Lost Track

When groovy twin-finner Torren Martyn gets the itch to travel, he usually dips over to Indo or Fiji or Mexico or any other clear-watered tropical locale to chase big, draining barrels. This year, however, the 26-year-old Byron Bay native decided to track down kegging tubes and pointbreak perfection in and around his own turf in Australia, so he teamed up with SWELL and hit the road for three months with his best friend, a retro quiver, and camping supplies in tow.


We caught up with Martyn, to talk about what it’s like to be on the road for months at a time in pursuit of empty waves.


How’d you come up with the idea to do this 3-month trip around Australia?


This trip is pretty close to home for me, literally. I was inspired by a similar journey I did when I was seven. My mum took me out of school to travel with her and her partner for about 18 months and we went north from Byron and did a loop around the country. We were in a similar sort of car too–a ‘87 model Range Rover Defender, which was actually a coincidence. Along the way my mum had me making photo and written diaries. I came upon them recently and they got me keen to do it again with one of my best mates and to surf along the way.


What did your itinerary look like?


Ishka [my friend who also grew up in Byron] and I headed south of Sydney to the South Coast, then down through Victoria and South Australia, and then up the West Coast to Carnarvon, which is about the most northwest point you can go to get waves before you get to the Northern Territory. Originally we were going to stop there and then head back down south, but we had been so spoiled for waves so we drove back through the Kimberlys, along the Gibb River Road in the Northern Territory.


That’s a long trek.


Yeah, it was a lot to cover in a short amount of time. We did a lot of driving in between surfs. It would’ve nice to spend more time in some of those places, but we were chasing waves, obviously [laughs]. There were weeks where we would cover 4,000 kilometers. But when you’re on the road, driving is half the adventure.


And you two camped the whole way?


Yeah, we had a rooftop camper on our car which just folds out. We must’ve set that up hundreds of time. We spent every night in that except for when we stayed with a friend near Winkipop. It was nice to have a good bed and dinner for a couple nights. But the rest of it we spent either on the roof or on the ground.

Walk It Out

What did your traveling quiver looking like?


I brought four twin fins and a longboard: a 9’4" single-fin cruiser with a flat deck; a 5’9” diamond tail channel bottom; a 6’1” twin fin that Simon [Jones, of Morning of the Earth Surfboards] made for Bells and Winki and longer point breaks; a 5’7” glass-in twin fin that was super fun; and my main go-to board, which was a 5’7” channel bottom twin fin that I surfed nearly every day. I broke it in South Australia, unfortunately. Simon shipped over another one to Perth and we were able to pick it up on our way through. But I ended up breaking that one too on my first surf when we got to Red Bluff.


You’re becoming known for charging hollow waves on a twin fin. What draws you to riding a twinnie over a standard thruster?


I haven’t ridden a thruster in such a long time now. From when I first got on one, twinnies just gave me a different feeling that I really enjoyed and appreciated. The first twin fin I got was a novelty board I wanted to ride during the summer. But then Kirra was all time pumping and I had that in the car, so I surfed that and had some amazing waves. Not longer after that I went over to Fiji and I surfed the twin fin the whole time at Cloudbreak. After that I was fully converted. This trip, I rode twin fins the whole time, except for the few times I took out the longboard.


Did get away from the surf at all to see different parts of the country?


Yeah, we had so many good waves that we were almost keen to get away from the ocean for a few weeks. We ended up driving 10,000 kilometers in the last 14 days on the way home through the Kimberlys- which are crazy beautiful and gorgeous. It was great seeing the Gibb River Crossing with its dark red dirt and loads of kangaroos, crocodiles and everything else.


Did you hit any roadblocks along the way? I’m sure the car stalled out a couple times.


Yeah, there were a few hiccups. When we crossed the quarantine border from south Australia to WA, they took all of our food apart from some crackers. So we had to pick up supplies, but the nearest town was 700km away. We finally got there and we rolled into the petrol station and the car just made this horrible noise. Neither one of us is mechanically minded, but luckily there was a mechanic just down the road. So we pushed the car over there, but they didn’t have the part we need so we had to make it to Perth to buy the equipment. Actually the car broke down the day after we got home and had finished our trip [laughs]. It wouldn’t turn on


But when you’re on the road, nothing really becomes a chore. It just becomes everyday living. Throughout all that I wasn’t really bummed, because it was all part of the adventure in a way. When shit happened, we’d just laugh about it and scratch our heads, figuring it would end up being a funny story one day.

King Waves Kill
Thread the needle
Watch your step
Worth it

You’ve been back in Byron for a bit now. Is it good being home?


It is good, but I’ve actually done a fair bit of driving the past couple weeks. I’ve been camping up and down the coast.


So you went straight from camping for 3 months to camping around home?


Fully. When I got back I felt like going down the coast, so I jumped in the car and went down south of Byron for a week or so. Then I when I got back, I went up the coast. You’d think the last think I’d want to be doing is driving around, but I quite enjoy it.


Sounds like you know how to do a road trip.


I’ve done quite a bit of driving that’s for sure [laughs]. Even now, after being on the road for months, I feel like I can get in the car and do it all over again. One day I will for sure, and I’ll do it for a lot longer. I’d like to go for a year or two. The fact that it is documented is cool, but it’s not the reason we did it by any means. We did it for ourselves. This isn’t over yet. I think I’m just getting excited.