How To Make Friends And Influence People.
By David Castle.
Have you ever been in a situation where you are far out of your depth?
This happened to me big time in the late 2000’s.
I was 20 years old and had improved on the boog quite a bit from my last story when I was trying to get sponsored using fake credentials.
In early 2000 my brother came to me with the plan to start a company to bring Japanese Bodyboarders to Australia for all inclusive bodyboard tours.
Our company was called Japanese Australian Bodyboard Adventures or JABBA for short.
In order for us to get tour guide accreditation I needed to have a bodyboard coaching certificate.
Now this is where the fun starts.
I signed up for a 2 day coaching accreditation clinic with Surfing Australia who were offering a Level One Coaching Certificate on the Northern Beaches of Sydney to be hosted by Steve Bullet Mackenzie.
Cool. I would get to meet a legend.
The night before the coaching clinic I went out and drank about a thousand beers.
I remember getting home a little after 5am. I lived on The Central Coast about 2 hours away and the course started at 8am.
All cool though, I wasn’t driving, I was getting a lift down with Lilly Pollard who I knew. She picked me up about 6am.
I am still pissed.
In the car is another Australian women’s bodyboard legend Lauren Fletcher who is also going to the course.
We head down the F3 and things start to take a turn for the worse. I feel like I am either going to spew or shit myself so I try to go to sleep in the back of the car.
At the end of the F3 Lilly says that she needs to pick up someone else. So we head to Australian champ, Mandy Zieran ‘s house at Avalon.
Lilly and Lauren go into the house, but I tell them I will wait in the car.
Once they were inside the house, I immediately leap out of the car and go and spew in the next door neighbour’s garden.
That feels better.
I go and sit in the back seat of Lilly’s Hyundai Excel. Soon the three girls step into the car. I am introduced to Mandy who is now sitting next to me on the back seat. I am aware that I probably smell like a rancid brewery with spew breath.
So I stay silent.
We arrive at Mona Vale Surf Club for the course and I need another spew. So I get that over with in the toilets.
Now inside the course things get worse!
Not because of my pissed up state but because after scanning the room I realise I am way out of my league.
In the class that was being hosted by Bullet were the 3 best Australian women bodyboarders, plus Damian King, Ryan Hardy, Dave Winchester, Josh Kirkman, Andrew “Gherkin” Hurton and many other pros.
Fuck me, what was I supposed to say to these guys! Here I was, a dude from the Central Coast whose greatest bodyboard achievement up until that point was third in The Entrance High School Bodyboard comp in 1998.
These guys were superheroes to me. It was only a month or so after Hardy had won the Tahiti Skins.
Breathe Dave, play it cool.
So I sit with Lilly and the girls as she is the only one I know in the room. Up the front of the class was a dude from Surfing Australia, he introduces himself and gets over the formalities.
He then talks about how honoured he is to have so many legends in the room. He says he wants everyone to introduce themselves and talk about their greatest achievements in Bodyboarding.
I look down at the ground making sure I don’t make eye contact so he doesn’t have a reason to pick me.
In my head I am thinking “please don’t choose me first, please don’t choose me first”. I hear him say, “we will start with you”. I look up, he is pointing at me…….
Fuck…….what should I do? Maybe I should lie and tell him that I have won many comps?
I look around the room. Kingy, Hardy, Winchester and the rest are looking at me.
I mumble something about making a few semi finals at North Central Coast Bodyboarders (maybe I should have told him about when I made a final in Queensland as a teenager before moving to NSW and changing my last name!).
I feel sick, but this time it is not the booze that makes me feel like spewing, it is the fact that I looked like such a knob in front of so many legends.