Come and get a glimpse of desert skin…
Somewhere on the edge of the desert on the Western Australian coast is a lefthander that makes every other wave you’ve surfed taste like a turkey cocktail (Vermouth and Angostura Bitters. Shake.)
And if you’re a Western Australian, and you surf, this wave is mapped in your DNA. You’ll feel it. The first big cold fronts come through sometime in June and all thoughts turn one thousand clicks north. If you’re a tradie or a freelancer, you scrub out work commitments for a month in the desert. Caravan. Tent. Cases of Emu Export, a second-rate beer that’s an obsession in these parts. As if drinking this camel piss and not wincing makes you a better man.
In this eleven-minute film, we see a welcome return to form for a company that is now, effectively, a subsidiary of its former arch-rival Quiksilver. Twenty-three years ago, when Billabong owned surfing in much the same way Dirk Ziff does now, it took Shane Dorian, Rob Machado, Occy, Sunny Garcia, Brendan Margieson, Kelly Slater, Paul “Antman” Paterson and Johnny-Boy Gomes to the north-west for the first of the Billabong Challenges.
In the film here, which is called Desert Hilton, the cast includes Occ (now fifty-two), Shane Dorian (forty-six) and Jack Robinson, Shaun Manners, Kai Hing with a brave cameo from Laura Enever.
Jack and Shaun star in the water; Occy is in all his fussy and hopeless magnificence on land.