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in another man’s uniform

Busy today, fielding the internet demons – so my apologies for opening up a subject that may not interest many.

Wayne Lynch is a surfing deity in Australia, he is lionised. He is portrayed as a superb individualist in the water second only to Michael Peterson. Photographs of him are highly valued and have helped sell many books. He is sought after, interviewed and his surfboard innovations are said to be almost eternal in their design and effectiveness.

Wayne Lynch is a surfer’s surfer. In their imagination he is always alone on the back of some cold black reef on the southernmost coastline, gliding his way in and out of impossibly lonely and dark waves.

He has been the subject of many movies, he has taken a share of the chapters in many books, his image is one of a lone man with a great understanding of the sea.

Wayne Lynch avoided the Vietnam draft, he decided that war was not for him, so he went surfing for a few years. He travelled the miles of Australian coastline enjoying the freedom of the sixties and the empty waves on offer; taking the full advantage of his good fortune.

This action too magnified his appeal amongst many surfers, and added to his already bright and shining image.

To be him.

Wayne Lynch has a demon though, like all draft avoiders.

The day he failed to show up for his induction meant that another young man was picked, and sent to fight in Vietnam in his place.

Whoever he was – that other young man  – he was wearing Wayne Lynch’s uniform.
pic lifted from patagonia

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. My brother also wore the uniform . . .

    February 28, 2013
  2. Ben #

    I have no problem with a man that refused to kill Vietnamese that he had no quarrel with. In fact I salute his decision.Perhaps the Aussie government should have thought a little more deeply before committing the lives of it’s other young men at the time? The Government formed this particular queue not Mr Lynch.

    February 28, 2013
    • What about the other bloke Ben, does he get any consideration?

      February 28, 2013
      • Ben #

        The other guy had his own decisions to make. The Government placed him in that position not Wayne Lynch.
        You see you have scribed a deceit. Its a great read as usual but does not get close to the profound dirty truth of the situation.

        February 28, 2013
        • Do you know anybody who was subscripted to go to Vietnam Ben? Do you know that there was always a route for a Conscientious Objector to take, there was always a way out for men of differing views, religious beliefs – Lynch went surfing, other CO’s paid a different price. He parlayed his skip on the draft into his professional mystique –

          February 28, 2013
      • davo's liver #

        I’m not sure I buy the some other bloke had to get maimed/killed because WL opted out. Plenty opted out, some did time for it, some went went to France like Mark Martinson, and points beyond. When exactly does your number come up because someone else wasn’t willing to take a bullet for an ill defined and poorly administered cause?

        The lottery in the US was stopped a year before I had to worry about it but I have to say that coming from a family where I had an uncle that was a 2star general that nobody in the family would disagree that the asshole would send his own mother to wipe out a machine gun nest if he thought it would bring him personal advancement, fuck a bunch of that.

        My kid is an Afghanistan vet, to each his own.

        March 4, 2013
  3. Ben #

    Yes I have met some yanks that found themselves in the far east at that time. The US Government had only a slightly better reason for sending troops than the Aussie one did. But hey we are talking of fractions of gnats whiskers. WL might of gone surfing but there were others up to far less pure pursuits at the time (and now for that matter.) I have no way of knowing but I doubt that he could have foreseen he would make a living in the long term from his sublime artistry.

    February 28, 2013
  4. Your point is solid, Pete. From leaving others out to die back in the day, to today’s asking price of $129 bones for a farking t-shirt, that guy is pure capitalist.

    March 1, 2013
    • Somebody mentioned to me, in confidence, that I am now in elite company – having been banned by Dumbthchronicles – and you may have had that same pleasure yeself Roller.

      Mr Francis, one of their editors, took this news about Lynch personally … and we had a bright discussion on the merits of such an unwholesome truth being aired in public. It was a pity he blocked me half way through; he was such a preposterous target.

      Every hit on the poor fellow was a bullseye.

      March 1, 2013
  5. And they were all picked to fight in the politicians’ place. Young men dying for the ideological needs of the ruling class. Draft avoidance was not the demon, capitalism was/is i.e. the ruling class who were slavishly following this ideology and thus provoking and drawing a line in the sand with young men’s blood in places far from their backyard. And for no need except the perpetuation of imperialism and market expansion.

    Wayne Lynch and the soldiers were all fodder for the machinery. That’s why it is so saddening that these men in uniform lost their lives in this “theatre of war”. For whom? For what? It makes me angry. It makes me cry for them and their familyies’ loss.

    Wayne Lynch should not have gone to war. Those boys should have been left to go surfing.


    March 1, 2013
    • No argument from me there Clif, but where was the man’s courage of his convictions – even Simon Townsend, the TV children’s host, went the CO route and he paid a very hard price.

      Who knows why Lynch skipped the draft, he’s never been asked that I know of – maybe he just didn’t like the uniform, maybe he couldn’t / wouldn’t accept discipline. Maybe he was just frightened.

      or, maybe, he was just a fine young man with the weight of many futile wars and the loss of hundreds of millions of men and women on his conscience – and what better place to consider this great and continuing tragedy, surfing the east coast of NSW.

      March 1, 2013
  6. Perhaps, you could approach him for an interview and ask him? Let Wayne respond to any criticism and assumption anyone may have? He maay find all this far too personal, though. I would.

    March 1, 2013
    • How would you Clif? How could it be too personal. It certainly wasn’t a private act by Lynch.

      March 1, 2013
  7. Well, when you ask people about their life and dig into their decisions it can feel personal, even if our acts are public. There is a felt connection to our decisions and actions that make them feel like our own. So, people can tend to resist such questioning and maintain what “they” understand to be a public/private divide. My point simply being he may not want to talk about it.

    In terms of me, you are right. Maybe, I wouldn’t as I tend to want to unpack and get advice on decisions – even if at first I can hate that and find it intensely uncomfortable.

    Where’s your own public/private line, pete?

    March 1, 2013
  8. It’s all here, except for the sex and violenc

    March 1, 2013
  9. The Roller #

    Pete, Clif, back in those days, Mr Lynch was what, 18 years old? what did he know? other than to take the easy peasy way out….

    March 2, 2013
    • A whole bunch of us waited on that lottery call Roller, up in Byron, and everyone who got unlucky went over there, nobody ran. The birthday ballot missed June 13 so no viet vet ride for me.

      Some babe threw pig’s blood over a platoon of vets as they marched through Sydney back then, she’s about 70 now and was interviewed last year by some paper. I got the feeling that if she could have that day back she’d rather drink that blood rather than do what she did.

      March 2, 2013
  10. Rubberneck #

    Looks like Dumbithchronicles just banned themselves.

    March 2, 2013
  11. many rivers #

    “Looks like Dumbthchronicles just banned themselves.”
    How many pearls must you throw before swine before you runs out of interest?
    As an Irish say goes” Never wrestle with a pig …all you get is covered in shit and the pig is happy”

    March 2, 2013
    • Shearer has just come up with a sub based site, $6 a month and anything goes, he says. The first bloke who showed up was Mr D Hynd, naturally – the freeridevoice, $50 for a year.

      Buy Shearer a beer and he’ll let you call him anything.

      Pity about dumbth, a little on the sensitive side old Francis, probably a goofyfoot.

      March 2, 2013
      • many rivers #

        Guess a balloon only pops once….

        March 2, 2013
      • Ben #

        Ohh scurrilous jottings on the activities of WL and the draft is one thing but wild innuendo on the nature of goofyfooters is quite another thing.

        How very, very dare you sir.

        March 3, 2013
  12. sjh #

    They ran off and hid from thier respective countries call to duty , the history of surfing is littered with stories and ledgends of so called surf explorers of the 70s not to mention the fact that even though they did not have any jobs some seemed to come across plenty of cash and to this day really still seem to be able to fund a lifestyle most would envy from a garden basket full of green cold cash

    March 8, 2013
  13. ” probably a goofyfoot.” Pete have i missed something ! or not looking in the mirror enough.

    April 9, 2013
  14. I’ve always had a problem with G-foots Bruce, why surf a right with your back to the wave?

    April 10, 2013
  15. It is the unknown, in the occasional times that I actually get the back foot on the right spot and feel the drive. Looking forward, I have performance anxiety, but on the backfoot, there is the drive, it could power a city, town, small village, care, phone.

    But one time on Margarets Rivers rights, I felt it, a full curving top turn, I hold it dear.

    July 31, 2017

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