I’m sitting in the bathroom on a 5-wheel office chair that belonged to my late brother and thinking about him and the other guys I used to surf with who are no longer with us. Like goofy footer Mick who used to live in a caravan at Coolum but never owned a car. He used to catch the bus with the school kids to Nambour everyday to work in a bank. Mick was just hanging on his own one Christmas while the rest of us were pigging out on all manner of Aussie tucker with loved ones. To their credit, my folks thought it would be a good idea for him to join us for Christmas lunch.
Mick never showed much emotion, but he was into music in a big way. I have fond memories of watching John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and other acts with Mick at a pub at Alex Headland (the Chifley?) around 1986. I still have an old mix tape (cassette) called Mick's Modern Music he made for me from vinyl singles he bought on holiday in Sydney, stuff like - the Screaming Tribesmen, Harem Scarem, the Go Betweens, Husker Du, the Chills, the Wet Taxis and the Triffids. I have no idea why he took his life.
Pete Hansen Moffats Winter 1978
“You've got jowls like your mother,” the Bride of Brine says as she deftly turns my 30 year beard into a goatee, like Bob Cooper’s only way less famous. I guess you can get away with that call when you have been with me for 27 years. I’m not good at sitting still, even on the 5 wheel office chair and shut my eyes and try to think about a late arvo September Session I had on my DVS quad at Tea Tree. But my mind flicks back to memories of Pete Hansen another goofy footer no longer with us. Sadly a mosquito bit him in Egypt when he was on his way back from the oil rigs in the North Sea.
Pete was my cousin’s cousin. We shared a wooden double desk in the fourth and fifth grades. I didn’t see Pete for a while after he switched schools. One day he lobbed up to Coolum with a beautiful 6' Bob Cooper Bonza, with long triangular side fins and concaves, when the rest of us were riding 6' 10" pintail single fins. We thought it came from outer space.
We met up again at university where he was the king of the anti-Trend trend. Pete and I used to hitchhike to the Rainbow Bay SLSC. He was a clubbie there. Around 1977, it was undergoing renovation and there was nobody there in winter. We would hole up in the unfinished draughty clubhouse and ride Snapper and Greenmount. Pete had this great backhand slashing style, but we brought him down to earth by telling him he waved his left arm around like a windmill.
Sometimes Graham, one of the older guys would take us to 24th Avenue at Palm Beach, where he would shred on his stubby Darby rounded square tail. I ditched the pintail after having a go of that board at Rainbow. It could turn on a penny. Pete would pester you into going for a surf with him even when it looked lousey. I still use his saying “It’s always better than it looks” to motivate myself, when it’s too crowded or too flat or too fat or too big or whatever.
The Bride finishes up my beard makeover and it’s time to get ready for Christmas dinner, as another black cloud rolls over the tin roof of our old wooden house. Merry Christmas to all of our friends both absent and present.