Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Summer and Stubbies

5pm on a Friday afternoon and the sun was still shining. Work was finished for the week and the cars were loaded. The usual faces were there; the Captain, the Boss, myself and a few others. Our tents and sleeping bags packed and most importantly, our boards were loaded on the roof. Road trip time.

2 hours later and spirits were still high. We’d hit the M5 in Devon, stopped to refuel with an all-day breakfast at Little Chef and we were back on the road. The M5 gave us ample opportunity to fill our water bombs (condoms!) and launch these from one car to the other. Direct hit from the Boss! Unfortunately, my return fire was a little weak, due to me throwing like a girl!

Once the condoms were used up, ammunition consisted of boiled sweets, pies, custard doughnuts and anything else of a messy and hard to clean nature! Boys will be boys, and this was quickly followed by a mooning competition and then a sketchy race between the Boss and Captain to see who could navigate the M5 in the most pant-wettingly and quickest amount of time.

Tents setup, a couple of beers and we hit the sack, ready for a day of surfing for some of us and a pummelling from the waves for the rest.

10am and we hit the beach, the place is like a zoo as we try and surf amongst ankle biters, bikini clad chicks and even a family and their oversized inflatable boat!

After a quick break for lunch the waves had jacked up. Offshore breeze, clean A-frame peaks and heights of 6 foot plus. The sense of anticipation was great, we were salivating at the prospect of being that close to nature.

There’s less traffic in the water now and the only liabilities seem to be the weekend warriors. You know who I mean…the posers with their shiny new boards, unused wetsuits and Daddy’s 4x4. The kinda people who may have been popular when you were at school, yet 10 years later still think they’re ‘the man’. They list surfing as their main interest after standing for a few seconds on a foamy in Newquay.

Sitting out back, straddling the board, facing the horizon. The sea pitches slightly, a solid green lump rises and heads for me. A perfect line of swell. A quick turn, I lay down on the board, check over my shoulder for the waves position and I paddle, arcing my turn towards the peak of the wave. The swell hits me, I feel the energy and I paddle faster. As soon as I can I hit my feet and angle down the line, letting the energy of the wave take me. I survive the elevator drop and pull in, pumping the board and racing along the clean face of the wave. I bottom turn hard and angle up the face, I go to top turn, but the waves quicker than I am and the curl takes me clean off the board. I recover and with a huge smile and a hoot, I paddle back out to the line up. Job done.

The evening arrived and this meant one thing. Barbeque time. The Captain decided as well as a feast of sausages and burgers, he was going to buy up the shop’s entire stock of alcohol. Alongside the crate of beer (stubbies of course), there was a bottle of vodka, a bottle of whisky and a selection of brightly coloured, garish looking alcopops! The Captain demands that nobody can sleep until the stash is drunk dry.

The evening flew by in a blaze of chat, food and drink. Talk about the waves, the wipe-outs and where we’d like to surf. A fire was built to toast marshmallows and this slowly turns to chaos as the soft, gooey and very sticky marshmallows became ammunition to use against each other.

As the fire slowly dies we drift off to our tents. The food gone and the alcohol severely diminished.

Deep sleep quickly follows, followed even quicker by the Captain waking everyone at 4am to tell us of the latest entry in the Captain’s log. He has not only finished the rest of the stubbies, he’s also taken care of the whisky and vodka too! We throw things at him and fall asleep chuckling.

The next day we cleared up with a spring in our step. Another great surf trip under our belts. This happiness is only slightly tempered by the discovery of one lone stubby the Boss missed the night before. Can he bring himself to drink it? Alas, no. But not to worry, with one quick move, the Boss took the beer and chugged it in one. No thinking, no hesitating. That’s why they call him the Boss.

It is for the reasons above I surf and when the warm fingers of the sun touch me around May each year, my mind permanently wanders to memories such as that above.

I’ll see you out back.

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