Local Waterman Spontaneously Combusts
The Toonalook surf community is reeling from the explosive demise of area real estate agent and self-described alpha waterman, Matty 'Muscles' Sherman, late Wednesday afternoon.
Sherman – 36 and in magnificent condition – reportedly checked the surf from the Toona backbeach lookout before sunrise, and appeared typically excited and upbeat to fellow early risers.
“Sherm was amping on the new swell like he always does,” recounts local sparky Josh Cassidy, also checking the surf that morning, “in the space of five minutes he must have mentioned a dozen different types of craft that would suit the conditions the best.”
Mr Sherman then returned home to consult the internet over a breakfast of activated Acai based superfoods, and having confirmed no swells-of-lifetimes were unloading anywhere within a 1000 km radius – and possibly enjoying a powerwank over that recent clip of Keahi de Aboitiz kitesurfing – he then set to work through an abbreviated version of the Lairdpower™ strength and conditioning routine.
“Sherm found the training essential for his watermanly lifestyle,” good friend and occasional tow partner Linus Canning told reporters “certainly helpful for the physicality of whatever the ocean had to throw at him, sure, but primarily needed for lugging and loading various surfcraft around the place.
“Try getting a 30-foot Red Cedar SUP Ocean Racer on the roof of the Landcruiser on your own sometime and tell me you don’t need a kick arse regimen.”
Ding Alley can reveal that between 8.30 and 10.00am, neighbours report hearing Mr Sherman noisily loading his 4WD, trailer, and jetski trailer with his entire collection of surfcraft.
“At first I thought he was having a garage sale, or going camping or something” says long term Toona resident and notorious stickybeak Bea Smith, 78, “and I said as much across the fence ... he just muttered something about how I wouldn’t say that if I lived in ‘da’ islands, that no-one knows what the sea can throw at a man, and that he wouldn’t expect me to understand what deep passion drives him.
“He mentioned something about Atlantis, or Neptune, I think, but I'd already gone back inside by then and the tele was on so I can't say for sure.”
Mr Sherman and his convoy of trailers returned to the Toona backbeach carpark by 10.30am, and witnesses say he spent the next hour and a half unloading and transporting his flotilla of craft on to the beach.
“I asked him if he wanted a hand with the jetski trailer” recalls local grommet Gordon Davey “’cos the bullock harness he was wearing to haul it through the dunes looked pretty uncomfortable and he seemed a bit flustered ... he said he was alright and that it was good resistance training.”
Though there are no suspicions of foul play, police are investigating the events that followed.
“We’ve accessed the Swellnet surf cam archives to study the sequence of events that led to the deceased’s spontaneous combustion,” Senior Detective Constable Mal Padgett told Ding Alley, “and though the cams are famously buggy, we can ascertain that the victim brought his craft out on to the beach in the following order:
“Ocean-going SUP; traditional malibu; 16 foot paddleboard; one-man outrigger; flippers; jetski; 18 foot paddleboard; quad fin bat-tail; 18-foot clubbie ski; vintage lifesaving belt and reel; vintage hollow 'toothpick' craft; reconditioned Michael Peterson single fin dagger tail; authentic Paipo lie-down surf craft; high-performance 12 foot SUP; Peruvian fishing craft (traditional reed construction); heavily concaved finless surfboard; Campbell Brothers Bonzer; autographed George Greenough surf mat; various craft made from balsa, carbon fibre, aluminium and recycled plastic bottles; boulder for underwater running; authentic Morning of the Earth-era single fin hot dogger; Simmons-twin-fin keel fish; an actual fish (regulation size Jewy in tank); two unshaped blanks: four variations on foil boards (regular, stand up, tow, kite) McCoy Keel-Fin Lazor Zap; assorted Go Pro cameras and mounts, high-performance windsurfer; kite-board; hand-board: merman tail and axe.
“We were puzzled by the axe until Mr Sherman marched up the beach to the foreshore and carved himself out a Alaia out of a banksia tree.”
Beachgoers allege that through the afternoon, Mr Sherman remained on the beach, in an increased state of agitation wondering aloud which surfcraft to finally decide on before taking to the water.
On several occasions he was seen striding purposefully down the beach with a selected item of surf equipment underarm, only to falter at the water’s edge and return – as if pulled by gravity – to his pile of gear.
At dusk, Josh Cassidy – who’d met Sherman at their early morning surf check – came out of the water and the pair exchanged the pleasantries that would prove to be fatal.
“He asked me how it was and what he should ride” recalls a still clearly shaken Cassidy. “I just said it was sick fun. I’d had three surfs through the day and it was perfect just for a standard shortboard”
“He looked right through me and said softly ‘oh, I don't think I have one of those...’
“And that’s when it happened, his head just exploded clean off his body and shot into the sky. A few quivering flips of his merman tail and it was all over. Gone.
“Unbelievable. It’ll take a day to get all his junk off the beach.”
// DING ALLEY
Ding Alley is ’Toonerist David @maccatoons McArthur and Writerer Gra Murdoch. Their first cars – both Datsuns – met untimely ends. Macca’s girlfriend rolled his 1600 just west of Freshwater Creek one night circa ’87. Murdoch’s 200B was retired in ’89 after mounting a Broadbeach curb after an evening of refreshments in Surfers Paradise. Macca’s business acumen came to the fore when he sold the rusting hulk for 100 bucks a few months later while Murdoch was in Sumbawa.