The other day, as I walked along the coastal path to go surfing, I passed a school group. As I passed them playing soccer on the sand, the teacher smiled at me. ‘Gosh, aren’t you clever carrying that on your head’, she exclaimed as I walked by. I laughed. A little further on, closer to the pool, a group of people having lunch stared at me as I approached. ‘Nice work balancing that. Very well done.’ Again, I smiled. But by the third comment – Well, that’s impressive – I found myself bemused by the interest in my board-carrying style - it reminds me that longboards are still are bit of a rarity around these parts.
Since then, I ‘ve kind of embraced the continuing interest in the spectacle I create on my short sojourns from the edge of the city down the sea. But yesterday, when I was in the water, I discovered that my board-carrying walks might act as more than an amusement for passers by. I was sitting in the water when one of the local guys paddled out, ‘Hi’, I greeted him. ‘Hi’, he replied and then asked the requisite, ‘Getting some?’ I replied with the equally requisite, ‘Bits and pieces. It’s kind of fun, the tide is still moving though.’ This break is heavily reliant on the tide, but I love surfing here so I’ve come to know exactly when to arrive to get the most time out of it. He smiled, ‘Yeah, but I know it’s time to surf when I see you walking past with your board on your head!’ Amused as I was, I have to admit that I felt a little proud of having become a tiny part of surfing life, tides and times in this bit of Newcastle.