Words: Elliot Struck
Photos: Steve Baccon
Paul Fisher may be a vagrant, but he sure loves Australia’s north coast. And, given his patois and demeanour, you’d easily mistake him for a local at most coastal NSW towns, if it weren’t for his fruity denim, enthusiastic finner and those Bonds quick-dry trunks y’see here. Sure, we’re glitter-obsessed monkeys, but we still love practicality. So, trunks that dry, super-quick? Yes, thanks. Now, let’s you just drop them pants.
You know Paul, right? He’s the cat that runs Fishtales, a blog certain to elicit giggles and, at times, gasps. But we all need a break from time to time, and ain’t no place better for Fish than a sleepy north coast town.
“That’s my ’95 Land Cruiser,” said the man from whom Fish borrowed a fist of wax. “That’s my car! That’s my car! Whooee! All my youth and passion… spent in that back seat. It’s nearly all gone, y’see? It’s nearly all gone – rust and dust.” Fish laughed that laugh of his, like nothing else in the world was more funny. He pondered, for a moment, on how fleeting life was, how quickly things turn to rust and dust. He listened to the man recount stories about the car that were more befitting of a campfire than of these pages. And then he went surfing!
Dear perceptive readers, please flip your perception. This don’t make sense chronologically, does it? But, have you ever seen a man surfing towards the spine of a magazine? It’s our worst cringe! (see this issue’s Expression of the month). So when you gots Fish planting his tail into an open-faced right, the image ain’t welcome on the right page of a spread. But for all his hijinks, did you know Fish can hack? And huck? He totally can! You can’t poke fun at the surfing world the way Fish does, ‘less you got some sizzle to back it up with.
Sometimes you have to lose yourself ‘fore you can find anything. Where better for Fish to lose himself than a nameless nor-coast right? Fish felt at home here, he liked the people, he dug the waves. He could just be Paul. It was a nice change of pace from the nightclub, film-premiere, industry-launch-party, airport-lounge, cocktail-bar lifestyle he’d been spinning through lately. A sojourn like this from time to time keeps a man grounded. But, see here, what’s with the trunks under trunks? No matter how liberal you are, every surfer knows the sting of a boardshort-induced testicular rash. And you can bet Fish left this sesh supple and dry.
“You w- you wanna… you wanna talk about the vanishing wilderness, city boy?” the man at the pub asked Paul. “What are you so anxious about?” replied Paul. “Because you’re in your trunks, Paul, that’s why. Dammit, you’re in your trunks.”
Paul didn’t want to talk about the vanishing wilderness. And he knew he was in his trunks. But he also knew that when you ain’t on your home turf, you allow the locals indulgences. So Fish indulged the man, and they discussed the vanishing wilderness, the growth of the metropolitan, the transformative demise for which all sleepy towns were eventually doomed. The conversation was bigger than both men, but both enjoyed! By the end of the talk, the man in the pub still did not understand why Paul was in his trunks.
Oddly, this doesn’t look so outta-place, does it? While Paul was at the bar, the locals he was drinking with had a conversation. “Can that little man handle himself?” asked one. “Paul? He’s rather well thought of in his field,” replied the other. “What, surfing? I’ve never surfed in my life. There’s too much risk.”
Paul, however, loves risk. He loves the thrill of pushing a microphone into the face of surfing’s best, asking the most inappropriate question he can imagine, and the subtle eruption that then takes place behind that surfer’s eyes. An internal struggle, on whether to call Fish out or just laugh through an answer. But they always laugh. And they always answer.