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session at south avalon

The ladies by the pool watched him closely, and were the first to notice his slow progress along the outside edge of the pool.

His faulty step, the stagger and jump  – far too late.

South Avalon had been breaking well behind the pool for the previous six days, perfect heaping rights that wandered a regular route all the way through to north of the clubhouse, and it wasn’t surprising to see an old grey-head in the carpark behind the Avalon surf club pulling his 3 stringer Dooley out of the car and putting on his ragged wetsuit at about 1.30pm this friday, the warmest time of day. Lunch done, now for some pleasure – just like old times.

Thinly haired, loosely fleshed and looking a little nervous, the old boy did the normal preparations and after locking up his Nissan he walked slowly down to the pool apron, stuck his towel and keys in a crevice out of the tide’s way and then sat awhile on the concrete bench to watch and time his entry.

Thirty plus bodies out there riding three to a wave at times on sets of six or more, faces well overhead, ballooning crests and every twenty minutes a couple twice as big bang through the line-up.

Thick buggers, moving quick from the sea and drawing up vertical on the mid-tide banks.

Kid’s stuff, for quick and agile kids.

Half high tide and the jump off is only clear for ten seconds every two minutes and the youth of Avalon wander down the pool edge oblivious to risk and they dare the sea to claim them. Like jumping off a bus.

Three waves and an hour later grandad retrieved his towel and keys, dried off, packed up and left the beach, and after twenty minutes at home in the hot shower he tried to explain to his faithful wife of nearly 45 years how the kids these days weren’t nearly as bad as rumour would have them.

‘ They let me have three waves, ‘ he told her.

‘ The only one I had to meself was a close-out set and all the way down the face I copped hoots and whistles from the mob as they scratched out of me way.’

Later that night, and after our hero got in the way of a couple of large OP rums, he confided to his little lady that all surfers are saints and the youth of today are an example to all the ages.

‘ Catching waves is a serious business,’ he finally muttered at lights out, ‘ you gotta have the water love ya to do it right.’


previously published in kurungabaa

pic of north av by bruce usher

Bruce Usher is one of the best looking and well-preserved photographers operating out of the northern beaches – he has made and lost several fortunes and is never seen without some serious glamour hanging off his arm.

Bruce is an unusually reticent man and will at times sit silently in a crowd, his utterances few. He surfs with consummate skill and shares with the late Jack ‘ Bluey ‘ Mayes the ability to swtch foot in mid-air, this always amuses the youth of north avalon who defer to him honourably.

kidding aside, he does do good pics

have a squiz –


14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pete bit of a bio ?

    August 9, 2011
    • you want me to do a bit of a bio on you bruce .. ? – this could be a dangerous thing

      August 9, 2011
      • My good sir, was actually referring to perhaps one of your recent South Avalon watery escapades as ref for your literary work. Now my bio would be another matter. But thanks for the read. We should add highly influenced by the Head, Conrad and Jock at Sunset. B

        August 9, 2011
  2. This is definitely one of your best Pete.
    And this – ‘ Catching waves is a serious business,’ he finally muttered at lights out, ‘ you gotta have the water love ya to do it right.’
    surfing is such a metaphor for the grand thing we call life

    August 9, 2011
    • Grand indeed Jo, but those cold black winter mornings were a test, if it wasn’t for a few silly mates who led me on – Where are you Russ?

      August 9, 2011
      • Are you sure it wasn’t you leading them on…

        August 9, 2011
  3. I’d come back home two hours later, white hands and feet, bone cold, and spend 30 minutes in the hot shower – then I’d spend twenty minutes telling the little lady how good it was – some days I couldn’t turn the key in the car door –

    only a surfer knows the lack of feeling

    August 9, 2011
  4. Mike #

    Thats a classic tale Peter.

    I had to ask an old woman to turn my car door key for me and she held my hand like it was a dead appendage.

    One thing you never consider when you want one last good wave is the effect the long hike out will have on your shivering.

    August 10, 2011
  5. Davo's Liver #

    I’m going with a Grade AAA rating on this one Pete.

    Thanks. Again.

    August 10, 2011
  6. mike, davo – thanks yeselves .. reckon another challenge with the big feller is on?

    August 10, 2011
    • Davo's Liver #

      Never a bad time to challenge the big feller. Git er done while yer young.

      August 10, 2011
  7. Mike #

    Challenge the big feller? I’m warning you Peter, Mark is huge.

    August 11, 2011
    • attract his attention – I’m up for a challenge –

      August 11, 2011
  8. Karen #

    Still love this story.

    August 13, 2011

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