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how to behave in the company of a surfing legend



I’ve had enquiries from time to time and some ask what may be the common etiquette (from the French – Etiquette, meaning forms of ceremony or decorum) – best followed in those rare and savoured moments of a surfer’s life when he comes close enough to make contact with a Surfing Legend.

Barton Lynch can be excused from this category, being a good chap unmolested by his transitory fame.

For instance: and we’ll start at the top.

(A) Mr. K Slater parked his car next to yours at south Avalon and he’s drying off after another afternoon’s hideous display of freakish talent.
He’s draped his wet shorts on your offside mirror and flicked saltwater all over the newly polished wife’s Barina (that’s the only way you could get your hands on it).

Take your move from a choice of two.

(1) ‘Hey Slats, ok if I move your wet strides over to the sunny side mirror mate?
Cowabunga Dude, wicked surf or what bro? Bin rippin? Fark!’

Or (2) ‘Move your shit yank or I’ll be wipin’ me arse on your wardrobe for the next two days.’

(B) Mr. Nick Carroll has parked so close to you at Newport that the only way into your car is up the exhaust and out the manifold.
And after waiting three hours for him to lumber out of the surf and return to his car you have a choice of two (2) openers.

(1) ‘Hiya Nikkie, how’s Tommy? I read your stuff wherever I find it. No mate, take your time, I’m waiting for the NRMA anyway. You’re looking good mate, love the lycra.’

Or (2) ‘If your baldhead was a potato, mate, I’d be planting it deep enough to grow Irish onions. Now move your wreck or I’ll notify the nursing home that you’re out worrying the workers again.’

(D) Tom Carroll walks out of the Newport newsagency carrying copies of the Women’s Weekly and Gourmet Traveler. The muscled bantam is unshaved and redolent of Pacific Island Paradises. His smile is acid proof.

You could (1) Smile back and say ‘g’day mate, goin ok? ‘

Or (2) ignore him with a proper righteousness because he dropped in on you back on 1978 at south Newport when he thought that that highly specialised manoeuvre you were developing, the one where you appeared to be attempting a late backdoor railgrab take-off was in fact just another wipeout.

(E) The old dodderer seen wandering all over the footpath outside Woolworths at Avalon won the Senior NSW Board riding title back in 1948.
You were 5 then and riding waves on a black rubber surfoplane at Bondi with dad doing all the pushing.
He bungles up at the electric door and turns back in confused retreat when he bumps into you.

You could (1) gently turn him around and propel him in the right direction

Or (2) Check him out. Tell him ya love him and find out when his birthday is.

header pic: Paul Cutler smiling as he snakes another mate.

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