Take a look at this photo. Click on it, then once more, you can make it fill your screen and then you can pan around it. Look at Tony Plant’s gestures as he describes God knows what to Smiler. Sure Big-T is talking about waves, but who can say what aspect?
These are two boys who surf, but I wouldn’t call them ‘surfers’ for if you met either of them and didn’t actually see them going surfing, it could be quite some time before either of them told you that they rode surfboards. I’d bet neither of them own a scrap of branded surf wear between them, and I’m sure as shinola that neither of them used any surf-speak whatsoever. The conversation was probably peppered with words like ‘lovely, feisty, tickle, lively, heart-racer, grin-expander…’, all pretty much straight out of a Noel Coward script.
So what are they actually like once they’re in the water then? Well, T-Pain amongst other things, has an illustrious CV in water-based surf photography, meaning he swims around with a waterproof casing over his camera to take shots of surfers. Tone-Loc (still the same bloke, just got quite a few pseudonyms) is the only person I know who has laughed, cried and been sick in the sea on the same day, and that day was at Aileens, that mental big-wave monster in Ireland. On that day, Tone was on hand to take shots from the water of what was to be a seminal tow-surfing session at the spot that had only recently come to the fore. In all the excitement, the BBC had somehow turned up, and crowded out the RIB that would have taken Tone out to the break. The BBC crew crowed that it was too full, leaving T-Rex on land, or so they thought. The-Plant pulled on his fins and SWAM his way out to meet the 30ft leviathan so he could take photos with only the buoyancy of his wetsuit for comfort. At this point, no one had shot Aileens from the water, much less swam out there when it was going off…
And what of Smiler? I’m convinced that there’s something going on with this bloke that doesn’t entirely add up. I’ve actually given him a second nick-name: Right Spot, on account of the fact that he always seems to be in the right spot to catch a wave. I’ve never seen anyone read an ocean like him – he just has an instinct for what’s happening and where he needs to be. I realised this early on, I don’t know how he does it, (it could be witchcraft) but I know enough to just let him call the shots regarding where or when we might surf. On one hand this gets me into more quality sessions than I would do, on the other hand it gets me into more scrapes…nah, let’s just keep focussed on the positives here, it’s really, really good fun going wave hunting with that miscreant.
There you have it, two blokes who look a bit like hobos and were it not for their gorgeous families, probably wouldn’t mind living like hobos either, but should you ever get to see them at full tilt in their secret lives, I think you’d do more than look twice (I’ve just re-read that, it sounds like they are gay – they are NOT gay! OK carry on). I could paste a hundred links and photos on this page to detail their heroics, but I think instead I’ll just keep a close eye on them and report any moments of brilliance as and when they occur. I won’t have to wait long.