Talk-show superstar Sabre Norris analyses the behaviour of BeachGrit reporter…
(Editor’s note: Recently, BeachGrit spent a day shooting a documentary on the surf-talkshow superstar Sabre Norris. The next day we published a story, One Day in the Life of Sabre Norris. Yesterday, Sabre, who is eleven years old, sent the following story.)
Who is Derek Rielly? Yes, yes, I know he writes for BeachGrit, maybe every third or fifth article and you get to see a little picture of his face at the top of the articles he writes.
But what is he really like? Well, I got to meet him in real life, we went surfing and I’m gonna tell you what I learnt.
Top three bangers.
1. He actually doesn’t swear as much in real life as he does when he writes. He did say “shit” one time though, which was pretty cool.
2. His worst person to interview is Jack Freestone. (I’m worried this will hurt Jack’s feelings if I say this.)
3. It was love at first sight when he met his wife Annmarie. He married her because she had red lips and big gorgeous eyes mixed in with a good brain and ambition.
I actually nearly didn’t get to meet Derek in real life because a couple of days earlier my Mum wanted to ban Derek from coming to our house. She thought he was going to cook me in his writing. You see, I had just been cooked by another mag. They didn’t like me on the Ellen show. They wrote an article (they changed it now but) and they talked about some of the things that were wrong with me. It made me feel embarrassed and I wished I’d said different things.
But Derek wrote an article too. He didn’t write bad things even though BeachGrit is hardcore candy and I wear a Gath helmet in one-foot beachbreaks.
So how bad I was feeling about other mag not liking me was overtaken by the nice things Derek wrote. So when Mum said he couldn’t come I had to fight for him.
“Come on Mum, this guy is the inventor of Stab and now he’s inventing BeachGrit! That’s the equivalent of winning two world titles, maybe even equally Kelly Slater’s eleven. Please don’t blow this chance for me.” With a lot of begging and pleading, mum reluctantly said yes.
So. The plan was to meet at the Cowrie Hole for a surf.
Our black van, which was stuffed like an over-filled sausage of stoke and froth, rolled up into the carpark. Dead ahead was my local break the Cowrie Hole. I popped my wetty on and jumped outside. Instantly, a white, and moderately ruined Audi A3, appeared behind me.
A man’s head poked out the door and out came his muscle body. He looked like a hipster wood-cutter from Canada, like the guy smoking ciggies down the street. He trudged his sandals (not Reef) towards me.
I was alarmed. Was he going to hit me?
“Hey Sabre!” the man said, “It’s me, Derek.”
Phew, what a relief!
Derek wasn’t what I thought he’d be. For sure, I thought Derek would be Mr Surf, fully decked out from top-to-toe in surf gear, but I couldn’t see a Billabong or Rip Curl logo anywhere. He had his own style.
We proceed to the beach, surfboards under our arms.
I asked, “Who’s your favourite surfer?” He said, Noa Deane. I wondered why it was Noa Deane but as soon as Derek stood up on his surfboard, the answer was right in front of me. You know how Noa Deane has an admirable style? Well, Derek also has a cool, first-rate style, a little olden-day mixed in too. And I couldn’t believe he was wearing boardshorts. Any normal person would get hypothermia!
We carried our dripping surfboards back to the car. Derek said I could ride in his Audi. I wasn’t going to let a chance like that go to waste so I hopped in. I’ve been in some friends’ parents’ cars and they want you to act like a statue. The parents barely want you to breathe let alone eat, say, an apple.
Derek wasn’t like that. I could tell because there was popcorn and sand smashed into the leather seats. He said he would rather have happy kids than a clean car. I was starting to like this guy.
First question I asked: “What’s your dream car?”
Answer: Porsche Macan.
Second question: “How much did you sell your half of Stab for?”
Answer: Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars although the other partner sold his a few years later for five million.
According to my calculations, Derek lost 23 Porsches and 30,000 doughnuts.
“Did that hurt you?” I asked.
“Well, not really,” said Derek. He told me that as long as his boys and fashion designer wife were healthy, that’s what is truly important. Not money. And, also, his partner had worked very hard for the money, he had a beautiful family too, and that he deserved every cent.
I stopped talking and thought in my head for a bit. You know who Derek reminds me of? Carissa Moore. She told me once that she would rather a house full of love than expensive furniture. Derek’s brain thinks like Carissa. I think they would be great friends.
In the car, I explained to Derek that writing is one of my deepest and greatest passions. I was so excited to show Derek, a professional author who is writing a book about Bob Hawke right this instant, my journal.
Sometimes, I get the feeling that grownups pretend to care and they can’t really be bothered to read it. I didn’t get this feeling from Derek. And instead of telling me, “That’s great just keep trying”, he gave me proper advice about how I can get to the next level. Then he even read my sister’s and brother’s books all the way to the end so they didn’t feel left out.
My Dad refused to blow up an inflatable pool toy so my brother asked Derek to. I marvelled as I watched him blow this doughnut with a two-metre radius up in three minutes flat. His lungs were the stuff of a big-wave surfer. I guess Bondi where Derek lives is pretty close to Mark Mathews at Maroubra. Maybe he does breath-control training with Mark and Nam Baldwin? Now his answer that the biggest wave he ever caught was twelve foot made sense to me.
After Derek scoffed down some Mars Bar slice he worked out the secret to make my Mum happy, which is to say how great her cooking is. It actually isn’t hard because it’s really nice.
Then Derek set a record. He was the first person who actually took my Dad up on his offer to do a swim lesson. I think I’m going to make him a medal for his achievement. Dad is always trying to make someone swim better but no one is normally interested. Derek has a swim race coming against all the French daddies at his sons’ French school. I hope he smokes them and he defends his title in March for the fourth year straight.
But after that he missed his family so he decided to leave.
I gave him the rest of the Mar’s Bar slice to take home to his kids Jones and Gard. I was frothing over their unusual names because I have a weird name too. Jones was named after the director Spike Jonze, who Derek met for the first time at Mark Mathews’ Cape Fear event. Gard because Gard Chapin was the cool dad of Miki Dora. Both his kids can speak French and love basketball. Derek said if I ever meet them they will help me to learn to catch a ball.
“Bye Derek!” my siblings and I called out as his slightly trashed Audi drove away.
Yeah, it wasn’t a Porsche Macan but maybe if he was driving a Porsche he would’ve been too rich to come to my house.