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The Mad Snakes:

Episode 1: Party Wave. Red Beard

One thing worse than finding yourself, three meters under water and pinned against a rock, is knowing a punch in the head is waiting for you, should you make it to the surface. Here’s how I got there:

A clean south swell and a day off work meant we had the chance to leave Tama, the gay beach with gayer waves, for something better. It’s the mid nineties; longhaired and fresh out of high school, without a care in the world we headed south.

Our vehicle, a no bullshit 81 Corolla, affectionately named the ashtray. A turd of a vehicle but each trip made exciting by the fact you may or may not get there.

Ambitiously Sandon Point was called and we arrived in time for a gentleman’s early. 11am on a Tuesday yet Wollon-bong, never one to drag down the unemployment rate, meant the scene was disappointingly busy in and out of the water.

We pulled up next to a Dutch oven disguised as a van. It’s three inhabitants, part man part mutant, were three very good reasons not to legalise cannabis. We now had a clear view of clean, crowded and smoking Sandon point.

Without a second to waste we suited up and got out there. A motley crew of locals greeted us with an icy reception in the warm water. Immediately one particular Yocal, a toothless ranga with a red beard, was very vocal about his dislike for us and anyone else not from these parts. “These Faarkin blowins think they’re getting a faarkin wave”…he crowed.

Now I don’t trust rangas at the best of times. Ill tempered, unpredictable and with nothing to lose, I knew better than to hassle this guy. So I stayed out of his way and waited patiently.

He wasn’t a great surfer but he was good enough, and local enough, to get pitted and paddle for every set. More than that, no one would hassle him. Red Beard appeared to be some kind of mutant chief and was dominating mercilessly. Slithering through the line up, cursing whilst promising violence he paddled with so much confidence you’d think he had the only cock in the village.

Waiting and growing hungry on the local’s scraps. Frustration was building. Not the type of frustration that I imagine leads a man to kill another, just frustration that our dream of perfect surf was being replaced by a bad dream starring an angry Ranga.

An hour in and it’s pumping. We did get a few descent waves however the set waves still had the same weathered heads on them each time.
Mad Snake

Miraculously after two sets in quick succession I found myself the lone wolf in prime take of zone. No one but me and I stroked into a bomb. I’d timed it perfectly. The lip in the head that is. I just had time to get up, see it line up beautifully when whack! The throwing lip hit me like a pool table being dropped on your neck.

Face down and under water for too long I just managed to scramble to the surface. As soon as I popped up, I had one huge breath and then I saw him. The evil Ranga had just taken off, deep outside on an absolute bomb. I thought I was the farthest out. Red beard had just materialised out of nowhere. He must have been under water eating rocks or something, but that didn’t matter now cause here he comes.

I struggled to get my tomb stoning board back. My leggie stretched to the max, my board just out of reach.

All composure was gone. Frantically I tried to get my board back. I just wanted to get out of his way and avoid the monster set about to explode on my head. Ripping along in his crap wettie and already cursing me down the line as an inexcusable obstacle, the Ranga and the blow in were on a collision course.

Still without my board under my control the wave was dredging. The most crucial part of the wave arrived and a thick barrel was eager to pitch over both our heads. I scrambled on to my board and just started to duck dive right as the Ranga snarled at me and pulled in. The thick lip threw cleanly over both our heads and exploded loudly. I had just made it through the wave, when no. Please fucking no, I got sucked back through and over the falls, literally landing on top of red beard. This shit was now diabolical.

I hit him so hard, our boards hit, leggies tangled and there I was, three meters under water, pinned against a rock, knowing a punch in the head was waiting for me, if and when I made it to the surface.
We eventually came up tangled together and murphies law ensures that leggies never snap when you want them to . Red beard was furious. I frog kicked away from him, hard. I tried to dodge the fibreglass, fins, leg ropes, fists, spit and general rathe aimed at me.

I remember thinking oh no, I’ve knocked his teeth out, and then remembered he had no teeth. Nothing prepared me for what I’d done next. I grabbed my board and I had actually snapped his board in half. His cherished piece of shit board I had snapped. I had infringed so heavily it was mind blowing.

A total accident and the worst part, the top 12 inches of his board was still sticking out of my board. I literally had to pull his board out of mine and hand it back to him.

An invitation to fight, I assume to the death in the car park was requested, I declined. My immediate concern was getting away. Fortunately for me, Red Beard I’m guessing sucked twenty King Kong’s a day and anaerobically he was spent.

Washed into the rocks, his board in two. Furious. What could I do? I knew I had screwed up massively but paddling in to get belted by a grown man was not a priority. He called for me to come in. I offered to pay for his board. He declined. He didn’t look like a reasonable man so when my options were either keep surfing or paddle in to a bare-knuckle death match, I surfed.

Enter the waiting game. I waited. And waited some more and then after Red Beard finally left, I waited some more and then another hour more for good measure.

Cowardly? Maybe, but I had all my white teeth still and didn’t plan on hanging around for lunch. Lead footed I aimed the ashtray up the Bulli pass and headed back to the mushy, gay waves of Tama.

Although no longer compulsory to smoke pot in Wollongong, it still produces great waves and cool people. Provided you’re not the gatecrasher when no one called party wave. Dude.

Till next time....The Mad Snake!!

This was posted on waxheads.com a few years back .The locals at the point are pretty sure RED BEARD was our Johono we wish you well on your new chapter in life my friend.