I'm Paid To Surf Perfect Cloudbreak

11 May 2016 0

Ben scores on a trip in July 2015, Photo by Beau Pilgrim

Ben scores on a trip in July 2015, Photo by Beau Pilgrim

COASTALWATCH | Travel Feature

Ben Dunsmore lives the life you dream of.

After growing up surfing one of Sydney’s best beach breaks under the guidance of some of the most iconic surfers of our time, the North Narra boy had no idea at seven-years-old, just how integral surfing would be in his life. Hooked from an early age by the adrenalin, mateship and the search for good waves has lead the now 24-year-old professional lifeguard to surfing at some of the world’s most luxurious surf spots, and being paid to score waves that people pay to surf!

It was Sean ‘the Prawn’ Woolnough, a good mate and fellow lifeguard who first sparked the idea in Dunsmore’s head about the possibility a perfect nomadic existence. Woolnough had picked up a gig on the Fijian Island of Namotu as a surf guide and lifeguard. He’d return home after weeks or months telling stories of triple-overhead, crystal clear waves and resort life; it wasn’t too long before Dunsmore wanted in.

SEE ALSO: The Man & The Sea

After hounding Woolnough for a good year a window opened up, he booked the next flight and walked right into paradise. “It was more than I imagined, Namotu is by far the most amazing place I’ve ever seen in my life.” Said Dunsmore of his first trip.

“Roll out of bed just before first light, check that your head hasn't been shaved, make a coffee and wait till you can just see the waves out the front at Namotu Lefts.” That’s how the day starts Dunsmore admits.

“If the waves are good we round up the guests and get them out to whatever break they want to surf. We surf all morning, come in for lunch, surf all afternoon until it's happy hour.” It’s a life lived in boardies; sun up to sun down. Each day ends with a fresh spread of locally caught seafood platters. “Some nights get rowdy...” Says Ben, “But those stories all stay on the island”.

Island life, Photo by Beau Pilgram

Island life, Photo by Beau Pilgram

Although the island crew work hard Ben admits, when a big swell comes through and you score world class waves, there’s no price and no substitute for being there. One of those special days started with the back end of a really big swell. Ben had missed the morning session at Cloudbreak to take a group of guests out at Wilkes.

He said “I heard that the Tavarua lifeguards were towing at Cloudbreak all morning so I amped two guests to skip lunch and come surf with me. We rocked up to the most perfect Cloudbreak I have ever seen. There were no boats out and I saw a six-wave set rifle down the line with not one drop of water out of place. I was tripping over myself trying to get to my big board and get out there. I told the guests that they wouldn’t see Cloudbreak like this with no one out for a long time right before I jumped off the boat into, by far the best waves of my life.”

“I'll never forget that wave. I was so scared that if I fell off I was going to cop the next five waves on my head and drown but luckily I made it safely to the channel. I surfed by myself for two hours and the guests whistled me into waves from the channel and then the wind hit and it was all over. Just like that.”

SEE ALSO: Wayne Lynch On Wisdom From A Life Spent In The Sea

On return to reality back on Australia’s Northern Beaches, it takes a couple of days to come down from the island dream. Back to small, onshore waves, packed lineups and a chilly 20-degree sea temp. “Yeah the first few days back are always hard but I'm normally so busy that I have no choice but to suck it up and get on with it.” Says Ben. “I have a recycled timber furniture business called Beached Furniture, and am a full-time carpenter so when I'm home I don't have much spare time on my hands. But, I’m always waiting for the next call to return.”

What boards Ben packs for Fiji;

“I like to take as many boards as I can because some days you could break three boards in one session. I normally take two short boards (6'2), step up boards from 6'4 all the way up to 7'6. I normally try to pack 7 or 8 boards in total. You’re lucky if you come home with half the boards you head over with.”

5 Tips For Having A Good Time;

  • Bring a good quiver of boards
  • Respect the locals
  • Keep the beers on ice
  • Have a good first aid kit with you at all times
  • Go fishing when the waves are small

Taking the guests around the crystal clear waters, Photo provided

Taking the guests around the crystal clear waters, Photo provided

A good day in paradise, Photo by Beau Pilgrim

A good day in paradise, Photo by Beau Pilgrim

Barrels galore, Photo by Beau Pilgrim

Barrels galore, Photo by Beau Pilgrim

Tags: photo , cloudbreak , fiji , ben , dunsmore (create Alert from these tags)

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