'Sjoe!' I shake my head in awe as he casually flicks a bathtub's worth of spray into the air. I turn and start paddling back up the conveyor belt to the take-off rock. Sean Holmes a la chunk paddles up behind me. I smile at the ou and am about to launch into a version of: 'jislaaik bru, you ripped that one, hey.' But he cuts me off with: 'you broke my section on that wave!'
'Oh?' I answer a bit taken aback. It's onshore and getting mushy. I wasn't paddling for the wave, there is no way I could have broken his section. Maybe God, Neptune or Mother Nature broke his section. The fickle vagaries of tide, time and meteorology could have caused his wave to section. But not me, bru. I was just chilling in the channel, watching innocently. He bristles like a pitbull as he paddles back to the rock.
I follow, relatively bemused. Up until this point it has been a super mellow session. Friendly ous swapping loads of waves. On cue a set arrives. The long haired local hippie dude is on it. He's not the world's greatest surfer, but he's in the right spot, makes the drop and rides it competently. Kif. Then there's a deep line and ol' clutch-plate, the fat Sean Holmes, is going for the bomb. He's paddling wide, scratching. It's a big wave. I'm just watching it, even though I'm in a good position. Clutch-plate is struggling, he turns late but he's too deep, it's pitching fast and he pulls back, and lets off a primal roar. A scream from deep down that vents all his pent-up frustrations, kept bottled, under pressure. The scream of a thousand hours in front of a computer screen in a dead-end job, a scream that captures all his mortgage payments, his tax bill, his expanding waistline, his kak relationship with his mom, that old memory of all his school mates teasing him for having no pubes and maybe even that old, premature ejaculation thingy - which is not a problem, really. His belly-roar echoes up the narrow valley and scares birds out of their trees. It is followed by a venomous flurry of expletives. Having blown a set wave, he trains his hostility on the closest and most likely scapegoat. This fat, middle-aged booger - who allegedly got in the way of the Mayor of Vic Bay, on that last cracker.
'Keep out of the way or get out of the water.' El Chunk shouts.
'Just relax.' Says the toppie on the booger, looking hurt.
'No boet! Fuck!' He rages. 'If you don't know how to stay out of the way, I'm going to take you out the water. Why don't you just fuck off back home!'
Credit to the booger-ballie, he doesn't back down. He kicks up closer to the angry man, so he can hear him better. He doesn't tune, just talks to him quietly in a measured tone. Like a psychoanalyst.
'Just relax man.' Reiterates the booger-ballie. 'I didn't mean to get in your way. And besides, I live here.' He pleads.
You can see the cogs turning in old Clutch o'matic's head. You can almost hear the fanbelt screeching and smell the burning rubber. Surfing is the only thing that makes complete sense to the ou. He's spent his life doing it, and he's pretty good. And now everyone and his auntie wants in on his sport. And his waves. Here they come, down to ol' Vic Bay with the family in a fucking station wagon, gatecrashing his precious 'me-time'. As the town has grown, so have the crowds. It's just a small bay. Clutchy has to stop the rot. People have to show some respect. If we don't stand up for ourselves, we'll be overrun by everyone! And it must end here. Starting with this cheeky, middle aged fuckin booger!
'Ay fuck off if you can't take a hint.' He growls. 'You not a local around here. You can forget it.'
The whole scene just reminds me of that overbaked bit in Point Break where Keanu gets beaten up by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Surf Rage is so 1989. I turn and smile at the gremmie on my inside, his name is Klaus from George. I swear. He's got braces and he's just stoked to be in the water getting a couple.
'D'you know that oke?' I ask, tilting my head towards Clutchy.
'Oh ja, that's Stuart.' Says Klaus, and he opens his eyes wide. 'He's a local.'
'Nice oke.' I laugh. Klaus smiles. 'He kakked on me just for looking at his wave.'
'I come here to surf every weekend and that guy still doesn't give me any waves. Says I'm not a local.' Klaus looks bleak.
We talk about the Kelly Slater invitational where the surfers don't get scored unless they catch and surf waves together. It sets a great precedent.
'Getting dropped in on is not the end of the world.' He says sagely. 'Happens all the time out here, to groms like me.'
'Straight up.' I agree. 'Most people treat getting dropped in on like it's game-over, end of the ride, when you should just keep on surfing the wave.'
Klaus smiles and nods. Clutch o' matic is now sitting almost on top of the take-off rock, dominating the line-up with scowls and sneers. The dick king. The original woes poes. Other locals paddle up to him, to pay their dues. Local sycophants and arselickers. No one wants to upset the ou, but he's pretty much upset waiting to happen. A set wave arrives and one of his mates goes for it. But angry Chunkman goes for it too. Here comes kak, I'm thinking. The fat Sean Holmes drops in on the foamball while his china rides the shoulder. China-bean turns around to see the most aggro ou in Vic Bay, mate or no mate, behind him. Deeper than him. Chunko bails into the foam. By now China-bean has done the math and realises he's just dropped in on the Mayor of Vic Bay, terrified he bails swiftly too. The wave unloads on the bricks unridden.
China-bean paddles back sheepishly, expecting swift retribution. Clutch o'matic tunes him, 'Ja I didn't want you to blow that wave, so I dropped in behind you, just to make sure. When I saw you had it, I bailed. It was your wave after all.'
What a legend. China-bean just looks deflated, like he might burst into tears.
Kif place ol' Vic Bay when the Mayor's out.