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.”