11 Nov THE BOY BEHIND THE CURTAIN
I just came across an extract from Tim Winton’s new book, The Boy Behind the Curtain, a memoir that reveals plenty about the famously reclusive writer. This extract largely concerns Winton’s 50-year long romance with wave riding and as I read I was chuffed to realise it was largely based on an interview I did with Tim for my 2007 book High Surf. His celebrated surfing novel Breath was about to come out and so I was fortunate enough to score some of his time while he was in book promotion mode. Even so, all communications had to go through his agent via email. His agent happily forwarded him my questions and a few days later she forwarded me his response – which was an eloquent essay on the pivotal place surfing had played in his life and creative process. This quote stuck with me: “Back then we thought we were special when we were just lucky. We surfed with a sense of kinship with each other and with the sea that marked us out, if only for a while.”
It speaks of an era of innocence in surfing that we might think we’ve lost but we can re-visit each time a kid paddles out and discovers wave riding’s wonder for themselves. I am currently in the midst of such a glorious window as my 10-year-old falls under surfing’s spell. Winton’s take on surfing reminds me of how fortunate we are to surf and encourages the humility to recognise ourselves as lucky rather than special.