Sunday, June 28, 2009

Disabled Woman 'Powerless To Help' Frustrated Surfers.

Monday 29th June, Burleigh Heads QLD.
– 24-year-old Quadriplegic Stephanie Johnson claims she is still coming to terms with a recent excursion to Burleigh Heads park late last week.

Ms Johnson – Wheelchair-bound with Spina Bifida since the age of five and whose every living function requires special assistance – was shuttled with two other severely disabled companions from their austere institution to spend an hour and a half staring out to sea from Burleigh Headland.

“While it was a treat to get some fresh air, I couldn't help but be concerned and upset at the distress many of the surfers seemed to be in,” she told your reporter, who visited her at the care facility..

Ms Johnson, who has no movement in her limbs and who is not likely to live past 30, tried to be philosophical as she recounted the trauma faced by the brave surfers who battled the hardships of not getting every wave they wanted.

“There was alot of swearing and anger out there, it was worse than in any hospital ward I've ever been in.

“If there was some way I could have reached out and helped those poor fellows, but I couldn't – hey, I can't even wipe my own arse!” she chuckled good-naturedly.

Sensing this reporter's discomfort at her arse-wiping quip, Ms Johnson quickly qualified her comments, saying “look, I know that's an insensitive thing to say, given the seriousness of the issue at hand – from what I saw, these surfers desperately need more waves to maintain a dignified quality of life.

“It makes you wonder about all those millions of dollars raised for research into conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia, Cancer, etcetera, when clearly so much suffering is felt so keenly out in the water by these poor souls.

“I think the authorities should at least try to do something – I don't know, perhaps divert some funds away from medical research and towards trialling an artificial reef program – or at least counselling for those hardest hit by the condition of not getting every wave they want.

“The key here is not to give up hope – to hang on to the thought that maybe in this lifetime, by some miracle, this condition can be met head on.

“The funny thing is, I'd happily swap places with a surfer – just for an hour – to give them some blessed relief.

“This may sound bizarre, but I think I might actually enjoy the experience myself, I don't believe I'd even feel the need to catch a wave.

“I suspect I'd be quite content to paddle around, with my arms and legs doing what my brain told them to do, feeling the sun and the saltwater on my skin – even doing that duckdive thing through the waves – might make a nice change from the wheelchair and the bed.”

Tired from the effort of talking, Ms Johnson indicated she was ready to return to her favourite spot – a large window looking inland to the Gold Coast's domestic sprawl – where she would spend the afternoon alone with her thoughts until a rostered carer came to feed, change and put her to bed.

As she was wheeled away, Ms Johnson implored your reporter to “Tell all the surfers out there. Stay strong! It might be hard to imagine, but there's always someone who's had less waves than you!”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Famous Director to Make Stand Up Paddle Surf Zombie Movie.

SUNDAY JUNE 21: World famous zombie-film-maker George A. Romero has come out of retirement citing the emergence of Stand Up Paddling as “A Zombie Movie opportunity too good to refuse.”

Romero – best known for Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985) and Night of the Living Dead (1990) – says the SUP phenomenon will “give a fresh dimension to the whole Zombie genre.”

“The script is fleshing out nicely – it's based on the premise that some surfers became obsessed with unlocking the secrets of a mythical 'core strength' formula that would somehow give them 'watermanly' powers,” says the 69-year-old Director.

“As with all good Zombie films, it starts out innocently enough, with healthy surfers adding the SUP to their quiver of surf alternatives, but things soon get toxic – what with that oddly symmetrical 'maybe-I'm-gonna-punch-out-a-shit-maybe-I'm-not' SUP stance, delusions of some hitherto undiscovered bloodline tracing back to The Duke, and the more 'gone' Zombies brazenly edging closer and closer into already crowded surf zones... clearly you've got the makings of a modern-day gore-fest on your hands.”

Romero's production company has been scouting locations and nominates Currumbin Alley on Queensland's Gold Coast as a site of interest for the as yet-un-named movie, with up to a hundred local SUP enthusiasts registering for work as background extras.

“In cinematic terms, the SUP surfer ticks the three boxes of your classic Zombie character” says Romero's Director of Photography, Alex Perkins. “One, they've got to move stiffly, slowly and relentlessly. Two, the consequences of being caught by one and joining their ranks must strike irrational fear into you. Three, there's got to be an element of hilarity in there.

“Watching a pack of freshly Zombified SUPs trying to bear down on a victim – with their ten-metre turning circles, constantly falling off and getting up again, and their veering off to one side and constantly over-correcting – its gonna be Zombie-horror-comedy gold.”

“They exhibit every hallmark of Zombie social behaviour – gestating in canals and waterways like so many rats before taking to the open ocean.”

Director Romero agrees – “To be honest, I thought the zombie genre was dead and buried, but the moment I laid eyes on SUPs in action, I knew this was a zombie story that needed to be told.”

“Mind you, I had a go on one recently and it's a lot of fun on the flat days” said Romero, as he edged closer to your reporter.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Slater, Parko and Reynolds Threaten Legal Action Against Teen Surfer.

SUNDAY, JUNE 14 – Three of the world's most popular surfers today put aside their rivalries and issued a joint statement demanding 14-year-old Mandurah surfer Danny Kincaid removes them from the list of 'surf heroes and influences' on his myspace page.

“Normally I'd be cool with props from a kid like Danny,” says nine-time World Champion Kelly Slater.

“Being hero and role model for the kids comes with the territory, but you've got to draw the line.

“I was tooling around online, googling my name – oh, admit it, we all do from time to time – and clicked through to Danny's myspace site.

“I was horrified to see a clip he'd made interspersing footage of himself surfing Mandurah Main Beach, with clips of myself, Joel and Dane.

“Not only that, his online bio cites the three of us as the guys he models his surfing on.

”The kid's surfing's not even remotely connected to our virtuosity. It's a scene I don't wanna be part of.”

Slater contacted Coolangatta's Joel Parkinson immediately and alerted him to the youngster's unacceptable alliance.

“My first reaction after checkin' the Danny's site out was 'hang on let's not get carried away here' ” says the typically unflappable Joel Parkinson.

“Sure the kid had awful style and technique, and I could barely see where the influence of any of us could be spotted, but I was heading out west that week anyway, doin' a surf shop / surf-with-the-groms promo in Mandurah, so thought I'd check the kid out first hand before taking any action.

“All I can say is that he actually surfs less like us in real life than online, which I didn't think was possible.

“Nothin' against Danny, he seems like a real nice kid, and I'm happy to be a hero for the guy, but having seen him surf first hand, I categorically deny influencing him in any way, shape or form.”

Parkinson emailed Slater and immediately they arranged a phone conference with Californian sensation Dane Reynolds.

“I wasn't down with the guys,” says Reynolds “Even after seeing the footage and hearing Parko's first-hand description, I thought well, who are we to judge? I mean maybe we've just influenced the kid in a different kind of way, you know – amping him up on the beauty of surfing and that.”

“But the guys made me watch the Kincaid clip again and again, and I see their point – there's absolutely nothing in this kid's surfing that can be stylistically or technically linked back to any one of us.

“So we're asking young Danny – nicely for now – please come clean and acknowledge that our surfing has nothing to do with yours.

“On behalf of Kelly, Joel and myself, remove us as your cited surfers of influence immediately. We don't want to have to call in the lawyers, but if we have to we will.”

This is not the first time young Kincaid has made headlines, (see, and quite possibly not the last.

Monday, June 8, 2009

World's Women Surfers Not As Good As Me, Says Local Man


LAZY BAY, MID-NORTH COAST NSW: A local surfer has struck back at a recent American surfing magazine cover line, saying he believes he is superior to every female surfer on the planet.

John McGarrity, 38, spent most of late yesterday at a nearby pub deriding the cover of Surfer magazine, the supposed "Bible of the sport", whose latest edition carried the slogan: "Carissa Moore Surfs Better Than You".

"The day some chick surfs better than me is the day I'm giving up surfin'," pronounced Mr McGarrity. "Chicks can't surf! It's a (expletive deleted) joke."

According to Mr McGarrity, photos of women successfully riding waves are merely a product of surf companies eager to promote their female fashion ranges, and are almost entirely faked. What was more, the whole idea was unnatural.

"I grew up surfin' with blokes and that's the way nature intended it to be," he continued. "It's the only place you can get away from the womenfolk."

Indeed, Mr McGarrity said, he had only recently read an article in a well-known scientific publication stating that when women came into contact with surfboards in a saltwater environment, they became upset and ill and had to be escorted off the beach. "Thus, it's (expletive deleted) irresponsible encouraging 'em to try taking part in this essentially masculine pastime," he stated. "They're never gunna enjoy 'emselves anyway. That's all I'm sayin'. Along with the fact that I'm superior to every woman on earth in every area of achievement."

When shown a video sequence of current world champion Stephanie Gilmore in action, Mr McGarrity scoffed. "That's a bloke with a wig on and a particularly slender waist."

Colleagues of Mr McGarrity nodded their heads in seeming agreement, though several later expressed doubts about his abilities. "Johnny's not that good himself, let's face it," said one. "If it was Lukie (Lazy Bay club champion Luke Harrington) up against the cream of the ASP's current top 17 female seeded surfers, well yeah, I reckon he'd clean 'em all up every time.

"But Johnny? Mate he has his days but he has his off days too, if ya know what I mean."

Another colleague chortlingly held up a newspaper with a large photo of Layne Beachley on her recently famous Sydney reef wave, and asked: "Caught any of these lately Johnny?"

Mr McGarrity became increasingly agitated at these comments, eventually storming out of the bar after a local barmaid offered to arm-wrestle him for a bet.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Waterman Spontaneously Combusts on Beach.

WED 3RD JUNE 2009, East Coast Aus – The tight-knit Toonalook Point surf community is coming to terms with the explosive demise of well-regarded local waterman Adrian Stevenson last weekend.

According to initial police reports, Stevenson, 36 – and in tip top condition – checked the surf from the Toona backbeach lookout before sunrise, and appeared excited and upbeat to fellow early risers.

“Stevo was amping on the new swell like he always does,” recounts fellow Toona local John Wade, also checking the surf that morning, “in the space of five minutes he must have mentioned a dozen different types of craft that could potentially suit the conditions the best.”

Mr Stevenson then returned home to consult the internet, allegedly to confirm that no swells-of-lifetimes were unloading anywhere within a 1000 km radius, and to work through an abbreviated version of the lairdpower™ pilates routine.

“Stevo found the pilates essential for his watermanly lifestyle,” good friend and training partner Linus Canning told reporters “helpful for the physicality of whatever the ocean had to throw at him, sure, but absolutely necessary for lugging and loading various surfcraft around the place. You should try getting a 30 foot Red Cedar SUP Ocean Racer on the roof of the landcruiser on your own sometime.”

Indeed, between 8.30 and 10.00am, neighbours report hearing an increasingly agitated Mr Stevenson loading his 4WD, trailer, and jetski trailer with an astonishing collection of surfcraft.

“At first I thought he was having a garage sale, or going camping or something” says longtime Toonalook resident and stickybeak Maud Adams, “and I said as much across the fence ... he just muttered something about living in the moment and I wouldn't understand what drives him.

“He said no-one really knows him but the ocean, he mentioned something about intrinsic connections, and Atlantis I think, but I'd already gone back inside by then and the tele was on so I can't say for sure.”

Mr Stevenson and his convoy of trailers returned to the Toona backbeach carpark by 10.30am, and witnesses say he spent the next hour unloading his flotilla of craft on to the beach.

“I asked him if he wanted a hand with the jetski trailer” recalls local grommet Shannan West “'cos the bullock harness he was wearing to haul it through the dunes looked pretty uncomfortable and he seemed a bit flustered... he said he was alright and that it was good resistance training.”

Though there are no suspicions of foul play, police are investigating the events that followed.

“We've accessed the Coastalwatch Surf Cam archives to study the sequence of events that led to Mr Stevenson blowing up” Senior Detective Constable Mal Padgett told reporters, “and though the surf cam footage is low resolution, we can ascertain that he brought his craft out on to the beach in the following order:

“Ocean-going SUP; traditional malibu; 16 foot paddleboard; one-man outrigger; flippers; jetski; 18 foot paddleboard; twin-fin fish; quad fin bat-tail; 18-foot clubbie ski; vintage lifesaving belt and reel; vintage hollow 'toothpick' craft; reconditioned Michael Peterson single fin dagger tail; authentic Paipo lie-down surf craft; high-performance 12 foot SUP; Peruvian fishing craft (traditional reed construction); heavily concaved finless surfboard; Campbell Brothers Bonzer; autographed George Greenough surf mat; various craft made from balsa, carbon fibre, aluminium and recycled plastic bottles; boulder for underwater running; authentic Morning of the Earth-era single fin hot dogger; McCoy Keel-Fin Lazor Zap; high-performance windsurfer; kite-board; hand-board and axe.

“We were puzzled by the axe until Mr Stevenson marched up the beach to the foreshore and carved himself out a nice Alaia out of a banksia tree.

“Mr Stevenson then donned a rubberised mer-man tail, and embroidered himself a loincloth out of the sanddune grass.”

Beachgoers allege that through the afternoon, Mr Stevenson remained on the beach, balancing on his merman tail, wondering aloud which surfcraft to finally decide on before taking to the water.

At dusk, John Wade, who'd met Stevenson at their early morning surf check, came out of the water and the pair exchanged the pleasantries that would prove to be fatal.

“He asked me how it was and what he should ride” recalls a still clearly shaken Wade. “ I just said it was unreal. I'd had three surfs through the day and thought it was perfect for a standard shortboard"

“He looked right through me and said softly 'oh, I don't think I have one of those...'

“And that's when it happened, his head just exploded clean off his body and shot into the sky. A few quivering flips of his merman tail and it was all over. Gone.

“Unbelievable. It'll take a day to get all his junk off the beach.”