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surfing archetypes – the tradesman’s lunching hour

Tradies. Utes. Dogs. High volume radios.

Weekdays are the most precious of days, these are the hours where the majority of personnel are away in cities labouring in the towers. They can only watch the clear blue sky and imagine the warmth of the nor’ wester, and remember how good the waves looked at 6.30 am from the window of the city express as it hastened them along the poisoned highways. (tell me if I’m getting too deep too early here)

A quick flick over to a surf website: Tide incoming. Wind freshening. Swell rising…… Spirits falling.

Why is it that surfing websites think that they are doing everybody a favour with their daily pictorial festival of perfect waves and idyllic locations when 95% of their readers are suffering full-scale deprival of same and are scratching to pay a mortgage on a home one hour distant from the metropolitan beaches that rarely feature in their online dreamscapes.

Escapism. Comic Capers. Make Believe. Just as well it’s for free.


meanwhile …..

There you are, cubicle 54a 35th floor west tower. Loving life and the freedoms that $58,245 per annum wins, plus super. Only eleven floors of corporate superiors to climb over. One floor per three years. Then the corner office. Thirty-three years.

A ripe thought.

Better than being a lowly tradesman you were told in the formative years, better pay and no weather to contend with. Better to use your brains rather than your hands. University incomparably superior to TAFE*.

DEGREE v trade cerificate

That’s why you are here looking out the window. That’s why you aren’t TAFE qualified and scrambling out of a ute down at North Avalon as eight feet of superlative barrels flow down to the middle of the beach. Sets of eight. Twenty out. Somebody is going to have to move over out there.

A skilled tradesman has to have a deep and personal relationship with his tools, indeed some of them have been handed down from father to son and have a smooth and weathered feel about them. Like the MP fangtail that you reckon might be worth a try today, and that collection of wax-bits that have been rattling around in the toolbox for five years. The Haleiwa Strained Poi T-shirt that Mick McMahon bought back from Hawaii for your grandfather in 1965. The big Indo leggie that Rob Bain kind of forgot to pack in 2003.

Lovely fellow the senior Bain, has a rock named after him at Avalon.

These few precious things.

Observe the minimal technique used by the tradesman as he prepares himself. No need to change shorts, the shoes have already been scuffed off, the watch is in the glovebox plus the wallet. No conversation deemed necessary with the other tradesmen, just a brutal and grunting process from the ute to the beach to the sea, which steams a little as they enter it.

Then it’s a pity for the poor sod who thinks that he can preserve his spot in the line-up when the working men arrive and paddle over and around and through him. They swarm like ants and feed like sharks, and his day is over.

An hour later they are gone in a cloud of dust, back to the site where they chaff on about the session while you, my son, eat deepfried cat and boiled rice in some underground foodcourt.

* technical and further education

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Don’t forget, your mates calling you up after another epic session ‘out front’. All the while you cringe and swear to yourself you’ll be there next time.

    December 7, 2011
    • what’s worse is when they desert your building site for a three hour ‘ lunch ‘ and come back and hang their wetsuits and towels all over the fences – but how can you get cranky at blokes who are only doing what you would do, bastards!

      December 7, 2011

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