One morning in May of 2002 I was surfing at Delicate, behind Crescent Head, when I was introduced to an American guy named Russell. He surfed well and was really friendly and we shared good conversation between waves. At the time I was riding the 5'9 Shane s-deck I have mentioned in a previous post and Russell was intrigued and was asking a few questions about it. I gave him a go while I sat on his thruster for a while and he seemed to enjoy it. On one wave however, he got a little careless and was sharing the wave with another American, who was a friend of his, and they collided. The massive brown fin was dislodged from the bottom of my board along with a large section of foam. The board also washed ashore as it didn't have accommodation for a legrope at the time. I was shattered.
I had gotten this board from my friend Andrew as boards have often been given, swapped and sold between the 2 of us. It was one of the last boards I bought from him before he moved 8 hours south from Newcastle to the Bermagui region just 6 months earlier.
Russell was incredibly apologetic. He couldn't apologise enough and was wanting to pay to fix it and I could tell he felt awful. I tried to tell him it was ok even though I was grieving heavily inside.
I ran back to my van and got a pair of goggles and swam around for ages underwater looking in the sand for it but was never able to find it.
I don't know if he felt obliged to or what but Russell spent the rest of the day hanging around talking with me and after that trip we spent a lot of time together surfing and hanging out. We went on surf trips together and surfed a lot of good waves around Newcastle also. He flew back to Florida a couple of months after we met but he has returned several times since and we always enjoy the time we get to hang out together. Just last summer we were able to hang out while our wives met for the first time and they sat on the beach as Russell and I bodysurfed and shared a board in some little windswell waves.
Within a couple of months of losing the brown fin I had a local shaper/glasser repair the hole and install a finbox. The next year (2003) Russell returned and we took a trip down to visit Andrew for a few days and I rode the Shane out on a little peak at Camel Rock.
It felt fantastic and I even let Russell have another go...
|riding the Shane at Wallaga Lake Entrance - 2005|
|My wife Anna and Russ's wife Brianna - Jan 2010|
|Russ hitting me for some reason 2 months after wrecking my board...|