An excerpt from the Mavericks Roundup
By Gwenneth Leane.
The Aboriginal settlement being on the other side of the river meant we always had a punt to catch.
It was a bore because if there was a big queue of cars or the punt was on the other side, it meant a long wait that wasted a lot of time. Sometimes George could be roused and he would row over in his boat and pick us up and then row us back. Something needed to be done for a quicker crossing if I was alone.
So I got to work and built a giant sized surfboard three metres long by two thirds of a metre wide, out of marine plywood. It was hollow to give it buoyancy. I used the Boss’s shed at night, with a whole lot of doubtful advice from onlookers.
Two students, young Christian men, Michael and Lou were employed picking apricots with me. They were trying to earn money to pay their university fee. They were all eyes and ears.
‘It will never float,’ Michael shook his head doubtfully.
‘That’s right,’ agreed Lou, ‘how can you make a surf board without a plan?’
‘Yes, why didn’t you draw up a plan?’ Michael wanted to know.
‘Because the plan is in my head; I don’t need to put it on paper.’
The lads shook their heads in disbelief.
Launching day arrived.
‘Where are you going to launch the board?’ The boys wanted to know.
‘Why do you want to know?’ I grinned.
‘We want to see you sink.’ Lou had visions of saving a drowning man.
‘I’m going down to Lake Bonny at Barmera to test it. Going to come?’ I laughingly invited.
‘Sure. We aren’t going to miss this.’
I carried the board on the roof of the car. At the lake I placed it in the water and it floated.
‘Bet you can’t paddle out around that buoy out there and back, fully dressed without getting wet,’ Michael issued the challenge.
‘Yeah, betcha,’ agreed Lou with a smirk on his face.’
‘I bet I can,’ I knew these lads had some prank in mind. I would not stay dry if they had anything to do with it.
I rolled up my trouser legs and with the paddles I started out around buoy. I was nearly back to shore when the two young g scoundrels’ swam out to me and tipped me off.
‘We owed you that one.’ They laughed uproariously at my discomfort and so did my family. Throughout the day the board was rowed, used as a diving board, sat on and people were tipped off. It was truly tried and tested. It was voted the best surfboard by everyone. I’d proven my point and came home satisfied.