Musings

Shape thower

Shape thower

I spent my formative years as a grommet cutting my teeth (sometimes literally) on the beachies and points of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. An image that has lingered since has been that of the quintessential old fella on what seemed to be some awkward looking tank of a board that they would always be out on, regardless of the conditions.

I recall it being a pretty awesome sight to see them sitting waaaaay out back on some barely perceptible boil that they had lined up using some obscure apartment block TV aerial, a miniscule marker buoy bobbing up the coast, and individual tree branches on mountains fifty or so kilometres away and somehow, curiously, the torn end of a drifting cloud. One of those once-an-hour bombs would darken the horizon and they would swing and start stroking. The swell would heave upward to blacken the sky overhead and then inward to begin grinding the limpets, even the encrusting algae, off the rocks that were now exposed from the draining effect of the wave. Usually at this point I wouldn’t have been paying too much attention, carving animal shapes into the filthy wax on the deck of my board with a fingernail, and with a bowel shuddering dread have to begin thrashing frantically, usually futilely, out wide for safety. A quick glimpse deep, deep inside now would reveal the old fella with a three-million mile away look in his eyes, “late as”, leap forward and pounce with a thump on the deck of the plank and plummet in a seemingly unredeemable, vertical drop. At the bottom of the beast they’d lay over a bottom-turn so savage that their body was horizontal, pulling at least 3-4 Gs,  the full length of the board buried deep with just the tip of single fin, buckled over at full flex and screeching.

They always seemed to look so hard these crusties. I wondered if I’d ever see one of them tearing down the line all wide-eyed, beard torn open into open-mouthed, toothy maniacal smile, throwing shapes from deep in the tube…

Shape thower