Grommet Claims Barrel, Jury Of Peers Unconvinced
Several hours after 12-year-old surfer Daniel Hughes claimed to have been ‘fully shacked’ at Toona’s Main Beach, the facts of the matter seem no closer to hand.
The incident occurred Saturday 9.35am AEST, when Danny and a small cohort of enthusiasts were surfing a reform peak out front of the Toona SLSC, where some of the less fortunate are conscripted as nippers.
Hughes paddled back out to his friends after taking a small inside wave, and excitedly described the tube ride no-one had witnessed.
13-Year-Old Gordon Davey – respected among Hughes’ circle of friends as the guy who A) does the best reos ’n’ stuff, and B) pashed a girl (Fiona Cornell, 14, lookout tower, SLSC disco, last summer) – immediately disputed Hughes’ claim.
“Bullshit Hughesy!” Davey is quoted as saying.
Onlookers report a heated exchange between Hughes and Davey, with Hughes protesting the authenticity of his barrel by describing how “The lip came right over my head. I wasn’t super deep or nuthin’, but I was fully slotted ’n’ that.”
The agitation flared back up mid-morning at the ToonaPies Bakery post-surf pigout as Hughes – not realising Davey was within earshot – recounted the alleged barrel to a non-surfing passer-by. Once again, Davey provided forceful opinion to the contrary – this time stirring up support from others who’d been out there that morning.
Critically, Hughes’ best mate Tony Mcallum expressed doubts, asking quietly: “Mate, are you sure you didn’t kinda imagine it? Like, did you have your eyes open? I mean, you always bail, hey. Why didn’t you jump off like you always do?”
Realising he could count only on the support of the two individuals with less currency than him in the group’s brutally-enforced hierarchy (one being his eight-year-old brother Cormac, who rides a bodyboard), Hughes sensibly nudged open the window of compromise, reasoning “OK, so it wasn’t an amazing tube, but it was definitely a cover-up, there was stuff going on everywhere.
“I reckon if you were on the beach and a bit back I would have totally disappeared for a sec. Maybe not all of me at once, but, y’know, it would have been like, ‘where’s Hughesy? Oh, hang on, there he is’.”
Hughes’ small concession was enough to ignite a robust exchange of opinions as the group strived to parse the incident to an acceptable resolution.
“It’s a credit to these kids,” said local electrician Josh Cassidy, (popping in for a loaf of multigrain sliced for toast and barely escaping being subpoenaed as a character witness.) “When ya mate tells ya he got barrelled, you’ve got to know that it actually happened – some of these kids’ll be mates for life – they’re setting the terms for the next 50 years of post-surf convos, so it’s vital they sort this shit out now.”
And so claim, counter claim, refutation, cross examination, and stirring closing argument were put forth over the refuelling stop that any self-respecting beachside bakery provides children needing to bridge the gap between brekky and lunch – pie, chocolate milk, snotblock – (as opposed to the chalkboard menu at the Artisan Bakery down the road that no kid can afford let alone pronounce).
By the time the ToonaPies session had finished, a magnanimous Davey had allowed Hughes’ ride to be recorded in the group’s oral-history archive as ‘full-on head-dip’, and harmony in Toona’s dynamic, volatile, but tight-knit grom cabal had resumed.
Friends say they will keep a close watch on Hughes on return to school Monday however, lest he revert back to his original barrel claim.
“Any money he tells Kath Dobson he got fully barrelled” sighed his best mate Mcallum, “Hughesy’s got the hots for her something shocking.”
// DING ALLEY
Ding Alley is two mates, ’toonist David @maccatoons McArthur and former surf mag design / editorial hack Gra Murdoch. Both have fallen victim to corporate downsizing in their respective media careers, but the bitter sting of redundancy did nothing to extinguish their burning creative flames – which were long dead already, and cold to the touch.