The great Aussie dream isn't meat pies and kangaroo rides, it's the beach, the glorious sun-drenched wave-soaked beach. Australia, before it is girt by sea, is girt by stretches of sand, where Aussies of all stripes and predilections frolic and play and relax and train and just bloody enjoy themselves.
And that's just lovely, but it's where the beach meets the sea that interests us, where the wild and raw energy of the ocean and its wild storms and weather systems collide with the Australian continent, where brave and foolhardy men and women and grommets and grandmas try to dance with this savage energy as it extinguishes itself upon the great Australian beachscape.
We're talking about surfing, dude, and there ain't no place better suited to wave sliding on this big ol' wet world of ours than the Gold Coast. It's the miracle 32 mile – more than 52kms of surfable coastline, where the best of the Pacific rams into perfect pointbreaks, rivermouths and long, empty stretches of sand, from Duranbah in the south (we're claiming it from Northern NSW), to South Stradbroke Island in the north. So many cardinal points!
But speaking of points, it's the Gold Coast's righthanders that make it an internationally renowned surf destination. There's the Superbank, from Snapper Rocks to Coolangatta Beach, followed by Kirra, Currumbin Alley and Burleigh Heads. These eastward reaches catch the sand that moves up the east coast towards Fraser Island, sculpting it into the impeccable shape that sees surfers from around Australia and the world flock to the Goldy in droves to sample the perfect, barrelling waves.
These pointbreaks, combined with the Southeast Queensland's year-round surf-friendly climate, and ubiquitous active lifestyle, makes the Goldy the perfect place to pursue the surfing lifestyle, whether your starting out, or chasing world titles. The Gold Coast spawned the classic greats, like Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew and Michael Peterson, and modern champions to the tune of Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore. It's also where 11-times world champion, Kelly Slater calls home for part of the year, and you know when King Kelly chooses to live somewhere it's gotta have something going for it in the waves and healthy lifestyle stakes.
March 10th saw the best surfers on the planet gather at Snapper Rocks for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pros - the first event of 2016's World Surf League Championship Tour. Surfing's peak governing body knows that the Gold Coast is an iconic enough surf destination to launch its 11-event tour here. We caught up with some of the WSL's best and asked them why they love coming to the Gold Coast every year.
Filipe Toldeo, Brazil, 2015 Quiksilver Pro Champion
I love the Gold Coast because it feels like home to me. It's really hot and the waves are good and the water is really warm. I feel like I'm at home because it's like Brazil but with better waves, and it makes me really comfortable here.
Mick Fanning, Gold Coast, three-time world champion
I'm definitely the surfer I am today because I'm from here. We've got the best training ground in the world. These points came on when I was about 15 and I used to surf here eight hours a day one whole summer, and my surfing went from being "ok" to being a little bit better. When it's not like this, when it's small, the little kids are out there taking over. It's hard to get waves off 'em! It's the perfect training ground.
Kelly Slater, the world, eleven-time world champion
The Gold Coast reminds me of Florida but it has waves! It's warm water, the waves are fun, the sun is out. I have a lot of friends here. I do spend a lot of time here because of all those reasons.
I get a lot of time to myself here actually, and I go down the coast and see friends, all that stuff. When the points are good you just can't leave, and if it's too crowded you can go find a bank down south somewhere that will always be fun.
Stephanie Gilmore, Gold Coast, six-time world champion
The Gold Coast is one of my favourite events and one of my favourite places in the world, favourite waves in the world. Still! I mean, I travel the world and I'm very spoiled, but this place still is so insane - the water is like a swimming pool, the waves are incredible, all the fans on the beach - it's insane.
Now if the Gold Coast is a good enough place for Queen Steph, King Kelly, and the world's best man Mick Fanning, then it's a good enough place for every other surfer, and aspiring surfer, in the whole world. What are you waiting for? Strap your Malibu to the roof of your Kombi and we'll see you out the Superbank.