a peculiar irony
There was the time before Chuck the American came ashore in Sydney wearing white levis and waving his legrope at the disbelieving locals at South Bondi. Blokes out there who had spent the best part of their surfing lives avoiding the ignominy of losing a board in the surf. And what hurt was that everybody who mattered knew whose board was arriving on the sand unridden, especially the luridly coloured ones.
This was not good reputationwise.
Big, heavy, dinged up balsa boards. Twelve, thirteen year-old boys riding them. Losing them. Again and again.
Until they developed enough muscles to hang onto one of those Kon-Tiki whales for an entire session. Remember, do you?
This is a forgotten chapter in the early way of doing things. Then Chuck started everybody off on leg ropes and nobody lost their boards any more. No more loose equipment log-jamming through the flags breaking limbs and scaring kiddies to be then confiscated on the beach by the patrolling authorities.
I went down for a swim this morning and watched two young blokes, clubbies, paddling their rescue boards through about three foot of nice looking, peaky quick breaking swell. No wind.
They both lost their boards under a set broken wave and now I was watching these two monster boards tumbling towards the shore. Right between the flags.
I picked a short, stout importantly dry clubbie who was also watching the approaching menace. Walked over to him.
“When I was a kid surfing at Bondi and our boards washed up between the flags you blokes took them off us.”
For that I got a nod.
“So, how about you hand those two over?”
Back at you Aub.
Aub Laidlaw was a fearsome prospect for a young fellow trying to grab his board and run when caught between the flags. That’s where the outlaw south got it’s name: that’s where we hid from him.