One thing Australia has in abundance is coastline, and with that comes waves. Though there are plenty of places to catch them, Healey’s favorite is unequivocally the Margaret River.
“The Margaret River itself is the main spot,” he says. “It’s a world-famous wave. When it’s small, it can be pretty damn user-friendly. When it gets bigger, it gets more challenging. At the same time, it’s not untouchable.” Surfers of all stripes can find a ride in this southwestern corner of Australia, which has over 75 spots, from gentle beach surf to giant reef breaks.
A large part of the appeal of the area, however, is its natural beauty and easy lifestyle. On shore are forests full of some of the world’s tallest hardwood trees and limestone caves with some of the longest stalactites on the planet. Nearby, Australia’s best vineyards churn out world-class Cabernets and Chardonnays. Surprisingly, despite the surfers and oenophiles that flock here, the region maintains a mellow vibe, and it’s surprisingly easy to find solitude. “You can go on beaches for days where you won’t see a footprint,” Healey says.
Mark Healey is the consummate waterman. He has surfed some of the world’s famed big breaks, like Waimea, Jaws, and Mavericks, free dived with sharks—and caught a ride on the tail of a great white—and he regularly spearfishes for dinner, holding his breath for up to four minutes at a stretch. One of his recent accomplishments was, after 17 years of visiting Tahiti, catching the biggest waves he’s ever caught at the notorious Teahupoo break.
Mark Healey's Gear Pick: GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition
“They always say the best camera is the one you’ll actually use,” Healey says. “To take pictures and film, I usually have my GoPro. They’re my sponsor but I always used them beforehand. It’s so easy to capture your experiences and your trips without lugging around a bunch of crap. And they’re so durable. I still haven’t broken one—and I’m not nice to them, either.”