The Flyer: The Prodigal Son
“What’s that fool doing?” said the driver of the work ute to his mate, “There’s barely a wave breaking out there.”
Sitting in the passenger seat of the car, his mate laughed. No other reply was necessary, they were both on the same wavelength, united in mockery.
Five minutes earlier the foolish surfer was alone in the windblown carpark, slipping into his steamer with considered movements. He then waxed an unridden mid-length while staring at its unfamiliar dimensions, before slipping a legrope through the plug and wrapping his left arm around the rail.
Between the girth of the mid-length, an expanse he wasn’t used to, and the stiff northerly wind grabbing at its bulk, he struggled to find an equilibrium. As the board lifted up and down a ute pulled into the carpark, its occupants eyeing him doubtfully. If they looked closer, they would’ve seen the surfer smiling. But smiling at what?
Walking off the black top onto the sand, the surfer made for the north end as he always did. There was little sense in studying the conditions; the guys in the ute weren’t the only ones who knew the surf was abysmal.
Paddling slowly from the creek mouth, it took time to find the sweet spot on the board as it bobbed with unexpected buoyancy. Paddling too was laborious, his left arm did most of the work as his right swung limply through the water while he wondered how Bethany Hamilton managed. Didn’t she surf Padang Padang a few years ago?
By the time he got out the back the ute had gone and the carpark was empty once more. It stayed that way for the next two hours. But if anyone did turn up, they too would’ve wondered what the surfer was doing, alone among foot-high windswell, sometimes paddling 500 metres to the south only to turn and paddle 500 metres back to the north, then sit on his board and stare at the horizon, or at the arc of the bay as it bent towards the point, maybe turn around and take in the surf club, the suburb behind it, and the escarpment behind that.
He caught a few waves. Tiny surges that barely accommodated his lopsided effort and caused more incongruous smiling.
The surfer had missed the best swells of the autumn, yet he was back in the water now. As the sun dropped behind the escarpment and street lights washed across the beach, the surfer made a solemn vow to himself: “No more jumping fucking mountain bikes.”
Toweling Off At The Tub
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O Roaring Forties, Where Art Thou?
From replicable perfection to the mysteries of the natural world. And this one is a mystery. Winter is upon us but the Southern Ocean frontal progressions so typical of the season are yet to make an appearance. Read More >
Channeling poet Bruce Dawe, Dan Dobbin ruminates on the contrast between the boundaries marked by human hand and the wild surfing experience. Read More >
Are we heading for a double-dip La Niña?
Back to the lab we go, and this one will take a clear head to follow. Craig lays out the likelihood, and the reasons, for a return to La Nina. East Coast surfers rejoice, those in the southern states, not so much. Read More >
On This Day: Andy Irons Wins The Rip Curl Search Mexico
On Wednesday it was fifteen years since AI stood on the winner's dais in Mexico, however the event is better known for the location and its backstory. With the CT returning this year it's worth reacquainting ourselves. Story includes footage plus links to said backstory. Read More >