Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (17)

Many people forget that there was a prequel to this party, three years before, an affair that resulted in your's truly vomiting on Clyde's mom's curtains in the afternoon and later creating a pink pavement pizza with calamari tentacles as an artistic touch...but that was only a warm-up for  the party to end all parties! I think right from the get go, we confused, 'Toga party!' with, 'Roman orgy!' and that's where the wheels fell off, right there...

We slept on the beach on the night of the actual birthday and scored some super-glassy little waves the next morning. During the night the navy was doing some exercises with live tracer fire and we were treated to a cool light show. Funniest thing is I remember Clyde standing on top of the sand dune in the morning before we paddled out and having a shit that came out like fucking antelope droppings and rolled down the dune...piss funny to see!

Then it was time for the togas! The drinking really kicked off then...I remember us chasing Tony Kellner through the shopping center where we went to buy booze, staggering around in our togas, creating mayhem, and the party was still two days away! We just kept going anyway...

Then came the main event...
Nobody was allowed in unless they had a toga.
All male guests would be head butted by Jack and made to skull a beer on arrival.

It was utter chaos and things got out of hand pretty fast. We had early scenes where the beautiful food, that had been so lovingly prepared by Clyde's step-mom and sister, became just so much ammo in the food fight that erupted, after we had set an appropriate example. That was the first time I heard Patricia swear, I think she called me a 'fucking little bastard!' I was shocked! I think she thought that I started it but it was Clyde, we just accelerated it!
The house had beautiful wooden flooring and the whole downstairs floor was awash in beer, vomit and probably some semen by the time this was over. Clyde was locked in his room with a young little tight hard-body, while his ex was scratching on the door, lamenting her woes.
My toga had been ripped off and possibly burned by this stage so I had a dishcloth wrapped around me, held on by a safety pin. I have a vague recollection of being in a tight spot for putting my cock into someone's hand...(read my mothers hand )

There was so much more that went down but it's probably better to let it lie as I have no idea of the statute of limitations on some of the crimes I was party to...ha ha!

All said and done...
...without a doubt the best and most memorable party ever!

( the heaviest party ever was still to come however, but we will get to that night of violence and excess in Port Elizabeth soon enough)

Told by Leroy.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (16)

 More words of insight from actual witnesses.

Toga - Toga.....
. eish what a night that was.....
. food flying around ...
. Leroy pulling his chick behind the couch in the lounge ha ha
  or was it you .......... mmmmm maybe both u fellas.....eih the ous dallad the cherries in those days man ..
. lukka night had by all...........

.... tops bru.....

 I have pics:


Tomorrow Leroy speaks, be afraid.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (15)

And I quote.. A few notes coming in from that night, "fuck me it was a good Jol."

"Bru -
- I remember you ou's been toga'ed up for most of the day
- Vying bottleshop with them on
- We did the same.
- I remember Leroy and the cake 
- Sticking his face in the thing - 
- Then wiped it on the wall in the toilet …or was that shit ?
- The whole lounge was awash with a combo of water, puke and piss with us pogoing slipping and falling in it to our great amusement
- Someone did a somersault into the beer bath they were so dronk when they bent over to get a beer…
- I remember the chicks past out in the bath and someone pissing on them…
- Some chick trying to shag me 
- These are all flashes in no semblance of order 
- I remember the old lady having shit fit when she got home….cant remember the time

…..fuck me it was a good jol !!!"

Courtesy of Bad Bill Mullitup.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (14)

 It was a big weekend and I broke every single rule I could.

However I do remember.

Leroy checking to see if my mother was wearing underwear.
Leroy and Jack head butting everyone before they could get in.
Leroy kicking things off with a bang by throwing all the food that had been prepared across the room.
The ensuing food fight.
My parents leaving after 10 minutes.
The party basically degenerating into a drunken orgy.
Locking myself in my bedroom with a few female friends
My parents coming home to find the house destroyed
My parents banging down my bedroom door go get me out
My girlfriend banging down my bedroom door to get me out
Coming out of my bedroom to have Leroy throw my chocolate birthday cake at me and miss.
Seeing said chocolate cake hit the wall and spray all down the passageway.
Going into the bathroom to find my brother standing on the edge of the bath urinating on an unknown naked female who had passed out in the bath.
Realising the whole downstairs of the house was under water.
Realising things had got completely out of hand and just carrying on.
Seeing Jack pull the lounge curtains down so he could use them as a blanket as he passed out on the floor.
Being amazed at the fact there was no fight.
Being even more amazed at how easy it was to get my birthday present from all of my lady friends.

Knowing that anyone who was at that party would never ever, ever forget it.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (13)

I guess that early morning champagne was what kicked it all off.  It was a Thursday and we just did not stop drinking until the next Sunday morning.

I think it was those next few days that made me realise if you do stuff just so absolutely outrageous, it`s kind of like it does not compute in most peoples brains and you can just end up getting away with it. 

That weekend was outrageous, I suppose I should apologise to my parents for destroying the floors and my ex girlfriend before I even start trying to remember, as it all became one huge big drunken blur. 

It was a big weekend and I broke every single rule I could. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (12)

Ok so now where were we ?

Oh yes Toga party. Its kind of weird but also fitting to be talking about a wild out of control party while the country is mourning, but that basically was how it was back then in 85.

While the country was basically going up in flames, we just carried on like nothing was even going on, surfing, partying just getting on with things.

The actual day of my birthday was during the week, Leroy and I slept down at the beach on the pipe at Garvies and went for a before dawn surf, it was glassy and fun, summer was on the way. At about 6,30 am I saw my family standing on the pipe and waving me in. They had prepared a champagne breakfast for me, which was a huge surprise. We scoffed down the food, skulled the champagne and went back surfing.

Life was looking good.

Things went downhill pretty fast from that moment on.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

10 - 12 - 2013

There comes a time when we all got to put our demons to rest and move on.

If nothing else, this is his legacy.

Time to get back to telling this tale.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85-86 (11)

To be brutaly honest, today brings too many contradictory feelings. I have a strong opinion on this subject. Two rights can never fix a wrong, killing in the name of freedom can never be condoned, what makes a freedom fighter and what makes a terrorist ? Its just too easy to sit in our arm chairs and heap praise and or judgment.

The IRA, ETA, Al Qaeda, the list is long and terrible, for some terrorists, others freedom fighters. One thing is sure none have the right to kill in the name of their cause, innocent normal people who just happen to be caught up in the circumstances.

We all did terrible things in those days, whites and blacks, none of it was worth anything, it was just useless. Fighting in the name of a lost cause.

Nelson was no angel, but then neither am I or any of my friends believe me. 

He however most probably single handely saved our amazing country from the most unprecedented bloodbath Africa has ever seen, by 1994 things were on the verge of a huge bloody civil war, everyone was armed and ready, the violent extreme factions were ready to get it on at the drop of a hat.

He undeniably has shown the value of forgiveness and compasion, He undeniably has changed the history of our nation.

Whether I like it or not he has undeniably changed the way I see the world, he has helped show me the value of forgivness, the world would most certainly be a better place with more men like him in positions of power.

Do a thousand good deeds make up for a hundred bad deeds?


Friday, 29 November 2013

Slight Side track

So been a little side tracked the last few days, doing what needed to be done.

In "The Change (6)"

 I said I needed to do this, well taken a bit of time, we are in Jeffreys Bay (of course it had to be here )  and its been done.

Will continue on with the rest once I get back to my normal schedule, whenever that may be.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (10)

I suppose it all started way back in Hospital, when I was just stuck in bed for such a long time. I eventually got a window bed which we raised so I could see out of the window. Addington hospital is right in front of the beach, prime time real estate, just across the road from Durban`s South Beach and the place I learnt to surf. I just lay there all day and watched the ocean and visualised myself getting back out there and surfing again.

I was also set up with a video recorder and given a few new tapes every day to watch. I am sure no one realised the pain I had to endure every time I laughed, but I ended up watching all the really good funny movies of the time, it was just another session of pleasure and pain, a reoccurring theme that was going to haunt me for the next 30 years.

National Lampoons Animal House was one of the movies I ended up seeing. It became one of our cult movies and we watched it a thousand times. So when my 21st birthday came along it was just a natural progression to make it a theme party and Toga, Toga, Toga, party was the theme.

If you were not wearing a Toga you were not allowed in the front door.

Leroy was in charge of making sure that was the way it was, except he took it a step beyond, like he tends to do and made up his own rules. If you were wearing any kind of underwear you were also not allowed in.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Weekend sneak preview.

So we had just seen this movie National Lampoons Animal House, its all time and we just had to do this, and believe me we did.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (9)

Honestly if I told you what really went on the next few months and years, you just would not believe a word I told you, so it´s most probably best I don’t even go there. Maybe just maybe if by chance this goes any further and gets published these bits will be in the book, this I promise.

They were mad, crazy, fucking times that’s for sure. The boys down at Garvies were on a mission and they were not in the slightest bit scared to cause pain and damage to anyone who dared happen to be in their path.
Anywhere else in the world or at any other time, we all would have been in big, big trouble but we just seemed invincible at the time, almost untouchable. No matter what we did it just went unpunished.

Meanwhile the surf just pumped pretty much every day and I surfed more and more. We slept down at the beach at night we surfed before sunrise we did our duty and we took having fun to the limits of legal and way beyond.

Then in November 85 it was my 21´st birthday party, this was a big date for me and we had a party that to this day is still talked about.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (8)

I guess it was then the seeds were sewn, real deep in the back of my brain. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine one day leaving Durban and my family for good, but in the end I did.

It was then I realised things were not right, what I was seeing every day was not right, something was very wrong. I had never really thought about things before, I had never even had the chance to see the truth. The press was controlled, the propaganda machine was well oiled and worked just fine. I had only ever been outside South Africa once when I was 12, no ways could I have had a realistic view on politics then. I believed what I saw, I believed what I read and heard.

What I deciphered and saw at night on duty was not what I saw in the press. I was then I realised things were not right.
Everyone just got on with things like nothing was going on, a few bombs here and there a few bits and pieces in the newspapers about unrest in the townships, but nothing too serious. What worried everyone was the fact we could not play rugby or cricket against anyone.

I just pushed it all to one side and concentrated on surfing well again, my brace helped, it made it possible. Slowly but surely it came back. I started to compete again, slowly at first but soon surfing became my distraction from the reality of seeing the country slowly spiralling into chaos.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Weekend radio break part II

Here goes part two of the TTD on the radio, in Spanish so bad luck.

Parte II del programa con Vicente, Musica, Surf y Medio Ambiente, pasamos bomba.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (7)

Its kind of amazing how things work out, This was one of the things that really freaked me out, I never said anything, but deep down, this was a changing point.

Like I said yesterday. Fucking Crazy Times.

These few words my sister just sent me, amazing words of forgiveness, I am afraid I find it hard to be so forgiving.

Tamlyn inspiring stuff.

"everyone was like "these fools blew themselves up " - actually they said it in a much more disgusting way - deflecting the possibility that in that final moment when they took stock of what they where about to do - my class room was just a few meters from the bomb - it would have gone off at 8 while we where all standing outside in line for assembly - the glass - which I do remember - we found glass shards for months after in the strangest of places - it would have ripped over 800 people to shreds - yes I think in an unexpected moment of humanity they realized what they where about to do and made a clumsy human mistake - knowing full well that would mean way more than taking our lives ... I actually wrote a speech about this a few years back - all the work I now do is some how a ripple effect of this strange terrifying thing - it's always darkest just before the dawn ! xxx"

We were a small family of friends on the Bluff, JK was on duty that night and he was rushed on site to clean up the mess, here are his few words.

" I have photos of the guy that set the bomb at the girls school....... that's after it detonated.......... we found his arm at the roundabout above the school... Tony was in the van with me that night..".

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (6)

These press releases below are too simple to tell the whole story. My sister was in that school, things were getting very close to home.
I hope one day she will be able to tell her side of the story, I know I have briefly talked about that day with her but its not really something we talk about, those days no one really talks about.
Imagine a whole school of young girls not even missing a class after a bomb goes off at school and two men get blown into a million bits and pieces. Their remains splattered all over the place. I was on duty in the Ops room when that happened. Knowing my baby sister was there that day, that was a day I will not forget. At the end of my shift on duty, I went home my sister was there doing her homework, I said hi and went surfing.
Fucking crazy times,
"Police with tracker dogs were on October 25 trying to trace a man accused of being on of three men who blew up a school in Durban. According to police, the other two bombers died in the blast. Parts of their bodies were found up to 20 metres (yards) form the point of explosion at Grosvenor Girls' High School. The bomb was believed to be a Soviet-made limpet mine. the school was to be used as a polling station in a whites-only by-election to be held on October 30 "
"Zinto Cele was 22 years old when he was killed on October 24 1985 by a bomb that exploded prematurely..Cele was an Umkhonto we Sizwe member and formed part of Operation Butterfly, a large-scale MK underground operation in KwaZulu-Natal in the mid-1980s led by the present MEC for health in KwaZulu-Natal, Sibongiseni Dhlomo.The bomb also killed Cele's fellow MK combatant Mandlenkosi Israel Ndimande.MK operative Sibusiso Mazibuko was seriously injured in the explosion but survived and escaped.NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said: "The bomb was placed at Grosvenor Girls High and detonated prematurely.The school served as a polling station and was the venue at which Pik Botha (the then minister of foreign affairs) had addressed voters the previous day.Operation Butterfly was responsible for the 1985 bombing campaign in support of the internal resistance campaigns."

Monday, 11 November 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (5)

The first bomb I ever heard was a few months before I went into the army.

The shock wave of the blast had a clear path across the Durban harbour and hit us on the Bluff a few kilometres away. I was walking up Bushlands Road when the sound hit and could clearly see the smoke from John Ross house in clear view from our house.

The targeting of soft civilian targets had begun.

I wish I could say this was the first and last bomb blast I had to deal with but there were a lot more to come.

Two days before Christmas in 1985 a bomb was detonated in the crowded Sanlam shopping centre in Amanzimtoti, five deaths and 40 injured was the final toll, the war was definitely here to stay and it could hit any place anytime.

Then in June 1986 just down the road from Natal Command and close to home a bomb was detonated at a bar we went to a few times, Leroys ex girlfriend was there that night. Another 3 people died and 69 more were injured. Both these attacks I was on duty in the Ops room, the Magoos Bar bomb I heard like it went off next door. It had targetted people just like me.

There were way worse bombings in other parts of the country but these three I actually was involved in but the one that most affected me was the bomb that went off at my sisters school while she was there. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Weekend Radio break.

So the TTD are getting read all over, and had a few hours on the radio last week.

Its in Spanish so bad luck if you dont understand a bloody thing.

Click en esa link y escucha, Vicente y yo pasando un muy buen rato hablando de los comienzos del Surf Porofessional en Europa y en especial del Pantin Classic.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 -86 (4)

It was these next months that made me hard, I realise this now.

The army made me tough, it made me a man, it taught me pain it taught me about death, but being in the Ops room made me cold, it hardened my heart.

It was there and then that the real ideological change in my mind was formed. 121 Battalion was just plain combat training, the enemy was clear the objective obvious. In the Ops room it was all politics, I soon learned the enemy could change at any time and you could be sold out by the politicians in an instant.

We (South AFrican Defense Force) secretly started training the Inkahta Freedom Party (IFP) members to fight for the SADF in the townships against the ANC (African National Congress) based supporters and in August 1985 the serious township unrest exploded in and around Durban, the rest of the white population had no idea what was going on, but every single day I deciphered the situation reports (SITREPS) and counted the casualties on both sides and watched as the command officers decided how long they would sit back and let the killing continue until they sent the troops in to clean up the mess.

In the morning or the end of the day I would walk out the front gate go home and just go surfing and I never said a word to a single soul.

No one knew what was really going on.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (3)

I cant remember if the Harrinton Rods came out after my birthday or before, but, by pure logic it was after as it was another big surgery to get them out again and, it was my 21st birthday and it had to have been after as no ways could we have done what we did that week if I had just come out of surgery again.

The boys at Garvies were pretty upset at what had happened to me and even though we had had a few little adventures into town on a few raids, the real deal started while I was still in hospital, Leroy and Jack had decided along with the rest of the boys that vengeance would be dealt out with a heavy hand.

The whole situation at Natal Command was just bizarre, I could not wear my full uniform (Browns) for months as the boots were too heavy, so I dressed in an officers uniform but had no rank and worked in a top secret office where access was very restricted. I was treated like royalty as I had direct contact with the Brigadier in command, it was just crazy. I had access to all the top secret documents, I knew we had nuclear arms, I knew we were dealing with the secret service´s of just about the whole western world. I knew way too much for just a guy who wanted to go home and surf, but we were sworn to secrecy and I have never said a single word about what went down in that room and I honestly am not even sure if I ever should.

I got to decipher and decode all the top secret documents and then I would just walk out the front gate go home and go surfing.

I had access to an absolute arsenal of weapons that were stored in the Ops room, it was crazy.

Meanwhile down at Garvies we were becoming untouchable.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86 (2)

I had to wear this back brace for a long time, it was from hips to shoulders it was custom moulded and fitted to exact size. 

Obviously I was not allowed to surf.

I can’t quite remember how long it was before I just said fuck it and paddled out with the brace on. Of course it was at Garvies. Unfortunately it was on a body board, I had never tried a body board before but the water just looked too good to be true and the waves way too fun to just sit on the pipe and watch. I just grabbed it and said what the fuck and went.

The body board was a mistake, I hurt myself right away, way too flexible, a surfboard would have been a much better option but the damage was done, it hurt too much.

I am not even sure if the surgery cuts had even healed closed yet, they were pretty ugly at first huge big welting scars down the whole length of my back and another huge one on my hip where the bone had been scraped off.

Honestly I have no idea what I was thinking but I was back out there again, this time on a surfboard, it was just too good to ignore. I have thought about this a lot in the past, what drove me to take such a huge risk for such a short term moment of pleasure, was I just young and stupid ?. I always thought that was it, but then at 45 a father of 3, in theory a responsible adult, three weeks out of hospital with 6 broken and damaged cervical vertebrae and 2 titanium discs inserted. I looked at the ocean in front of my house grabbed my twin fin and paddled out at the exact same spot I had nearly drowned and caught a wave.

Instant pleasure and everlasting pain a lifelong curse.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Surf, Sex ,Violence 85 -86 (1)

State of Emergency

Serious political violence was a prominent feature of South Africa from 1985 to 1989, as black townships became the focus of the struggle between anti-apartheid organisations and the Botha government. Throughout the 1980s, township people resisted apartheid by acting against the local issues that faced their particular communities. The focus of much of this resistance was against the local authorities and their leaders, who were seen to be supporting the government. By 1985, it had become the ANC's aim to make black townships "ungovernable" (a term later replaced by "people's power") by means of rent boycotts and other militant action. Numerous township councils were overthrown or collapsed, to be replaced by unofficial popular organisations, often led by militant youth. People's courts were set up, and residents accused of being government agents were dealt extreme and occasionally lethal punishment. Black town councillors and policemen, and sometimes their families, attacked with petrol bombs, beatan, and murdered by necklacing, where a burning tyre was placed around the victim's neck.

On 20 July 1985, State President P.W. Botha declared a State of Emergency in 36 magisterial districts. Areas affected were the Eastern Cape, and the PWV region ("Pretoria, Witwatersrand, Vereeniging"). Three months later the Western Cape was included as well. An increasing number of organisations were banned or listed (restricted in some way); many individuals had restrictions such as house arrest imposed on them. During this state of emergency about 2,436 people were detained under the Internal Security Act. This act gave police and the military sweeping powers. The government could implement curfews controlling the movement of people. The president could rule by decree without referring to the constitution or to parliament. It became a criminal offence to threaten someone verbally or possess documents that the government perceived to be threatening. It was illegal to advise anyone to stay away from work or oppose the government. It was illegal, too, to disclose the name of anyone arrested under the State of Emergency until the government saw fit to release that name. People could face up to ten years' imprisonment for these offences. Detention without trial became a common feature of the government's reaction to growing civil unrest and by 1988, 30,000 people had been detained. Thousands were arrested and many were interrogated and tortured.

On 12 June 1986, four days before the ten-year anniversary of the Soweto uprising, the state of emergency was extended to cover the whole country. The government amended thePublic Security Act, expanding its powers to include the right to declare "unrest" areas, allowing extraordinary measures to crush protests in these areas. Severe censorship of the press became a dominant tactic in the government's strategy and television cameras were banned from entering such areas. The state broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) provided propaganda in support of the government. Media opposition to the system increased, supported by the growth of a pro-ANC underground press within South Africa.

The state of emergency continued until 1990, when it was lifted by State President F.W. de Klerk

Surf, Sex, Violence 85 - 86.

When you go into the army you get a medical classification.

100 % fighting fit was G1 K1 and dead was G 5. After the months in hospital I was transferred back to a military sick bay in Durban to continue my recovery, I really hoped to be given a medical discharge and be sent home, I still had 14 months to go, but once in the army they will never let you go. I went in 10 months earlier with a G1 K1 and I eventually got a G4 K4 medical classification just one step away from being dead !!! and served the rest of my time at Natal Command in Durban.
Natal Command.
This is the big mystery , how I ended up working in the heart of all the drama in the middle of the State Of Emergency, the real tough times of the Zulu uprisings and the Magoos bombing in the Central Operations room with a “ Top Secret “ military clearance I will never know. Actually now I do know but that’s another story.

Things in South Africa were taking a turn for the worse the ANC were more active than ever bombs were going off everywhere, the townships were a hive of violence and action, the border war had come home to the cities and more and more action was right in the streets. More and more soldiers were being sent into the townships to keep the peace and control the situation which was getting more and more out of hand by the day.

I ended up in the middle of all the decision making and worked in the OPS Room, decoding all the secret codes and messages between the top commands and regions during the State of Emergency. I was directly under the command of the Brigadier in charge of the whole of Natals operational force.

Holy shit, what the hell were they thinking all I wanted to do was get fit and go surfing, instead I was in a bunker in the middle of a bunch of lunatics who decided who was going to live and who was going to die.

Once you in the army, you cannot get out !!!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Change (9)

I really wish I could say, that was that. I had a new found focus, surfing was my mission and it was all fine, I recovered went on to fame and glory travelled the world for the next 30 years, met my dream women, had the most amazing children and we lived happily ever after.

Well actually that kind of did happen. No actually that did happen, except for fame, glory and the happily ever after bit.

However it came at a price. Yes I did have an almost fanatical focus to surf and succeed, but it had its drawbacks as all obsessive behaviour surely does. Not only was surfing my mission, I most certainly was going to have a bloody good time as well. The end always justified the means and believe me for the next few years everything went, there were no moral dilemmas ever.

I still had a year of my Military service to complete and then I had no idea of what was next, one thing just flowed into the next.

The next 10 years were glory years, surf, sex, violence and rock and roll.

The price was high, I went too hard for too long and eventually had to choose. I turned my back and walked away from from the woman and country that I loved.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Change (8)

By the time I got out of hospital, I knew what I wanted. At first I had no idea what to do with this new information that was spinning around in my brain, everything had been so easy until then. I had never had to make an effort at anything, it was all way too easy.

All of a sudden nothing was going to be easy, everyone was telling me what I could not do. I was always good at sport, any sport really it just came naturally, but I had never made an effort to excel at anything, life was just too easy to have to try any harder.

I loved surfing, this I knew and it was now gone. Everyone insisted that I would never surf again.

I am not quite sure if this is a curse or blessing, but I do know one thing. I just hate it when someone tells me it cannot be done. I love surfing, it’s a feeling impossible to describe. It is not a sport, it should never have become a sport it is way more than that. It is a constant challenge an escape into the ocean, away from land and normal life. It is a fight to dominate if even for a few seconds an indomitable force, a never ending lesson in strength and humility. It is not a sport, it is way more than that.

By the time I left hospital I had a mission, I had focus.

I was the only one who knew if it could be done or not.

it could be done, recovery complete. Long Beach 89.
photo Slabbert.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Change (7)

Change is constant, we should never stop evolving, when we do we slowly die. Routine and our safe zone are killers. This I suddenly understood, at first like a bolt of lightning, then slowly and contantly over the last 28 years since those dark days in that hospital bed.

Believe me I have experienced more than should be allowed, I truely have lived my dreams. Those dreams also evolve and constantly change, short term achievable goals are the key. Always have a plan.

 " If you fail to plan, you plan to fail"

Do yourself a favour and watch this, it could also change your life.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Change (6)

Its obvious the realisation that you are mortal, the time laying helpless in a hospital bed, the thoughts and fears of all that time in bed made me change, but it might have not have happened at all. Wounds heal and the body recovers, it’s the mind that needs to heal and change.

My father game me the single most important thing in my life, while I was lying there in bed.

I don’t think he realised it and I most certainly did not either until years later. It was a gift way ahead of its time. Long before sports psychology and mind power became the fashion, this was back in 1985.

It was a master stroke, I had just been given a perfect storm for my brain to work out. I had all the ingredients, fear, pain and time along with a long, long future ahead of me.

I was only 20 years old and my father had just given me the single most significant piece of knowledge I had ever been given.  It opened my mind, it changed my world.

By the time I finally got out of that bed and learnt to slowly walk again, I knew nothing would stop me achieving my goals in life.

What was that gift ?A set of audio cassette tapes, by Denis Waitley called the "Psychology of Winning" one of the NASA lunar astronauts motivational speakers.

I have no idea why but I have never ever told him how important that was. I have never ever thanked him, I guess its time I did.

The Change (5)

The drugs helped but not nearly enough.

If the pain was bad before, it now was raised to another level. The drugs helped for half the time, but the last hour was agony, I would plead to have the needle and the instant relief, it felt so good. It felt too good.

2 weeks disappeared from my memory, the pain the morphine, the fear, I can just remember the worst parts, the tears, the agony, the drowning on a sip of fruit juice, I could not move until I just had to breathe. A never ending life theme, lack of breathe. I had to sit up to clear my lungs of the juice that was drowning me. As I did so the rods broke loose and ripped out. The pain was indescribable.

The next morning I was back in surgery.

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Change (4)

I wish I could say the change was fast.

It was not, the months in bed, the 3 surgeries, the pain, the agony of being face down in bed for 30 straight days without being able to move. The uncertainty of the future but for some reason I was not afraid, I knew what the doctors were saying was not going to happen, deep down inside I just knew. Maybe I was just young and stupid. Later in 2009 when I destroyed my neck, then I was afraid, I knew then what it took to recover and at 45 you are not as strong as when you 20.

At first it was a really bad diagnosis, no walking, then after the successful surgeries it got better to no more sport and most definitely no more surfing. Dr Hammer was my surgeon he was good and he made the miracle happen. I had shattered 3 vertebrae, T11, T12 and L 1, the worst possible place, not only shattered but a huge displacement the spinal cord was stretched and ready to snap or be cut by one of the loose shards of bone floating around.

He opened me up shoulders to hips, put everything back in place did bone grafts and inserted two 40cm long stainless steel “Harrington rods”  onto either side of my spine wired them up sewed me closed and that was it, bionic man for months until the bone had  fused and regrown and the rods could come out again.

If those 8 hours had been long the next 12 months become an eternity.