Stand Up, Gentlemen?
I always knew I would die at the hands of a middle-aged white man. After all, most of us will. I generally assumed it would be a war-mongering politician or a jealous farmer, angered by the quality of my home-grown jalapenos, who would claim my scalp. But now, I have made peace with the fact it will be a financial adviser/lawyer/banker, deep in the throes of a mid-life crisis, who will mount me upon his wall; my skull clearly indented from the collision with his stand-up paddle board (SUP).
It sounds dramatic, but these blokes are so intent on catching all the waves in the Eastern Suburbs, I don’t think they care how many heads they crush in the process. I think I speak for every surfer in Sydney when I say, “Please don’t crush our heads, lads.”
There is an etiquette in surfing – admittedly not often closely followed around here – but it is never followed by the majority of SUP riders. They float out the back, take the first few waves of every set and swiftly paddle right back on the inside. Us humble surfers can merely scamper out of the way as they come charging through, and hope that we can get ourselves back in position for the dregs.
Sydney is full of entitled pricks, I know, but these degenerates are particularly concerning, because a lot of them aren’t very good at what they are doing. They should certainly not be honing their craft on a crowded Saturday morning around beginners and disgruntled writers with mild hangovers.
Not wanting to sound like a crazed, fear-mongering lunatic or News Corp journalist, I am amazed that there hasn’t been a serious incident yet.
A conservative estimate is that I have seen about six to eight near misses this year alone, as well as one direct hit. I was nearly cleaned up twice myself on ANZAC Day – no apologies and no acknowledgement that he had almost caused me serious injury, which seems to be a recurring theme. I don’t know whether they are embarrassed and hope that by ignoring the person they almost just killed, they’ll just go away, or they simply just don’t give a shit. Either way, a simple “Sorry, mate” would go a hell of a long way to soothing my temptation to follow them home and hide old prawns around their garden.
It is rare that councils are proactive, but perhaps it’s time someone is. As much as I want to scream “Ban the bastards!” I know I am not entitled to the waves, even if they don’t. The solution is as easy as a designated paddle boarders’ and surfers’ area. Surfers who choose to surf in the paddle boarding area can’t gripe about it, because they’ll have another, much safer (though probably more crowded) spot.
And yes, I realise that SUPing is not solely the domain of the middle-aged white man, but my experience with those not fitting this description – barring one lunatic of the fairer sex – has been perfectly fine. They are not reckless and show consideration for others, which really isn’t that bloody hard, now is it?