Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kook to Kook

"We all start this journey as a kook. And sadly if we travel it long enough we end it as kooks, " was the realisation I had the other morning as I shuffled off to queue for a bus that may or may not turn up on time to take me to work.
We start as enthusiastic kooks with plenty of energy but not a lot of skill. We get better. Fall off less. Learn to read the mysteries of the brine. We eventually become competent surfers.
We maintain the stoke with bigger, hollower and faster waves. We do road trips and exotic dawn patrols. We have a quiver of boards for different conditions. We can hang ten or flick a gravity-defying backhand reo. We can surf all day with just a fuzzy drink and a chocolate bar to sustain us.
And then we peak. 
Our energy drops. 
We start to tear muscles. 
And one day we are the oldest kook out there.
Then as I'm standing in the peak hour smog, I recalled surfing with a bloke who was 79 and a former champion surfer.  He didn't look real pretty and probably wasn't sponsored by any surf labels. He wasn't jostling wih the dozens of crew in the packed peak and he wasn't getting a lot of waves. But he was out there. In the brine. Getting amongst it. And he was stoked.
He seemed happy watching the flash, the arrogance, the agro, the beauty and the style that was all wrapped up in that surf session as younger, fitter surfers zoomed past or sprayed him, creating their own memories of "back in the day".
But what I noticed, as we were having a yarn, was that about every 15 minutes a wide set wave would clean up the pack on the peak and close out most of the outer bay allowing the old timer to get his own inner hoot going. He'd catch these wide ones. and with minimum of slash. glide his hull along the wave in perfect trim. And then I figured he probably took a while to paddle back to his spot after having such long rides. Enough time for a rest and a watch of the action and then another wide closeout. Wow! He had the crowd and the place wired. Maybe the folks we think are kooks are just playing possum and scoring some of the best waves of the session!


  1. "From dust we came and to dust we shall return."

    Circle of life right? But maybe its not so bad.

    Love this post.

    P.S. I have the same question with my car in the mornings.

  2. ha, yes cars, they are strange beasts. I try not to look under the hood. cheers and thanks

  3. So true (i.e., the kook to kook observation). I think, if we do it right, you try to enjoy every stage in the process, maintain your humility and appreciate the fact that you're a surfer . . . regardless of your abilities.

  4. thanx 4 visit, wow great pictures!
    ciao, Luis

  5. thank you all and hope you enjoy some sliding on whatever craft you are floating on