The amusing and absurd post surf banter between mates that goes down in local car parks on a Friday afternoon is one of the many things I love about surfing.
Impromptu and fluid, these car park congregations are often a meeting of your beach's most machiavellian minds. Driven to the land by a howling onshore wind or a cruel change of tide, they seek refuge from the slop amongst cigarette buts and oil stains.
It's here that your humble car park is transformed into an formidable asphalt forum; a public space where society's problems are solved by a few of society's problems.
Tall tales from the previous weekend's shenanigans are exchanged, plans for the upcoming weekend are hatched and trivial gripes are aired for all to comment on.
Honesty becomes the first casualty of the afternoon as heavily inflated stories about one's surfing prowess are swapped. Shark sightings are suddenly about as common as banana bread at a bakery.
Blokes with wetties pulled down to their waist drip dry next to tradies who've just knocked off as impressionable grommets loiter nearby, hoping to pick up a few pearls of salty wisdom. There seems to always be one deluded soul who's over stoked and clearly kidding himself by hinting at the possibility of an early.
The crew begins to grow and generate its own gravitational pull. Not even passing mates can escape. They too are sucked into a black hole of bullshit and bravado.
With only the encroaching darkness to worry about, everything and nothing is debated. Wave worshipers from all walks of life come and go. Many of whom arrive with the intention of going out for a quick one, only to find themselves putting the conditions under the microscope. It doesn't take long for them to realise that even questioning their desire to surf is a sure sign they're stuck in surf-check limbo.
They'll never even open the boot.
During one of these forever-sacred barefoot sermons, a man will unconsciously neglect all of his responsibilities for the chance to join in and spin a few good yarns.
The missus's requests to duck up the street for milk are quickly cast aside and that hospital visit to see a terminal relative is shelved for tomorrow. The logic in the moment is undeniable... they've had a good run anyway, right?
Soon this ad lib gathering takes a turn for the mischievous. A benevolent waxhead selflessly sacrifices his car battery to tune into the Friday arvo dj set. Then as sure as the sun will set, someone will suggest a sneaky beer or two, which is the verbal equivalent of throwing kero on a glowing fire.
All promises of a quiet afternoon watching the footy are abandoned and shaky early morning surf arrangements are torpedoed by your local's $10 schnitty and bevy combo.
Dusk descends and the whitewash becomes luminous in the evening light. One by one everyone begins to peel away, gimlet eyed and full of expectation for the night ahead.
Yes, these car park congregations are a sacred ritual to behold. Just another reason why I love (to check) surf.