The day big carl stepped in.
The English backpacker had to be some kind of fool. There he was out in the lineup, bobbing up and down like a clumsy, bright beacon for all the world to see. He must have noticed the crowd on the hill overlooking the lineup, picked up on the boisterous, testosterone-driven vibe; heard the sirens and figured this was some kind of local surf gathering. Maybe he’d never seen a boardriders contest before but he must have known there was something going on as he walked down the beach, strapped on his leash and made wide-armed strokes through the rip in the southern corner. Surely he wasn’t so stupid as to assume he could paddle out on such a day, wearing the wetsuit he’d just stolen off the rack at the surf shop across the road.
It didn’t take long for the kid whose wettie had been taxed to recognise his rubber. The grommet was taking breaks from his shift at the shop to surf his heats. As he scrambled down the beach in his singlet, a surfer awkwardly planing across a wave, on the fringe of the contest area, caught his attention. “That’s my wettie!” he announced loudly, before running up the beach to call for help. The extra large dude had crammed his girthy frame into the grom’s small wetsuit. There was no mistaking the wettie and no way he could match the guy, who he’d seen skulking around the shop half an hour earlier.
At first nobody believed the grom when he started screaming about the stolen suit. However, when the kid kept pleading his case the herd instinct on the hill kicked in. You could almost hear the cogs ticking. As if being near the contest area wasn’t crime enough in itself, now this kook had stolen a wetsuit off one of the boys. By the time the crew had bought the story, the culprit was making his way up the beach. Carl decided he would be the one to resolve the issue. Carl was 6’1” of Maori muscle and sinew. Most of the time he was a handsome, quietly spoken guy who did well with the girls, but he had the switch. As the backpacker walked sheepishly up the beach Carl marched towards him with a warrior’s intent. The interrogation was brief. “Is this your wetsuit?”
With no answer forthcoming Carl was satisfied he’d found a guilty party and ripped the board out of the thief’s hands and jammed it nose first into one of the metal grate bins that lined the beach. With brutal force he pulled back on the tail, wedging the board against the side of the bin. The sound of splintering fiberglass and clean-snapped foam echoed all the way to the hill-crew who winced and ‘ahhd!’ in unison. Whatever the circumstances snapping someone’s board was a heavy move. Rough justice for a bundle of burgled, wet rubber. Needless to say, no one from the beach ever saw the thief again.
– Luke Kennedy