Last week local surfers had a ball as massive swells pounded the Bay’s beaches and point breaks. Beach car parks and pubs were abuzz with stories about the double overhead barrel that Joe got, the sweep that took Mick from Wategos to the Surf Club or the close-out set that smashed Jill’s board to bits. The best yarn of the week didn’t come from a board rider at all. It came from self-proclaimed “best-body surfer in the Bay” and lovable swim instructor, Dix Ozier. Dix reckons that when he body surfs the Main Beach shore break (when the swell is pumping) the police have to be called in to move along the crowds who gather on the beach to check him out and cheer him on. Local surf heroes like Rasta, Johnny, Danny, Jodie and Pauline simply cannot compete against the amazing exploits of this surfing purist who not only has never surfed on a board but has never even used one of those hand thingies that the other “expert” body surfers seem to swear by.
Last Monday morning when the surf at The Pass was coming in clean and well overhead Dix figured it was about time to give those surfers another lesson in what real surfing was about. Knowing that attempting to swim out into the line-up from The Pass itself, given the huge walls of white water sweeping around the point and the accompanying freight train sweep, was unlikely to result in anything more than a record-breaking trip to Belongil he entered the water at Wategos and swam three hundred meters towards the Julian Rocks. Our Dix is not silly. He knew that from there the raging current would float him right into the wave zone at the Pass with a minimum of extra effort.
As Dix drifted towards the point he said that he was shocked at the number of surfers who were battling against the swell and current to maintain their place in the line up. He figured there could be 100 of them. Not put off by the number of board riders who would be scrapping for waves against him he stroked strongly and steadily into the wave zone.
Just as he was about to reach the ideal take-off spot he looked back over his shoulder and noticed a lumbering big grand-daddy of a wave bearing down on him. This could well be the wave of the day, he thought, and a quick glimpse around him to determine if there were any pesky surfboard riders nearby competing for the wave revealed that the wave was going to be his and his alone. Eee-ha!
The wave jacked up as it approached Dix and he swam several strokes and kicked as hard as he could to find the most favourable position below the lip to enable him to fly out onto the shoulder and then down its face. As he burst through the lip and onto the face he looked down into a trough that he estimated to be eight foot deep. We are talking about some kind of killer wave here… and it is all his. Just as he was flying down the face he realized that there were a group of surfers to his right desperately trying to get out of the way of the towering lip by duck diving.
At that moment that Dix’s joy was complete… that moment of adrenalin-charged excitement when he was thundering down the face of an eight foot, perfectly shaped, wave with just his slim body as the vehicle, Dix crashed to a halt! He was stopped dead in his tracks. “What the…” thought Dix. He felt a huge pressure on his arm and neck. He suddenly found it almost impossible to breath. Then he was swept over the falls into a pit of churning white hell.
A few moments before, just as Dix had taken his last arm stroke to position himself perfectly on the wave he had unknowingly and inconveniently threaded his arm through the trailing leg rope of a wayward surfer (who should not have been there) who was attempting to duck-dive himself to safety. The effect must have been like one of those old Warner Bros cartoons where the poor bulldog charges at the cat waiting tauntingly just beyond the reach of the dog’s tether. As the dog comes to the end of its tether, the rope snaps back, the dog somersaults backwards through the air… its eyes bulging and its tongue lolling from side to side. The leg rope had first wrapped around Dix’s arm then worked its way up to his neck. The throttled Dix and his captive surfer friend were swept over the falls together and worked over by the super wave that was not going to be ridden by either surfer or body surfer on this day.