Words By Chas Smith; Photos By Nate Lawrence
Sometimes lay days are called because of no surf. Sometimes they are called because of lousy tides. Sometimes bad wind, sometimes too much swell, sometimes too much fickle swell. And sometimes they are called because a giant earthquake in Chile is sending a deadly tsunami straight toward the Gold Coast. Tsunami lay day.
This news floats through my open glass door, through the living area (passing around vodka bottles and over stray Australian dollar bills), through my bedroom and into mine ear. “Tsunami warning. Today is Sunday, February 28 and the contest has been called. Next call is tomorrow at 6:30 am. Monday March 1” the loudspeaker says. I roll over and think about eggs benedict, Bloody Marys, and the drowning deaths of not so innocent Gold Coast locals. Last night was Friday. I know they are not so innocent.
Nate Lawrence and I gather our things, leave the apartment and drive toward the main Coolangatta waterfront drag. 15ish story high modern apartment buildings and hotels mingle with 4ish story pre-war cement boxes. There is a wave out front called Greenmount. Today it is a fun little beachbreak. But when the superbank is working, it is simply a section of the 4 minute miracle. Small Asian tourist children splash near the sand wearing Hello Kitty floaties. They will be swept out to sea with the rest of the sluts and naughty boys.
We find our eggs benedict but without Blood Mary. I still don’t understand Australia, completely. Australians pride themselves on drunken rowdiness, but most restaurants are BYO. The waitress looks at me like I am mad when I order an extra spicy one with two celery stalks.
Afterward, we wander past a Mick Fanning’s Rip Curl shop, a mumTAJ Indian restaurant and a pizza joint that serves Parko-roni pizza. Surfers are king here. Less famous than Pamela Anderson, but way more famous than Yasmine Bleeth. Pictures of mostly Joel but also Mick, Bede, Dingo are everywhere. Windows, billboards, paintings on walls. Everywhere.
Yet none of these famous Gold Coast surfers are eating or not drinking alcohol. Even though it is a lay day and sunny. Even though they could be passed out in puddles of warm vomit or cuddling with gorgeous blondes, they are all over the hill at Duranbah, D Bah, surfing 2-3 foot crowded Sunday peaks.
They might be washed out to sea along with sluts, naughty boys and Asian children. Tsunami lay days are dangerous things.