as we approached our destination of Kosciusko National Park. In fact we didn’t have to wait that long as the first roo jumped out on us somewhere between Berridale and Jindy.
From then on it was like a video game, Angus was spotting for me calling out roos in the darkness of the paddocks and ones lurking in the shadows on the side of the road. Then we hit Penderlea and all hell broke loose with deer running everywhere. I slowed down untill we got into the park proper where the terrain was too steep on either side of the road for them to be a menace.
We made it to Thredbo safely in the end and went to sleep about 11pm. I was woken about 4am with heavy-ish rain.
I got out of bed at about 630 to re-check the weather, the rain had eased but the BOM forecast didn’t impress me so I took a few photos and turned on the laptop.
Not the best thing for mountain biking.
I can see a Cascades breakfast coming on !
Mid Morning Update
The mornings weather didn’t improve but the rain did reduce to a slight drizzle We were worried the weekend was a write-off however I was assured by Craig Martin that the rain would produce some “hero dirt” So we headed to Cascades and had breaky as expected As an experiment I wanted to attempt a blog update via mobile device Being Google affiliated Blogger does not support the browser on my iPhone – kel surpris So I used my work phone a Samsung Note running Android and it was an absolute pain in the arse and made my breakfast get cold. Long live Windows. I will need to get a Microsoft Surface.
Eggs Benedict is my weakness
No bikes on those lifts
We finished off breakfast and went over the bridge to check out VT. ( Valley Terminal)
There was no one in sight, the first person I bump into is Old Mate the chef from Avalanche Cafe, cheery as usual. Then we walked up to the lift concourse and again it was empty so it was back down to the bike shop to talk to Dan.
I asked about the track conditions and luckily enough he had just ridden and opened the Flow track. He said it was a bit greasy in parts but OK. I immediately purchased a new back tyre a Maxxis Minion DHF 26 x 2.5 57 DUR (nice and sticky) since mine had been given to me by cousin Dibble about three-quarters of a decade ago and had gone hard like a piece of chewy from under a school desk and all the centre knobs had ripped off. The new one had the consistency of brand new bubblegum, just what the doctor ordered.
We headed back to the van and fitted the tyre and geared up. The rain had abated and the track had a chance to dry out a bit so we we looking forward to a ride. The temp was still cool as there was no warming sunlight, even so we dressed lightly, Angus re-attached the bottoms of his MX pants and I put on some Skins and a thermal T-shirt under my DH jersey, summer gear basically.
In the end it wasn’t that cold and from time to time we were encapsulated in the clouds which saturated us in a fine mist.
A few runs necessitated a re-fuel so back to the van for some home cooked health food.
After lunch the sun came out and we set up the GoPro on the chest mount. Every time I use the GoPro it involves a bit of experimenting to get the angles right and it always seems to be pointing at the ground. It is hard with the chest mount to get the aim right particularly since your body position changes when you bend over etc if affects the view angle. The fish-eye lens also makes things look further away and if you are following someone riding a bike or skiing you have to be right on their back-side to get good video. This one is an old Hero2 HD and takes video in 1080P at 30fps and 720P at 60fps so I’m not about to upgrade in a hurry. However, I was talking to some Thredbo locals in the pub last night and one mentioned that the Hero2 is fish-eye and the newer ones have a normal lens that doesn’t cause that problem. I don’t really want to upgrade, notwithstanding Angus’ cheap $99 Jaycar GoPro copy gave up the ghost so he may inherit mine if I deem a better device is required for this type of filming. I had to chop the footage into two segments to upload it due to 100mb limit
So a storm came through on Thursday afternoon and persisted into the night, it lifted Steve’s tarp and pull pegs and we had to scramble to secure his site.
The onshore nature of the weather event straightened the predominantly south swell and allowed some size and power to make its way around the headland and produce some waves at the point.
The kids had an early surf, we usually pack up and leave on Friday afternoon but we decided to stay till Saturday so we thought we do some tidying up and let some water get under the waves.
We headed down for a surf mid morning and were pleasantly met with double the swell we had experienced most of the week. It was about 3ft plus producing head high sets. Emma and I went out for a surf whilst a mate went for a swim.
After a few waves I noticed he had swam out to the point to watch the wave action. I paddled over and asked if he wanted a go on my board as my arms were getting tired from all the paddling I’d done this week and since the larger waves were breaking further out I needed a break. I had a swim as he surfed.
It was a beautiful day to be floating in the warm ocean, sunny, blue sky, crystal clear water, fish were appearing in the waves, sea birds were diving and catching fish. There were seagulls chasing a bait ball and fish striking it from below. I kept my eye on it as it ebbed and flowed behind the waves.
Then a helicopter appeared, the one that passed by every day over the beaches, an unmarked Robinson, I had assumed it was a sight seeing operation until it stopped and hovered for a while behind the break. It got lower, spun around, had another look and moved up and did the same again.
This isn’t good, that was no sight seeing joy-ride, they were shark spotting!
A few guys paddled past and mentioned the chopper and I joked about the close proximity of the bait ball and that if the water turns red and my hat floats by it was a shark. I was used to this situation ; bait ball comes in, seagulls land on the water, fish strike from below, potentially attracts the attention of sharks so Lifeguards/Lifesavers go out in IRB to investigate and hit shark alarm if warranted. No shark alarm no panic I thought.
Just then a Lifeguard paddled past and says “get out of the water, the chopper has spotted a shark”. I immediately head for the reef where there are submerged rocks and stood on one about knee deep in the water. I got my mates attention and told him what was happening, then yelled at Emma to attract her attention and gave the danger and return to shore signals. The guard had enough to do as there was no shark alarm sounding at all so he had to paddle to the end of the point to alert the surfers whilst the other guard closed the beach by dropping the flags and getting all the swimmers out of the water from the flagged area.
At this point we were back in the shallows and identified ourselves as Lifesavers and got a bit of a de-briefing from the Lifeguard. The Chopper had spotted a 2.5m “sea creature” 80m from shore, that was deemed to be “threatening” and advised the Lifeguards to “GET EVERYONE OUT OF THE WATER NOW”.
The local Police arrived and took over the management of the situation. They and the Lifeguards watched from the upper level of the club with binoculars for about 30mins or more trying to make a risk determination. Meanwhile the instant crowd had dispersed due to lack of excitement or the necessity for a latte or kale shake.
It was like the holidays were over and the punters had all gone back to Newcastle or Avalon. Only a few surfers, the Lifeguards, the Police and us remained at the patrol tent watching the ocean for signs of the critter. We listened inintently on the conversation between the Police and the Lifeguards. It was a bit like “buggered if I know” and “if you think it’s OK we’re Ok with it” and the cops were gone.
The Lifeguard then turned to me and I asked “Beach open?” He had hardly said “Yep” and I was of and running down the steps to the rocks, ran over the rocks and paddled out to the break and had the best session of the holidays getting some head high sets from the point to the beach, then across the flags in a nose ride section.
Here is the link to the Ripcurl site where you can replay the surf session
My already too tired arms hated it but I would not give up, the conditions were good for about 2 hours then the incoming tide started to reduce the wave quality to the point that all I thought about was beer.
I paddled in and since my arms were like noodles and the tide was coming in, as you can see from the GPS tracking on the satellite image, I just floated up the creek so I didn’t have to carry the board as far.
With a total of 23 waves in 2 sessions and the added excitement the day brought I slept well that night and did not bother surfing on Saturday.
We packed up camp and left at lunchtime and we were back in Sydney by nightfall with another Crescent Head adventure under our belts.
Thursday April 14th
There was a small wave at the Point on Thursday so we all paddled out to the Club House break again as this was the only place that was not crowded.
I took out my 7S Superfish XL that i have had for a few years now as mentioned in my Blog where I demoed the Isaac Fields model longboard ( see link below)
This is a great watch that Jenny I bought me for my birthday. It is where all the satellite images come from overlayed with the wave and paddling data. You can sync the watch to your phone or PC and then upload your surfs to the Ripcurl Cloud and Facebook. There is a website where you can share them and all the stats. You can also follow other surfers and see their sessions. Here is a link to the one of mine. http://searchgps.ripcurl.com/#/logbook/following/5710234e5001c00c24bb12a6 As the satellite picture shows I went all the way back to the campsite and swapped boards.
When I got back to the beach Jenny was at the club house again with the camera.
This time I was my on my 9’8″ and managed to get a few more waves.
In the afternoon Jenny went up to the skate park to take some shots of the kids
Wednesday April 13th
The lack of waves again made us go swimming, IRBing and SUPing.
Jenny had a ride in the IRB with Cynthia
Connor and Alan took the boys out for a ride on the ski-biscuit then the others all had a turn
Steve caught some waves near the flags and jenny waded out with the camera to take a sequence of shots that I made into a video.
Ron and I did some more IRB training, we went down the the corner again where the waves were bigger and I actually had a go at driving in the surf zone. An IRB has a tiller control not a steering wheel and a twist throttle like a motor bike, however it is all in reverse. (I always thought those IRB guys were a little backwards LOL 😉 This means to turn left you push right and vice versa and to speed up you twist forward and to slow down you twist backwards the opposite of a motorcycle. So we were in the surf, a wave comes in, Ron says “Go Go Go” and points right towards the shore. I turn left (towards the wave) and shut off the throttle instead of accelerating, had a panic attack and the next thing you know we are surfing an IRB backwards down a 4 foot wave. We then spin around. I’m driving but end up at the front so we almost nose dive, Ron yells “QUICK GET OUT” so I bail, calm as ever he takes over, does a spin and picks me up. I take over again and drive back like nothing happened !!!! I think I need a little more training and practice before taking on the surf.
Harley and I both had a go on my Naish 9’6″ SUP
Big Al took out Steve’s SUP sans paddle to catch a few waves. He said “It was thooper thanks for athking”
With a further drop in swell we had breakfast and hung around the camp site for a while then we all went for a swim.
High tide was around 1pm so after having lunch we let the tide go out a bit and headed to the point for some fun waves.
Jenny sat in front of the club house on the picnic tables with her camera and big lens. She had forgotten the tripod and used the table to steady the 500mm Sigma lens required to get a better photo from that distance.
I brought down 2 boards, my Stand Up Paddle board, an 11 foot Bennett and also my 9’8″ nose rider log just in case there were some decent waves.
Angus took out my 6’8″ 7S Superfish XL as his little board would not like the conditions. It is a bit big for him, hence the weird body position. I will need to teach him to ride it like a long board rather than adopt the “poo-dance” stance.
Emma commandeered my Myerhoffer 9’2″ hybrid mal / short board and attached her GoPro. Her 6’2″ short board would also not cut it on such a small and weak swell. This is a board designed by Thomas Myerhoffer a renowned Swedish innovator and designer who created such things as helmet compatible ski-goggles, Flow rear-entry snowboard bindings and funky chairs.
Harley also had his GoPro and was getting a lot of waves but also struggled with the swell size and power.
Steve had been practising his pop-ups, the action of jumping up on the surfboard in one fluid motion rather than the 3 step process of one knee then the other then standing. He wanted to come out to the point and get a wave there as most of the waves on offer at the beach break were white-wash and went straight. He was keen to get a ride on a “green-water” wave.
Connor and I helped Steve get in position and he picked up a few waves He got a few himself on both his 9′ BIC mal and my SUP.
Charlotte took out Emma’s Race mal and Big Al had Steve’s 10 foot BIC and got one or two.
Monday Arvo Update
Ron and Allan put the IRB in at the boat ramp and brought along a ski-tube and a ski-biscuit to tow the kids along behind the boat.
Everyone was keen to have a go and “The Twins” Alex and Daniel, Will, Charlotte were waiting in anticipation. At the same time Connor, Emma, Harley Angus and myself had returned from a surf.
Jenny was there as usual behind the camera.
Before hooking up the biscuit for the kids, Ron and Connor took a few people for ride in the boat.
Will and Charlotte went out with Ron
Then Alan and Connor had a go. Al was having a ball and kept calling it “Bay Watch”
Ron was keen to take me down the beach and do some unofficial IRB training.
Being the Club’s IRB Captain he has a lot of experience and interest in the operation of IRBs or Rubber Duckies (for those who dont know IRB is an acronym for Inshore Rescue Boat).
This IRB is his own personal boat retired from service by the club which he uses to take the boys out on the lake etc. Connor has his boat licence and also has a great interest in boating having secured a job in a marina.
They are designed for rescuing people within the surf zone and have sharp turn handling and the ability to outrun the waves.
I started my IRB Crew Course at Dee Why, the surf club we all belong to however due to other commitments I was unable to complete it. Working on Patrols and running Water Safety at Nippers meant that I was familiar with IRB operations. I had helped launch and retrieve them many times and also had helped change motors. As Water Safety Co-ordinator one aspect of my position is to control the IRB via radio but due to Surf Life Saving rules I could not crew or drive the club’s IRBs until I had the correct qualifications.
I received a run through on the correct body position and foot placement in order not to be thrown out of the boat and we set off.
We went out through the channel and were met by a small wave which we jumped over. Woo Hoo – not a jet-ski but I could see where this was going!
As mentioned the surf was fairly small at the point, however due to the direction it was coming in to the bay further down the beach the waves were considerably larger so Ron set a course across the bay to the middle of the beach which was more open to the ocean swell.
Once there we ran along the backs of some waves which Ron explained was the safest position in the surf-zone as being almost on top of one wave meant your are the farthest possible distance away from the next incoming wave.
Part of the job as IRB crew is to assist the handling of the boat by leaning in and out of the boat, in as you turn left and out as you turn right. I felt a bit like a monkey in a side-car outfit on a motorcycle. Practising this involved some tight figure of eight turns.
We then proceeded into the surf proper. Being on the ball and having the ability to read the surf and the drivers mind helped me stay in the boat. I was really starting to get this IRB stuff.
When jumping waves or crashing through them the crew member has to get their weight over the front of the boat, almost in the foetal position, to prevent it flipping over backwards. It also helps you stay in position using the foot straps and rope handle otherwise the wave could was you onto the drivers lap!
After some fun outrunning waves and jumping white-wash it was my turn to drive. I elected not to put us and the boat in danger by entering the surf zone. I figured that we were too far away from anyone, had no radios, and would incur the wrath of the local Surf Life Savers ( who would have to rescue us) if anything went wrong.
I drove back across the bay to the creek mouth and asked if I could bring the boat in to shore this time. Ron advised to run up on the back of the wave in front of us and “easy as she goes” bring the boat up to the beach avoiding swimmers and board paddlers.
They then loaded up the inflatable ski biscuit and took the kids for some fun
At about half tide the beach break north of the flags starts to link up with another bank producing a nose ride section close to the beach.
So rather than fight for 1 footers with a million grommets on short boards and their dads on Stand Up Paddle boards, I thought this break would be perfect for honing my skills on the 9’8″ nose rider which is my largest board apart from the Stand Ups.
With its tucked in nose, wide hips and tail-rocker its an easy board to nose ride but also a bit harder to paddle, but the weight of the thing gives it some momentum, once moving it just glides onto waves.
As I started to paddle out I noticed Connor paddling in from the point who said it was crap (as I expected!) and had too many people to which I replied lets go down the beach a bit.
Being school holidays and very busy it is nice some times to just get away from the crowd and have a break to yourself.
We paddled north past the flags and saw Emma on her race mal and we all went to have some fun on the aforementioned break. Harley and Angus soon joined us as well.
The set waves seemed more frequent there as it was catching a bit more swell than the point. Connor and I were sharing the set waves and a few dads were pushing their kids onto the smaller ones. We had to do a bit of navigation around these punters who, along with all the grommets and grom-ettes, dont paddle out of the way when they clearly see you coming on a wave. The only people who did were two mums riding mals who obviously appreciated that when standing on the nose of the board its a bit hard to steer around people.
Anyway, I was able to break my record of number of waves per hour this holiday at about 12 per hour or one every five minutes.
When we had had enough we walked back to the creek mouth and Ron had brought down the IRB again.
I will do another update and post some IRB photos after a swim – its hot and i’m hungover
Jenny took a million photos and i will write up something about the IRB
There is no surf today and its windy so I may not have a day 4 blog except for this unfortunately
The surf was a bit smaller on the incoming tide today so I took the larger 9’8″ Barry Bennett “Isaac Fields Model” out to the Clubhouse break which I surfed until the higher tide kicked-in and forced me out of the reef, relegated to the beach break with holiday makers I caught a few waves with my mate Steve and then headed back to the van for a second breakfast.
After Breakfast we put the IRB in for a bit of fun. Ron took the kids for a spin and then Alan and I got in with him filled with trepidation. We jumped a few waves for a while and then he let me have a drive and since I have a boat licence and its a private vessel, it was all kosher. I may now be enticed to do my crew course and thenmy drivers certification so I can get in the boat whilst on patrol.
Saturday Arvo Update
After the surf I was invited to check out Crescent Head’s new Surf Life Saving Club.
The old club was one of those iconic sandy beige-coloured surf clubs with a smelly old brick and tile toilets / change shed from the 60’s behind it.
Last year they had demolished the old one and had commenced construction of the new one and I was intrigued to find out what it would look like upon completion.
The new one is an architecturally designed modern building with a smelly old brick and tile toilets / change shed from the 60’s behind it.
Excellent views, commercial kitchen upstairs, kiosk outside, however not much storage for the equipment.
On the first day of our annual autumn holiday at Crescent Head we were met with an early morning high and 2 foot surf so we waited for the tide to turn and then headed out to the Clubhouse Break. The board I chose was the 9’2″ the smaller of my 2 Barry Bennett “Isaac Fields” Models