Feature: Meet Thea McDonald-Lee

Talking Story

SaltyLips Womens Surf Mentawai Thea McDonald-Lee Surf Girls Salty Lips

Drawing Lines

There are times when the female surf-travel community seems so incredibly tiny, where six degrees of separation appear to dwindle down to an insubstantial one degree. My chance encounter with Thea in South West France was yet another perfect example of this. I was on one of my channel hops over to France to surf and catch up with friends, when Thea and I crossed paths in a bustling French bar down a little cobbled street in Biarritz. Thea was staying with SaltyLip’s Sarah, while she was following the Womens World Tour to Hossegor for the Roxy Pro, as a writer for Australia’s Surf Magazine, Tracks. An incredible achievement, to become a published writer in the surf media, an even bigger accomplishment being of the female variety in such a male dominated industry. Continue reading

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The Trip: East El Salvador Replay

Fruits of the Forest

SaltyLips Emma Gibbons El Salvador

Snagging a wide one!

Escaping the ever-increasing crowds of West El Salvador’s right points we headed east to another of El Salvador’s dream waves. Needing a change of scenery after almost a month in a bustling fishing village, this new spot could not have been more different. A favourite wave of mine from the journey north, we returned to the same tiny homestay in the middle of the forest only a five-minute walk to the wave. Learning from my previous experience, we brought all our own food, timed the trip with a swell and prayed for afternoon glass-offs to avoid the hordes of morning boats. Continue reading

Feature: Surfest

Power, Punts and Passion

Malia Manuel Surfest Final . Photo: Nathan Bloemers

Malia Manuel

During my stay here in Australia I was lucky enough to attend Newcastle’s iconic annual Surfest…and it was a good one! With two 6-Star WQS events, the men’s Burton Toyota Pro and the Hunter Ports Women’s Classic, Surfest certainly attracted some of the best of the surfing world. After being crowned Surfest 2013 Champion, Joel Parkinson returned to defend his title along with the likes of WCT’s Adriano De Souza. as well as World Tour hopefuls and Merewether local hero’s Ryan Callinan and Jake Sylvester. And the women…well we were in for a treat with 11 out of 17 of the WCT’s women attending, only a slight disappointment with Sally Fitzgibbons dropping out last minute due to an injury. Continue reading

Return to West El Salvador

Home Away from Home

Fun waves!

Fun waves!

Two 13 hour bus journeys, two border crossings and a fading hangover later, Nathan and I arrived at our destination, a fishing village in West El Salvador. Back to my concrete cell above a shop, with a balcony overlooking my favourite wave, pupusas stuffed with various lava hot fillings and the best fruit salads of my trip. With pretty consistent waves, and cool locals, this was the perfect spot to settle down for a while for some cheap living. Continue reading

Mexico Sessions Quatro

Fickle Paradise

Heading out

Heading out

With Rosary bee-lining it to the next super heavy Mexican beachie, I headed off on my own to another spot that was less likely to break my boards or my back. After 3 weeks in a tent I decided to treat myself to an actual bed…my own room on stilts with a concrete platform to do yoga and a view of the wave, with stray dogs & a parrot for company…heaven! Meeting some cool people, including a likeminded surf chica from Switzerland, Prisca, living cheap and getting fun waves, this was a spot I wanted to put some time in. Continue reading

Mexico Sessions Tres

Magic Sessions and Chasing Sandbanks

Rosary dawny!

Rosary dawny!

With me still out of the water, on injury time, we packed up our tents and got back on the road. Rosary had convinced me to reluctantly purchase a tent, saying it was the only way to travel Mexico. She was right of course but  I did miss the comforts of a fan! Picking up two mad Irish lads Garret and Fionan that we knew from Indonesia, we scored some super fun waves,  experienced a yearly local fiesta and met some interesting characters. Continue reading

Mexico Sessions Dos

Crowds, Caves & Cool Locals

Fins Out!

Fins Out!

Licking my wounds from El Salvadors sea urchin population, and facing some time out of the water to heal, I braved the 26 hour journey to Mexico. I hadn’t finished with El Salvador, but I had definitely come off worse in our little altercation and it was time to reconnect with Rosary before she disappeared too far North. With the promise of fun waves and good people I was pretty excited. Continue reading