The Escapism Series where we share inspiring stories and adventures from people traveling the globe comes from Adam Stickland, originally from the UK now currently travelling across the world. He has been snowboarding in Canada, cruised through California and is now residing in a camper van in New Zealand. Adam shares his story along with some epic photos (at the bottom of this page), we hope you enjoy it as much as we did
Each time I surf a new location I always allocate a moment out there in the water to fully absorb and appreciate my surroundings; the sights, the sounds, the landscape. Opening my mind this way has allowed me to establish a personal catalogue of surfing nostalgia. From hearing the morning prayers emanate out the mosques along the breaks of Morocco, to witnessing the snow-capped mountains enclosing the Gulf of Alaska and the high rise buildings of Waikiki, all these moments in time represent flashes of sublime euphoria to me.
After catching my best wave in New Zealand thus far, I now find myself looking back at the rolling lush green hills of the East Cape on the North Island. In the empty line-up of stormy overhead high waves I began to think about the paths which I have taken to be here now, in this very moment. My thoughts wondered and I focussed on the proposition that as surfers, are the paths we take in an attempt to catch that perfect wave governed by fate or can we really prepare ourselves to be in exactly the right place at the right time?
In this situation I believed it was more down to luck (or pure unluck) that I found myself catching the perfect NZ wave. Earlier that morning after giving in to the elements we decided against a surf and readied our vans for the journey ahead. For me, a quick wash of my windscreen was all I needed. But for Joona (my Finnish companion on this journey) it was a top-up of motor oil and radiator coolant. Having finished our morning coffee/hot-cross bun combo, and with Joona leading the way in his matt-black Toyota Townace, we hit the road and soon found ourselves at our first ascent.
In an instant, Joona’s van disappeared from my view in a plume of white smoke. The silly Fin had used a whole 4 litre bottle of motor oil to refill his semi-empty tank. With him retreating down the hill towards the local mechanic to get it fixed, I found myself at a loose end. The only two real options for me (in my mind anyway) were either waiting at the greasy workshop or checking the surf again, I chose the latter. I drove to the cliffs at the western end of Ohope Beach in the aim of finding shelter from the wind.....success!! I paddled out and after a long wait I scored a perfect rolling left from the point, all the way to the shoreline.
Greeting Joona on the beach with a grin on my face from ear-to-ear, he said to me in his thick Scandinavian accent regarding the mishap with his van; “everyday we live and learn my friend, live and learn”. Too true, today I learned that while all the forecasts and advice from guidebooks will lead you in the general direction you are heading, the path that will take you to the perfect wave is uncertain and best left to fate. So my advice is to just take the wheel, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Peace and love from Kiwi Land, Adam.