Kings For A Day

Soli Bailey and Connor O’Leary live it up in a land of creamy cheese and buttery, barelling A-frames.

All Photos Andrew Shield.

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King Island might take its name from the third governor of NSW, Philip Ridley King, but the suggestion of opulence in the island’s title became more literal when its fertile shores grew famous for harvesting lobsters, quality cheeses and prized beef. To the distant observer KI can seem a sort of wonderland, particularly when you add curling, buttery peaks to the list of rich fodder on offer, but the island is not without its pitfalls. Situated in the roaring 40s – roughly half way between Tasmania and Victoria – KI is often subject to the fiercest of winds and cruelest of seas. Between 1800 and 1920 it boasted no less than 15 major shipwrecks and many never lived to tell their tale.

Perfect, chilled peaks all to yourself.

These days plane is the preferred mode of transport in, but even modern airships occasionally face challenges. Rasta, Bryce Young and Craig Anderson found out the hard way when their flight couldn’t get off the ground to arrive in time for the swell featured in the clip and photos. Meanwhile, Soli Bailey and Connor O’Leary arrived just ahead of the weather and lucked into a land of empty A-frame peaks. From dawn to dust they lived like kings – binging on barrels, gorging on cheese and barely pausing to take off their royal coats of rubber. In a land such as this everyone would love to be king for a day…

Connor O'Leary swoops into cold-water bliss.
Soli Bailey ducking and weaving in the deep south.
An enticing, little fold in the ocean.
Soli Bailey standing tall as the peak starts to bend in all the right ways.
A wild wedge goes through to the keeper.


Yep, we found the pot of tubes at the end of the rainbow.