Friday, March 09, 2007


Every surfer, as a kid, dreams of getting a picture of themselves in a magazine. I was no different but like most of chance.

Then, on my first trip through Europe in '79, my mate, Ren, and I where in a town called Figuera da Foz, on the Portuguese coast, enjoying a couple of plates of our version of spaghetti bolognese, when a white Kombi pulled into the camping ground. In it where Brian and Kathy, a couple of Californians doing the surfing thing through Europe,and shooting some stuff for Surfing magazine.

They wanted to know if we wanted to come south with them and surf this epic beach they'd found. It was, they said, huge and 'like Hawaii' and "we want someone to surf it so we can send it to the magazine"

The sentence was barely finished before we'd packed and fishtailed out of the campground. (I exaggerate)

When we arrived the next morning we found 8-10ft peaks breaking 50 yards offshore and reeling off in both directions, light offshore and pretty...well...epic.

Three days of this and it got bigger, we started to call it 18ft but in reality it might have got to a smidge over 12, I dunno, to us it was BIG. We'd only been surfing maybe 8 years at this point and looking back at the shots, we were rough.

Brian was a very good surfer himself, and mixed it with us, while Kathy shot from the beach. On one wave I remember taking off, backside, hitting a chop on the way down, and swinging an arm up in front of me to stay on.

"I hope she didn't take a shot of that" I thought.

Three months later this appeared in Surfing.


Twelve years later I'm surfing at a break called Two Mile down south here in Vicco. Now this is a serious wave, and this was a SERIOUS session. It was a once in a lifetime, 12-15ft solid gold special, with a list of stars in the water a mile long. Tom Carrol, Martin Potter, Derek Ho, Brad Gerlach, Ross Clark Jones, Tony Ray, Cheyne Horan, plus the locals, and a few semi regulars like... me.

I'm making a fist of it, and getting the odd one, and the odd belting, including one wave where I got in cleanly, very relaxed, maybe too relaxed, maybe...oops dig a rail, stick my bum in the air then proceed to get absolutely hammered.

Script reads..
"I hope no one took a shot of that."

A couple of months later...

DOH (2)

Now the thing about that session was I got one wave where it all went right. I paddle in clean on a BIG one, made it to the bottom and looked along a looong wall, and thought 'do I straighten off or pull in?'. I swung off the bottom, and as I drew up onto the wall the lip folded over to give me the biggest barrel I'd ever seen, much less been in. While in there I saw three guys paddle up the face, screaming, and I remember smiling back at them before I finally came out to another 100 metres of big, blue wall.

I pulled out right in front of Tom Carrol "Nice tube" was all he said.

I thought "nice?'

Thanks Tom.

Ten years later I'm sitting out at Winki when Craig (aka Pinhead) (now CEO Quiksilver in Torquay) says to me:

Micky, remember that big barrel you got at Two Mile that day?

Yeah Craigy.

That still plays in my head,even today.

Mine too mate.

A couple of years later, again out at Winki and again Craig says:

Micky, remember that big barrel you got at Two Mile that day?

Yeah Craigy?

Tom Carroll said 'that was the best wave that guys gonna get in his entire life...'


So far he's been right.


Gaz said...

Great memories of Europe mate, inspires me to dredge up a few from the memory banks.
Wasn't very nice of TC to point that out tho'.......

nmm said...

Sounds (to me) like the stuff heros are made of.....D'oh!

Alan_M said...

D1 looks cool, D2, well, that's pretty embarrassing.. but at least you have documentation that you hadthe balls to tackle some heavy stuff, make it or not!
Tom Carrol was just jealous....

clayfin said...

great stories! I agree with Alan, documented proof you were going for it.

pushingtide said...

Fuckin' rad mate!!

Patch said...

Rock star on all counts!

Chum said...

Great stories, Mick! Man, if I have tales like that to tell 20 years from now, it'll be evidence of a life well lived.

Anonymous said...

I saw Tom Carrol on a plane on my way home this weekend and I decided to do a little web search. Found this site and I really dug your story here. I've been surfing for about 15yrs but I tend to take it easy. I have to say that I'd be stoked to have ANY photos of myself surfing, much less in a magazine. And as for Tom's comment no worries, it sounds like a better wave than I'll ever get in my life.
WestCoastUSA cheers!

NiegĂ  said...