Robert Parker in Bali

Robert Parker in Bali
blog contributor Robert Parker Surfing Bali

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

email from the cactus camp...

As I type this my long time friend the Doc, who is a periodic contributor to this blog is on one of his pilgrimages to a remote but epic desert surf location in southern Australia. Last night he emailed the following text and asked me to post it on the blog on his behalf. I have taken the liberty to include some pics of the Doc in his favorite desert habitat.

A Letter from Cactus

For the uninitiated Cactus is the surfers’ name for a series of desert breaks on the far west coast of South Australia, about 11 hours west of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. There are no cacti native to Australia and the story behind the name is lost to antiquity.

The Cactus camp is full of familiar names and faces – old surfers return here every six months, like migrating Wildebeest, driven by some primordial impulse. Many talk about getting ‘leave passes’ from their spouses, clearly rolling pin wielding harridans or harsh uniformed women like those in The Two Ronnies, where the men are stripped of all authority and confined to frilly house dresses and exchanging gossip at the clothes line.

This morning we paddled out into building swell. In the water was a small herd of Wildebeest with a total of two heart bypasses, two cardiac stents and a knee replacement. The conversation turned to blood pressure and cholesterol medication and anti inflammatory drugs, before a solid set arrived and heart bypass spun around on his board, paddled over a feathering lip and disappeared towards the beach. Then cardiac stent took a late drop and tucked into a nice little pocket before knee replacement demonstrated his characteristic smooth carving lines, effortlessly milking the energy of his wave. All modern medical miracles.

The Doc


  1. That looks like a seriously fun time! Glad the poor oppressed prisoners were able to escape for brief interlude of good surf and fun times!

  2. Fantastic report. I am so glad to hear he didn't get gobbled up by a white pointer as they love to hang around at Cactus!

  3. Actually a guy I know, John Rance, who claims to be one of the first to surf Cactus, and name it (back in the 60s). John and his mates were on a spearfishing trip to that part of the world and decided to take their boards with them. They ran into a jam salesman at a roadhouse who thought there might be ridable waves at Point Sinclair. When they arrived the surf wasn't that great. As they got out the car one of then stepped barefoot onto a prickly weed and has been quoted as saying "this placed is catcus" (meaning no good!).

  4. We really enjoyed this post!
    Aloha, Cher and Steve