The first leg of my trip was heading to Mexico. I had been the year before staying with my Father and CJ. We had been greeted with the best left-hand point break I’d ever seen andheading back was something I had been looking forward to since the previous year. I was lucky enough this year to be travelling with a couple of surfers from the east coast NSW, Jarrad Neal and Jayce Pioli. After a 24-hour layover in LA and exploring the bars around Venice and Santa Monica we made our way to Mexico along with 50 of the other competitors all jamming our boards onto the same flight, luckily they all made it on.
The setup we had in Mex wasn’t all that bad… A second story balcony looking over the point right in front of the kick out zone, and a 30 second walk from the Lourdes’ restaurant which becomes the competition hub for the week of the event. We arrived about 4 days before the kick off for the event which gave us plenty of time to become acclimatised to the leg burners, sunsets and arvo Corona sessions. The swell for the beginning of the contest was fun, about 2-3 foot and the wind didn’t become too much of a factor into the arvo which meant a few uncrowded sessions were able to be had. La Saladita point can be a competitive wave in the mornings that’s for sure, the level of performance in the water from the competitors having a free surf may be one of the most condensed packs of shredding loggers in the world.
(Mex- Photo by Lee Considine)
Just before the contest kicked off, I was lucky to be celebrating my 22nd birthday in Mexico which is always a hell of a lot of fun, sadly away from my family in Aus but living it up in Mexico isn’t a bad alternative.
(Ben Considine enjoying a cold one at his accommodation in Mexico)
Getting into the contest the waves were pumping and they didn’t stop. Saladita point was graced with 3-foot sets and few heats with any slow spells in the opening rounds. The contest structure for the MexiLogFest allows all competitors to surf in 3 rounds, and so having the point with yourself and 3 others out for an hour in total is something pretty special if you know the line-up outside of contest times. With a few fun heats I managed to find myself sitting in 17th place at the end of the 3 opening rounds, this just 1 spot off the quarter final qualifications cut-off, as well as this being the second year running I’d managed placed 17th. A bitter sweet position to be in, obviously stoked to be up there in the rankings but wishing I’d completed that extra hang heels or held that 10 for a little longer to salvage the extra 0.3 of a point I needed.
(Perched in mex- Lee Considine photo)
The finals were absolutely killer, by standard of the pumping waves and the next-level surfing being put on display. It was the biggest I had ever seen Saladita point, a solid 6 foot with potentially some bigger sets putting those leash-less heavy single fin logs to the test. There were some competitors thriving in the bigger conditions, using the power and speed to drive there turns through the big open faces; it was a spectacle to remember.
The final few days after the contest were a lot of fun, the preso night found the “Aussie boys’ (Jarrad, Jayce and I) winning a raffle for a bottle of tequila we had placed 30 pesos in for (about $3AUD), and since the boys didn’t drink tequila I had to make do, sharing it around with the others at the after party. It marked a great end to a memorable couple of weeks, thank you MexiLogFest’19.
(Ben, Jayce & Jarrod)
SPAIN ~ FERROLOG EVENT
The next stage of the trip was heading to the Ferrolog contest, a logging festival in Ferrol, Spain. Having never been to Europe and after 2 weeks in Mexico it was going to be a nice change of scenery and I was pumped. As we can all understand there were flight difficulties carrying a 10ft board bag which knocked me off my upgraded business class tickets from London to Lisbon into TAP airlines economy… what can you do.
Arriving in Lisbon I was lucky enough to have been arranged some local surfers to drive me from Lisbon to Galicia, a 6 hour drive one country to another. They were some of the friendliest and most accommodating people I had ever met, Joao and Lizi who would let me stay at theirs and drive me to the contest, showing me the ins and outs of Lisbon, the local cuisine, ensuring I got my fair share of Pastel de Nata, as well as that Benfica were the only team to barrack for. The architecture and general surroundings travelling from Portugal to Spain was incredible, passing 15th century castles that were used to protect a village built within; can’t say I’ve seen much akin to that in Aus.
(Country side Castle)
Arriving in Ferrol it was great to catch up with the competitors and the contest organisers who had made all of this possible for me. They were equally stoked on me travelling to be there as I was grateful to be there experiencing Europe and its culture for the first time.
The contest began the day after arriving and the quarter finals were run in 2-2.5-foot fun lefts and rights at a truly beautiful location. Locals came to watch and there was a great vibe around the whole contest and festival. I was lucky enough to take out my quarters which put me into the Semi Finals for the next day, leaving the remainder of the arvo to use the free beer tokens and nap on the grassy hill overlooking the beach.
(Over looking the break)
The next day was finals day, and I was first heat up. It was super fresh which reduced my motivation levels for my ritual pre-heat surf. The waves were smaller, but a super nice right was peeling all the way to the beach and we were on. I caught some fun rights and a couple of lefts in my semi’s, managed to get myself a few scores, winning the semi’s and onto the finals. Joining me in the finals would be Christian Stutzman, Johnny Garmanda and Nathan Soudan. It was a tight final, having a blast sharing waves amongst the small take-off zone. I caught a few and as pretty stoked on a 3rd overall. That arvo marked the end of the Ferrolog and Joao, Lizi and I made our way back to Portugal along with some photographers Daniel and Marie. I’m super grateful to the Ferrolog and everyone who made the trip possible.(Ferrolog event- pic from the event)
PORTUGAL- DUCT TAPE INVITATIONAL
Back to Portugal and making the last leg of the trip to the Duct Tape Invitational with a local photographer Marie from Ericeira. She had been to the Ferrolog as well and was kind enough to drive me to stock up on supplies and surf the contest site at Ribeira D’Ilhas for the first time. I had heard it was called ‘Little Bells’, and everything from the slope into the water, the headland coming out like Rincon the sections going from steep to fat in 0.2 of a second was spot on; so, I somewhat felt at home. ( Ribeira D’Ilhas break)
The accommodation Vans placed us in as next level; a pool, bar, foosball table, a bowl to skate all overlooking a sick lefthander at the beachy in front, although some of the regular footers tried to claim there was a better right, and with the contest not starting for a few days, this was home.
Since early grom days it has been my end goal to end up at the Duct Tape, surfing amongst the world’s best loggers. It certainly didn’t feel like something that would happen or was a given, so to say it was super surreal being in Portugal for the first time for this contest was a massive understatement and reminds me how insane life can be.
There was a decent swell in Ericeira for the beginning of the contest, the point was handling it however and if you managed to hold onto your board to keep it from being demolished as some of the other surfers’ boards were, you were winning. The waves offered some nice noseride sections that could be held super high in the pocket and the walls allowed for nice drawn out turns, not much more you could ask for. I drew my first heat with Justin Quintal, Kai Takayama and Jules Lepecheux, a damn tough one but to surf against these guys is an honour in itself and a big part of why I wanted to come to this event. I had a super fun heat catching a few and mixing it up on the waves the way I like. Unfortunately, I placed 3rd in the quarters behind Kai and Justin who both killed it, it was super fun to be able to compete with these guys however and I heard it was a closeone, so I’m stoked haha.( Ericeira)
The next few days were jam packed, watching the display of finals surfing which was insane, getting our skateboards to put together and ride at the accommodation and making the most of the parties held after the contest; literally couldn’t have dreamt up a better time.
I’ve always thought that being able to travel with surfing, make new friends and to create and share new experiences would be the pinnacle of where surfing could lead me, and so on that note I feel incredibly lucky enough to genuinely have had the experience of a lifetime for the past month and to achieve this goal of mine. I can’t thank these contests and the people behind them enough for the opportunities I have been given to surf amongst some incredible loggers in these astounding locations, so to Joel and Vans at the Duct Tape, Israel at the MexiLogFest and Pablo from the Ferrolog, Thank You!
Also a huge thank you to those who support me, South Coast Surfboards and Rip Curl and my family for making this possible, yewww!