The old adage says that if you wear booties and surf-hats in the line-up, you’re a kook. The booties mean you don’t have the self-confidence and skill to avoid the reef. The hat means you just look goofy.
Me, I don’t care. One of the best surf products ever was the Rip Curl Bali Bootie. On many trips with low tide sharp reef-walking, they saved my sole. As for the hat, why on earth would I want to paste an inch of sunblock on my bald pate?
Above: Lances, pre-crowds and pre-hat days — you can just make out ye old spreading bald spot
As for the green hat, well, even though there’s a myth that one doesn’t wear the color green in Indonesian waters as it provokes the goddess of the sea, that’s the hat I wear. Neon green is a terrific search and rescue color. In years past I did many a solo boat trip on the Hati Murnih to remote reefs with lots of current. I’d been in enough situations where I lost my board and where I needed the dinghy/chase boat to find me real quick. So I asked my wife to make the green hat. (She made me a couple dozen, actually, so I’ll probably come to the end of my life before I come to the end of the hats). That color really stands out when you’ve lost your board and the current’s taking you toward Antarctica. It works. It’s saved me from either real long swims or joining the lost at sea statistics.
Above: One of those remote offshore current-y places
Above: Hati Murnih I
Above: Hati Murnih II
One time I lost my board and my hat. The driver at the time, let’s call him Mr. X, a gentle soul with approximately a single working neuron, spotted the loose hat in the churning foam and risked the dinghy to save the hat, which did not have me attached to it, while I was madly waving my arms in the current, trying to get noticed.
Above: Crew of the Hati Murnih II, pirate Skipper Taone, cool engineer Komen and dinghy driver (not Mr. X!), chef and all-around good guy Salim
Any rate. This blog has been quiet for a few weeks and will be quiet for a few more as I am off on a boat trip to Eastern Islands with some friends of old on the Bajo Baji. This next swell will be very large. A year ago I’d be eagerly frothing at the mouth while anxiously biting my fingernails, but this time I’ll just be watching. Shoulder tendons take their own damn time to heal.
And frankly, I think we’re coming to the end of this blog. An old dog can do only so many tricks and tell only so many tales.