Well, I'm also hitting thirty
this year as it turns out, and in my time I have learnt one
thing, and that is that Life is about each and every moment
and what you do with it that makes up a lifetime. This story
is about a few moments that did just that.
On a crisp November in 1978 in a sleepy little village on the
north east coast of NZ there was a family of four settling
down in front of an open fire with Fosco the family dog. The
family was due a new addition in the next couple of weeks and
it was to be a little brother for the two sisters. I
guess the story started well before than, like maybe back in
the early sixties when the old man got his first board and
wave at a little spot called Wooleys Bay and was hooked for
life but this is where my story starts out on that crisp
November in 78'
Everyone was kicking back
after a day of spring sun down at the beach, Dad had scored
some sick little barrels out on the bar and Mum had just about
had enough of 9 months of it to say the least. That's when I
decided to show up and cause a mad dash to the hospital which
was a 35 minute drive in to town and was done in about 20 that
night. Born in the waiting room of the hospital I was out,
keen as to get going all 9 ponds 8 ounces. The old man
never really pushed me to get into surfing and sitting here
with my own son now I understand why. It's something thats in
the blood and I think I was destined to enjoy. I remember
spending plenty of days at the beach when I was little
watching Dad come in form the surf with a beaming smile after
scoring some sick shacks on the bar and I can completely
understand that feeling now.
When I was 11 I started to get pretty keen on the idea and
remember struggling to carry the old 9 ft Atlas single fin
down to the beach by myself. I still remember taking off on
that first wave getting to my feet for a split second and then
whack! Having all 9 feet of it whack me in the back of the
head as I went over the falls. I figured I needed to get
on something a bit smaller and at that stage my little family
had been completely renovated, Mum wasn't around anymore and I
had a new step mum along with two new brothers and an extra
sister. My bro's being a little older had already got hooked
and were surfing heaps with their mate along the road who just
happened to have an old 5'11 Saltwater channel bottom twinny
which his old man had picked up years earlier.
After some hardball negotiations I got my hands on it and
charged out on to the bar. It wasn't a big day only two maybe
three ft but it was clean and the incoming tide was making for
some sick little waves. I had shamefully been boogey boarding
since my collision with the Atlas so had picked up a bit of an
understanding on how the bar worked and grabbed an inside spot
with my bros. As a set approached I turned and paddled
hard for my first wave, it was pretty shallow and it jacked
off the sand bar and began to pitch, I took the drop on my
belly and slowly got to my feet in time to see it barrel off
down the line. Being a goofy footer on a fast right hand bar
break can make for a challenge that's for sure, but by the end
of the day I had it sussed and was able to make that crucial
bottom turn to get out on to the face. That was it! I was
hooked right there with the Saltwater under my feet and to
this day that's where it has stayed although the boards have
come and gone it's still the saltwater under there that keeps
During the weeks and years
that followed I was out there every chance with my old man, my
bros and mates making memories.
I gave a call to my mates Dad
the other day who still lives up home to see if he still has
the old twinny and as it turns out he does, but wasn't keen to
let it go which I can understand. A board like that has a lot
of sentimental value and more than one kid has set their first
line on it for sure.
I'm still just as keen to get
out there every day if I can but it's a little trickier with a
family and not being based right on the beach now days but I
can already see it in my 5 year old boys eye, and he like me
can see how stoked it makes his old man.
Like I said at the start it's
the little moments that make up a lifetime of memories and
I've had my share so far with a lot more to come.
Thirty years on from 78 and
it's the Saltwater that's still there.
Cheers for the memory!