Dak Dak Dak to Click Click Click

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Dave’s first Kombi

Noosa’s leading ocean and action photographer, Dave Gleeson from Surf Shots, will be joining us at this weekends ‘Surf, Shine and Show’ in Mooloolaba. Based in the iconic surf location of Noosa, Dave has a spectacular portfolio of surfing shots from up and down the sunshine coast. He not only loves the surfing scene but is passionate about Kombis, something he holds dear to his heart, here’s his story…

As a child in the late 70’s my parents decided we were going on an adventure. A trip around Australia, leaving our hometown of Cronulla, Sydney and doing a lap of the country, talking in the sights and seeing what lay beyond our routine daily lives. And the vehicle of choice was a maroon coloured pop-top Kombi camper, from memory it was a 1974 model 1800cc. We also towed a small box trailer and a small aluminium boat on top of the trailer. In the Kombi we had such great adventures, camping out in the middle of nowhere, crossing deserts, going through rivers where no 2wd vehicle should ever set foot and basically being our ‘home on wheels’ for 4 months. It wasn’t a particularly fast journey, being done in a Kombi, but it was certainly a fun one. Even though that adventure was over 30 years ago I can still recall the sight, sounds and smells of that car, all fond memories. Whenever we’d see another Kombi approaching (fairly regularly it was the 70’s after all) we’d all wave, as would the owners of the other Kombi. Great memories and that reassuring ‘dak dak dak’ of the engine is a sound that all Kombi owners know and love.

Naturally, with such good memories of that Kombi, my own first car at the age of 18 was always going to be another Kombi. I found a blue 1974 1800cc model, for about $1000 with bare metal floors and no seats in the back. The interiors were soon ‘upgraded’ with shag pile carpet and a few beanbags which became my bed and home while I was away on regular surf trips up and down the coast. With a dodgy gearbox, suspect brakes, horrible steering, bald tyres and plenty of leaks this car taught me how to drive, allowed me the freedom that all 18 year old boys want and I had a lot of fun it along the way.

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 Europe here we come…

A few years later on a trip of Europe with a mate our vehicle of choice was again a Kombi. Scouring the used car markets in London we soon came across the perfect vehicle, a bright orange pop top 1972 model 1600cc camper which we picked up for around 1500 pounds. This was to be our home for the next 12 months. Heading into the European winter we soon realised that the heater didn’t work, a minor issue when you are 23 and full of life. Just put on another jumper or 3 and another pair of socks and gloves and a beanie, problem solved. However it was when camping at minus 23 degrees celcius in the Swiss Alps that I really found out the meaning of the word ‘cold’… waking up inside the car with icicles hanging off the sleeping bag from where my breath had been condensing and freezing during the night certainly hit home how rough we were doing it. And the gas regulator in the gas bottle would freeze, so we couldn’t even get the stove going to warm us up. But the trusty old Kombi motor somehow spluttered into life every morning and carried us onto our next adventure (after we’d scraped the half inch of ice off the windscreen of course, again not easy with no heater!). England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Greece, Turkey and many more countries were covered in the trusty orange beast, we finally passed her onto some new owners back on that same car market street in London around a year after we’d first set eyes on her, and wished them well for their own big adventures.

A few years later we were living in Tasmania and needed a work vehicle so bought a ‘new style’ watercooled Kombi. Sadly, without the old familiar ‘dak dak dak’ noise of the air cooled engines it just wasn’t the same experience, this car was just a ‘work truck’ and didn’t quite have the character of the older style models’.

Dave shoot’s surf, beach and ocean themed images around the Sunshine Coast however Surf Shots also offer general commercial photography including real estate, tourism, corporate branding, product shoots, portraits, fashion and more.
Check out some great shots below, and also from recent work as the official photographer of the Noosa Surfing festival and other recent work www.surfshots.com.au / www.facebook.com/surfshotsnoosa

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