HARKEN TO THE CALLING WAVES
“Life’s fairy tale will be affirmed Amid encounters and letters Seek the sent diamonds of possibilities But harken to the calling waves You must look beyond Into the far distant.” Nicholas Roerich
Every book tells a story. When you go beyond the cover and read between the lines there is often a deeper adventure waiting to be discovered. It’s as if the words written are not really words from the mind but portals to another world. And, so it is with the life of Midget.
As a young grommet I felt a strong empathy with Midget. His style and grace on a wave captivated and inspired me. His passive resistance to the system at the time was a sign that I intuitively recognised – an alternative I wanted to pursue. He embodied all those ideals that became the foundational corner stones for my life.
On my first trip to the North Coast with Bob Evans, Midget and Bobby Brown were on board. Bob was making a film – The Young Wave Hunters.
Thinking back over those times there were no two better surfers to be travelling with. In the early morning light of Crescent Head watching Midget surfing – arching gracefully through the long walls of those point breaks - left a lasting impression. Etched in my mind is the perfected and effortless connection that he had with each wave. Even with thousands of waves I’ve seen and ridden since then, I can still recall vividly those magic moments.
Experiences shared are never forgotten – like diamonds of possibilities they reside in our psyche, and make us who we are. In every moment exists a lifetime.
The times shared with Midget and Bobby enhanced my connections with everything else – they had a humility that I recognised at the time. As a result I am constantly reminded of the reality and the incredible beauty of life and tread as lightly as I can upon the path.
From the ocean a wave is born, it allows us to play with it. It gives to us unconditionally and asks for nothing. It then returns to its source to be reborn as another wave somewhere else – a beautiful metaphor for life. Midget recognised that. He was always in harmony with the ocean – there was a much deeper connection to his wave riding.
I am eternally grateful for sharing those times with Midget and Bobby. Like passing waves they leave you uplifted with a greater love and appreciation for the gift of life and the connections and opportunities offered us through surfing. Each moment is precious – not to be wasted. There are no two waves alike, and each wave given to us is for us to share with others in our own way. Though our paths may be different we are connected through the waves that we ride and all waves, be they human or ocean, eventually return to their source.
On the morning after Midget’s passing I drove along the Belmore River to Crescent Head. Things hadn’t changed much in 40 years.the river was glassy with the golden reflections from the early morning sunrise. The bird life ever abundant hovered and flew over the sleepy, almost lifeless, cows and sheep. Honesty boxes still exist on picket fences to collect money for the homemade jams and chutneys placed nearby. There was an absence of cars and people – a beautiful eeriness prevailed. I thought of times passed, waves ridden with friends, great times shared through our mutual love of the ocean. The countless sunrises and jewels of light from each wave paddled through – of the fleeting yet everpresent beautiful experiences we gather through surfing. The carpark was empty when I arrived. The day was incredibly beautiful with headhigh sets breaking around the point. There was a calmness and serenity in the air – and in the water, a peacefulness. The winter’s day, warm and engulfing, suggested an air of spring had arrived, the brilliant light on the wave face almost blinding. And yet it was more than a seasonal change, there was something else present. It was unlike any other day – a joyfulness bordering on bliss – an invisible presence. It felt as if Midget on his continuing journey had dropped in for a few more waves.
I heard a voice inside my heart as I walked along the path to the jump off rock, “You must look beyond – into the far distant.”
He will always remain a great inspiration – a great light.
Opposite: An image that appeared on the cover of SW VOL 11. NO 5, back when the mag was 45 cents. (Albe Falzon). Previous spread: No wonder images like these are burned into Albe’s head. Timeless Midget at Cresso. (Albe Falzon).