New Zealand: it's heaven for the two wheel enthusiast and one of the most underrated surf destinations on the planet. Roads traversing granite passes and fjords before stretching out along endless beaches littered with driftwood and miscellaneous Southern Ocean debris. New Zealand's topography is stunningly diverse, with a fault line that runs up both of its islands like a tectonic spine, responsible for those Lord Of The Ring's cinematic ranges and the devastating quakes that continue to intermittently level the city of Christchurch.
Anyone with an eye for waves who've spent time on the Land of the Long White Cloud can attest to its surf potential. There's wedges, points and playful sand stretches in all corners, which happen to be merely hours apart. For the cost of a short drive you can trade one coast for the other – no doubt making for difficult decisions.
SurfStitch ambassador Torren Martyn and his filmer pal, Ishka Kennedy, recently set out with a small twin fin quiver, a pair of Royal Enfield motorcycles and the bare survival essentials on an adventure around the country. They're working on a follow up feature film to Lost Track, the Australian circumnavigation they undertook two years go retracing the same trip Torren did with his family as a child.
Like its predecessor, the piece will be one part surf porn, featuring Torren's twin fin mastery and the other more resemblant of a travel documentary, something like Ewan McGregor's Long Way Round series.
The pair have just returned to their Byron Shire homeland, with terabytes of footage and a head full of memories. They also have a gallery of imagery and frames to share ahead of the official trailer for Lost Track v2.0.
To learn more, our pals at Stab linked up with Mr Martyn, who seemed relieved to have returned to his North Coast comfort bubble, for a debrief on the voyage that included exceptional waves, picturesque countryside, life threatening bee stings and an agonising amount of precipitation.
Torren, welcome home. Tell us where you've been for the last few months?
Thanks! We rolled around for a total of ten weeks throughout the North and South Island on New Zealand, covering just over thirteen thousand kilometres.
How was it? What'd you like most?
More of a love-hate kind of thing, but just how raw and unpredictable the weather can be over there. The desolation and freedom and that feeling of such insignificance. Also, the countryside and generosity of the people over there is incredible.
Being out on the bikes, what did you sleep in?
We both had tents, sleeping matts, sleeping bag and little blow up pillow.
Where were the best waves?
We probably had our best waves on the far South East of the South Island, but with every swell was a whole lot of wild weather so it was a bit of a compromise. NZ is such a fickle part of the world, we found ourselves riding around in circles chasing our tails and often getting skunked, but the good days of waves that we did have were a whole lot sweeter when they came.
The whole few months from start to finish was a highlight, such a contrast in scenes from north to south and east to west. Neither of us have really spent much time on bikes beforehand, so from start to finish it was all pretty interesting.
Anything gnarly go down?
I got stung by a bee in the face and had a wild allergic reaction. Ishka had to call the ambulance and shit! Now I have to carry an epipen around. I've never seen more bees in my life anywhere. So heavy (laughs).
What were the bikes? How’d they go? Any issues?
Royal Enfield supported us with a couple of the Himalayans which are a dual sport, single cylinder 400c bike. Pretty simple, comfortable and not too heavy. Neither of us had spent too much time on bikes beforehand and we gave them a pretty solid workout. Considering we covered 26,000kms between the two bikes and only had a couple of issues, replacing tyres, burnt clutch and a stator on the last day, we did pretty well! Before the deal came through with the Enfields we had a couple of old farm bikes lined up, seemed like a classic idea at the time, but that would've probably been the end of us.
Gets cold down there, yeah? How was packing? And the water?
Packing was interesting as we could obviously only carry the essentials. Basically a change of clothes, two boards, fishing rod, tent, matt, sleeping bag, butane bottle, hiking stove, pot/pan, wetty, towel, first aid kit, tarp, rope, book and the camera gear. Riding gear we had jacket, gloves and the like, but when it started getting really chilly we pulled out the thermals, downs, beanies and gloves. It got really cold, especially on the wet days. We had some really good wet weather gear and minus twenty gumboots, but when you're on the bike a have one hundred kilometres worth of head wind the water finds its way in and chills you to the bone. We definitely had our fair share of cold wet days over there. My wetty was pretty much cold and wet for three months straight which was not a huge motivator at the best of times (laughs), but in the water on the north I was in my four-three and down south in booties, gloves and hood.
What were you looking forward to getting home to most?
Definitely a few creature comforts to come home to; warmer water, eating decent food, sunshine and a cosy little nest – they were all sounding pretty nice by the end of it.
So what’s the plan for the Lost Track release?
We've got a couple of months of staring at a computer screen for the time being. Ishka and I will put together a thirty to sixy minute length film from the journey, not necessarily a surf film and far from another web clip. We want to make it more about the adventure the good days and the shit days, obviously a whole lot of surfing in the mix and beautiful imagery, but we don't want to butter it up too much. It'll be a lot different to anything we've done before but I'm really looking forward to piecing it all together.