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Thanks to the 'highway surfers'...

I was only four years old in ’78 so I was not really sure what the surf was or how to ride it but my older brother thought he knew the tricks. He had an old single stringer 6’7 pintail single fin that I think belonged to a mate, of a mate, of a mate but ended up becoming his.  Anyway as the story goes, he and a couple of mates were making their way from Opotiki to Whangamata for a bit of a weekend away “surfing” and raising havoc. So off they drove in the EH Holden, having to stop every 40kms or so to put more water in the radiator, dressed in stubbies and singlets and thinking that if they got any cooler it would be a crime

Finally they reached Whangamata after a 6 hour trip, (what happened along the way is another story) they headed straight down the beach, waxed up this fine single fin (one board for four guys) stuck it vertical in the sand and proceeded to lay about and drink beer. For the rest of the afternoon they sat there and drank beer… According to my brother the surf was pumping but they never actually went out, because none of them actually knew how to surf. They spent three days in Whangamata sitting in the same spot, occasionally waxing this surfboard whenever a nice looking girl walked past and didn’t go surfing.
It only occurred to me years later after he handed that board down to me and that he was one of the first “highway” surfers and didn’t actually know how to surf. (Note “highway surfers” are the kind that have their boards on the roof of the car, drive up and down the highway but never get in the water)

A few years later, I discovered that board in the garage, all covered in dust and unloved. It was all the encouragement I needed to get out in the surf after recently graduating to standing up on my polystyrene “surfboard”. It was the first board I got barrelled on, the first board I got air on and I gave my first “surfing” lesson to a girl on it.
That single fin got stolen from out in front of our house; I wish I still had it cos I would teach my kids to surf on it. It was like a tank in the water, I think the rails were about four inches thick; it was so buoyant it wasn’t funny and for such a heavy thing it could drive a lot of speed off the bottom. As grommet I had to carry it on my head cos my arms weren’t big enough to get around it. You would have had to drive a small truck over it to damage it.

I’m glad my brother didn’t know how to surf though because I inherited that board at the age of 10, and I rode it until I turned 14 and progressed to a “Saltwater” twin fin. I rode that twin fin hard, it was the first board I accidentally landed a reverse 360 on, I even snapped about 6 inches off the nose on it and being a grommet with no money I duct taped it up and continued to surf it.

My brother still doesn’t surf, but he’s a bloody good bloke and if it wasn’t for him I would probably never got into surfing.
Thanks to my brother for the hand me down, because now I’m a surfer and for those of you who know, surfing's not a sport it’s a way of life…



505 Port Road, Whangamata, New Zealand
Phone / Fax +64 7 865 8666
Email pfm@saltwater.co.nz