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GRATEFUL DAVE /////// /////////////////////// To me surfing is not about how good you are, but how much you love it. I was fortunate to catch some great waves and be praised by many good surfers during my time. One of my many highlights being that China O'Connor used to paddle out if he saw me in the water. For those unaware, China was, on his day, as good as Mick, Dingo, Joel, Rabbit and Reg Riley combined, with NPJ's barrel knowledge thrown in for good measure. Yep, China's paying me for this. But three neck fusions and two stuffed shoulders saw my last bodysurf at small perfect snapper end up with me laying paralysed in four inches of water and nearly drowning. But boy am I blessed. Thankfully I now get so stoked seeing other people getting waves. I know the increased crowds and lack of surfing etiquette has somewhat diminished both the true soul connection between rider and ocean, and the essence of connection to nature, but the fact remains if you are a surfer you are still very, very blessed. Please try to remember this and if you get burned, faded or miss the section because of crew, stay stoked, cause you will be rewarded. The fact that you are even surfing shows you are indeed blessed.
Dave China O'Connor, what a blast from the past! I remember the notorious Kirra switchfoot tubes. Keep up the positive outlook Dave, we love it. - Ed.
WAZZA FROM WA //////////////////////////// ‘Twas a crisp winter’s morning, clear bright blue sky, The swell was a pumpin’: ‘bout 6ft high. I jumped in the car with my mate for the day, Big Warren, or “Wazza”, from W.A. Just south of Lennox we found the right spot, Great size and shape, this point had the lot. The jump off the rocks - 10 ft down to the water, Wazza said “Should we?”- I said we oughta. I jumped in first- all went pretty well, I said to Wazza: “time it with the swell”. To check he was OK, I looked over my shoulder, Waz timed it right as he jumped off the boulder. I was happy to see his feet leave the ground, He’d done it just right, so I turned right around. But the sound of the splash wasn’t quite right, So I turned back around, and oh, what a sight. Wazza in the water – he was all there, ‘though his leg rope leg was right up in the air. His leg rope was tight, he was calm, God love him, But his board was on rock, 10 ft above him. I signalled a fisherman, he unhitched the tangle, Did it too fast for a board tight on the dangle. The board sprung down on the rocks: “Ker dunk, ker dunk”, And I thought then our surf might just be sunk. Waz checked his board, then shouted: not with glee, For now there were two fins, where once there was three. But he kept on surfin’ – the guy’s kind of gallant, You don’t need three fins with his kind of talent. We caught waves, had fun: what surf’s all about, But one wave Waz was late to pull out. As he rose from the whitewash, he signaled to me, He now had just one fin, where once there were three. So he caught the next wave in, right to the shore, Then signaled again – he had lost yet one more. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, Wazza just stood there, wondering why. Great on three fins, on two pretty swell, Even on one fin, he’d done very well. But with no fins at all, three holes where they lay, Even big Wazza had to call it a day. There’ll be lots of yarns ‘bout that day’s waves, Of tubes and wipeouts and miraculous saves. But of all the stories to come out of that day, None will beat Wazza’s, from W.A.
John Edwards That was quite an effort from Wazza. Although those rocks you speak of have claimed many a victim over the years. - Ed
IN LOVING MEMORY /////////////////////////// Stephen Laurence Rice 1954 - 2014. Avid Tracks reader & collector; long-time fan of captain Goodvibes. My younger brother Steve was born in Kogarah, Sydney on June 9th, 1954. He began surfing alongside me in 1965. Our early surfing years spent in and around the Cronulla area, later becoming regulars at “The Point”. In 1976, Steve, myself, and a couple of mates set off on a surfing journey through Mauritius, Madagascar, Africa and Europe. Steve went to Israel for 6 months and then joined up with me, working on oil rigs and platforms off Canada, UK, Norway & Finland. Fully cashed up again, Steve set off and travelled and surfed throughout the UK. I headed back to OZ and decided to have a quick stopover in Bunbury in the south west of WA, to visit a mate I met overseas. Steve, on his return to OZ in January 1978, decided to join me and my new found Sandgroper mates at their surfer’s farmhouse at Australind, just North of Bunbury. This was a benchmark year for top quality surf throughout WA, and within a few months we had cemented life-long friendships. Steve’s budding board design aspirations were given a chance to blossom when we were invited to join the small but highly productive team at Peter Mercer Surfboards, in nearby Capel. Under the tutorage of Peter Mercer and Alf Jeffries, we learned the fine art of surfboard construction. However, after several fun years, the travel bug struck again. I headed off to the US while Steve worked for a while at Cordingly Surfboards in Perth. Steve then headed back east to Crescent Head and worked at Seaduce in Kempsey, once again for his mentor, Alf Jeffries. In late 1982, we once again reunited and headed back to the West, surfing all along the way. We settled in Capel, approximately 55km north of Yallingup. In mid-1983 we opened our own board workshop – Sealines Fibreglass. Like most other surfer / shapers this was a dream come true for Steve and he was lucky enough to keep living the dream until the end. A few years later we both married local Capel girls and had two daughters each. The two Rice families maintained a very close relationship and we continued to surf and party together. Steve was a former member and Club President of Indiana Boardriders in Bunbury, and notched up 18 years voluntary service with the Capel Bush Fire Brigade. Steve passed away quietly, peacefully but unexpectedly about midday on Monday 23rd June, 2014. He was surfing beautiful, clean waves with his mates and I at his favorite, and home break. Approximately 500 people attended his funeral service in Bunbury on July 1. A fine craftsman, surfer, husband, father, brother, uncle and mentor. We will miss you always. Loving you forever. RIP Steve. Garry “Wings” Rice Below: WA legend Stephen Rice passed away doing what he loved.