Posted by: smithdavid | July 14, 2013


The phone rings and I jump up from the mattress and dart across the passage to Dad’s study, where the closest handset is. But the ring stops just before I pick up. I go back to your study, lie down at the foot of your shelf of books. Now the phone rings again and I’m up, this time getting there in time.

‘Howzit David, Andre here…’ I knew it would be him, we’ve been swapping emails for a couple of months now. I’d been on the hunt for a longboard for my trip home to Gonubie (I wasn’t going to try and get Matilda from London to East London, South Africa again). Andre put the feelers out for a second hand longboard but they’re notoriously hard to find. Eventually he found a special on with the shaper who makes his boards. So now I’m in East London and my new 8ft custom should be too but there’s been some mix up with the courier.

‘Ja, I was just phoning a minute ago to tell you that it hadn’t come yet but then they rang my doorbell…’ Andre says.

gonubie beach...

gonubie beach…

‘Can I come and get it now?’ I haven’t surfed since the great session at Incheydoney in September and it’s just a few days from Christmas. It feels criminal to be beside the ocean and not surf, even if it’s just one day.

‘Ja, come over…’ he says.

Dad and I figure that it’ll better to take Greg’s bakkie rather than Phoenix (Dad’s thirty-seven year old van) since we’re going on the highway. I grab my straps and Dad and I head off.

Andre is out front when we get there. We shake hands, it’s been a year since I saw him last.

He’s shaking his head. ‘There’s good news and bad news…’ he says.

‘The board’s dinged already?’ I say.

‘No, no – they didn’t send your fins, leash and deckgrip,’ he says. I picture myself not being able to surf this afternoon, I feel heavy. ‘Don’t worry,’ he says, ‘you can borrow fins and a leash off me,’ he says. ‘They made my boards the wrong thickness too, it’s only a few eights of an inch, doesn’t sound like much but it makes a difference…’

gonubie point...

gonubie point…

He takes my new board out the bag – like Matilda she’s all white except for the black C of the shaper’s emblem. I lift her without any effort at all, turn her around. Just beneath the rocker (timber spine), beside the 8’23”3” specification, David is handwritten in pencil. I look at her proudly, my first custom, made just for me.

‘I got them to make it a little wider so it paddles well…’ says Andre as he kneels beside her, blowing the dust out of the allen key holes before twisting the fin screws home.

‘Gonubie Beach should be okay now,’ he says as we reverse back out his drive, the 8ft sticking out between the front seats of Greg’s bakkie, ‘you could go in there when you get back…’


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