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Fyfe the Traveller

Fyfe outside of football: Travel Nat Fyfe had a decent break
I don’t want to give it away because I don’t want people to go there
Nat Fyfe

From below zero temperatures in a sea-side shack in Norway to a beach in the Maldives seemingly untouched by the modern world, Fremantle star Nat Fyfe has crossed the globe in the off-season and he shares his experiences with – but not all of them.

For almost 11 months of the year, Nat Fyfe plies his trade in Australia’s preeminent sporting competition, the AFL.

When the Fremantle superstar is afforded his six-week break from the game, he escapes to places where his celebrity is unidentified.

Fyfe definitely has a case of Wanderlust – a German word describing one’s strong desire to travel and explore the world.

Accompanied by a friend, his most recent adventure began in enchanting Portugal.

“We hired a van and travelled the west coast and south coast looking for some waves and having some fun,” Fyfe said.

Fyfe is a keen surfer; although by his own admission not a very good one. He grew up in Lake Grace, a small town in Western Australia with a population of about 500 that is best known for its wheat production.

Safe to say, being hundreds of kilometres from the coast, surfing was not on Fyfe’s list of hobbies growing up.

He moved to Perth as a teenager to attend boarding school and was hooked.

“I enjoy getting out on the water, the same as all surfers,” he said.

“That thrill of the best wave that you can get. It’s just really relaxing and it takes you away from all the other things going on in life.”

Portugal is famous for its golden beaches, which are brimming with bodies, but Fyfe wasn’t looking to fight with 20 or 30 others for each wave. He found a few remote spots on the southwest corner of the country in the Algarve region.

“The main place we surfed was called Ponta Ruiva – a big slow crumbly left, which is good for bigger boards,” Fyfe said.

An online search for Ponta Ruiva reveals that it is one of the last beaches you can find before reaching the end of Portugal. That’s if you can find it, the suggestion is to ask the locals for its location as it is incredibly difficult to get to.

And while you generally have the water to yourself, care is advised.

“It was good fun but there was no one around so you had to have your wits about you,” Fyfe said.

After Portugal, Fyfe swapped the surfboard for a warm winter jacket in Western and Central Europe, visiting Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Norway.

Read about his harrowing travel experience in Poland

If ever Fyfe needed a reminder of just how far away he was from his hometown, it came in Scandinavia.

“I was in a little town called Kristiansand in the south of Norway, living in a shack on the edge of the North Sea,” he said.

“It was minus-2 degrees in the middle of the day.

“I thought that was a fair way from Lake Grace.”

While Europe was a stark contrast to home, it was Fyfe’s next and final destination that left the biggest imprint on him.

He travelled to the Maldives; an island nation in the Indian Ocean made up of 1,190 coral islands spread over 90,000 square kilometres.

Fyfe had visited the destination before, a year ago. But on that occasion he stayed in a resort.

He now wanted a cultural experience far away from hotel porters and room service.

“I stayed in a little shack on the beach, quite primitive, with a local family, eating their local food, playing soccer and volleyball with the kids,” Fyfe said.

Save for a few locals and the Australian who runs the surf shack, the beach was his.

“There was a reef break right at the front doorstep, a consistent right,” Fyfe said.

“Usually, it’s a head-high or above wave, really easy to ride.

“And there’s a long left about a 500m kayak away.

“Compared to the crowds of Perth, it’s a great escape. There’s hardly anyone there.”

Fyfe was reluctant to disclose the whereabouts of his ‘secret’ location.

“I don’t want to give it away because I don’t want people to go there,” he said.

He’s back in Australia now, preparing for another season of AFL and surfing at Perth’s Trigg Beach in the little spare time he has.

You can be certain that, as soon at the last siren sounds in season 2015, Fyfe will be flying off again to explore planet Earth.

“I’ll certainly be making my way back to the Maldives, and I’ll be looking at South America and maybe Canada, who knows?” he said.

“It’s good to get out and see the world, it’s a great place.”