T-Shirt was a thoroughly likeable young man who made friends wherever he lay down his hat. He belonged neither here nor there amongst the self-conscious groups of young men who had colonized the beach and wore it like a fashion, Terry T-Shirt was just a naturally relaxed, let it flow, shit don’t stick kind of fellow.
And he had one particular skill that defied all convention, because not only was he a masterful boardrider, he had a notion of what was coming. Terry was one of the rare ones who had an inbuilt clock with an alarm that only he heard, an alarm that heralded an approaching set well out of the sight and expectation of the rest of us.
So there we all would sit, fifteen minutes into a lull and everybody reckoning that when the the waves came, whenever they came, everybody had rights to the first – a typical scenario that is as valid today as it was in 1962.
And when the long awaited set finally did arrive the only person in the right position to take it was Terry T-shirt, every bloody time. He had this uncanny knack of being able to time the arrival of the next set of waves, not only that but until his private alarm bell rang he’d be inside pinching all those waves as well, and all alone.
He became brazen as the years passed, and would slowly paddle through us all on his way out, his private bells chiming away in his big ears, wordlessly challenging any of us to follow him.
This we would never do, because pride is such a foolish paddling companion, though I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded at all. Terry was a very generous fellow.
Word has it that he is long settled at Scotts Head with similar desperates from that period, and is happy to call that long point break his own. Apparently he has a very large local following.
Serves the old bastard right.