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surfing food and women – the bawley pizza

Toasted Sundried Tomatoes, chilli, garlic and Bokmari cheese at Bawley Point, August 2005, 5.40 pm.

A restive group of surfers from Cronulla are muttering around in their old car as the wind and cold rain lash in from the south. They are not prepared tonight and are damp and hungry as they watch our man busy himself in the weatherproof lean-to he has attached to the side of his van over there, in the lee of the wind. Here he has a small table set up with a portable grill, a gas lantern, and a warm glow suffuses the stormy airs.

He is a big man, tanned and snowy haired, he moves with an athlete’s grace. Two four-hour sessions at Guillotines have not diminished his energy and every now and then he lifts his head to the sky and scopes the cloud movement with his practised eye. He also consults the barometer hanging on the wall of his van. Clear skys in 24 hours so tomorrow he will travel further south to Pebbly beach and the hidden right that rears up around the headland down there and travels 300 yards to its brutal end against the cliffs. More unforgiving slabs.


With the small gas grill already lit he crushes a clove of garlic, a small red chili, four strips of anchovy and a few sun-dried tomatoes into a small stone dish. A little sugar. He sets the paste aside.

A moment here as he retires to the van interior to introduce a little more volume to third track of the Shankar / Glass ‘Passages’ album and change into a pair of clean hemp jeans and a faded blue Pima cotton shirt. He folds away the half read copy of J.G. Farrell’s ‘Troubles’ and applies a little Michel Germain Sexual Pour Homme Eau de Toilette to his midriff. This is his groove. This is 2012 already arrived in 2005.

Later he will grill both sides of a few slices of whole grain bread after brushing them with a little olive oil, then he will spread the paste over the bread together with some South African Bokmakiri cheese and ground black Szechuan pepper. This goes back under the flame until the cheese bubbles.

Later still some local ladies will call by with a few bottles of cold vodka and they will stay very late.

From time to time during the long night the Cronulla surfers will hear sounds of music and laughter coming from the van, despite the escalating shriek of a southerly gale, and they will chew their thumbs in sleepless envy, and the familiar heaviness of failure will weigh upon them once more.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Davo's Liver #

    Local ladies with cold vodka, a pissing rainstorm, and moi. Don’t you just love the great outdoors?

    February 7, 2012
    • give us a photo davo and we’ll pin it up on the wall to see who it wins

      February 7, 2012
  2. I remember Bawley but not your mate, I guess I was out at Top Hat when he was putting it on the line at Guillotines. I preferred the Fish & Chips at Tigers and the “Wisdom” on the wall wasn’t bad either.

    February 7, 2012
  3. Pete, love the casual air of sophistication but sun dried tomatoes make me want to cry. No simple oysters?

    February 8, 2012
  4. Ben #

    It was raining at Bawley in 1989. There was no chilled vodka or Bokmakiri cheese but the waves did their thing. I’ll try and swing by again sometime.

    February 9, 2012
  5. joe green #

    i live in a van by the river.

    February 9, 2012

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