I had the good fortune of watching Wayne Bartholomew take apart a Queensland pointbreak a few months back & it was pure inspiration.
Rabbit turns fifty-six this year, which is exactly twenty years older than I am. This day he was catching his fair share of waves despite a crowded lineup, surfing smooth & fast & covering a lot of ground, completing waves way down the length of the cove & then overtaking surfers half his age as he sprinted back to the rockoff spot at the tip of the point.
Simply put, Rabs was frothing as hard as a grommet & it warmed the cockles of my surfer's heart to witness it all unfolding: a grown man, silver haired in his later years, overflowing with joy & vitality & desire, obviously as much in love with surfing as he ever has been.
It reminded me of what the narrator in Tim Winton's 'Breath' thought about surfing: "How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant."
How strange, how simple, how good. I am grateful to share the lineup with elders who can still remind us of that most primary lesson: a surfing life is pure gift.
Posted by Nathan Oldfield