Tales of Two Surf Buddies …with a bit of “artistic licence” by Dave Simmons.
It’s Friday night and I’m home from work after the usual lift home with Mum after tea in the West Australian Newspapers canteen. Mum worked at 6IX and I at John Gill Advertising in the same building, just next to the West. I’d graduated to Graphic Designer after my four years prior as Office Boy / Lunch go-getter.
After having missed out on the Nam Draft and responding by climbing our Jacaranda tree on the front lawn and thanking the Universe for it, I was intent on christening my two tone Blue FJ that weekend with a trip South with my mate Giles Geiger. Mum had added to my savings for it, by adding 50 bucks to the 200 bucks owing on it.
“That’s all you’re getting and please don’t come to me if it breaks down David” says Mum.
Photo: 1967 Dave & Giles relaxing on the back lawn in Walter St Claremont. Dave Simmons pic.
The weekend before, Giles and I took Mum’s Anglia up towards Trigg and ended up out at Mettam’s Pool for a quiet session waves about 3 foot, no one there. We stopped back at my place in Walter St Claremont, a beautiful cottage Mum had rented where Mum, Liz and I lived for years. I used to give Giles a few Villa Lobos preludes while we talked Jimi Hendrix and early Steve Miller band, after our surfs & before I dropped Giles home.
“Hello Giles” says Mum…“what have you two been up to today? “
Giles: “We had a surf at Wankers“.
Mum: “What’s Wankers?“
Giles and I crack up and Giles leaves it to me to explain.…Wasn’t easy and about my only attempt after much thought was thus: “Well it used to be called Willie Wonkers, but they changed it!”
Photo: 1970 Greg Laurenson surf team at State Titles at Yalls. L-R Peter Holzman, Ron Waddell, Rod Slater, Robin ‘Skullcap’ Sutherland, Steve ‘Sheepdog’ Cockburn, Giles Geiger, John Balgarnie, Peter Dyson, Bruce King & Greg Laurenson in front. Ric Chan pic.
On the way to Giles’ abode early Saturday morning in my FJ I noticed two things. A smell of petrol and the perennial ‘squeaky wheel’ – literally. Stop one was just off Stirling Highway where I climbed under the old lady and noticed a small stream. A petrol leak, yes it was. Now in those days given the overall euphoric cool attitude played out by just about every good surfer, mostly, something so practical as a petrol leak just didn’t ever enter the consciousness at all. I called into the hardware store and bought a tube of some strange stuff in a tube that the guy told me could stop the petrol leak. It was sort of …metal putty, so to speak. So what did I do?
I applied a huge blob of this stuff straight onto the still leaking petrol tank where I thought I could see where the leak was coming from “That’ll do.” I got to Giles’ place.
Photo: 1974 Giles surfing Smiths Beach Yallingup. Ric Chan pic.
Anyway it ends up that all the money Giles and I had on us got used up by the time we got to Dunsborough, having to have fill the petrol tank up nine times… nine, ten, I can’t remember! We made it out of Dunsborough and were about to hit Yallingup with Giles asleep on the back seat when all I can remember was that I thought I was hallucinating. ‘That squeak’ that had been irritating Giles and I all the way down south, suddenly stopped. Aw thanks for that squeak stopping, what a relief, I thought to myself.
“Giles !!“ ….“ay!” ….”Giles, we gonna sleep in the Yalls car park?“…no answer!
I rolled down the window to notice we were on three wheels with the feral left front wheel meandering, wobbling off to the side of the road into the gravel ditch – totally free of the car itself. I also viewed it ‘jaw dropped’ in the rear vision mirror. There it lay to rest.
“Aw…Giles”, “Ay”…”Giles we‘re really stuffed now!“ says I.
Suffice to say, that glorious weather and perfect swell of that beautiful weekend went surf-less by us & was capped off by a four hour wait for the RAC tow truck. We shared varied tales while hanging around Dunsborough waiting for three things to happen:-
One new wheel, one new petrol tank…and one bill we knew couldn’t pay!
“What’s ya Mum’s phone number mate?“ asks the Dunsborough Garage Mechanic.
“aw shit ….. can’t remember”, says I.
“OK….. start walkin’“ says he.
“aw….that’s right …. It’s” …..
Footnote by Dave:
Talk about crowds these days. Up here in Perth whenever there is a reasonable swell it’s mayhem out there, too often for my liking with too much talk out in the water. Whatever good karma I might be feeling gets blown away right there. In our days not a word was spoken. There was a silent mutual respect between all of us. Maybe that’s why we all surfed so damn good!!
Photo: 2016 Dave at home on his Lancelinmobile. Dave Simmons pic.