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In the Water Before Light

Page 4

Chris Grierson

We surfed like this for a couple of years. Jacko was the first to give it away. He met a girl called Sally, and that was it. Phil and I would still see him out occasionally at Boobs. He’d be hitting the water just as we were coming in. Sally would be reading, or waiting in the car. Two weeks, Phil said every time, that’s how long he was giving Sally to put up with Jacko leaving her alone in the car like that. On warm days she’d sun bake down near the rocks and every time that two weeks came and went, and Sally was still there. Jacko and Phil were still friends, but not having Jacko on the dawn patrols really changed things between them, anyone could see it.

We’d always heard about shark sightings along the coast, but we'd never actually seen one for real. Some days, in between sets, I’d duck down under the board and open my eyes underwater looking around just to be sure. The Jaws soundtrack playing in my head. Every footage of a great white’s bite from every documentary I’d ever seen playing in my head. All the locals had stories about the time they saw a shark. Phil reckoned he’d seen one when he was younger, off the point at Anglesea. A fin slicing the water just for a moment. Said he was surprised at how fast it was travelling. Phil reckoned after seeing that that if a great white lined you up it was just a matter of saying your prayers. There ain’t nothing you can do to stop something like that so there’s no use worrying about it, if your time is up then your time is up. That’s what I reckon kept me looking underwater in between sets.

Once when we were out at Spout Creek, our choice at low tide, the water was so clear I reckon you could see anything coming towards you. There was a nice off shore breeze cleaning up the surf, which was small enough that a couple of guys were out wearing sunglasses and one guy had a baseball cap on. I was sure for a moment I saw a giant shadow moving my way. I turned and paddled for the next wave which I caught all the way in. I sat out on the beach for half an hour before I raised the courage to go back in. What’s up with you? Phil asked me straight off. Got a bit of a tummy bug, I told him and went light at lunch at the milk bar just to keep the story up.


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