Posted by: smithdavid | December 23, 2012

Still to be Lived

It’s a cloudless day in Vic Bay. The tar and, then later, the sea sand burns our feet as we walk along the headland to check out the point break.  But it’s not that hot that your shirt is drenched after five minutes in the sun. When we get far enough, EV starts scratching under his collar, no doubt behind his shades his eyes are bulging. There are only a few in the line-up and there are 3-4 foot waves forming and breaking with relentless consistency. Wave after wave after wave, pitching at exactly the same spot.

‘I’ll have to get in off the rocks…’ EV says. This is the last bit of persuasion I need not to tackle the point. As we walk back to the car park to suit up, we see the waves forming in the small bay. They’re pulsing across the space in clean, glassy, well-spaced lines. When they get a few hundred yards from shore, they rise up gently and then crash down. It feels like my eyes too are bulging – surely today will be the day I make a few waves on the yellow biscuit.

I paddle out and take my place in the line-up. It’s littered with body boarders as well as surfers. I paddle for a wave or two but I’m taking them either too late and getting dumped or too early and not catching them at all. But I stay out there and keep trying, I can’t let the whole surfari go by without making a single wave.

others surfing well…

I paddle and get dumped and then paddle and get left behind. Eventually, exhausted, I belly ride one in, aiming to get my camera and salvage the session with a few shots of EV burning it up. But by the time I’ve got my camera to the point break, EV is paddling in. There are others surfing well and I shoot a few frames.

EV looks at the expression on my face when I get back to the car. ‘When I started, I used to miss the board sometimes when I tried to pop-up…’ he says.

vic bay surfer

Later we’re driving from Sedgefield back to Kleinmond. ‘You drive for a while…’ EV says after a stop for petrol. The N2 has parted from the coast but the terrain is rugged and undulating and I feel its magnetism.

Abi is in the back, we plug her I-Phone into the radio and she reads song titles out and we choose.

‘Despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage,’ we sing/scream along with The Smashing Pumpkins. Then it’s Pinball Wizard. EV mixes a G&T in a paper coffee cup from earlier. I measure my sips as I drive.

For a while we feel like we’re in our early twenties again (except for Abi, who is in her twenties). We feel like all those things that we’ve done in the time since are still ahead of us, all those triumphs and tragedies are still to be lived. For a while we feel like everything is contained within the four doors of the Toyota.

“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, now touch me babe, can’t you see, that I am not afraid…’ we sing along with Jim Morrison.



  1. Dave,

    Being a “surfer” is, I believe, more a way of being than about the level of your skill. And if so, brother, you are a surfer for sure.

    Enjoy the holiday. Where I am right now, it’s below freezing with fresh snow on the ground. Hoping to start snowboarding again soon.

    Keep sharing. These small stories are like little gems- capturing a place, time, and mood so beautifully.


    • cheers tom. luckily, this year, have had some good clean conditions and opportunity so am getting to ride some glistening wave faces. makes all those times of fruitless toil worthwhile. dave

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