How Tommy Carroll “ruined” Middles

The other week I had to go to Singapore, and from the the departure hall, while sipping a cup of overpriced and under-caffeinated coffee, I could see a pack on mid-tide, head-high Middles.

But for years, certainly through the 1980s, Middles was an underground surf spot for a few locals in the know, despite the fact that the break was right there in full view of all the hordes zooming to and fro Airport Lefts and Kuta Reef, two breaks that had been busy from the early years*. Thirty guys at Kuta, twenty at Airports, three at Middles.

Most surfers are not only sheep, but blind sheep.

Or dogs. Because surfers will pee on the same tree over and over again, despite the fact that just over there is a wonderful tree that no dog has peed on before (except for a few sly local mongrels).

But then one day a Top Dog arrives and is taken by a local out to Middles for an uncrowded surf. This would have been in the early 90s sometime. I’d just rocked up to the beach to get a boat taxi, wondering with an uneasy sinking feeling why a dozen or so visiting surfers were all google-eyed at Middles. As I got out of my car I heard “That’s Tommy Carroll surfing! I never knew there was a surf break there!”

Sure enough, top dog TC was peeing on Middles with vigor, full-on hacks and carves and gouges that even I with my bad eyes could see from the beach.

And the next day (and all days henceforth) Middles was packed with all the other dogs wanting to pee on tree that Tommy Carroll peed on.

It really isn’t TC’s fault–he just wanted to go surfing, but this does go to show how a Top Dog’s single surf session can imprint a break on the mind of the masses.

*Although in 1986, during President Ronald Reagan’s visit to Bali, I surfed Airport Lefts alone for three straight days on a beautiful six foot swell. The local water taxis were shut down for security reasons, but me, gosh, I had the brilliant idea of actually paddling out to the break.

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One Response to How Tommy Carroll “ruined” Middles

  1. I surfed Airport Lefts alone for three straight days on a beautiful six foot swell….

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