For­ever Young

Mark Roughly is one of the world’s most pr olific surfers, and he has the jour­nals to pr ove it.

Tracks - - Rapture - By Brett Burcher.

“Sth Nar­rawallee, first surf af­ter ac­ci­dent, around head high on Vanessa’s board. Stayed out 30 mins, got about 6 to 8 waves, had a re­ally good surf con­sid­er­ing 5 weeks off.”

Dated 15/2/1992, Mol­ly­mook’s Mark Roughly had just put pen to pa­per on his maiden jour­nal en­try. Coin­ci­den­tally, it was an un­ex­pected fin to the fam­ily jew­els that would in­flu­ence a record-break­ing num­ber of di­ary en­tries, span­ning 28 years and fill­ing the pages of 64 books. The idea had sprung to mind through Dale Web­ster, a North­ern Cal­i­for­nian surfer who in­fa­mously surfed ev­ery day for 40 years. 16 stitches and five weeks of bed rest later, Ruffo de­cided he was go­ing to start his own tra­di­tion by record­ing ev­ery one of his surfs from that point on­ward, no mat­ter the con­di­tions, length and lo­ca­tion.

Born and raised in west­ern Syd­ney, the boy from Black­town an­swered the call of the coast and moved to Cun­jurong Point in 1986, the ex­act spot where he’d first been in­tro­duced to surf­ing as a kid. Mark quickly be­came a fa­mil­iar and for­mi­da­ble face in the lineup, and his bar rais­ing per­for­mances soon be­came a part of carpark folk­lore. Not one to re­flect or harp on about his achieve­ments, Ruffo has been one of the stand­out surfers on the south coast for the past 30 years. When dab­bling in the com­pet­i­tive scene briefly for a laugh, he came away tri­umphant in the pres­ti­gious 1998 Werri Slash, tak­ing down world-renowned names Jake Spooner and Phil Mac­Don­ald in the process. Like a fine bot­tle of wine, his per­for­mances aren’t slow­ing down, al­though he will do his very best to con­vince you other­wise. Glance through any one of Ruffo’s jour­nals and you will soon en­counter an ar­ray of tales, mo­ments shared, and his­tor­i­cal ses­sions; all penned with the same tone of pure stoke that he spreads across the south coast on a daily ba­sis. He was in the lineup with fel­low lo­cal, Pam Bur­ridge, dur­ing the fi­nal of the 1997, Rip Curl Bells Beach world tour com­pe­ti­tion, cad­dy­ing her to a run­ner-up fin­ish be­hind four­time world cham­pion Lisa An­der­son. He once surfed in the Mentawai Is­lands off In­done­sia for 10 hours straight, re­tir­ing to the boat for a beloved can of coke and an hon­est night’s rest to pre­pare for the fol­low­ing day’s dawn ses­sion. Not one to pass up an op­por­tu­nity to get wet, Ruffo once clocked up 64 surfs in a sin­gle month, also ac­cu­mu­lat­ing 600 surfs over a cal­en­dar year. He does how­ever con­fesses to hav­ing one sab­bat­i­cal ‘Ruf­follupo’ year where he only surfed 120 times, spend­ing a bit of well-earned rest time on the couch and, like Occy, adding nu­mer­ous ex­tra kilo­grams of win­ter coat. His form slump and sub­se­quent come­back are all dili­gently chron­i­cled in his di­aries.

Ruffo’s pas­sion for surf­ing has seen him ven­ture to all cor­ners of the globe, in­clud­ing Hawaii, South Africa, In­done­sia, Fiji and Canada. De­spite his ex­ten­sive trav­els, he still de­clares Lakey Peak, Manyana beach and Golf­course reef as his over­all favourite spots. Lakey Peak holds a spe­cial place in Ruffo’s heart, he of­ten spends months at a time there dur­ing the win­ter sea­sons. Hail­ing from Manyana, the Bartlett broth­ers Guy, Nathan and By­ron, grew up idol­is­ing and surf­ing along­side Ruff. For the Bartletts, and many other Manyana grom­mets, Ruff was the older role model who used to take them surf­ing and skat­ing, and to the movies ev­ery Fri­day night. El­dest of the Bartlett broth­ers, Guy, re­flects fondly on their first surf trip away with Ruff as wide-eyed teenagers. “Back in 1999, I was 17 and Nathan was 15 when Ruff took us on our first over­seas surf trip to Lakey Peak in Sum­bawa. This is where he re­ceived his nick­name ‘Mr Jaf­fle’ from the lo­cals. The en­tire time he was there he ate noth­ing but cheese jaf­fles for break­fast, lunch and din­ner. He had the wave di­alled and was al­ways the best in the lineup, of­ten toy­ing with it. He would take his ra­zor out in the lineup and when he back-doored the sec­ond sec­tion he would pull it out and start shav­ing in­side the pit. He was so good to travel with, es­pe­cially as kids as he didn’t drink or party; he was just a com­plete surf pig. Ev­ery­where you went, ev­ery­one knew him and loved to be around him. We used to call him the Sum­bawa God”.

Clean liv­ing and a youth­ful en­ergy are the essence of Ruff’s ap­proach to surf­ing and life it­self, and he ac­knowl­edges the di­ary is a driv­ing fac­tor for keep­ing him in the ocean on a daily ba­sis. Drive past Mol­ly­mook reef on any given morn­ing in the depths of win­ter and more of­ten than not you’re bound to see his un­mis­tak­able white van parked curb­side and a new Chan­nel Is­lands surf­board go­ing 12 o’clock in the kinds of waves the keen­est 10-year-

old grom­mets wouldn’t surf in their wildest night­mares. Of late, Ruffo has started record­ing which board he rode and how it per­formed. In­ter­est­ingly, he is now rid­ing 5’7” length boards, down from 6’3” in his ini­tial en­tries. As he has ma­tured, the en­tries have be­come no­tice­ably longer and more de­tailed, while his hand­writ­ing skills have gone un­de­ni­ably south. 10 years ago, a pas­sage from his di­ary read, “My aim is to get to 10,000 surfs and es­ti­mat­ing 200 surfs a year from here on in, I will make it in 15 more years.” He’s well and truly sur­passed that, hav­ing reached his goal on the 25th of Au­gust last year. Show­ing no signs of slow­ing down, Ruffo is now hold­ing on to the hope that an in­vi­ta­tion will show up in the mail, telling him to pack his boards and trusty di­ary for a day at Slater’s new wave pool. He claims he’s filled with more surf stoke now than ever and is de­voted to stay­ing ac­tive and con­tin­u­ing his unique rit­ual of writ­ing down his surf-in­spired mem­o­ries well into the fu­ture.

Photo: Dean Damp­ney.

Mark Roughly clutch­ing one of the many chron­i­cles, which con­tain a de­tailed di­ary of his per­sonal surf­ing his­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.