The sitters

A while back…

I pulled up at Wategos, mid-morning. There were a few cars there, but I reckon it must have been out of the holiday season, because I scored an easy park. It seemed pretty average, so I walked up to the grass to have a look.

One of the local older guys was there. You know the ones – not old, but on the other side of middle-age, and been surfing the same break at the same time for as long as he can remember. I said hi and stood with him looking and deciding. He told me he’d been watching for a while, but wasn’t going out (“sore back”).

You should go out though, young lady.

Mmmmm. It looks kind of fat.

Nah, it’s ok, and anyway, that crew out there are mainly sitters. Look at them, they’re just sitting there, not going for anything!

I laughed as I watched and realised he was right. The sitters were just sitting and watching or chatting. Some of them were farther out and waiting for something solid – they were letting almost everything pass by, which is an unproductive way to surf a busy break. The others closer in on the peak weren’t paying any attention to the small but regular waves that were rolling through. They looked like they were just hanging out in the water, in the sun.

I like doing that sometimes though, don’t you? You know, just going out with friends and sitting around and chatting and hanging out.

Yeah. Don’t get many waves that way but. If you go out, don’t give ’em anything.

I laughed again, said goodbye and went to get my board. I paddled out, past the chatting crew but not out to the guys that were waiting for the impossible wave. I sat amongst that crew, alone, and got loads of waves. I got all the waves that the sitters out the back were deeming too small, and that the sitters hanging out were letting pass.The waves that day weren’t memorable, but because the rest of the crew weren’t actually there to surf those waves, I kind of scored.

I love sitters.