Imagine, someone would tell you let’s travel to the other side of the globe to ride some world class waves! Would you go for it?? Timo Mullen went for it! He is extremely passionate about wave sailing and decided to travel from UK to Western Australia in October for only 11 days but it was worth it. He got a great swell with perfect wind and spent a great time with a few good friends in the desert. Watch Timo’s clip “Desert Rat 2”, edited by his bro Tam and read more about his special trip below the movie.
UK wave sailor Timo Mullen with wave windsurfing action from Western Australia
Interview with Timo Mullen about his trip to WA in autumn 2016
Continentseven: You travelled for a few days from the UK to Western Australia, correct? 75 hours (3 days) of traveling for how many hours windsurfing?
Timo Mullen: Ha ha no not quite as bad as it sounds, we went to West Oz for 11 days in total with 3 days travel time. I was traveling with Severne Team Manager Ben Wood who flew from Tenerife and Monster Energy Marketing guru Fredrik Plantin who flew from Sweden. Our flights all landed within an hour of each other so it was all pretty well planned for once. Hours windsurfing? Well quite a few, the break we go to is right out in the middle of nowhere so there is not much to do other than eat, sleep, windsurf and surf. We were wave sailing everyday from 11am until 6.30pm with not much down time for breaks, when you travel that far for a short break you really do cherish every moment in the water!
Continentseven: Was it worth it? Did you ride a few waves?
Timo Mullen: Oh man it was so so so worth it, we only scored one really big swell, then all the other days were pretty normal for that spot, normal is pretty much epic anywhere else! We had a few epic surfing days, probably the best surfing i’ve ever had anywhere, we were lucky that the swell coincided with a high tide so that made it a little bit more forgiving than the normal dry reef take off! Myself and Ben Severne sailed a break further upwind than the main break on the biggest day that was pretty gnarly, even on the high tide our fins on our quads were clipping the reef as we were bottom turning in front of mast high waves, that was really not fun, go to 02:01 to see that wave, you can see me clip the reef on my bottom turn!!
Continentseven: And how about the costs? How much did your short trip cost?
Timo Mullen: Our flights were pretty good, about 700 euros with Etihad then we paid an extra 200 euro for another 32kg of gear, so in total 55kg allowance which is perfect for a trip like this. We rent a new van for $800 Aus which included all the extra insurance for hitting roos and heading of the beaten track. Our pitch in the camp cost $500 and food, booze and fuel was about $600. All in I reckon it cost us each about 1800 euro, so 180 euro a day to ride perfect waves!
Continentseven: Who were your travel mates?
Timo Mullen: Mates???? Depends how you describe mates!! We pretty much tried to break each other at every opportunity going! Just kidding we are all very good mates, I travelled with Fredrik last year on a similar trip and then I have known Ben Wood through Severne for a few years, this was our first trip traveling together, to be honest we were the perfect threesome (apart from the ones we all fantasise about!) I was the resident chef, Ben was the surf guide and translator (Ben is an ex pat Aussie, who now lives in Tenerife) and Fredrick was there for pure entertainment and his snoring, anyone that knows Freddy will testify to this! We had an awesome time, one of the coolest lads trips I’ve been on. We usually meet up with the local crew there too, Scotty, Rob, Ben, Luke, JB, Renee, Jesper, Ben P and there is a cool kite crew up there too who all rip.
Continentseven: How do you manage the jet leg that quick or is it the motivation to windsurf in great conditions, what keeps you awake?
Timo Mullen: Actually the jet lag to West Oz is not too bad, maybe we got lucky on the flights though, we had a clear row of seats each on all our flights which is pretty much as good as first class I reckon, Freddy flew business class with his air miles so he was already styling. I think the jet lag is worse if you don’t get any rest on the plane.
Continentseven: It wasn’t your first trip to Western Australia?
Timo Mullen: No I’ve been to WA a lot, this was probably my 11th or 12th trip so i know the spot well. I have a lot of friends in West Oz but to be honest most Aussies treat you like a best mate after 5 mins, they are a super cool lot to hang out with.
Continentseven: So you are quite experienced traveling the desert. What would you recommend someone, who travels to Western Australia for the first time in his life?
Timo Mullen: My best advice is be prepared to travel, the weather changes a lot in West Oz, if it isn’t windy up North then it will be windy in the deep south usually, so there is no excuse to not be sailing. The wind is pretty much seasonal to each location, up North gets windy early in the season then as the season (Sept-March) progresses the wind tends to move further south, so you could follow the wind and cover the whole coast in 4 months, that is what most crew do there. Be sensible on the road, try not to drive at night and if you do drive slowly to give yourself the best chance of not hitting a roo! Watch your speed the cops are on it for speeding i’ve had quite a few tickets and they are not cheap!
Continentseven: What gear do you use most of the time, you are quite a big bloke?
Timo Mullen: Thanks Chris, and there was me thinking I’d lost weight!! Yeah I am 85KG so I used mostly my 93L Starboard Ultra Kode, I used my 5.0m every day pretty much, we had a few lighter days where I used my 5.3, the lighter days were when most of the video was shot as there were more volunteers to video on the light days!
Continentseven: Which spots are your top 3 in your personal WA ranking?
2.) The Desert breaks north of Geraldton
3.) The Cottesloe Beach Hotel on a Sunday
Continentseven: After a few sessions at the Desert breaks you must get used to this perfect peeling clean waves. How is it if you are back home at your spots in England, where the waves are probably less perfect. Is it harder then for you?
Timo Mullen: No, I think it makes it all easier. Our season starts really when I get back in mid October, so you can hit the ground running!
Continentseven: Did you ever think to spend the whole windy season in WA?
Timo Mullen: When I was at University I did spend every winter in West Oz, but now with my job and family it is much harder, my wife gives me the green card I need to go away with the boys in October. She really loves being at home at XMAS so I guess my October trip is my version of my winter holiday.
Continentseven: Is WA a wave windsurfer’s dream?
Timo Mullen: Mmmm, I don’t know, I’d say it is on everyones bucket list, a dream location, yes but only if you love driving, can read a weather map and have plenty of money as it is pretty expensive compared to when the Aus $ was $3 to our £1 back in the 1990’s!
Continentseven: Do you need to be a real desert rat to survive the desert? Or lives a rat a dangerous live due to the big amount of deadly snakes.
Timo Mullen: Ha ha, yeah you need to have some element of rat in your system, if you can handle the flies, the constant sun, the lack of internet, cold showers and sharks then you shouldn’t have any problem here!!!
© Continentseven 2016
Cool video.- cool Music. I would easily drive a 1000 Nautical miles, after the flight from Europe, to the Desert,for the love of Nature and the sailing.. thanks for the video..
i love travelling, i love riding waves, but talking about substainability and loving the nature (as we do a lot in surfing/windsurfing) trips like this are a nightmare!!
And on top of that, he already lives on the British Isles where you can easily find down-the-line conditions.