Extract – Tim Baker interviews Tim Winton…

TB – What lessons do you think surfing and the ocean have imparted to you? Do you agree the ocean can be a powerful teacher and metaphor for life?

TW – If there’s something I’ve learnt from surfing it’s about connection. When you sit out in the line-up you’re bobbing in seventy percent of the earth’s surface. Seventy percent of your own body is water. Water connects you, internally, to yourself, and it links you externally to everyone else. I really feel the gravity of that. And I think feeling joined to nature, knowing how much I depend on it, and how it’s effected by me and my species, has been very important. And as an artist, as someone who writes stories and tries to make words into beautiful forms, it’s vitally important to me, especially in a culture that’s forgotten the value of beauty. It’s a primary source or inspiration, I guess, when so much of what goes on around you is only about money and big swinging dick capitalism. It’s important for blokes to be able to do beautiful stuff, impractical stuff, that adds to life. That’s an early life-lesson from surfing.

Watching a little girl or a middle-aged woman smiling like a maniac as they come cruising by on a one-foot wall of mush. Or a pod or dolphins doing jumps off an empty pointbreak. Or surfing with a couple of whales spouting and tail-slapping just behind the break. All this is good for the soul. To me it’s not a sport. The professional sport side of it bores me to death. It’s mildly more interesting than golf. To me, surfing has always been soul-business. It’s the pointless things that give your life meaning. Friendship, compassion, art, love. All of them pointless. But they’re what keeps life from being meaningless. Catching a wave and turning and dancing and looping in toward the beach is one of the nicest forms of pointlessness I can think of.

For the rest of the interview (it’s pretty lovely) see here. Thanks to Shane D of the Black Coolite for pointing it up…