Thursday, 8 May 2008

Mountain Surfing

Once upon a time, many years ago, two young children invented Mountain Surfing.

Now, Mountain Surfing is a strange and dangerous sport which DeTamble loves. I'll tell you what it is and I'll tell you how it came to be, so picture this...

DeTamble's version of Mountain Surfing, as displayed yesterday afternoon.

Dance, skip and generally bounce like a little goat up a steep mountain path. Wear your favourite blue summer dress, leave your long hair flowing down to your waist, place your green nano Apple iPod tenderly in your pocket, play Youssou N'Dour at the highest volume and hang the earphones around your neck. When you reach the summit after an hour or so, turn and laugh because the trees are so tall and so many that there is no view. It doesn't matter though, the view is not what you climbed for, the steep, dry, dusty, rocky path is what you came for. Stand, silent, survey the descent, note the larger rocks, the rising roots, the log which you will have to leap over, the sharp corner, the branch you will have to grab to prevent flying off the path. Now slide a foot forward, search for the unsettling, rolling feeling of the stones beneath your shoes, when you find it, don't fight it, let it carry you. Have you found it? Good, then run! Run slowly, the rolling stones will give you the speed, like riding a mini land slide. Whatever you do, don't stop running, or the slowed momentum will stop the stones rolling beneath your feet and you will crash into the nearest tree! It took you over an hour to reach the top but minutes to reach the bottom, you're flying, it's like skiing, but mind the rocks and don't forget to jump over that log! The gravel is flying beneath your feet, propelling you forward, don't stumble, keep the stones rolling! Then BAM! You're speeding down the side of the mountain at 5 metres a second and you come skidding out onto the path below, causing a shocked cyclist to slam on his brakes and stare at you, his mouth hanging open. You giggle at his surprised face, flick your hair over your shoulder, brush a few wattle flowers off your dress, tilt your head, give him a chirpy 'Hi' and a disarming smile and wander off. Glance back, he's still there, staring after you. Poor thing, he's never going to work out what a girl was doing up the mountain by herself or how she managed to come flying down it with such speed as to skid across the three metre path in front of him without lifting a foot. But see, that's the fun of Mountain Surfing, by the time you reach the lower half you don't need to run, you're going so fast you just need to hold out your arms for balance and occasionally jump over a large rock. Think of your shoes as the board and the rolling, sliding stones the sea, hence the name, Surfing. It's a high speed, adrenaline sport and it is stupidly dangerous but so much fun!!

I guess it's not a sport though, I mean how many people climb a mountain for the specific point of running and sliding down it? Can't be many. Or maybe there are lots of people, perhaps it's an underground sport, yet to make the proud leap into the Olympics. Do you do it? Are you as stupid as I am?

Once upon a time, many years ago, two young children invented Mountain Surfing.

These two children belonged to a larger group of children who all lived on a community farm. Some days the children would go and help their parents in the fields or they would be sent off to walk the six kilometres to the letter box and some days they were just allowed to play. Now, one day these children decided that it was time to climb the mountain that towered above the western side of the property. They'd heard tell that there was a waterfall up there but no one they knew had actually seen it, so they decided to find it. They set off early in the day, after filling up on an extra big breakfast since they knew they'd not be home for lunch. They left the farm house, clomped across the narrow wooden bridge, skipped past their caravans, raced up the hill, dodging the cow pats and thistles and started up the side of the mountain. After a while they found a goat path and followed that, up and up they went, for hours. The path they were using started to fade but they were still no where near the top. They stopped and flopped down into the cool grass, no one spoke, they were happy just listening to the whip birds and the blue seeking bower birds. Suddenly David sat up, "Water! I can hear water", he cried. The children sprang to their feet. "Where? Where?' they chorused. David set off at a run and his friends sprinted after him, crashing through the undergrowth, ducking branches, leaping over fallen trees. They burst through the trees and came to sudden halting stop feet away from the edge of a cliff! David crept to the edge of the cliff and stared down and there, only six metres below was a beautiful, crystal clear pool and a water fall was spilling over the edge of the very cliff they stood upon. Bradley and Michael were sent down to see how deep the water was below the falls, to see if there were any rocks. Their voices echoed the all clear up the side of the mountain and Tom, being the most reckless, slipped into the fall and went flying over the edge in a spray of white water! The rest of the day was spent in a giddy, water logged happiness. And then it was time to go home, the sun was low and they had three hours of path to traipse down. They all raced up the rocks to the waterfall for one last flying decent but they were careless and the rocks were slippery and one of them fell. Little Galaxy* slipped and fell onto a rock, he landed on his back but his head had slipped below the water. There was a stunned silence, even the water seemed to have stopped flowing and then everyone moved. The girl at the top leapt off the side of the cliff and swam towards the younger boy, trying to push his head out of the water. The older boys stopped climbing and slid down over the rocks, racing into the water to pull his limp body off the rock. Galaxy's eyes flickered open and he began to cry. Blood was pouring from his head and the bruises were already appearing on his small body. A hurried plan was made, the older boys would carry him to the top and between them and the other children they'd carry Galaxy home but they didn't know how hurt he was or how long it would take them and the sun was getting lower and lower. So the two fastest children were told to run home and find the adults! A boy, Liam and the girl who had held Galaxy's head above the water scurried up the cliff and ran. The path was steep and there were many small rocks, making them slide, losing their balance and grab for the nearest branch. After a while of trying to run, overbalancing and gashing their knees it occurred to them that they shouldn't fight with the sliding, rolling, tumbling rocks and so Mountain Surfing was born. It hurt, they wore no shoes and the rocks cut into their feet but they made it to the foot of the mountain so fast they had to stop and stare back up at it to make sure they really had reached the bottom. They looked at each other for a moment, surprised and then they began to run again. The sun was twinkling through the top of the trees, the light would be gone soon, so they cut through the back field, running through the thistles and stinging nettles, brushing away tears with dirty hands. Reaching the barbed wire fence they flung themselves under it, grazing their faces and then they split. The boy ran towards the farm house and the girl sprinted into the fields screaming out for a parent. Torches were grabbed and the fathers ran off towards the mountain. The two children wanted to go back to show them the way but the mothers took one look at them and forbade them to leave the house, since they were both covered in blood from the hundreds of cuts that etched their skin. Hours later they came back and the doctor was waiting for Galaxy, nothing too serious, a broken wrist, concussion and severe bruising to his torso but he'd be fine.

The children were forbidden to ever go back up the mountain and they obeyed...for about a month. Except the next time they went up it wasn't for the waterfall, it was to teach the other children to Mountain Surf, but this time, they took shoes.


*Galaxy is his real name. What can I say, our parents were hippies. Galaxy, Tripty and DeTamble...the rest of the children were blessed with more normal names.


  1. I love the way this is writ! :)
    *I wouldn't be caught dead...mountain surfing! Sounds way too dangerous!

  2. Now that Princess has said it, I won't have to defend it when I say you write damn good.

    Also, mountain surfing. Hmm. I'll cling to good old [insert what you think it is here] for adrenaline.

  3. Excellent piece! i should retire, go hang up my pen somewhere the sun don't shine.

    We did have a variation of the same in my grandmas ranch, oodles of fun, too bad about the cuts and bruises. There are tons of thorny shrubs and some you misjudge and plough right through. Ooodles of fun though, should try it one more time before my bones get too brittle!

  4. Reminds me of calvin and hobbes. Minus the terror.

    Go DeT.