Tow is, like, so gay: Part 2
Mark Mathews is a volcano of energy. He’s motivated, he co-operates, he makes things happen. He knew how we’d butchered the previous trip trip and, 10 days later, made the call that there could be waves back at the desert left. We were reluctant to listen but realised what we’d achieved was a watered-down version […]
Mark Mathews is a volcano of energy. He’s motivated, he co-operates, he makes things happen. He knew how we’d butchered the previous trip trip and, 10 days later, made the call that there could be waves back at the desert left. We were reluctant to listen but realised what we’d achieved was a watered-down version of a good idea. After a few weeks in Hawaii without swell, he was into scoring some good waves and doing what he does best.
“I don’t wanna know about the gay shit but I’m keen to get barrelled,” he said.
This time, we all travelled via the air and during a stopover in a small fishing town, a local approached Mathews. It was 10 in the morning and the man’s face was covered in black texta. He was dearly twisted after a night on the booze or the eggs or the gack or the ice or the speed.
“Maffews, oi, it’s fucken Mark Maffews!” he yelled. “Oh, Maffews you’re a fucken sick cunt! Fuck yeah, you stick your fist in Shipsterns arse!” The man suddenly became aggressive, (asking us one by one who the fuck we are) then when he asked the same question to MM, Mathews stood his ground and barked: “Who the fuck are you?” “Fuck yeah,” he said, Mathews clearly having passed his tough-guy test (I failed). “Fuck yeah, Maffews.”
“He woulda had a wet dream-if he just spotted Kobe,” Mathews cracked as Kobes emerged from a fish and chip shop armed with one of the region’s fine King George whiting fish burgers. When we arrived at the same left we’d been at just 10 days earlier, the swell was up and stepping out across an empty lineup. It was barely a handful of sand before dark (no chance of surfing this time) and we were approached by an older couple. They were the only ones around and were enjoying their home brew. They spotted the red foamie in the car, along with video man Brook Sylvester’s cheap bodyboard he shoots from the channel with. They were real boozed but also excited about the company. Given our equipment, they took us for bodyboarders. Koby moved away to watch the left unfold from a rock. The man moved across and told Koby that the wcive is unsurfable at this size. “Oi, little fella,” he said. “I bet you couldn’t take off on that one on your lid. Whaddya reckon?” I thought I was gonna see sparks but Kobe couldn’t help but laugh. The absurdity of this conversation on the hill was too much. As we began to pack up and drive off, the dude slapped his chick triumphantly on the arse to which we responded with an appreciative tap of horn. To express her gratitude, she undid her jeans, revealing a sexy black thong. She bent over and started pulling it to the side so she could slap her kicker.
“I’d show you me tits,” she said. “But they’re too saggy now.”
The next morning we were up in the dark and on the road. The swell we’d anticipated wasn’t huge, eight feet maybe. This time round we’d enlisted the help of Stu Gibson, a Tasmanian kid who cut his teeth shooting from the water at Shipsterns. Koby assured me he was the only one ballsy enough to shoot the shark-filled left from the water. And he did. As I watched from the channel, Koby wound into a set behind the ski. The wave was eight feet and Koby rode the foamie like it was his normal board. He moved over the ledge with all his gay paraphernalia and the wave began to unfold. As it ledged out he straightened his legs and stood bolt upright. It could’ve been Pipeline or Teahupoo or Fbdang Radang and Stu was right in there with him. Smiles peeled across sunburnt faces, Kobes rode past the camera and was swallowed by the wave as his foamie caught an outside rail. Stu swam across to the boat absolutely mortified, as if he’d seen a White.
“Me… me… me…. camera didn’t fire!” A dreadful feeling. Who would tell Abberton? “I can fire it manually,” said Gibson, as he attempted to salvage his pride and salvage the shoot, part two.
I couldn’t hide my frustration and disappointment. Y’see, the outfit isn’t made for the elements and each wave is a new cowboy hat. These items aren’t cheap and Oxford Street sure was a long way away for any replacements. But the next wave, it looked like Stu got the shot. He had to. If he didn’t, that was it. The ocean swallowed another gay cab outfit and we were clean out of homo couture. Gay cabbing out of the way, Koby and Mark got serious. They decided that since the ski eliminates the most exciting part of the wave – the drop and setup – that they’d paddle into the ledges manually. The next two hours was an exhibition of polished tuberiding. Both got deep under the ledge and threw themselves into eight-foot double-ups. Koby explained that the most memorable waves any ever catches at a break are double-ups. “Name any crazy memorable tube that you can and I guarantee they were double-ups.”
Why are we so adamant to out. tow surfing? Why does a fetid taste rise in our throats when we see another tow-punt, another big-wave tow-in when Stab itself has a jetski and for the past few years have championed the sport? Example: Phil MacDonald is a charger and brilliant on rail. But to see him in magazines eight foot above the lip? Morally unclean. To see a man showering the heavens on a two-foot wave and not be told they’ve been whipped in with the power of 160 horses is dishonest.
Example two: Plenty of whippets can ollie emselves heavenward but have neither the strength nor the gumption to self-generate enough speed to drown a rail like Phil. Is it kosher for em to use a ski so they can be photographed performing gouges that were once the preserve of only a few Big Men like Phil and Luke Egan? Of course not. Both Koby and Mark are about to introduce a new policy at the wave, Ours, in Sydney. “If you can’t paddle-in, you’re certainly not gonna tow it,” they reasoned.
But one thing Koby isn’t about to let happen is any cheap disrespect for guys like Dorian and Laird. “They’re the craziest motherfuckers in the world and what those guys do is another realm. Dorian will paddle into anything and you remember Lance Burkhart (Laird’s character) in North Shore?” Mark answered: “Yeah, I do. Motherfucker didn’t even get barrelled.”
Koby laughed. “You can tell what’s gay. You know those guys we mean. We know who Stab is outing. They’re the cowards who can’t paddle in to a six-foot wave but they’ll tow all day long and they’re touted as heroes. You know what we’re talking about.”
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