At B&B we can't drop you into the greenroom for a 10 second barrel like Andy Irons. Nor can we teach you how to pop a Rodeo Clown like Kelly Slater. What we can do is give you the tip on which beers inspired us to tackle the drop in some of the world's most revered surfing locations. Wayne Dart waxes up and heads off on the mission.
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico.
Wave type: Large, hollow and very powerful sand bottomed beach break peaks.
What's it all about then?: Mexico, simply put, is to the US what Bali is to Aussies. It's warm, cheap and inside its borders life travels along slower than a Morris Minor with a flat tyre. Puerto Escondido is a former coffee port opened up to tourism in the ‘60s and while there is an influx of US citizens who have drifted in and stayed on, there is still a lot of local tradition. Depending on the wind, the waves can be open grinding barrels or, at worst, high-performance rippable peaks.
I'll have a...: There are a number of fine locally produced ales with brewing in Mexico being heavily influenced by numerous European ex-pats combined with US-style light lagers. Corona would be the first beer to come to mind (and being around only AU70c a small bottle it's not a bad thirst quencher). But why not be bold, don the sombrero, pull up on a wharf and take on the ever tongue-tantalising Estrella, a light refreshing and clear beer which at only 4% will ensure that after a few are consumed in the heat you'll still be able to put in the hard yards in the waves.
Best time to visit: Anytime during the Australian or NZ winter would be worthwhile just to escape the cold! And luckily it's when the waves over there crank!
Location: Torquay, Victoria, Australia
Wave type: Extra fun right-hand reef/point break
What's it all about then?: This somewhat iconic, frost-bitten Aussie location is a must-surf on any salt water addict's list. Solid brownish walls of water are summoned from the Antarctic deep and are hurled toward the southern Victorian coastline with heavy-weight power. They first hit the part of the break known as Rincon and then push through to the inside Bells Bowl. Every Easter the red brown cliffs surrounding the break play host to the sport's longest running surfing event, The Rip Curl Pro, and while the action in the water from some of the worlds best will keep you entertained during the day, the raucous shenanigans at sun down will ensure it's one Hells Bells of a surf trip.
I'll have a...: Pot (middy) of VB so we fit in with the weather-hardened leather-faced locals, but what we'd really like here would be something that would be the equivalent of a 500 gram steak with a side of mash the size of a Bessa brick. Something that after a two hour session in the chilly Southern Oz briny will warm the cockles of our now hypothermic souls. Our suggestion? You may have to look hard to find it (as the selection of beers on tap may be limited in the few pubs in the area) but if you could whet the old whistle with the award winning Mountain Goat Surefoot Stout you'd be well on the way to Beery Blissville.
Best time to visit: Easter, just in time for The Rip Curl Pro and exactly when the big swells begin to pump from the south.
Location: Java, Indonesia.
Wave type: Meaty left hand power packet that breaks over razor reef.
What's it all about then?: It has been voted time and time again in magazine polls as the most favoured wave on the planet. Stuck in the midst of the thick Javanese jungle, surfers take up residence in specific surf camps with few luxuries and get back to the basics of surf travel: surf all day under a beating Indo sun, then swill beers all night to tales of memorable surf trips of the past. No women to nag, no shops, no sightseeing to be done.
I'll have a...: Bintang. Or maybe I'll have a Bintang instead... What else do you have? More Bintang! You guessed it, Bintang is all that is on offer in G-Land so lucky it's easy to drink (or what one man once described simply as being not-good-nor-bad). It pours with a half decent head, which unfortunately disappears quite steadily in the harsh Indo sun. The drinker is therefore encouraged to down the sweetish Euro-style Pilsner quite quickly and before you know it you're singing loudly at the crystal clear full moon.
Best time to visit: Any time from April to October for the biggest and cleanest swells.
The Banzai Pipeline
Location: North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii.
Wave type: The most spectacular left-hand tube on Earth, it breaks over shallow coral reef and - let it be known - could kill you!
What's it all about then?: The Pipe is notorious for turning on blood curdling barrels, which spit over a reef full of crevices lined with skin-shredding coral. Surfers know that there are only two end results at Pipe: either sky rocketing stoke after escaping from the belly of the beast, or a ride in a meat wagon to the nearby hospital. That's why on exiting the water grasping for a beer is usually an instantaneous and involuntary action.
I'll have a...: Brush aside the hordes of typical mainland US beers and head for one of the locally brewed ales such as the Kona Wailua Wheat beer. This citrusy ale pours a bright golden colour and delights the tastebuds even further when sampled from the tap at a beach bar in Waikiki, as bikini clad babes dance to island-style music before a setting sun of course.
Best time to visit: Our summer, their winter. The North Shore comes alive in our summer months.
Location: The main island of Tahiti.
Wave type: A mind blowing left-breaking wave, which dices meat and crunches bone faster than a butcher on speed.
What's it all about then?: Many would argue that this wave has in fact taken the mantel as being the heaviest wave on the planet as huge Pacific Ocean swells lurch upward and outward like nothing else. To see the pros take it on in its glory is the greatest spectacle on earth. Like Pipe, the wave has killed and will do so again.
I'll have a...: Hinano please! Like many of the tropical Pacific Islands there's much pride in the local produce and in Tahiti, anything other than Hinano is almost frowned upon by the hefty Polynesians. Being a French colony there are typical Frog offerings like 1664, but in the end you can't go past Hinano. It's crisp and refreshing, pouring slightly more yellow than gold while holding a half decent head despite the heat. It does lubricate the throat well after day of paddling towards the horizon.
Best time to visit: Any time from May to September. Well, actually, waves aside, go anytime!