The Flyer: Mad Vax

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)

The surfer sits nervously in the corner of the chemist, eyes flashing towards the front window at the shoppers passing by. Maybe they’re smiling, maybe they’re not, it’s impossible to tell from under their masks.

“You here for the jab?” asks a doctor who appears from behind a curtain to the left.

“Yeah...uh...Bryce sent me here.”

“Bryce!” the doctor replies, a glint appearing in his eyes. “I see, I see.”

The surfer wonders whether he should trust the doctor, as he doesn’t look like a medical professional at all. With a swarthy visage and a monobrow he presents more like a Dayak warrior. And his demeanour: eager, edgy, not to mention those wild eyes - a soothing bedside manner he has not.

‘Perhaps the skeptics were right about the jab,’ the surfer thinks to himself, yet before he could back out the doctor offers his hand.

“I’m Ross and I’m here to help.”

Without pausing he asks, “Do you know where you want to go?”

With that the surfer snaps back into reality.

“Uh, yeah. I do.”

“Well,” continues Doctor Ross, a small intravenous needle in his hand, “let’s do it shall we?”

The needle pierces the skin, then as he retracts it the doctor nods to the surfer who closes his eyes and in a dull, lilting monotone says:

“I wanna go to Grajagan...”

The first thing the surfer registers is the smell of cloves, then the sound of breaking waves - and was that Buzz Bidstrup’s guitar in the distance? - and he opens his eyes to see a set feathering on the Pad. There’s an Outer Island gun on the sand next to him and Camel runs past.

“You comin’ or what?”


Laying in his bed, the surfer lingers in the netherworld between dreaming and awake. And what a dream! A place he hadn’t surfed in years and yet the dream was so vivid. Things were bending out of shape during this extended lockdown, he knew this much.

Standing up he realised he was wearing boardshorts, his shoulders hurt, and the backs of his legs were seared a deep red.


The surfer took his place in the corner of the chemist and waited for the doc to appear from behind the curtain. When he did they exchanged knowing looks, then both cracked up laughing. Ross got his needle out and asked, “You ready?”

“You betcha!”

The needle pierced the skin, Ross' thumb depressed the vaccine, and as he removed it the surfer closed his eyes and spoke, this time with much more gusto.

“I want to go to P’Pass.”

The first sensation is the rocking of the boat, and he opens his eyes to see a six-foot set stand up on the ledge, then slow its forward momentum till it's drained enough water off the reef, before the top-heavy lip pitches and the cerulean barrel races towards him.

“Pumping, eh bra?”

The surfer turns to his right. “Allois! Mate I haven’t seen you in years.”

“Your timing is good,” says Allois, “it’s the first north swell of the season.”

And the surfer jumps overboard, the bath warm water energising him for the paddle towards the ledge.


The next time the surfer goes to the chemist there’s a queue. All of them are surfers, some he knows on first-name basis and some he simply recognises from the beach.

He takes his place behind Tom, who through sunburn and freckles smiles a beatific smile. “You here for the jab?” he asks.

“Yeah. Might go west this time. Skeleton Bay, or maybe J’Bay - I’m getting sick of perfect lefts.”

“That’s some mad vax, hey?” says Tom and they both roll up their sleeves and wait.


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But Aron Cox goes, make no mistake about that. Read More >

Watch: Mad Wax

Apropos of nothing at all, it's the 1987 surf classic featuring Bryce Ellis, Tom Carroll, and Ross Clarke-Jones as the Wiz. Read More >


wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 7:34am

Lockdown restrictions taking toll, hey Stu?

I couldn't help but look up the original, and it was more cringeworthy than I remembered.

science's picture
science's picture
science Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 8:06am

What my jab didn't have heroin in it I was jipped

Avalon Now's picture
Avalon Now's picture
Avalon Now Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 8:50am

Disappointed that Wingnut posted the link. I preferred the idea that all readers under 30, perhaps even all under 40, thought Stu had finally lost his mind. Max Wax may have been the death knell for 'plot' driven surf movies. And RCJ's acting career.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 9:08am

Ross' Mad Wax board turned up when we were filming Storm Surfers in 2011, it'd been sitting in some bloke's garage for years.

If I recall correctly, he traded it for a new mini-mal (the term 'mid-length' having not been created by the surf industry marketing department at that time).

Here it is, up on the wall in the Storm Surfers 'lab' where we filmed the movie.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 9:57am

I’d settle with being able to go outside my LGA at this point.

But aside from that, maybe Madeira in the Bill Finnegan days

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 11:17am

Despite all its flaws, ill remarks about mad wax should not be tolerated and dealt with harshly by the moderators!
What a soundtrack.
Great write up Stu. Really enjoyed that.
I’m off to buy a big bag of groceries.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 2:07pm

Totally agree - Mad Wax is a masterpiece.

Albe Falzon could only wish to make a film half as poignant.

And at the risk of pushing into art essay territory; keen eyes were watching the story of the tripping surfers, the magical wax, and the hungry goat, because if you don't have Mad Wax then you don't have Doped Youth, Scary Good, Red Monkey, or the 'screenplay' for Campaign 2.

Young Vaughan Blakey clearly paid attention and the surfing world is better for it.

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 9:42pm

Yeah right, never thought that much about the influence; you join the dots nicely.
I wonder when Vaughn tuned into mad wax. He would’ve been pretty young when it came out.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 1:23pm


And to all those who think Mad Wax is a joke, well, come on. It came out when I was in Yr12 at school and got so much of a hiding in the VCR it would have been more stretched than a Waimea leggy.

I'd much prefer to see a good old-school piss-take than a lot of what passes for surf footage now.

Buggered if I know why it premiered at the Enmore, though - that's miles from the wet stuff.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 4:09pm

I want to surf Summercloud in winter- in boardies.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 5:20pm

"yeah....uh..Bryce sent me here."
haha ,, can't wait for the goat to eat the vaccine formula and for 'Dr Ross' to start concocting a new batch from memory .."Was it 20 or 40mls , "

brainiac's picture
brainiac's picture
brainiac Saturday, 4 Sep 2021 at 8:03pm

I made my groms watch this a month ago. They think I am a bit odd........ i was frothing.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 8:09am

Very good Stu, lockdown has the creative juices flowing.

Webbsmart's picture
Webbsmart's picture
Webbsmart Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 10:24am

So very very cleaver Stu. Hopefully this may influence anyone who is eligible but vaccine hesitant.

Lozzac23's picture
Lozzac23's picture
Lozzac23 Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 8:13pm

That was the most God awful big pharma propaganda I have ever read in my life. unsubscribe

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 8:30pm

So what's the accusation, Lozzac23? Are you suggesting "Big Pharma" (exactly who is that, by the way?) are providing financial incentive for Swellnet to push a vaccination agenda to its audience?

Lozzac23's picture
Lozzac23's picture
Lozzac23 Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 8:41pm

I already unfollowed. No need to reply. Stick to reporting the surf and not offering unsolicited medical advice!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 8:55pm


Pipe Penetrator's picture
Pipe Penetrator's picture
Pipe Penetrator Friday, 10 Sep 2021 at 10:11pm

Keep the toxic-jab wet dream to yourself next time, champion