Flyer: Old Age and Cheetos
Last month, a bunch of my mates made a mid-week dash down the South Coast.
The plan was for a two day stay, lob at a holiday house, and surf an unseasonal south swell that appeared on the charts.
I got an invite but had to turn it down. ‘Twas school holidays. I was kid-sitting.
The south swell came through with gusto, though the timing was a little late and the sizing above forecast - in some regions way above forecast.
The day after the swell I came into the office and BD, who I share office space with, sat me down and told me about the trip. About how they surfed the reef at sunset on the first day - which was forecast to be the biggest day - and were underwhelmed by 5’-6’ waves.
“We thought it’d be bigger,” said BD forlornly.
The next morning, expecting the same, they grabbed their shortboards and walked down the beach in the pre-sunrise gloom, then paddled out without getting a fix on the size. It’s always a long paddle out, this time worse as whitewash was rolling all the way to shore, but their minds were set on yesterday’s trend.
What they weren’t expecting when they finally cleared the whitewash and rounded the point was 10’-12’ long period waves breaking under the lightest of offshores. They were staggered by the sight.
BD - who’s 61-years old - then regaled me with the events of the morning. How Coxy, who on a 6’8” was the only one with something halfway adequate, paddled way out to a boil they’d never seen before and jagged five triple-overhead bombs. How the rest of them played cat and mouse with the feline often catching its prey. How when Ant attempted to catch an avalanche of whitewash he inadvertently gave a high-pitched hoot and the rest of them pissed themselves laughing at his plight. How the wave put on a spectacular show of beauty and might, and how it just kept getting bigger and better.
And how it was just the six of them out and no-one else turned up all morning.
It sounded like a grommet’s adventure: ambushed by size, the gang pushed their limits; someone rode the hero wave while the rest got flogged; they all survived then went home to eat Cheetos.
I then called Smithy, who’s holiday house they stayed at, for his breakdown. Always effusive, the phone call with Smithy was bizarre to the point of being rude. He talked over the top of me, answered my questions with non sequiturs, said he didn’t know what I was talking about and then hung up.
Rightio. I wasn’t expecting that.
Ten minutes later a text arrived: “Sorry mate. In car with my boss. He thinks I was working yesterday.”
Smithy, I should explain, is 59-years old. He's a professor and an author of many books and journals, and he's held in high regard among his peers.
Meanwhile, an entire industry is built upon the premise of eternal youth, selling anti-aging products from creams to kombucha to colonic irrigation, and there's no end of punters who want in.
If only they knew...
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