Paar­man’s pass­ing leaves a void in lo­cal surf­ing folk­lore

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

The sto­ries he re­counts, with ruth­less can­dour, are laced with long bouts of drug abuse and al­co­holism punc­tu­ated by bro­ken re­la­tion­ships and nu­mer­ous brushes with in­sti­tu­tions of the state, from jail cells to padded cells.

He started smok­ing dagga – not in ganja-ad­dled Cape Town – but in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia as a mem­ber of the Spring­bok team in 1966 at the age of 14.

He went on to surf for South Africa at the world champs in 1968 and 1970 but a trou­bled de­pen­dency on var­i­ous chem­i­cals ul­ti­mately ru­ined his surf­ing ca­reer.

I found a link to his blog from his Face­book page, where many folk from var­i­ous parts of his life have paid their re­spects. In a post from 2014, he writes: “Even though I never made mil­lions as I had hoped to do, so that I could go to Bali to surf some of those per­fect warm water waves be­fore I pegged off, it still went well.”

He was di­ag­nosed with ad­vanced stage lung can­cer in Au­gust 2017, and friends and fam­ily chipped in with funds to ease the twi­light weeks of his life.

There were par­al­lels be­tween Paar­man and an­other surf­ing leg­end Ant van den Heu­vel, who ‘re­tired’ from the same South African team at the 1966 world champs in San Diego in a dis­pute about the length of his hair. He spent two years trav­el­ling Amer­ica, be­fore re­turn­ing to Jef­freys Bay to live the hippy life mak­ing his leg­endary ‘Ug’ boots.

When Paar­man went to Syd­ney to com­pete in the world champs in 1970, he missed the flight home and ended up liv­ing in Aus­tralia. “I put on an Aus­tralian ac­cent and no-one ever queried it,” he said.

He was 25 when Shaun Tom­son won the world ti­tle in 1977. He would have been good enough to be in the same ech­e­lon, but never re­gret­ted his life choices. I of­ten saw him charg­ing the waves of Vic Bay. He al­ways knew where to sit, and was re­spected by lo­cals.

He was a house painter who lived in a small house in Wilder­ness, and had found mean­ing help­ing oth­ers – a con­vivial sort who al­ways had time to chat, even if the waves were cook­ing.

“I find my­self very com­fort­able work­ing with peo­ple in very dark and scary places. Be­fore you pull the plug on your­self or sub­mit to psy­chotic drugs, give me a shout and I will help you get your life back into bal­ance, no judg­ment.”

RIP Don­ald Paar­man. Clean JBay lines greeted the Bil­l­abong SA Ju­nior Champs pre­sented by BOS yes­ter­day as U18 surfers in eight di­vi­sions chal­lenged for na­tional ti­tles and team points. They also got a bit of a ‘skrik’ when a dead whale floated by; fol­lowed by large, pre­dat­ing white sharks. The carcess was towed 17kms off­shore. Lots of swell this week­end, but slightly iffy winds. To­day, a crack- ing 6-7’ swell runs in mod­er­ate SW on­shore winds. Muizen­berg has had fun 2-3’ waves lately. This con­tin­ues, to some de­gree and a bit smaller, early this morn­ing when winds are light and more west, but are grad­u­ally go­ing more on­shore southerly. To­mor­row, solid 8’ sets are com­ing through in fresh be­com­ing strong SSE. Muizen­berg blown out.

WAV­ING UP: Daniel Em­slier gets some air dur­ing the Bil­l­abong SA Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships un­der­way in Jef­freys Bay this week­end.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.