Bad Boy Rob [50]

By Karl Noonan

Will we ever forget the afternoon I dropped in on my mate Rob! Rob tried to stab me with his needle nosed Coho kayak like a crazed attacker. And I left wounded laughing. It wasn’t like opening a door to a friendly face, he saw me coming, Rob was armed and I didn’t know which way to duck.

Now I sit with my co-worker, Rob Mercer and keep a wary eye on him and we tell the story again and again when we should be having coffee breaks. Even now after some five years the new version of the story makes us laugh again.

It happened so quickly at the time. That afternoon the sun was intoxicating on a perfect surf and we were surfing a beach at a time moving south towards Little Era along the coast of the Royal National Park. It was intoxicating because the boys were in high spirits off Garie Beach riding those wondrous breakers on a ‘Royal Banquet’ paddle weekend on a perfect sunny, still afternoon.

I dropped down the face of one of those long wondrous waves, Rob was already on the cutting edge of the same foaming break and I was moving slowly on the newly forming rise at my end, being lifted and pushed ever so slowly at first. I was dropping in and Rob’s furtive looks told me I should feel uncomfortable. This was serious fun and I was saying to myself, ‘Let’s go down and do some sport’. Steady as a rock the old 19 tracked, as only she knows how, straight ahead with the green wall to my left. The Coho cut up and down the wave on my right drawing nearer fast, Rob braked left and right and the f…g thing kept coming totally out of control. I couldn’t do much at the slow end of the wave but duck. The Coho thruster struck in the middle of its swing!

And duck I did just enough so the Coho slid under my arm and left through the back of my buoyancy vest, skewering me and there I sat, attached hanging in the air. And this is the way we rode the foam, bobbing, banging kayaks, shocked, cursing and laughing 100 metres to the beach. The buoyancy vest went to God but I was saved to an inch of my life. God will see me on judgement day some other time. Bad Boy Rob and I will still recall this old story for its good value for more years yet. It’s only early days in the life of a sea kayaker 5 years on.

When I’m dribbling at the TV in my old age I will remember this one… my mate Bad Boy Rob!