This little love letter to my wetsuit was originally penned for BeachGrit but was rightly deemed "too light" for their readers. Thankfully Cape Bardo loves a bit of levity every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Winter’s hit down under, time to don the full, figure-hugging rubber every time we play in the ocean, bogging rail, shaking our heads at fist-pumping, pooh-stancing Brazo storms and wondering if today’s the day Kelly’s gonna pop up for a chin wag and a drop in, tell us a thing or two about who truly masterminded 9/11, tips on how slowest to heal shattered tootsies, and/or why, even though his infuriating persistent experimentation with board design has seen the greatest surfer of all time look mediocre at best since 2010, it’s all worth it in the pursuit of unearthing the magic craft. Ah winter, no better time to be alive.
Now, I live close enough to the beach that I can, if not being a lazy piece of excrement, rare, leave the car out of the surf equation and walk to and fro Manly’s golden sands, able to return home dripping wet, freezing cold, and jump straight in the shower for a post-surf, sensual warm rinse with the lover who knows me better and understands me deeper than anyone; my steamer. Just this morning I found myself post-surf under my Newman-endorsed, Yugoslavian-engineered shower head - strong, dangerously powerful nozzles - taking good care not to pop my shoulder out of the socket as I unravelled my wondrously crafted, urine-soaked, ingenious neck-to-ankle weave of 3x2 and I couldn’t help but wonder, have I ever felt this undeservingly, unconditionally and all-conqueringly loved by anyone?
The self-appointed, enlightened sage burners tell us we live in a consumerist society, hey man, obsessed with material possessions, and that this robs the human soul of some mystical, magical connection to Mother Gaia. Well, as usual, they can all go get stuffed, go chomp some more mushies in the back of Rasta’s plush property with the ghost of Terrence McKenna and the risk of life-long brain damage to see 20/20 into the future, the past and the present all at once. Good on ya mate. I couldn’t care less what they have to spout. I love my steamer.
Let’s run through the nature of this superbly toxic relationship. I can pass on some communist-derived, Scott Morrison Job-Keeper-Seeker-RockSpiderCreeper shekels and secure a seemingly innocuous, mass-produced, hydrocarbon-based (Big Oil Do Surf!) wetsuit. Simple. I can then paddle out in a roaring southerly, a bitter cold symphony of salt, seaweed and turbulence, all while remaining snug us a bug in a rug, pissing like a drunken sailor all through the allegedly soulless product that asks no questions, demands no respect, and seeks no greater joy than to serve my stretched out needs as I surf for hours among a platoon of Corona-infested fellow battlers all blissfully unaware that the only reason any of this is possible is thanks to the wonder of the gorgeous rubber we’re bathing in. To quote Scomo; “How good?”
True love is hard to find in this crazy world, yada yada yada, just repeat anything Tom Hanks would blabber to Wilson, but among the multitudinous objects of our consumerist obsessions you might just find, when you scratch the surface and see what’s what with clear, non-mushied-out streams of consciousness, that just because something is mass-produced doesn’t mean it wasn’t destined for you, dedicated to an existence of making your life the greatest experience it could be. You’re one of 7 billion, doesn’t come much more mass-produced than that, but I’m sure you’re pretty bloody special too.
Happy winter shredding xo
*Liam Carroll is the author of Slippery, a story about capitalism on steroids in the oil trading world of Southeast Asia. His second novel, Sweet Dreams of Fanta, is a sentimental ride back to the Sydney of 1988, seen through the eyes of a freckly, moon-faced, 7year old Fanta addict.