Nigel Cowan, Mark Simpson (Simmo), Stephen Hall, Stuart Wishart, Troy Andrews, Warwick Hills, Chris Brooks, Jeff Reynolds
"A Seppo's Tale"
He usually went with his crew from the US of A, but the rest of his crew couldn't get their act together this time. With 2 kids on base and 1 more in the on deck circle he knew it would be awhile before he saw another Sumateran sunset first hand. He inquired with the Captain as to availability and as luck would have it there was one spot open.
The Seppo decided to wear the thick skin. Didn't normally need to, but he was on board with 7 Aussies, plus the Captain and his wife and new baby Fynn. One solitary man grabbing beers out of the cooler as the rest of the crew pulled piss from the esky. Forewarned is forearmed, and the Captain had already fired a warning shot in his e-mail prior to departure: "..it'll be good to have a Seppo scapegoat along..." hhhmm.
Turns out they were a fairly amiable bunch; perhaps they thought they should take it easy on him, even when he laid it up on a platter. He called the beer fridge the "cooler" just to get a rise out of them, and it worked. He acted like they were nuts when they ate that crap called Vegemite, even though he'd seen it a hundred times before. But they never really laid into him too badly, somewhat dissapointing in a sense but nice and unexpected in another. Sure they threw a few barbs here and there; he learned what an "esky" was pretty damn quickly, and he began putting on his "leggie" rather than his leash, before each session. And dammit if he didn't walk the face of the earth for 37 years before someone called him "Simmo."
And they got some surf too. Stu had been before, the Seppo a number of times; same with the Colonel. The other 5 were ripe Mentawaii virgins drooling with anticipation like drunken schoolgirls one hour after prom and 3 wine coolers deep (that's American humor, boys). They weren't dissapointed. The Captain took them straight to the Office (surprise!) to clock in before heading out into the field.
No other boats for the first 4 days. Plenty of swell. The beautiful South. Big offshore Indonesian dreams at the righthander. The wonderful little wedging right that the Sydney boys took apart all day. England heading in for the reef check. The Captain trying to Dis member the Seppo at the top of the point on a very shallow righthander ("now I remember why we don't surf this place too often...." Umm, thanks Cap'n). Lucking into a late evening, excuse me, a "late arvo" session at a notoriously fickle and shallow righthander. The tubes at the left. More tubes at the right. The Colonel taking a big shallow right to task while we cheered him on from the lounge.
The Seppo for one had never been as surfed-out before. It was the last day of the trip, and the swell had dropped off. 2 days worth of surfing had been done at the weenie righthander with a host of other boats that were relegated to sharing due to some funky winds. Granted, the wave was pretty much at it's best, and it was actually pretty damn good. But too many rats in a cage after 8 days of relative seclusion were tough. The fins were unscrewed; the wax had been taken off the decks. All his boards were ready to go home except a magic 6'8" round pin that had been left out, "just in case." Sore and tired, ready to be home.
"Simmo you're out there mate." Out of a very solid sleep on deck to standing postion in 3 seconds flat and there it was; a much sought after wave these days, rare and beautiful, overhead and firing down the reef, completely empty and out of the blue. Standup down the line barrels. They shared it amongst themselves for a long while until the tide got too low and it was gone. By that time the Barrenjoey was pointed for home, and the beers in the esky were colder than ever.