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shearer’s ghost

This is Steve Shearer’s  photo of Lennox, he took it about July 2013 and put it up onto The FreeRide Voice website after the swell had faded away; there’s a lot of gun locals out there and a man has to be able to buy a drink in the Lennox pub on a Saturday night without being smacked in the carpark on the way in for being a dickhead on a website.

These blokes could teach Avalon many lessons.

I showed this photo to a fellow up in the Eltham pub the other day, name of Pete, he was in there drinking beer and watching the cricket after stringing up a mile or two of fencing nearby. Pete’s as skinny and as brown as an Indo fisherman and he know’s nothing about surfing, doesn’t want to, he abides me because we both worked in the same slaughterhouse a very long time ago.

‘Fuck!’ he says, ‘that’s good.’

This from a bloke who only swims in rivers. Then he says.

‘Howcome none of them are on them?’

I put Shearer’s pic away. Pete had spotted the weakness straight away.

Leg ropes.

None of the gun locals are on the set waves because of leg ropes is howcome: all those twenty gun locals out there are wearing leg ropes – that’s why none of them are on the set Pete likes. Somebody might do the math on the increase in waves caught by gun locals, in a session, in similar conditions – before and after leg ropes. 1964 and 2014.

Me and you, youth.

Looking at this pic I’d reckon these blokes would fall off at least twice if they caught ten waves in their time in the water, without a leg rope they’d lose half an hour getting back out. A one hour plus session diluted to 30 minutes plus. Five waves down to ten.

Leg rope wins.

What Pete didn’t know was that the before gun locals got tied on to their boards, fifty years ago, on a day like this they would paddle out the back: that’s the phrase, OUT THE BACK! That’s the call.

They’d paddle right past these little black monkeys playing in the middle and park themselves about another 500 feet further out, or as far as it took, then they’d wait for a set, a real one. That’s where everyone got to know each other, during the waiting, these blokes used to practice their diving techniques, bring up some cungy to prove they got to the bottom.

If there had of been just four of them out there today they’d have one each. Waves twice as big, twice as fast and twice as long.

Leg rope loses.





14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Johnno Pseudonym #

    I reckon it’s just the lighting in the photo. It appears as though there are two guys paddling for the first wave that hasn’t broken yet – in addition to black dots there seems to be a slight wake from their paddling. And if I’m wrong, my second guess is they have all just ridden waves and are still paddling out. I don’t subscribe to the leg rope theory; I think you’re looking for reasons to be critical of leg ropes.

    February 14, 2017
  2. No, I’m looking for reasons why nobody is out the back ..

    February 14, 2017
  3. Raz Burtonwood would agree with the deduction, I reckon. As would his also legendary brother, JB. I watched an epic battle between the two at substantial blax. Raz just swam out and about, and bodysurfed the sledgehammers, for hours on end, whilst JB as he always did, surfed his board, minus leggie. Unlike souffled chickens, men fuck the risk, and the reward is never in doubt.

    Now, there are those that shied away from all that… so to speak. Afraid of going to hard perhaps? Blow me down…there… with a feather!

    Despite the ever invisible gusto, it may have even had something to do with the cliff, well, that particular cliff, the lack of takers out the back.. I’ve seen that too. Very entertaining. The invisible gustos, blowing away, shying away, well actually, sprinting away from that particular cliff. When, sometimes, if they managed to get far enough away, the broke backbones unbreak, so to speak, and the squwarking starts up again. Until that particular cliff approaches. I’ve even seen them climb a highchair in the desperation to escape reality.

    February 15, 2017
  4. Mairi #

    The younger knobs don’t understand “Out the back” because they rarely sit out there! They have never worn consecutive waves on the head with a death grip on a board so thick it is hard to hold onto, but not nearly as thick as some of the deadwood on Smellnet!

    February 15, 2017
  5. Johnno Psedonym #

    Ok, Pete, I’ll accept that you have no agenda against legropes. But I fail to see how your logic explains why a bunch of legrope-wearing surfers would only paddle half way out. Although legropes save you from a long swim in to retrieve your board, no one likes getting cleaned up and flogged by waves even when they know they are not going to lose their board. The normal place to wait for a wave is in a spot where you’re not going to have to duck dive, Eskimo roll or abandon board and dive to the bottom when the next regular set comes through. Sometimes maybe, but not all the time. My guess is that there are no surfers out the back for one of the following reasons:
    1. The waves are better, more challenging (steeper, faster sections) in closer and the surfers can paddle out to the shoulder and avoid a flogging when the bomb sets come through;
    2. The bomb sets are infrequent and the wave count is higher if you stay in closer to shore. No point sitting out the back for 1 wave every thirty minutes;
    3. The surfers can’t be bothered paddling all the way out the back most of the time because plenty of good waves are arriving before they get there. I’ve surfed a spot where the rides were very long (possibly 1 minute plus). A group of us paddled out together and after about 45 minutes, most of the crew were scattered right along the lineup with very few getting back to the main take off point. We kept picking up good empty waves before we paddled all the way back. When you come from a crowded home break you can’t let a good wave go past;
    4. No one wants to go and sit out there alone
    5. There are enough waves for everyone; if the crowd increases, some will move out the back to get empty waves that are becoming increasingly scarce
    I could argue that surfers who don’t wear a legrope would tend to sit closer to shore in order to reduce the distance they have to swim when they fall off.
    Anyway, why don’t we ask the organ-grinder himself to solve this mystery? I understand that Lennox is one of Mr. Shearer’s favourite spots, and unless he was out of action due to injury, he would have been in the surf that day either immediately before or just after he took the photo. Can you please ask him for his view? If he says it’s because the surfers are wearing legropes I’ll admit defeat, slink away and won’t come back. Cheers,

    February 17, 2017
  6. Johnno Pseudonym #

    The really amazing thing about the photo is the number of waves coming through in the next set. The swells continue beyond the top of the photo.

    February 17, 2017
  7. 4 is wrong, Johnno P, I used to like it. I was never in love with my fellow boardriders, found a lot if them to be an irksome bunch, much preferred to be an outsider. Still do.

    February 17, 2017
  8. Johnno Pseudonym #

    Ok, let’s change the wording of point 4 from “no one” to “most surfers except Pete and that Japanese fellow who likes to paddle out to cargo carriers”. So you consider the other points possibilities? And can we ask Steve for an opinion?

    February 17, 2017
  9. Stu #

    1.Real surfers will sit out the back waiting for the bomb sets. Pencil-dicks like you Johno will sit on the inside and paddle for the shoulder every opportunity.

    The wave count wont be higher where there are more surfers -especially for pencil-dicks paddling for the shoulder. Learn some maths.
    Surfers cant be bothered paddling out the back? Only a moronic imbecile would suggest that. Paddling out in a group? So you surf with a bunch of like minded blow-in hodads holding on to each other in the foam just in case your feet don’t touch the bottom.

    4.Gutless fluid gender poof!

    5.Reduce the distance they have to swim? Since when does a loose board always make its way to the beach?

    Summary: you are a fluid gender kook with no idea.

    February 18, 2017
  10. While we’re waiting for Shearer …
    Johnno, we have gap of understanding here.

    My generation’s instinct is to paddle through that crowd of unholy local legends, away from their idle chatter and naked greed, their unhealthy fawning over whatever down-at-heel pro managed to make it out there with them and sit out the back on the biggest, oldest, most dinged up 10′ balsa double-ender I might have in the garage.
    This board has no leg rope, concussion bruises all over full of water, dinged up rails, loose fin and the pound of bog needed to re-attach the nose which was snapped off last time it was taken out to the point.
    Then, when the ‘wave of the day’ comes, and seeing we are the only ones ‘out the back’, I’m reckoning that the five set waves we can see coming through unridden in Shearer’s pic would have five surfers riding them.
    Every one a close and dear friend, like Stuey, he’s the bloke you need when you want to clear the deck.
    Inside is for the kiddies who want to show off to each other.

    note: Johnno, you have to play Stu like you would at poker, raise him or fold.

    February 18, 2017
  11. Johnno Pseudonym #

    Well Pete, we certainly do have a gap in our understanding.

    I thought we were having a civil conversation about a photograph with some speculation on the reasons why the surfers were located where they are. I started by saying I thought your reasoning about legropes may have some bias attached, but you assured me otherwise. So, I put forward my guesses.
    I’ve reread my posts and I can’t see any hint of trolling or insult in them. But now you bring along your mate Stuey, or he felt he had to jump in and defend what he thinks is an attack on you. He offers nothing to the conversation but a load of insults. And you seem to be encouraging me to drop to his level and hurl a few back.
    Reading Stuey’s post, I get the impression that he is or was some tough guy who ruled the roost when he surfed Lennox back in the old days. And that you were one of his mates, also ruling the roost ostensibly, paddling past the weaklings to your spot out the back. Stuey knows nothing about me and his assumptions are completely wrong. I don’t sit on the inside, I don’t hang around in a group. That day I referred to was in 1973 and we were surfing in the local estuary; a spot that works only a few times a year. Not blowins. A bunch of us turned up at the rocks coincidentally at the same time and paddled the 400 metres across the channel. Most of the others went to the same school as me but they weren’t my mates.
    You can tell from the year I just mentioned that I’m nowhere near the younger generation but probably not as old as you or Stuey. But I was never a legend nor did I ever surf with any. Just a good circle of friends, most of whom stopped surfing in their mid twenties, more than 30 years ago. I stopped when I got married at 30 and came back to it a few years ago. It seems about the only thing we have in common is hating showoffs.
    What your comments do reveal is that I was correct in the first place. You and Stuey both long for the good old days, you despise the current generation of surfers and their equipment and in your loathing feeds into your opinion about legropes.
    I don’t want to play poker with Stuey. He reminds me of the roosters who used to rule the surf spots where I grew up. Ironically, the show offs he despises now are the current versions of what he once was or still thinks he is. And also ironically he tosses insults like moronically imbecile. You’ve got to laugh.
    I’ll leave you two to your memories, grumpiness and the biased opinions those ingredients produce.

    February 18, 2017
  12. Dang. I think that is a “fold”.

    Rather than make a case for his 5 points, Johnno has wet the bed and hangs on to perceived slights received long ago.

    Scarred for life this one I think Pete.

    Johnno, psychological help is available at bulk bill rates.

    And for the record, my regular board is a 5′ 8″.

    February 19, 2017
  13. Johnno … thanks for your 1,000 + words.

    I don’t loathe anyone, I don’t despise anyone, I don’t long for old days, I am not biased against anyone, I don’t hate show-offs, I am not encouraging you to insult Stu, I didn’t have to bring him along for support, he was never a mate in the water at Lennox and I have no problem with leg ropes.

    That’s a lot to get wrong about a bloke you don’t know, Johnno.

    February 19, 2017
  14. Johnno #

    I’ve come back because Stuey seems to be disappointed that I folded.
    Pete, I’ll try to be more economical with my words this time in regards to your previous post.
    D e n i a l.
    Stuey, the way a regular debate works is I put forward some opinions or arguments and you refute them with some logical reasoning, You have replied with a string of insults and no substance and then you say I need to make a case. But I’ll reply to the few points you did make.
    1. Real surfers would be out the back. So, you’re saying that none of the surfers out there that day are real surfers. Well that’s a point of view. I’ll say the opposite just because it’s equally valid and non one can prove otherwise.
    2.i said the wave count would be higher inside if bomb sets are infrequent. You missed the point. I genuinely doubt you have any mathematical ability at all.
    3. No reasoning here, just a schoolyard insult.
    4.No reasoning here, just another insult.
    5. A weak argument that loose boards don’t always make it to the shore. You and I both know that most of the time they do. Ask Pete how the dings got in his board. I surfed several years at reef breaks before legropes came along and I know how often they hit the rocks. You on the other hand on your 5’8″ stick probably jump off the side like John-John when the wave closes out and let the legrope save you th trouble.
    Thanks for your kind offer of a cheap phsychological consultation. But I think you need it more than you reply to my five ponts you mentioned dicks twice and sexual gender issues twice. You seem to have some Freudian issues going on there.

    February 19, 2017

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