The Winnie

Surfing has been a huge part of my life since I was 10 years old.

It started with a GT foamie (polystyrene) down at Trigg beach and then graduated to a ‘Little Ripper’ – also a foamie – a much waited for Christmas present that lasted a day before snapping in half.

At 10 years old I wasn’t allowed down the beach on my own. I thought I’d be ok, but mum and dad were both a bit concerned about rips etc. They told me I could go alone when I was 13. I couldn’t wait. I was starting to become an addict and would have spent every day at the beach if it were possible.

At the start of year 8 myself and a couple of mates bought an old kneeboard for $10.00 – our first venture in fibreglass – real surfing! It was actually a malibu that someone had sawed in half and ‘converted’. It went much like a surfboard that had been sawn in half, so by Easter I was trading it in on a $25.00 piece of junk down at Tom Blaxell’s old shop. It was a horrible ugly single finned beast, but it was all I could afford. It was a start…

Around this time mum went away for a few weeks and I managed to somehow find my way to the beach on my own. I was 12 after all. I could handle it.

I had some wonderful surfs on that disgusting, waterlogged piece of crap before it snapped in half also and I left it in the bin down at the beach. But now there was no turning back. A number of secondhand boards followed, some decent, others impulse decisions that went like small battle ships in the water.

By mid way thru high school I was a fully fledged surfer though. Not just the sit on the beach and pretend kind, but an actual get amongst it, get pummelled kind. I have great memories of Trigg point pre crowds, when it was still possible to get a wave to yourself, of classic days sitting out there while some of the best waves I had ever seen rolled by. I used to skip school about one day in every week to go surfing and dreamt of the day I would travel the world on surfing expeditions.

Throughout high school there were regular 4am bike rides to the beach, sometimes managing to get 3 surfs in before coming home. We began to enter than zone where life was ruled by the swell and the wind. (I still have that vital info located on the sidebar of my blog as essential info)

Before long it came time to buy my first brand new board. I had left school and had survived several fairly bone crunching surf trips down south and felt I was now of sufficient stature to buy a decent board.

The Winnie was a 5′ 8″ thruster – almost as wide as it was long! It was the early days of three fins and still the era of ultrashort boards. I was 19 when I bought this one and it lasted me many memorable Lancelin trips and many ventures to Margaret River and Yallingup. Ironically the biggest waves I have ever caught were on this tiny piece of glass and foam.

I remember being out in 6-8 ft onshore ‘Suicides’, the southern and less crowded wave at Margaret River mainbreak, and riding the Winnie on some waves I wouldn’t go anywhere near these days. I remember 3 magical days at 6 ft Guillotines with Troy. I still wonder what was I doing out there on a 5′ 8″ toy?

Sadly the Winnie’s day came when fashions changed and longer boards came back in.

This photo is one of me with my then pride and joy – the kinda board that goes in the front seat of your car, while your girlfriend sits in the back. If you’re not a surfer then that last sentence wont make any sense at all. If you are then share your own favourite stories in the comments!

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