Billy canned

12 Dec

I used to love Bilgola.  Its boutique status meaning not too many peeps to jostle in the peloton.  Only 3 age and gender categories so you can swim with your bosom (or not, as the case may be) buddies.  Out on the rip on the left hand side, then a nice headland to spot against.  Excellent distance at 1.5km.  And a great bar (for drinks – not a sand bar).

True, the water temperature was so low last year that my foot went blue.  And in 2009, there was a lot of weed and it wasn’t the smoking variety.  But it’s such a cute little bay.  Yes, I loved the Bilgola ocean swim.

So, I was perplexed to read a report on ocean swims last week saying that Billy can be Big and that Mrs Sparkle broke a rib in the break one year.  This was not the Billy that I knew.

No. I rocked up on Sundee undeterred by forecast big swell and os.c noting the potentially challenging conditions and shifting banks, nasty gutters, rips, peaks and shoulders.

As soon as I saw the waxheads working out in the white water, I knew I was in trouble.  That familiar fear of a mouthful of sand, fresh set of bruises and lungfuls of salt water having been held in a spin cycle by the ocean started to paralyse my beating heart.  No, no, no.  The mantra is Can Too not CAN’T!  I tried to put on a brave face.  Maybe, my surf skills are improving?  Perhaps, I could find some courage from somewhere?  I went in the break for a quick practice with my former Captain, Mr Keetley, looking for some but came back lacking.  Lovely Jane entered, notwithstanding her gammy leg, to offer support.  KG, Captain Fantastic, said inspiring stuff.  Gill assured me that he loved me.  All of them said positive things as we watched Nat and the yellow hats’ wave apparently carefully started when there was a lull in the monster surge just long enough for them to get safely out back.

So, I gritted my teeth and the green hats and the peeps on the beach would have seen me jumping gingerly through the first 2 or 3 breakers and then, yes, she’s under one and another.  And that was it.  Confronted by a roller coaster of some 4 or 5 absolute smashers, I turned tail and demonstrated my ability to bodysurf back out through white water.

Nothing much compares to the ignominy of walking back out of the ocean in front of your fellow competitors having failed to get through the break.  I am marginally comforted by one of them having written on her blog that the red caps copped some big ones.  I was reassured at the time by another Can Tooer who came over and said beautiful things about having had the gumption to give it a go.  And I am mindful that there were 2 ambulances called and my thoughts are with those poor punters who obviously suffered more than just damaged pride – my best wishes to them for a full recovery.

Surf training on Saturday was moved to the harbour because of blue bottles again.  I wish I had bottle and not the blues.

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