Chris Duncan, Gary Aitkenhead, Ian Collins, Peter Sharkey, Christopher Russell, Nick Austin, Nick Hogan, Barry Hatch, Andrew Becker, Paul McGroder, John McGroder.
A Typical Day on The Barrenjoey
Well it's all about treating yourself like an amusement park really, one might say. Up with the sun, standing on the deck as the anchor drops in front of yet another perfect wave; world famous breaks which serve up perfect walls of water leaving it up to your own wits, ability and commitment to make of them what you will.
But beware, if only it were that simple! The first obstacle you will encounter for the day is booking sometime in the Head. By the time the first rumblings of that delicious curry you've eaten the night before start to occur Huskisson's favourite son, publican Clash McGroder will have tap danced his way in there to take care of business over a couple of photography magazines before settling down for his first DVD for the day. His brother Cannonballs 'Booties are for Wimps' McGroder is normally long gone by this stage, a mere silhouette in the early morning light ripping the water off the first of his 50 off perfect left handers for the day. Once you do make it into the Head be careful with taking the amusement park thing too far as you may well lose something very precious to you down its throat as when pumped it's as sucky a Bintangs right hander.
You head back up on deck for some much needed fresh air where you will encounter a fairly muscular chap known as the Kickboxer, never one to take a backward step after a skin full of Laras particularly when the other bloke is halfway back to shore. Beside him, zincing his beak up as a few crabs drop out of his boardshorts you might also find a bloke called Hollywood aka Spongearse, the Chemist or the Sorcerer cackling his way into the day and awakening anyone hoping for a sneaky little sleep in. Anyway, 'you can sleep when you die' says Cannonballs McGroder.
Nearby you might also see a guy pulling on his Cathy Freeman racing hood called Pistol Pete. If you haven't already done so you might wish to wait a little while before putting your board in the water; with the help of the aforementioned he will make the waves seem scarce. When you do, keep an eye out for a couple of guys called Fumbles and Mumbles, a lethal combination. While the slight but swift Mumbles enlightens you with a tale which is no doubt brilliant but impossible to understand, Fumbles will start his paddling for a wave which would otherwise be yours. Then, as you are left scratching your head wondering what the hell he was talking about, Mumbles will deftly snake inside both yourself and his mate Fumbles and paddle onto the wave. But thankfully, whilst one hell of team on ship or land, old Fumbles and Mumbles are quite at odds among the waves. So despite Mumbles' less than obvious cries of "No Gary Go", Fumbles will continue his paddling and perform the first of his many spine chilling drop ins nearly decapitating his dear old school buddy and earning himself the perilous pink rash vest in the process.
For some respite you might like to take in the picture perfect surrounds of some of the world's most famous surf breaks (HTs, Macaronis or Lance's Left) but your vision will be interrupted by a rather tall fellow, Cleo who, as many of the fairer sex around the world have done, you might recognise from his days as a lauded bachelor back in the 80's (he also answers to the name Boom Boom!).
Then a guy you might also recognise, not from a magazine but from one of your favourite action thrillers, will paddle up beside you on one of his endless array of rare and expensive surf craft. It's Bintang Barry, so named for his insatiable thirst for the local brew. Despite having just turned 50 he's one of the fitter chaps on the boat and although sparing with his conversation he's a very pleasant fellow. But don't be fooled by his genteel demeanor, BB is just as ruthless as the others when it comes to catching waves. In his characteristic gentlemanly manner he will usher you onto the first wave in the set, a gnarly close out that will put you right in the squeeze box as the other 3 or 4 waves in the set come crashing down on your head. And you will look up from your fear and loathing to see BB surf by smiling gleefully whereupon he might even wave to you as you check into the coral hotel and receive a couple of reef tattoos for your troubles.
So to escape all this lunacy you might like to relax with a quiet spot of angling. Waterlogged and breathless, you paddle back to the boat and slip into a delicious omelet or banana pancake but not before a little guy collects your board which you pass up from the water while he pumps his hips and reprises an 80's dance beat you thought was all but lost (but still obviously gets a fair bit of time in Padang nightclubs) - 'I like to move it, move it, I like to move it, move it...
And so you do, hot footing it onto the Binda Laut with the sweet jingle of an esky full of Bingles not far behind you and the calm fisherman with only one gag, Salamat at the helm. But before you can get away you've got bloody Fumbles, Mumbles, Richo, Hollywood and the Kickboxer sitting alongside you vying for some time on the reel. There goes that idea! But you go anyway because you wouldn't want to miss the catch of the day. So you're sitting around drinking a few Bingles discussing what you've done in the Head that morning and the line gets a hit, but sadly it's not your turn. Instead it's that Fumbles (No Gary Go) guy again who, quite coincidentally, is also the timekeeper for the rotation of taking turns on the rod.
So for half an hour you ride the physical and emotional rollercoaster of pulling in a whopper with Fumbles as he commentates on how it feels to have a fish big enough to pull the whole boat from side to side with it as it runs. Suddenly, just as things seem as though they couldn't get any more hectic, a sea snake tries to claim a seat in the boat and its own share of cold Bingles (can't blame it really). Eventually, you realise that triathlete Fumbles might be as crazy as you thought when it's revealed that what he had on the end of his line wasn't a fish but bloody Gilligan's Island instead. Unfortunately, the Kickboxer's new friends have already set up shop there so Fumbles' claim for local real estate is thwarted.
Just now Richo will start his commentary on the pink again, secure in the fact that he himself has already caught a decent sized fish earlier in the week and so is not a contender for it. But he is swiftly reminded that catching a fish by its tail doesn't really count and pipes down again. The boys assume the thing must have been asleep at the time but this is a question they will save for the captain Heelsy. However, be careful not to ask him too many of those kind of questions as he might fire himself up with a bit of "cap in yo' ass" gangster rap before pulling an aerial and kindly putting a double fin chop in your new board. However, this kind of act rarely goes unpunished on the Barrenjoey and he's awarded the mysterious pink rashy, which claims the young fella by sending him under with a heavy case of Indo flu for a few days.
Maybe a trip to dry land with Hollywood for a massage might be just the tonic you are needing after all these shenanigans. So you head for the surf camp at Macaronis. It's all smiles and light humour when you recognise the trio of Australian, German and Estonian surfers who were stealing all the waves from you that morning. You decide to square up the slate by asking the Estonian, a preacher by trade, what kind of porn he is checking out on his computer. You then decide to break the blanket of silence this has thrown over the room with a little more comedy by asking if the masseur might be willing to give a happy ending. This also certainly doesn't help Barrenjoey/Macaroni Resort diplomatic relations, in fact damages them irreparably, when the young aussie resort manager responds by saying that the masseur is in fact his mother-in-law so a happy ending (and a massage for that matter) is now definitely out of the question. Time to head back to the boat, massageless!
As the day draws to close you'll slip up to the beer garden on the top deck for a wrap up of the day's events, chewing on some mouth watering sashimi and a sucking down a few more Laras in the process. Mumbles will once again have you reeling at the profundity of life when he reminds you when you that you are not here to fuck spiders. In fact, by the end of the trip you'll realise that all this surfing and philosophy stuff is thirsty work as the Bingles case count reaches 55. Then, if you're keen for a little more fleecing and sorcery you might try your hand at a bit of Texas hold 'em in the saloon over a bottle of bourbon, probably not to be missed as it is during this time that you might see the normally measured Cleo open up and pull a few tales from the depths of his war chest.
As you stumble off to bed carefully avoiding the bodies strewn all over the deck you may notice in the moonlight that there's still a guy out there surfing. You look again and he's gone- it must have been a merman you think to yourself. But before you make the cot, keep an eye out for Hollywood's nocturnal alter ego, the Chemist pushing some sort of cure-all on to you in the half light. For any problem you might have - such as the inability to sleep through all the nightmares of having yet another wave pinched by the Kickboxer or Pistol, future relationship problems due to what you saw in the Head's mirror that morning, anxiety over all of the times you've been dropped in on by Fumbles, early onset of deafness you think you might be suffering because try as you might you still can't understand what Mumbles is saying, paranoia due to Richo's pink politicking or some such other common ailment - the Chemist has the answer.
But be careful to read the instructions carefully before taking whatever panacea he prescribes for your particular problem. The wrong pill might see you end up with some deeply disturbing pains the next morning and all of your crew mates sniggering among themselves at breakfast as they murmur to each other the name of a rare but apparently highly entertaining movie called the Donkey Punch.
Geppetto (aka the Organ Grinding Sea Otter)