TOPICS: Learning with Miss Surfest a tough gig
TWICE a century a storm comes out of Antarctica, tearing up the Pacific, and when it hits Nobbys Beach it turns into the biggest surf this planet has ever seen. And we were there.
Actually, some of that might be from Point Break. But Topics did get to take our first surf lesson at Nobbys – with the finalists of Miss Surfest 2014.
What? Someone had to.
At this point we could sit back, crack a tinnie and tell you what a plum gig this was. But it wasn’t – not entirely. Surfing’s hard when you can barely swim, and harder still when you’re trying to catch your first wave in front of a beauty pageant.
So, armed with those excuses, we put our trust in Dave and Michael, the instructors from Surfest Surf School. To drill the basics, we all lay face-down on our boards in the sand. One beauty revealed she had 80,000 followers on Instagram. Another couldn’t lie on her chest because she’d recently had, erm, enhancements.
‘‘Oh, and this guy’s from the Herald,’’ Dave announced.
‘‘He’s not some creep off the street.’’
That was decent of him. Confident we’d end the day able to surf and with a great bikini body, Topics paddled out. That was tiring, so Dave and Michael towed us out and lined us up to catch the waves.
Between wobbly dismounts and choking mouthfuls of sea, we noticed that some of our classmates were pretty good at this.
Vivienne Barclay, 20, of Thornton, had the jumping-to-your-feet bit down pat. Tori-Lee Hillery, of Shortland, looked like she’d been riding waves for years.
‘‘No, I haven’t, not until this morning,’’ she said, after another textbook ride.
Just to be clear, we hate her. At full-time on our first surf, the scoreboard read Ocean 10: Topics 2.5 (times standing up). We’d do it again, especially if we could hire a Dave or Michael to tow us out.
The Miss Surfest final is at Souths Merewether from 6pm Sunday.
RAY Caves, of Mayfield, has a different take on Little Richard’s conversion on the way to Stockton.
Legend has it that while touring Australia in 1957, the Tutti Frutti singer found God on the Stockton ferry. Lucky. We once found a syringe.
Little Richard’s conversion was sparked by his fear that the Russians, by launching Sputnik 1, had brought on the end of the world. He was so convinced that he yanked the rings off his fingers and hurled them into the Hunter River. Because apparently that would help.
But Ray, 50, has heard a different version over the years from live music types.
Firstly, he says, it didn’t happen on the ferry. It took place on the bridge to Carrington, where the star had set out with his band to find somewhere to buy a drink.
‘‘Everywhere shut at midnight,’’ says Ray.
‘‘But someone had said there might be a place open in Carrington.’’
But on the way to the promised booze, Little Richard had a change of heart. Maybe he realised how far he had to walk. At any rate, the rings sailed over the railing. Plop.
That’s one version. Little Richard, if you’re reading, we’re happy to be set straight. Meanwhile, the river mud beneath the bridge might still harbour the rings.
BASICS: Miss Surfest finalist Vivienne Barclay (left) and the Herald’s Tim Connell (centre) take a surf lesson at Nobbys Beach.