Harry, is this simean-featured goofball who hangs around the surfbreaks where I ply my trade and ride my craft. Today I find him waiting with some of his filthy, trustafarian mates on a bench in front of a ledgy spot around the corner from home. He smiles and waves a friendly hello when I arrive to survey the conditions. We perform a complicated South Peninsula handshake, turn and do the thousand yard stare at the ocean. The smell of burnt green wafts through his crusty blonde dreadlocks as he puffs, holds in, then puffs a bit more, packs it in there, then paws the joint off to a gap-toothed matey on the bench next to him and exhales in one long steady stream, like a kettle on the open fire. Choo choo! Harry's good at weed, rolling, smoking, holding it in until his eyes bulge out of his big tanned face. He's irie too.

'It's going to be epic with a bit more push.' He opines with the one love vibe.

'Ja.' Gap Tooth concurs sagely.

'Grhmm.' Says the other trustafarian thoughtfully sucking on the roach, and then spits some loose weed off his lip.

According to me it is already epic and no one is out. I dash back to the car and stretch the neoprene over myself. They're all goofed and I'm going to get all the waves, is the primary thought racing through my brain.

I get back to find the bench deserted and the three stoners in the line-up already.

But how? I contemplate as I pick my way over the rocks and into the ocean.

In the water there is nary a pantyline of irie sentiment. The friendly bench scene has transformed into stink eye and aggro bristling. I'm last out, bottom of the rung, the uninvited. I wait my turn. Gap Tooth and Harry ride knee-boards. I try not to pass judgement on their lame excuse for wave-riding vehicles, their lack of soul, their silly kneeling; but it means they can take off that much deeper, just behind the rock where the wave peaks, sucks dry and then unfurls itself over the treacherous, shallow ledge. The first sets go to Harry and Gap Tooth exclusively. The third stoner is twiddling a dread and staring into the ocean pensively. Finally a big set looms, the first wave goes to Harry, Gap Tooth hooks the second and then there's a lull. Finally a line emerges from the deep. The third stoner is drifting out to sea, flailing, despite his scrambling he's not going to get it. I've bided my time and here comes my first wave. As I slide into the pit, I watch in slack-jawed disbelief as the plume of spray from Harry's drop-in shuts me down. The freak has just had a succession of set waves and paddles straight back into the yawning blue of my ride.

He is simply a surfpig. A similar condition to being a roadhog. When getting behind the wheel, or in the water, trips the switches and transforms the personality from one love sharing to fuck you its mine! Funny that such an inspirational activity as wave riding can trigger such berserk reactions from otherwise nice people. Take for example the clutch-plate who after being dropped in on, at the most crowded break in Cape Town by a guy in a canoe, left the water and waited to exact his revenge for an hour and a half in the car park with a stick and a whip. Now an hour and a half is plenty time to cool down. That's some sadistic, pre-meditated shit. Not exactly an impulsive, impromptu beating.

But lest we should brand the surfpig, flog him in public and banish him from the sport forever as some kind of weird anomaly of the brotherhood of surfing, it is good to remember that everybody who rides waves has the potential for surfpiggery. Take my mate Christian for example. A big goofy Frenchman who is like a brother to me. We surf together all the time. We were surfing yesterday, just me and him on some lovely waves. He comes back from a smoker, deliberately paddles around me, his mate waiting patiently for the next set, and pulls into my wave. Et tu Brutes? And so I spent the rest of the afternoon dropping in on him. Even I, the self-righteous writer of this article, have been accused of being a surfpig, on those over stoked moments where you luck into a session in the company of kooks. After seven set waves in a row I have been known to froth at the mouth and verbally assault 13 year old boogie boarders who dare paddle for my waves. The Gollum of Long Beach. They're mine, all mine, my preciousssss wavessss. The great irony is that surfing is an activity that brings such light and joy, that people are increasingly willing to kill each other over it.


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