Man Possibly Traumatised By 'How Not To Rock Off' Clip Stranded On Jump Rock For Four Hours

Ding Alley
Ding Alley

Toonalook Point – Wednesday morning: Undistinguished local surfer Arthur ‘Arty’ Cook’s jump rock miscalculation has resulted in a four-hour stranding waiting for the tide to go out then come back in.

The 50-year old communications consultant made his way to the headland of the popular pointbreak at approximately 6.20am without incident, but became distracted as he picked his way out to the cluster of jump rocks.

“A surge came through as I was walking out,” recalls Cook. “I was certain my mid-high-tide rock would be the best one to go off, but when I actually got there it was like Huey pulled the plug – the tide was way lower than I thought and rocks were popping up everywhere."

“And like everyone else, I’d seen that Northern Beaches ‘How Not To Rock-Off’ clip last week and thought 'what a goose', that kind of recklessness puts more people in danger than just Captain-Can’t-Paddle-Can’t-Duckdive… and there was no way I was gonna take those kinds of chances with the Futures setup on my beloved mid-length.”

Cook acknowledges numerous other factors contributed to his decision to stick it out on his ill-chosen rock.

“Naturally, I considered retracing my steps back to the headland before going out to the low-tide jump spot, but every time I was about to turn tail, a surge’d come through and I’d think ‘gonna jump this time’… but each surge’d be a little shallower with the dropping tide.”

Compounding the problem was the number of local surfers – several of whom well acquainted with Mr Cook – heading out for their morning lap.

“I know this sounds a little vain, but I didn’t want to let the guys see me turning around and walking back to shore with my tail between my legs – it’d be waving a big red flag in the air saying ‘Look at me, I’m a kook! I don’t even know what rock to jump off’ – and you don’t know who’s got their phone out filming ya – so I stayed put, and did my best to look like I was happy to be there."

“In hindsight, for sure I should have sucked it up and bailed, but the longer I stayed the harder it was to leave. I was trapped in a psychological prison of my own creation. Like a bad dream where you’re running and not getting anywhere, but, aaah… without the running part.”

Cook suggests that his jump rock stranding became a spiritual odyssey of sorts.

“Know what? After a while it wasn’t about getting off that rock and into the lineup any more, it was more about seeing if I could go the distance. If I could exist quietly with myself. What started out as an innocent surf became a defining test of character. An inner journey to the limits of my resilience, if you will.

“I may be overstating this, but I did feel a degree of kinship with Nelson Mandela.”

Swellnet’s Toona Point surf cam provides a telling counterpoint to Arty’s bullshit claim.

Between 6.35 and 7.15am, Cook remains in his quasi ready-to-jump-on-the-next-big-surge position, while performing emphatic stretches of the neck and torso, (or appearing utterly fascinated by the clouds etc) whenever other surfers walked past on the headland.

From 7.15am through to the .26 metre low tide at 8.22am, Arty appears to spend most times on his haunches, often with his head in his hands, and at times rocking back and forth.

Though only a small silhouette in the notoriously buggy Swellnet Toona Point surf cam footage, Cook appears to weep on several occasions – an allegation he denies.

He is prepared, however, to concede that the suggestion that he kicked and flailed at a Black Cormorant who attempted to share the rock platform on several occasions has merit.

“You have to understand, you spend a couple of hours on a rock the size of an esky and you start to get quite territorial. There were heaps of other rocks around for that Cormorant to dry his wings on, so, y’know, bugger ’im.”

The last hour-and-a-half proved to be the most testing for the father of two, as his mindset veered from numb resignation to mild psychosis.

“Oh man, you don't know what 'slow' means until you're waiting for the tide to fill back up. Honestly, at one stage I was yelling at a bunch of crabs on the rock next door to go fuck ’emselves."

“I still can’t say for sure they weren’t laughing at me.”

Still, good things come to those who wait, and by 10.15am, the tide had risen back to the same level as when our hero first set foot on his rock.

Cook celebrated by urinating in his wetsuit. A treat he had been saving up to mark the occasion.

“It's hard to explain how good it felt. Not just the hot wee on my balls, but the fact that I was in the box seat now. Sure, it was still too shallow, but with every surge I was closer to emancipation."

“I haven't felt that excited about going for a surf in a long time."

“Which is just as well, cos the onshore had come up, and it wasn’t very good.”

The surf cam shows Cook finally executing a clean rock jump getaway at 10.22am, after being perched there for almost four-and-a-half hours.

In his annoying manner of aligning himself with heroic figures both real and fictional, Cook likened his escape to the 1999 survival drama movie Castaway: “It was just like that moment near the end when Tom Hanks gets clear of the reef and looks back at the island he’d called home and gets a bit teary… yeah, it was a lot like that actually.”

Cook – who’d originally planned to surf for an hour before nine holes of golf then whacking the barby on – waited 15 minutes in the moderately busy lineup for his one and only wave, and was dropped in on immediately by Barry Cornell, who just doesn’t like him. 

// DING ALLEY

Ding Alley is two mates: illustrator David @maccatoons McArthur and writer/designer Gra Murdoch. Just last weekend Macca got skittled on a certain rock platform somewhere along the Great Ocean Road, while the idea for this piece first occurred to Murdoch while marooned on a Burleigh boulder a decade or so ago.

Comments

bipola's picture
bipola's picture
bipola commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 8:20am

stay of the drugs especially LSD

carvets's picture
carvets's picture
carvets commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 9:42am

When i first moved to the Far North Coast on one of my first attempts to jump off at a well known point break , i waited for my moment , leapt out like a pro swimmer diving off the blocks , cleared the rocks landed in deep water and paddled into the lineup feeling immense relief. On my first wave my board went sideways , i flipped it over and there was a fin missing. The thing is i didnt feel a thing when i jumped , but somehow a rock reached up mid flight and pulled a fin off my board , amazing. Since then i have made hundreds of successful jumps from those rocks and the thing for me is to not hesitate .

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 9:58am

.

He who hesitates is lost

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 10:00am

^Once again, the signature line seemed the most appropriate comment...

Great read again fellas, particularly the little touch of connecting it to the wider world of toona via the local caaaaarnt.

He who hesitates is lost

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 10:00am

As a young teen I visited the point break I now call home. First time I'd surfed it, and by chance there was a boardriders comp on that day. These days the tent always gets set up on top of the point, but there must've been a howling southerly this day cos the tent was at the base of the point, sheltered from the wind. This meant I had to walk past it, which in turn meant I copped a gobful.

They were still yelling as I walked to the edge of the rockshelf and, unlike Arty, lobbed off without hesitation. I sailed through the air, hands clenched on rails, board underneath me, till suddenly the board reefed backwards while I kept going forwards. I hit the water without it, then started getting washed down the point with the everpresent current.

Only when I stopped moving did I realise what had happened. My leggy was tangled around an outcrop next to where I jumped. And now my board - Griffo G&S with checkerboard spray - was flapping around exposed on the rock shelf waiting for the next wave to wash in. Which it did, and the wave after it, and the wave after that, till I could get my balance and work my way back to the snag and unhook it.

I had urchins through my soles, cuts on my hands, and my board was toast, while there was never less than a cacophany from the fuckwits in the tent who saw it all.

Still, at least it was over quickly.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 10:44am

Unknown to most surfers outside of Adelaide, the stormy sessions are a huge part of growing up on the waveless metro beaches. If the wind is over 25 knots and onshore (the stronger the better), then you're surfing after school - the novelty being that you get to walk or ride to the surf. And everybody surfs next to the jetties along the Adelaide beaches. You have to climb over or through the jetty railing with your board, in front of a large group of surfers that you are about to join and also a lot of spectators on the jetty, and then jump with your board. Pretty simple stuff, but I've had 2 friends who somehow climbed through the railings incorrectly, jumped off, and then 2 seconds later they are strung upside down bungee style with their surfboard firmly wedged between the railings. Huge entertainment for those watching. Also saw one guy jump and then try to do a stylish grab-leg bomb next to his board, only for his board to blow underneath him and put his foot through the deck of the board as he hit the water, and then having to paddle through the crowd on his way in with his tail between his legs.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 11:19am

I remember clearly the day I learnt to always hold my leg rope for the ledge jump off. Kept out of the ledge with confidence only to stop mid air by the leggy caught on a rock and pendulum swing back and I to the now dry ledge. Haven’t done it again in 30 years. Lesson learnt.

knB

fuggin_waffle's picture
fuggin_waffle's picture
fuggin_waffle commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 7:50am

Call the warmer waters of the Goldy home these days but grew up surfing in Adelaide and surrounds. Still to this day the worst rock beating I've ever had was at Christie's on a stormy. Through a combination of strong winds, darkness falling, weak paddling arms preventing me to paddle south to the sand, high tide and inexperience I thought that coming back in via the rocks was my best bet. Copped a flogging and new board was smashed in every which way, $150 in ding repairs at Cutloose! Have driven past plenty of times and still don't know how I got myself in that predicament. Just glad it was pre mobile phone cameras!

wiseautogas's picture
wiseautogas's picture
wiseautogas commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 10:26am

yeah was funny watching this lid jump off only to be left dangling with his lid on one side of railing and him on the other, until you realise people can die from
doing dumb stuff like that

john wise

dlewis's picture
dlewis's picture
dlewis commented Wednesday, 3 Jun 2020 at 1:11pm

I can't tell whether the story of Arty or this tale is better. Excellent.

derra83's picture
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derra83 commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 10:13am

"“I may be overstating this, but I did feel a degree of kinship with Nelson Mandela.”

Too funny.

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 11:41am

I was actually, genuinely belly laughing at the leggie-catching stories. Freaking hilarious. We've all done it. AS soon as I started reading them I could FEEL that feeling of the board being whipped out of your hands and that surreal time-lag thought process of "W...T...F..????"
Almost as good as sprinting down the beach and despite the necessary holding of the slack against the rail, actually tripping over the leggie at full speed in your grommet like enthusiasm. All you can do is lie there and laugh at yourself.

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 2:42pm

I concur Bungan, the whole lots the funniest shit I have read in ages, I have a tear in my eye.....lordy

Stan France

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 12:18pm

Personal anecdote, Gra?

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 1:25pm

Yeah the idea of the piece came to me one day whilst perched and pondering my choice of Burleigh boulder. Lived at and surfed Burls for 25 years but still managed to get it all wrong on occasion.

fuggin_waffle's picture
fuggin_waffle's picture
fuggin_waffle commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 7:55am

Had a good chuckle at the different rocks for different tides and swell sizes! Keep em coming!

Theboyhasnoname's picture
Theboyhasnoname's picture
Theboyhasnoname commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 12:44pm

Brilliant article. Thanks.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 3:49pm

Great stuff again Ding Alley. Thanks very much.
I haven't surfed the Ox much but in 1985 I got washed off the jump rock there and got rolled a long way down the point over the boulders. I was known as the "Mecurochrome Kid" for quite awhile afterwards.

icandig's picture
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icandig commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 4:09pm

This is too close to home. Except Cook's island is my swivel chair. The cormorant is my dog and the crabs are my children. The cartoon is like I'm looking in the mirror. I've just pissed my tracksuit pants. I'm stuck. Please send help.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 4:53pm

I wrote this in the embarrassing surfing moments thread but applicable here.

I'm loving these Ding Alley pieces.

Years ago at Currumbin I rocked up to rock off and didn't even bother checking the surf. Was getting pretty late in the arvo and I was in a hurry. As I skipped out to the jump off spot a couple of blokes were taking their time and kinda blocking my way. I'm behind one fella and started getting impatient so I was like 'c'mon mate, you gonna go?' He said hang on i'm just gonna wait a sec. I said 'for fuck sake move out of the way then' and I pushed past him. He said, 'ya fuckin' idiot' to which I replied 'dick!' and jumped in. Made it about 20 metres for my first duckdive, piece of cake. As i surfaced it was like 'Oh fuck!'- a huge wave was feathering outside and I just knew in that instance I was in trouble. I didn't stand a chance as the three foot thick lip basically detonated about 2 metres in front of me, picked me up and hurled me back towards the rocks. I was under water for so long waiting to be smashed against the rock face.

Miraculously, I was just off the rocks and didn't connect but the current was running hard and swept me pretty quickly into the creek mouth. I was pretty roughed up and seeing stars but I'm sure as I was being swept away, I glanced up and saw the two fellas laughing.

I got my shit together, regained my composure and then paddled across to Laceys with my tail between my legs and surfed the waist high end section.
Valuable lesson learnt that day.

1173

SA Wetdog's picture
SA Wetdog's picture
SA Wetdog commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 7:06pm

Yep that far northern Nsw point break is hectic. I have never surfed there and not cut my feet, if I make it out unscathed it will get me on the way in 80% of the time every time! Hehe.

Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 7:46pm

oh well if we're sharing.

I was surfing in Nicaragua a couple of a years ago. It was 0-1 foot and only a couple of desperados were surfing. I was thinking it was too small to warrant a paddle from the beach so I'll take a shortcut thru the rock off. I didn't even look, but as I was jumping I noticed a ripple. As I hit the water I was drag-sucked along the urchin shelf, got flipped on my back by breaking ripple and drag-pushed along the urchin shelf and up onto where I jumped from. I sheepishly walked and paddled from the beach, caught one wave and went to straight to my room to meet my flesh with lime. It is my greatest kook moment.

rich74's picture
rich74's picture
rich74 commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 7:50pm

One time years ago I was at the point at Lennox and waiting for the right moment between overhead sets to jump off when a body boarder got seriously rolled by a wave trying to rock off up the point and came bouncing down the boulders so quick with the sweep while i was pissing myself until i got accidently taken out by his flailing body and joined him bouncing over the barnacles..the MR twinny I had was never quite the same..Last time i jumped off the rocks there i got a little nick on the hungry barnacles and stayed out for a 2 hour session with only a couple of locals not realising the blood was flowing freely from my foot. It explained why the 1.5m whaler shark came up close for a sniff though. Not as funny as when i jumped off at boulders in front of a 30 plus crowd and ended up hanging upside down by the leggy getting surged up and down for about 2 minutes providing entertainment to the crowd until i eventually got myself free after getting well acquainted with the barnacles. it can be a humbling pursuit surfing at times.

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 8:39pm

Couple years ago arvo surf after work at Snapper, standing on sand at keyhole waiting for the lull. 3-5ft, quite a bit of water moving. Only 3 of us, I went, under estimated the push of the white water, & the hand slipped on the duck dive, pushed side ways onto the rock that sits on its own next to keyhole, water surges back out & I find myself high & dry on said rock, arms still flailing in mid air as if I’m still paddling hard & going nowhere, board scrapping & grinding, realize what’s happen & tumble off said rock. Paddle out, quickly got a wave (low crowd numbers) board spun sideways, fin had been dislodged sideways, no matter up to car, replace fin, back out, 15 minutes later the onshore springs up, glass turns to chop, your kidding, fuck it, all I could do was laugh & hang the head.

Mr mick

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 9:38pm

Classic!
I love going to new spots but the first rock off is a mix of thrill and anxiety, jumping into the unknown.
Only been to Burleigh once and it was a few feet, bit onshore, still early and I hadn’t been watching closely enough to see where the previous guys had jumped from. I headed for a decent sized rock jumped in, went pretty well, started to relax and then did consecutive duck dives into different rocks.

shraz's picture
shraz's picture
shraz commented Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 10:23am

Sharkies is a sea of bleeding feet, I thought I was the only one but if you have a close look you'll see that nearly everyone has fresh cuts trailing blood in the lineup.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 9:50pm

Anyone else paddle on their board upside down over the rocks. There is one particular remote wave over this way that has a tricky scramble out to an even more tricky keyhole of sorts. Sneak out with the surge and there is big rock right in the way. I always paddle at least half a dozen strokes with the board upside to eliminate fin damage. Got scrapes in the deck of my old 7ft pinnie from that rock.
Easy coming in at that break tho!

Sipry's picture
Sipry's picture
Sipry commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 9:47pm

Why’s he gotta have a quad setup Macca?

david 24's picture
david 24's picture
david 24 commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 9:41am

The quad seems to be the setup older blokes like myself experiment with in an attempt to find that bit of zip we had in our youth. I don't think I've ever seen a Grom on a quad.

macca24

Sipry's picture
Sipry's picture
Sipry commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 9:04am

That’s my point- the description was a bit too close to the bone- saw a bit too much of myself for comfort perched atop that rocky prison.

SA Wetdog's picture
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SA Wetdog commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 10:36pm

Mattlock, upside down back to front. Yes

mattlock's picture
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mattlock commented Friday, 29 May 2020 at 10:51pm

Either way mate. I remember first doing coming in at some spots upside down with the fins in front. Have duck dived the other way putting my foot against the middle fin. Glass ins of coarse.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 12:09am

Often Mattlock- coupla spots in my neck of the woods where the fins-up paddle is warrented Usually tide dependent though.

1173

original smith's picture
original smith's picture
original smith commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 7:30am

Many fond memories of flicking my wee at you, perched nervously on a Burleigh boulder, waiting for your moment to leap...

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Wednesday, 3 Jun 2020 at 1:58pm

You'll keep, Smith.

sean killen's picture
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sean killen commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 8:08am

Years ago running down the beach full tilt .. face planted( leggie ) in front of three young girls who completely lost there shit laughing .. just got up said GDAY.. keep going.. first wave face planted AGAIN.. ( snapped fin) could hear the girls laughing again.. OH MY GOD HE SURFS LIKE HE RUNS. FACE FIRST.. my mates where in tears pissin em selfs heading out .. snapped fin bruised ego.. but still laughing about it today..

Pumkinhead

Yendor's picture
Yendor's picture
Yendor commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 8:27am

We've got a local spot that has a heavy shore break choked with weed, no rocks involved. Many is the time I've stood in the car park in stitches as a surfer tries to get out and is mercilessly dragged back into the shore break by the large mass of weed tangled in their leggie. They start on their feet but usually end up lying down being scraped on shingle and madly trying to release the leggie. Once they go back and forth with the dumping waves more than about 4 times the humor is magnified pretty hugely. Made the mistake of not taking off my own legrope before coming in a few times too. A couple of times I've contemplated having to rescue someone from the weed monster but they've usually sorted it out out by then.

shraz's picture
shraz's picture
shraz commented Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 10:21am

I reckon I know it well, even with a trailing leggie you still drag a ton or so with you, past the shorey, untangle it all and away you go!

Doogs's picture
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Doogs commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 8:34am

Okay Gra - that’s enough. Your blatant mockery has gone too far this time.
Even Macca has taken to openly drawing my caricature.
I’ll have you know I’m getting better, one jump at a time, at my rock offs.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 11:10am

High tide 6ft Red Bluff keyhole is always very entertaining to watch , guaranteed spankings for novice and expert alike, lots of laughs to be had from the peanut gallery (until its you) everyone getting washed back over the urchins into the sharp cliff face.
I have a rock off from a point break in South America. Went off no worries the arvo earlier with a local mate, came back alone for the dawny , looked much the same (in retrospect bigger and more consistent) , went out through the same rocky gully at the head of the point that we,d used yesterday , bit too stoned/ impatient perhaps , jumped and got about 5m out before first duckdive that dragged me just that bit too far back in, next wave the same bit further back and I,m feeling the rocks (booties on- lucky for me), next wave and i,m in the gully bouncing around but still holding on and trying to keep the board protected, couple more and i,m actually further up on the point than what was dry ground and wedged in a squatting position in a rock hole , almost washed backwards back all the way to the carpark by the end of it ha ha, shredded booties, cut feet, board and fins intact at least, still nobody around either to watch my arse kicking. Took the long way around off the beach after that.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 12:01pm

My worst one was rocking off by myself at an isolated southern Sydney reefbreak.

A big swell and high tide shut down the usual rock platform so I walked up the coast a bit and found what I thought was a good place to jump. Started sussing it out and from the corner of my eye I spied a fisho on a rock shelf above me. He looked my way and didn't say a thing, just shook his head. 

Undeterred by a clueless fisho I lined it up, timed my run across the platform, then jumped...a fraction of a second too late as whitewater blasted upwards and threw me back onto the rocks, then sucked me off the side into a deep fissure that was draining out leaving me trying to get my senses as the next wave approached the platform.

At that point my board didn't exist, I couldn't give a fuck about dings - this was full survival. I latched onto rocks but the whitwash peeled me off and slammed me down the point, across fallen boulders, down gullies, till it drew off again.

In all I probably got hit by five or six waves, and in each I was completely at their mercy, unable to control what rocks I'd hit or where I'd end up. At times I was way down in cracks amongst fallen boulders where the crabs and anenome live, then the next whitewash would hit and lift me and I'd crowdsurf on it down the point till I hit yet more boulders. I even washed across the usual jump rock, down to a place where I was finally high enough to get a hold and not get washed off.

Sat there for a while trying not to look at the fisho back up the coast, but when I did he made a 'you OK?' gesture. I smiled meekly and gave him the thumbs up, but in reality I was a mess. A full steamer stopped the worst cuts but my hands and feet were shredded, and while I sat there my left foot turned purple and blue. And when I looked closely it was a weird shape.

Had to hobble to my car, across muddy ground that seeps toxic waste, then figure out how the hell I was gonna drive a manual Kombi to the hospital with only one good foot. But I did. Pulled up to ER still in my wetsuit looking like I'd gone ten rounds with an industrial cheesegrater and had a drill press dropped on my hoof.

In all I broke six bones and copped a few months out of the water.

The worst was knowing there's a perfectly safe, albeit longer, paddle out at the same wave but I chose not to take it.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 12:16pm

Sorry, reading that is kinda funny- I can picture it.

Did you get your board back?

1173

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 12:22pm

Yep, though it was unsalvageable. It hadn't snapped, so it was ostensibly still in one piece, yet covered in wounds and finless a decade or so before Hynd.

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 12:44pm

Gee you've copped a few urchins etc in your time Stu. Do you ever just paddle out near the boat shed at local? I know it's a bit longer but no risk of injury and it's a nice warm up for the arms.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 1:08pm

Very rarely. I did it once during the last swell but only cos it was pitch black, the swell was big, and it was low tide.

A mate I surf with in the mornings always paddles out from there, says he likes the warmup, but I always feel like I've taken the easy option. Prefer to take a heart starter off the back and get my awareness up.

My old man has the best rockshelf story of all time, but he was fishing not surfing. Took off early one morning and wasn't home at the alotted time. Mum went down to find him, walked out around the headland, and found him unconcious on the rock platform with waves washing him this way and that.

He came to, and they went to hospital as he had a bad gash on his head and was pockmarked from head to toe.

He can't remember what happened but suspects he walked backwards to avoid a set, stepped in a hole and knocked himself out. Luckily he didn't get washed into the drink or he wouldn't be here.

Didn't slow down his rockfishing escapades any, and we had some incredible mornings fishing off wild headlands. It was often suggested I shouldn't tell Mum where we'd been.

These days I take my three boys down to various rock platforms to show them how to navigate them and not be an Arty Cook.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 2:42pm

Been surfing my local point break for 45 years now 48 years anyway 3 years
ago on a perfect off shore Sunday and the largest swell of the year I jumped leash
wrapped around pointed rock unbeknown to me frantically paddling out didnt
realise I was going no where water drained dry reef 6ft of whitewater at 18 sec
period obliterated me smashing me back and forth against the jagged barnacle
incrusted rocks numerous times resulting in rushed ambulance trip 5 fractures on my spine, fractured pelvis, broken coxes bone, crushed flat back muscles heavy lacerations, traumatised, pain in the vicinity ive never remotely experienced before for a very long time and still have back issues today.
I cant watch any of the kook slam videos against rocks that everybody is so
fond of and now suffer from anxiety and claustrophobia attacks from this experience.
I know people find this stuff really funny and entertaining as probably I once
did but seriously it can be a terrifying life changing experience.
Jumped of the very same ledge last weekend in the great swell and had a
massive time 4 days in a row.

IF im not surfing im racing

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 5:06pm

Probably would have been easier Evo if you told us what you didn't break.

1173

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Saturday, 6 Jun 2020 at 9:07pm

Wow heavy Evo. I can slightly relate....same deal...leggy around a boulder and two broken ribs and a broken nose and from the relentless pounding...just hoping eventually my leggy would find a way off the rock..to make matters worse got cut up on the way in too and it was hell muddy so had to do the walk of shame back wheezing, bleeding from the nose, shins, mud all over me....incidentally i'd just broken up with my chick that day and been evicted from my home. Top day!! haha

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 4:28pm

Jeez we've escalated from embarrassing rock mishaps to near death experiences with serious injury.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 5:57pm

Geez evo.. it’s absolutely smashed every story so far .. that’s a massive flogging..most blokes would of pull in pin on the sport .. awesome your still surfing mate

Pumkinhead

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 11:44pm

The cormorant bit was a nice touch .. that was faarkin funny.

gregmaina1's picture
gregmaina1's picture
gregmaina1 commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 8:32am

Just loved reading this with the beautiful little wife perched up in bed Sunday morning. My story starts on the rock platform at City (South) beach at The Gong several years ago. Big swell incoming tide and I’m having a great time. Third trip around back out skirting the rocks and the tide has risen dramatically and I’m oblivious. Out near the jump off I suddenly look up and see this wall of white steaming across the rocks toward me. What do I do but try to launch myself up over it in the vain hope that I’ll somehow ride over the surge. Next thing I’m face first down on the rock blood streaming and when I get back to the car my nose has a kink in it like a bend of the Murray river. Badly broken nose and I’m off to Wollongong Base hospital which at least gave me the excuse to finally get it fixed from the first kink which happened at Kirra in the 70’s. Lesson is that I’m very careful about jumping off at South beach these days.

Greg

Goodwolf's picture
Goodwolf's picture
Goodwolf commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 9:20am

"Like a bad dream where you’re running and not getting anywhere, but, aaah… without the running part.”
Ding Alley, your turns of phrase are art. Between you and Bell Tower Times, I get my fix of snorts and belly laughs.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 11:50am

OK, so here's two of mine to share: First one musta been '89 – solid swell running and ASL fellas (Peter Morrison, Rocky Rawlings and myself) bowl up at Currumbin Alley. Six foot plus and flawless. Brett Hodge, Spike Neumann and one or two others out. Rocky's like “Stick with me mate, we'll get off out the front" So I follow Rocky as closely as possible, all the way to the launch spot off the front. Thing is, Rocky's got a buggered ankle, all bandaged up, and is just a step or two slower than he'd usually be – which means he gets off but I'm there a fraction too late to launch alongside. Brace myself in no-man's land for impact as the next one hits: Can't actually tell you what happened next, other than the distinct memory of weightlessness, looking down at my feet, and seeing clear blue sky beyond my feet and wondering 'gee, that's odd.... I must be upside down'... and then being washed out through a divot on the south side of the shelf. Surfed and gawked at Rocky and PM getting bombs for an hour or so, and only realised the extent to which my right buttock had been shredded on coming in. PM drops me off at the docs on the way back to the office for a good old fashioned scrubbing... Second one wasn't a mishap so much as just plain odd, a year or so ago, out on the surge at local pointbreak, a flat and forgiving entry point. Anyway, in that zone where you can't turn back and you don't want to launch just yet. A deceptively forceful whitewater comes through and I do my best to hold my ground, but it just grabs me and slides me back, and back, and back. And I'm just standing there, parallel stance, like I'm on roller skates or reversing on one of those segway thingies, sliding along and wondering by what miracle I'm upright. It was just very very strange.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 12:09pm

Hey Gra,

To stop those standing rock slides you need to do the Flamingo Dance.

I figure one leg has less resistance than two, so when the whitewash is rushing at me, I lift my second leg as high as I can and stand there on one leg like a flamingo till the whitewash subsides.

Safety first, followed closely by grace.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 12:12pm

Yeah the ol' monopod method gets a good run mate.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 3:08pm

I stand on one arm. The resistance is even less.

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 4:12pm

Standing on one leg may result in less resistance but you've got half the strength to deal with the whitewash. Zero sum game?

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 5:42pm

I reckon the flamingo works unreal for knee deep or less (and you can always bring your spare leg down if need be) but when it gets deeper sometimes two planted feet are good? 'specially when the body's turned at 90 degrees so one leg's effectively in the lee of the other... but best measure is to minimise those moments when it's you versus surge because ... well ... Huey's generally punches a division or two heavier no matter what.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 5:59pm

Also, the flamingo gives the impression to onlookers that you have the situation under control.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 6:12pm

I’ve always got it under control......
......until I don’t :D

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 8:30pm

That's arguable Stu .. I've seen guys not used to cold water pull that move.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Monday, 8 Jun 2020 at 10:52am

I know it's a bit late to comment, (but this popped into my head this morning when knee deep) in the immortal words of Tom Petty, “The Waaaaaading is the hardest part."

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 5:00pm

I'm going with the 'flow' on this one...
Bruce said it best..."water can flow , or it can crash ,, be water my friend",,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJMwBwFj5nQ

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 6:44pm

I’ll second high tide Bluff in a large swell for potential tragedy. Extreme low tide re-entry at the Bluff can be hilarious to watch and traumatic to experience on occasion. Crew sometimes getting shunted beneath the undercut ledge . A couple of near death situations that I’m aware of.

Trying to do the chin up onto the platform as the water recedes away , looking every bit the first veterbrate attempting to drag their way onto terra firma and leave their watery ancestors behind.

Made worse when you’re in flippers and trying to drag a speared Spaniard up with you as bronzies lunge through the whitewash after a disappearing meal .

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 7:06pm

Pre-Superbank big groyne Kirra was a virtual coliseum for the rock off. On a good day there would be a queue upwards of 30 surfers giving you the hurry up and at least another 50 spectating blood voyeurs praying for your misfortune.
For me it wasn't so much the rocks as the current pulled you straight away down the line, it was the timing between the sets and the first duckdive under 10ft of hard drawing, 'Ol Kirra, sand draining pipes of death.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

marcus's picture
marcus's picture
marcus commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 6:09am

Bloody hilarious. Great story

i remember the internet when it was just for intelligent people but.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 7:57pm

Great story Gra, and great recaps from the crew. You aren't a surfer of you haven't got an embarrassing rock off story. Steak and veggies are close so maybe later but enjoyed them all.

Stu, single leg flamingos has the maths on its side, variables of force versus area, but that slips if traction is compromised, hence chaos theory. Make it up as you go along. My best is about getting smacked in the face by my board as wave hits the rock and smashes up. Nothing broken, but dazed and confused as I managed the rest of the set and the draining sand bank.
Like most, seen so much more than I've experienced. Mostly because I weigh up the odds carefully. Good luck gents.

Hoodie's picture
Hoodie's picture
Hoodie commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 8:29pm

As a 50 year old, some days I feel just like Arty.
PS Barry Cornell's a cunt.

ScottWilliams's picture
ScottWilliams's picture
ScottWilliams commented Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 5:51am

Too funny guys. The best thing I've read in years. Please write more of this stuff...

H2O's picture
H2O's picture
H2O commented Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 11:04am

Broke my nose in exactly the manner you described Batfink.
Another great episode.

H20

Mangrove's picture
Mangrove's picture
Mangrove commented Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 11:18am

Brilliant read

My one. Years back. Student at Tweed Hospital ED - did ward round - boring nothing on. Surf pumping - skipped my shift - crook. Straight to the Alley. Massive - pumping 6-8. Third run around hadn't really noticed the tide had come in. Crowd on the rock. Line up waiting to jump off the front. Couldn't jump the key hole as the sand was too low and the sweep a killer. Ran in front of the crew ( bad move) only to be faced with a big double up on the rocks (worse). I hesitated (what a kook). Tried to run back out of the way. My feet (soft desk feet) on the sharp edged rocks don't mix. I was dawdling. Smashed by the white-water from behind - very strange as I body surf on my back through the line of other surfers hanging on like limpets bouncing over the rocks - up and down the gulley. Smashing my forearms hands and arse on the barnacles. Drove myself back to Tweed ED - broken thumb, 47 stitches to my forearms and arse. My supervisor taking delight in scrubbing the bastards - teaching me to skip her teaching sessions. Board was on my chest the whole way and not a scratch - like holding a beer up at the cricket.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 12:19pm

Ha ha! The Alley has claimed a couple of us on this thread- me included.

1173

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 12:34pm

I like this thread.

Can't stop smiling whilst cringing. Thank you all.

garyg1412's picture
garyg1412's picture
garyg1412 commented Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 12:55pm

A mate of mine back in the 80's was at the forefront of extreme sports and was bungy jumping before the Hacketts were a twinkle in their mums eye. We used to jump off the railings on what was the old pier in Durban. Unfortunately for my mate Doug his leash hooked around the top of a railing post as he jumped. In a millisecond his board was wrenched from his grip and ended up being the oddest looking grapple hook in history. He was upside down in the water for about 5 seconds I reckon having just completed the world's first bungee jump after which the board came loose and ended up being the oddest looking projectile in history. His leash survived (as did Doug) but the tail of his board went from a swallowtail to a squash tail. We couldn't stop laughing. Suffice to say Doug didn't see the funny side!!!

Mangrove's picture
Mangrove's picture
Mangrove commented Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 2:33pm

got the giggles now

spelled3's picture
spelled3's picture
spelled3 commented Tuesday, 2 Jun 2020 at 5:00pm

Love these Ding Alley stories. Keep 'em coming :-)

views from the cockpit's picture
views from the cockpit's picture
views from the ... commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 5:57am

Not quite rock off but...
About 15 years old with first brand new board (Skipp single fin pintail flyer with groovy spray job) under arm whilst riding skateboard back from mates place after showing it off.
Hit a stone that chocked the wheels.
As I was flying through the air I distinctly remember "board or hand?"
Well, I ground all the skin off my knuckles and top of my hand but not a scratch on the board.
Old mate walking down the street just laughs and says "whatta ya do for an encore?"

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 7:26am

Classic! And technically it was still a rock!

joe.ashford's picture
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joe.ashford commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 8:42am

Fuck this reminds me of the other weekend trying the rock off at merewether in that last big swell. Stood there with board and wettie from 630am to 830am and with 10 foot bombs detonating nonstop just couldn't bring myself to jump in.

Really had me questioning what the fuck I was doing there. Wanted to go back to the car but also too much pride to turn around with dry hair and the crowd was building. Got pushed off my feet on more than one occasion.

Eventually the tide came in a little and there was a couple of lulls, I jumped into a surge and got lucky. Out the back was just pure magic. Second only to that June 2016 swell

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Saturday, 6 Jun 2020 at 8:42pm

Stu, my old mate, on the flip-side of your horror rock-off, at least you got sucked-off (and disappeared into a deep fissure) for your troubles. Gary G would be very envious.