Joey Burans arrival heralded something we hadn't been looking forward to.
In a week or 2, pro surfers from all over the world would be here for the 3 comps that were held here every year, the Hang ten, the Gunson and another one I can't remember.
Some pros showed up early like Joey to get a feel for the waves, others showed up last minute.
Being Sth. Australians, Jonno and I were pretty isolated and ignorant of the entire pro surfing world, the identities involved, and anything to do with the corporate world of surfing for want of a better term.
Not that we had a problem with any of it, but it just wasn't on our radar and we'd never been exposed to it.
We didn't know anyone involved in board riders clubs, or comps, that stuff was almost non existent in our little bubble.
I mean, you know, there were surf mags laying around at times, so we knew who the big names were, but there were probably just as many stick books laying around and similarly, it was all about the pictures.
J-bay's waves could handle a sudden influx of good surfers, it wasn't a big problem, but we didn't really want much to do with it, and we weren't into star spotting, so we used the opportunity to explore a little further afield.
While we still had the hire car we used it to get away and explore. The great thing about the locals was their willingness to share their surf spots, all you had to do was ask.
We found ourselves at Cape St. Francis, AKA Bruces Beauties, not that far from J-bay. They say it only works a couple of times a year, if at all.
We must have hit the jackpot because we had it twice, and both times it was excellent.
I can't even put into words how perfect it was. It was glassy both times, like the waves were made of plastic.
During the second surf at BB I was sitting there on my board waiting for a set, talking to a Kiwi guy a few metres away when a fin appeared directly between us.
It was an overcast day, late in the afternoon so the water had the appearance of being black, you couldn't see into it.
The fin wasn't moving in any direction other than up, slowly. It was mesmerising. We both stopped talking and froze as the fin just kept rising slowly….up and up…and up.
It was unmistakably a Shark fin, but that's all we could see, the fin and it was big. So there we were only maybe a car length apart with this thing between us, not moving. Then it started to swish it's tail slowly and gently and move forward on the surface. We both carefully laid down on our boards and lifted our arms and legs out of the water. It disappeared from sight, and I spoke first…"did you see that?" It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever said because both our eyes were as big as dinner plates.
The strangest part of the whole thing was that nobody went in. Lots of people had also seen it, but none of the 15 or so surfers went in because of it, the surf was still pumping and life went on.
We surfed a few other places as well, Seal Point, it was alright but not great.
I had a surf at Magnatubes one day while Simon Anderson was out, just us two. He was wearing a bright blue steamer with a wide white stripe down the sides like a bus conducter.
It must have been the year of making wetsuits look unique, because Mark Richards was wearing a silver steamer. Given our location, resembling a Tuna didn't seem like a good idea to me, especially in light of the Shark scare at BB so I mate a point of avoiding Mark. It would have to be a pretty clever Shark to see through my Seal disguise.
Eventually the comps all ran their course and the circus left town, and everything was back to normal.
This pic is Simon Anderson at Magnatubes.