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Kim Churchill’s Top 5 Surfing Spots

Kim Churchill’s Top 5 Surfing Spots

Australian singer-songwriter Kim Churchill is a seasoned traveller. The 24-year-old has opened for Michael Franti and Billy Bragg, toured through Canada, the UK and Europe and has earned spots on Glastonbury and Beautiful Days, The Montreal Jazz Festival and one of North America’s most scenic and intimate festival, Telluride Blues and Brews. A little closer to home, the nomadic multi-instrumentalist tours our sunburnt country, intertwining his gigs with his other true love – surfing.

Churchill is embarking on his ‘Single Spark’ tour, which includes stops at Falls and Southbound Festivals. Here are his top five surfing breaks in the country.

29 10 14 tour announce 1 meg kim churchill_brick wall horiz Credit Sam Atkinson-060

Merimbula Bar, Merimbula, NSW

Well, I feel like anyone’s love for anything – or absolutely any relationship – is largely built on the experiences shared over time. This was my hometown break and it taught me a hell of a lot about the world. It’s a truly underrated wave mainly because you’ve got to get quite lucky to see what it can do. Of course if you live there you see it at its best. And when it’s on it’s one of the best waves in Oz – a good 500 metre left hander that often barrels on low tide and breaks like a machine.

The break is at the river mouth leading into the top lake. The small bar beach on the other side of the opening is where I grew up. It’s a pretty quick paddle out from there and it’s where the masses all park their cars to get out to the wave. There was always a set hierarchy and I felt like I learnt a lot of my lessons about how people treat each other and interact out there.

Pro tip: Don’t sit out the back in the main group of people. You’ll wait for hours hoping to get one of those gems and probably be condemned for stealing it off a local. Sit down the line and be a scrap merchant. There are some fast sections that clean people up and leave it open for you. The wave is so long that you’ll still get a seriously long ride from half way or less.

(Photo: Getaway Merimbula)

The Farm, Wollongong, NSW

Getting to The Farm is now a very weird drive through a recently constructed residential area, through a boom bar into a heavily protected national park. Despite the mission, it’s always worth it. It’s south of Wollongong and it’s great because it’s protected from winds travelling with the swell– the waves get in there but the wind can’t. This means it’s always attractive and clean-looking on top of being quite the swell magnet. This place always serves up something on tiny days when you’ve given up.

Pro tip: If you’re heading north afterwards and looking for a bite to eat, stop into to a takeaway joint in Towradge called Fishnets. They have the “Almighty Burger” – it’s about $7.50 – and it needs two hands to carry the thing to a table. They need three eggs on the bun just to get the egg to rest-of-burger ratio right. So good.

Dudley Beach, Newcastle, NSW

If you’re a bit up in arms about all the crowded beaches in Sydney or Newy, Dudley Beach (just south of Newcastle) is an amazing escape. If there’s no waves at the main beach just go walking in the rocks for a few hours. There’s so many good secret spots to discover. Definitely show respect to the locals in Dudley – as long as you do, you’ll be fine.  There is always a bit of swell in there so if it’s tiny and you’re desperate it’s a great option. Given my schedule I often have to take what I’m given.

(Photo: Tim J Keegan)

Diggers Beach, Coffs Harbour, NSW

I like this one because it’s right off the highway just north of Coffs Harbour – literally a 30-second drive. It became a real home for me in the early years in my van. I was always racing up and down the east coast and would normally aim to sleep there. It’s another spot that gets lots of swell and not too much wind. I have been super lucky with always getting waves there. It’s a great place to wake up in the back of a van, stretch your arms and wander down onto the empty beach. For the traveling surfer in need of a comfortable parking place for your van – it’s my pick for the whole east-coast.

Angourie Beach, Yamba, NSW

Angourie is my favourite point break in the world by far. I have a great relationship with the area which has given me some of my best memories (including learning to not catch flaming marshmallows that fall off your stick – that hurt). There is a little shack built by John Witzig (founder of Tracks surfing magazine) and it features in some of the classic Morning Of The Earth footage. I was quite interested in the whole history of this shack and ended up becoming friendly with a few of the Webber brothers, especially John who owns it now. One day we went down there and turned it into a recording studio. We hung microphones from the trees, which worked quite well given one of the shack’s walls is canvas. We’d record a bit and then go surf the point, and then record a bit more and surf a bit more. It was an amazing few weeks. The wave itself is a perfect big right hander. The reef can be hairy but it’s normally manageable. It’s an amazing place to discover and a true legendary part of Australian surfing culture. It’s also a damn good photo.

(Photo: Michael Dawes)

(Lead image: Jean-Marc Astesana)

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