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taking off and faking off.

The surfer is many animals, he is on the one hand a sublime and handsome creature sensitive to the faint nuances of nature with all the oceans as his playground, and on the other he is a devious and vain dick blockhead with unrealistic notions of his skill – Notions that are his regular undoing, and skills that are regularly suspect.

What we are dealing with here today is how a surfer deals with a public failure;  falling off his board at a really bad time and in front of the entire crew.

This kind of misfortune can however be transformed by a subtle form of theatre, and unlike the stage with its attentive and generally appreciative audience, faking it in the surf is an act that does not seek applause, the opposite in fact – the faker is always happy to do his job and then melt away into his audience.

Both pretensions to reality have scripts, one is written, memorised and rehearsed at great length, the other is created on the spot – and usually underwater.

Ad(glub)lib.

Act 1 ~ blame  FCS fin systems.

Roy from Avalon has come off a set wave in front of the entire Saturday morning crew, he has fallen from the top to the bottom of a flawless eight foot wave that everybody out there wanted. The best wave of a set of two.

Roy though is ready, five seconds underwater and the script is written, the moves rehearsed – Roy is going to fake it.

He surfaces and grabs the tail of his (bright yellow) board and fips it over to expose the fin system, Roy moves his hands down to the base of the board and gives each fin a little toggle (check system security, check hold security), he lifts up the end of the board and squints down its length (check cant angle, check fin sweep, check fore and aft placement)– He slyly scans the line-up and sees that the ten second attention span he has been alloted is over and with a silky expertise he is back onto his board and heading back out. Resumes position at head of queue.

Crew judgement is System Failure – Roy gets a pass.

Act 2 ~ blame the nearest kook.

Rowdy from Avalon has come off a set wave in front of the entire Saturday morning crew, he has fallen from the top to the bottom of a flawless eight foot wave that everybody out there wanted. The best wave of a set of two.

Rowdy is ready, five seconds underwater and the script is written, the moves rehearsed – Rowdy is going to fake it.

Rowdy surfaces and jams the board back under him and he looks around for the nearest out of town kook, and after spotting one sitting there minding his own business he  paddles over aggressively and accuses him of a gross infamy, he suggests that he, Rowdy,  is the victim of some venality, a conspiracy; not only that but he requests that the poor chap lodge his old twinfin into a place where it could not possibly fit. He insults all the members of the kook’s family, his religion, his choice of motor vehicle.

Rowdy is well known for his intemperate rages and in no time at all the crew has completely forgotten his original lapse and is enjoying the confrontation, as usual – The kook is eventually ordered in to the beach and Rousey (oops) Rowdy slips back out and reclaims his forefront position in the queue, next to Roy.

Where they share a chuckle.

Crew judgement is Outside Influences  – Rowdy is exonerated.

Act 3 ~ blame the inferior wax distribution.

Reddog from Avalon has come off a set wave in front of the entire Saturday morning crew, he has fallen  etc etc etc ….

Dog is ready, five seconds underwater and the script is written, the moves rehearsed – He  is going to fake it.

Dog flips his board deck up and runs his palm over the bottom half and with a few choice oaths he commences to comb up the wax coating with his right hand fingernails. The message being here that the board is way too slick and the wax quality grossly inferior.  Dog perseveres with the ruse despite that he is a habitual nail-biter and has not been successful in scratching an itch in all of his 35 years. Ironically  there are more than a few in the 2107 postcode who sadly regard Reddog as an infernal irritation –

< – – – –reddog’s problem.

Nevertheless the act has a successful run and Dog slips back onboard and steals his way back into the line-up – up there with Roy and Crowdy – at the head of the queue. More chortling.

Crew judgement is Inferior Product – Dog is forgiven, though there is some lingering doubt.

Act 4 ~ blame the lobster.

Scott is eighty-four years old and has been known to wait five hours for the wave of the day, he likes to sit about a hundred yards further out than anyone else and has no interest in ethics, unspoken laws, right of way or drop-in rules.

In his own words –

Bondi Point (Ben Buckler) was our favorite spot on a big day, riding the toothpicks..I remember on one special day we were out at Bondi Point..It was huge..I had several verbal exchanges with Bluey Mayes as to whose wave it was so I paddled around to the Big Boggiehole and saw an unusual big, big wave.

The wave lurched up to an incredible height, I must have been looking down about 25  feet and the water was so clear I could see the boulders down there – and that’s when I knew.  I had to go. It was mine.

I came off the board up there and didn’t touch water until I reached the base of the monster, I had to dive so deep, all the way to the bottom until the wave shadow had passed. But I caught it you see, that’s what was so important that day. 

I got that bloody lobster.

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An explanatory note for the uninitiated: If you will kindly observe the header pic you will see an unfortunate surfer who appears to have fallen off his board and is heading for the bottom – this is a misinterpretation – the fellow has spotted a lobster down there, and he is going after it.

* Faking off – the art of going for The Lobster – claimed here.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nice articulation Pete…Decided to give away the ‘fake’ a while back – just around the time I realized the days of domination were over. Now i just suck in the shame and try to laugh it off…

    September 5, 2011
  2. the best fake off is when you bodysurf in on the wave hoping that your board doesn’t whip in and stab you somewhere – meanwhile everyone out there thinks you did ok

    September 5, 2011
  3. Mike #

    Apparently, at Avalon no indiscretion equals a loss of waves, so your test sample may be skewed.

    All your failures remain fixtures in the queue….

    Banishing leashes reduces the incompetents and it won’t matter what excuse they script because they’ll be swimming.

    September 6, 2011
  4. I became a beast out there Mike, a ravenous patroller of the inside, a sneak thief – as if anyone from that genteel little backward hamlet could dominate a Bondi man – Roy is a good fella though, even crowdy climbed down.

    September 6, 2011
  5. Bryan Hocker #

    Yes pete I have seen it all it’s much easier to just not fall off, but to dive purposely
    From the front or side as it then becomes spectacular

    May 23, 2016
  6. Bryan Hocker #

    Yes and i remember you practising to be channel marker mate

    May 23, 2016
  7. .. that was before I snuck inside, a cautious man bides his time.

    May 23, 2016

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