This was one of the more special Pinnies trips we’ve ever hosted. Three families coming together to celebrate Jared “Jaz, Jez, Jazza” (take your pick) Neal’s incredible work constructing this very lodge.
And, being a practical problem solver – as well as a romantic at heart – Jez made the most of the moment by proposing to epic partner Tory Gilkerson, who also has an affinity with Pinnacles, having worked here as one of it’s first guides (oh, and has been Women’s World Longboard Champion BTW.)
Let’s do a super quick roundup of the families shall we?
The Gilkerson Family hail from San Clemente, California. You know Tory – Jez might be the love of her life, but crystal clear warm water lefts aren’t far behind. Oh and she rips on a shorty too! Parents Randy and Karyn are a pair of absolute cruisers. (Karyn loved the snorkelling at The E.R.). Mia and Randy (Tory’s sister and brother) also came. Randy works for Mayhem and rips, and Mia is Tory’s favourite pal to ride waves with when back home in San Clemente.
Randy was joined by girlfriend Jess, though Randy put himself firmly in the doghouse one sunny day after encouraging Jess to ride an E.R Left too far and on to dry reef. Randy’s punishment lasted about five minutes before all were smiles again.
The McGrath Family come from Byron Bay, and are friends with the Neals. Terry AKA T-Mac is the patriarch of the bunch and an absolute legend who kept up with all the young crew in every sense. Wife Jen enjoyed snorkelling, the local culture and relaxing, and son Abe – Jared’s long-time best mate – surfs very well and like countless goofy-footers before him, fell a little in love with Max’s Left.
And last but by no means least: The Neal Family, who hail from the Coffs area.
Jazza – the man of the moment. Built Pinnacles, was a Telo Island Lodge guide from the olde days. Holder of much knowledge and held in much esteem by the local crew who worked alongside him to bring Pinnies to life.
You could see how proud Jazza’s Mum and Dad Anna and David were of their lad. The quietly-spoken David’s speech on the final night was one for the ages.
Brother “Antman” Anthony and partner Katy are a pair of classic Aussies. He’s a truckie and Katy runs a swimwear label. The Antman rides a single fin board he’s had for 8 years and tears on it.
And to round things out, Jazza’s cousin Lee came along. Lee distinguished himself with being the only one to find a barrel the whole trip. Because, well, the surf didn’t really turn on this trip. Not that it seemed to matter, we enjoyed clean conditions at The E.R, a few sessions at The Left, and one or two of our other off-radar spots.
What the trip might have lacked in waves it more than made up for in love, laughs and very good times.