A tender cinematic portrait of the great Australian surfer-shaper…
I doubt it’s an exaggeration to say that the Victorian surfboard shaper Maurice Cole is one of surfing’s last living links to its dirty, pre-woke WSL culture.
Maurice was a black kid adopted by white parents and who was twelve years old before Australia acknowledged its indigenous people were human and could be counted in the country’s census and allowed to vote.
Surfing, which Moz became very good at, two Victorian titles, sixth at the worlds, was his escape, a relationship he articulates in this tender film by Peter Baker, brother of noted surf writer Tim Baker.
“I was always timid. I always felt a bit different. I never felt comfortable until I started surfing,” says Moz.
Peter made this film in 2017, winning Best Short at the London Surf Film Festival, but has only just made it available for public release.
Moz, whom you may know as Brutus in various comment forums, also talks about prison and the resulting PTSD and depression.
“I asked my wife and my family not to visit me. I was in a hard place. It was for survival that I cut myself off from the world. I came out vulnerable, but very angry, very aggressive. I’d back it up big-time. When I came out of jail I was pretty crazy. I was always carrying this dark side with me.”
The last time I spent significant time with Moz on the phone I asked him what had happened to all the money he’d earned.
I reminded him of his lucrative shaping deals in Japan and Europe, of his palace in Margaret River with the nightclub, the fleet of jet skis and so on.
“I have nothing (but) I’ve got a pretty good surfboard collection,” he laughed. “My wife’s over me. I made so much, lost so much. That’s why I’m here in France. I pick up five grand here, ten grand there, pay a few debts. I have a twelve-year-old car worth five hundred bucks. I think I’ve got my integrity. Can you tell that to my wife? That it means something? She’s over the drama of making surfboards. She wants to live a simple, peaceful life. She’s been with me since I was eighteen, poor thing. She’s just burnt out. I was telling Ross and he said, ‘You can’t fucking retire. You’ve got too much fucking shit to do!’”