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10.06.04 - MOTHER OCEAN DELIVERS AT CLOUDBREAK - You can always trust your mother...but not always Mother Ocean. She delivered at Cloudbreak though!
05.06.04 - ROUND 'EM UP & MOVE 'EM OUT!
- The job is done, and the WCT pro' stragglers vacate the Fijian paradise.
03.06.04 - THE PRELUDE TO A REPORT ON A MIND-BOGGLING DAY!
- Scattering and behaving in all manner of ways after and epic Cloudbreak.
02.06.04 - A CHALLENGE JUST BEGINNING FOR SOME
- Chasing results in Fiji that count.
01.06.04 - BLASTING OUT OF THE GATES
- The swell jumps at Restaurants, and the boys rise to the occasion.
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15.06.04 - SUPPORTING A SPECIAL MATE - Friends have overwhelmed popular WQS surfer Andrew King after a senseless assault inflicted him with total deafness and threatened to end his promising career.
Ex sarge, Gold Coast, Tuesday June 15th, 2004.

IF you’re a committed surfer, you will easily, and uncomfortably, relate to a heartbreaking scenario that beset young Australian WQS performer Andrew King in April this year. Most notably, Kingy has always shone as a great person, but just add water, and you’d find a brilliant and determined surfer of guts and skill to boot. He has stood out in both free-surfing and WQS events at Pipeline over the past two years, and he also claimed the highest two wave scoreline in WQS ASP history at the MR Energy Australian Open at Newcastle in March, 19.93 out of a possible 20 points, just one week before a cruel twist of fate struck, and threatened to end not only his career as a pro’ surfer, but his ability to surf at all. The merciless blow came late one night in his hometown of Cronulla, when he moved to defend his girlfriend against some drunken load-mouths who were slinging off in bad taste. Uninterested in Andy’s demands that they decline from their vulgar language and behaviour, his alleged assailant suddenly hit him with a knock-out punch. Andy fell to the concrete footpath instantaneously unconscious, and fractured the base of his skull. The blow also fractured the ‘balance bone’ in each of his ears.

Andy King
Andrew King not only loves pits, they love him, as
evidenced by the eight second barrel he emerged from
in his heat of the MR Energy Australia Open at Newcastle,
just a week before he was senselessly assaulted.

The respected and popular goofy footer who is a pacifist by nature, with an always respectful and gregarious attitude to all, was rushed to hospital where he regained consciousness and was cleared of the potential of brain damage, but in a terrifying silent state of total deafness. Kingy’s frightening stint in hospital was relieved by companionship and encouragement from his countless Cronulla mates, as well as well-wishes and support from friends around the surfing globe. Pro’ buddies Kieren Perrow, Nathan Hedge, Phil Macdonald, and his best friend Matt Griggs, all came and spent extended hours with him in hospital, some even staying overnight as he struggled first to walk, and then to adjust to his new soundless world. Whilst surrounded by doctors, unable to hear their hypotheses and debate about his future and affliction, Andy went through all sorts of fears and stressful emotions, including whether of not he’d be able to surf again. If you’ve ever broken an eardrum, you’ll know the injury totally robs you of your balance, and totally precludes surfing.

Andy King
To cheer up his best mate Andy while he was in hospital,
Matt Griggs brought in six vials containing water from each of
Andy's favourite Cronulla wave locations. Pretty cool huh!

Now awaiting an operation which will cost $80,000, Kingy will have a cochlear insert surgically implanted in each of his ears, which should restore his hearing. After being released from hospital and spending some time at home in rehabilitation, Andy ventured out surfing, but wearing an inflatable jacket, because without any balance, he was unable to tell which way is up or down underwater when he wipes out. For his friends it was a heartbreaking experience, watching their mate struggle with a pursuit that he used to be so accomplished at. They need not fear though, for Andrew King is a spirit-filled fighter without peer. He will return!


On their way around Woolooware Golf Course today
raising money for Andy King...(L to R), Actor Daniel McPherson,
Luke Hitchings, Kingy himself, Phil Macdonald, and Nathan Hedge.

To help raise money for his operation, Andy's Cronulla Sharks Boardriders Club mates organised a golf day at Woolooware Golf course today. Positions for the 138-man field, all playing at $100 per head over 18 sponsored holes, were filled in a matter of days! Over $17,000 was raised. That response and support will be typified further this coming Friday when Matt Gye will show his latest video, ‘A Day in the Life of…’ at the Lounge Bar. The stars of the video – Messrs Parkinson, Morrison and Fanning, have already collectively donated $10,000 to Andy’s fund. On Saturday, many of Australia's top pros, as well as numerous Cronulla surfers dating back to the 60's, will convene for a special Andrew King Surfing Benefit event. That same night, from 7pm at Cronulla Sharks Leagues Club, an auction of sports memorabilia will further boost Andy's operation fund.

Tim Freedman
Lead singer of the popular Aussie band The Whitlams,
Tim Freedman, was one of many celebrities clubbing
around 18 holes on Royal Woolooware today.

The items to be auctioned include surfboards from Occy, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Mick Fanning, Dean Morrison, Joel Parkinson, Luke Egan, Taj Burrows, and one of Andy’s boards signed by the ASP WCT top 16. There’s a Layne Beachley bikini, and autographed football jerseys from Matt Hayden and Matt Rogers, as well as team-signed jerseys from the NSW Waratahs, Sydney Swans, NZ Rugby League, Cronulla Sharks, Bull Dogs, Newtown, the NSW State of Origin, touring car champion Mark Scaife, and many other clothing items of famed origin. There’ll be framed and autographed surf pics and posters, waves and portraits, origin tickets, boxing pics, as well as framed boxing gloves from Aussie legends Fenech, Green and Kosta, an autographed book from cricketer Steve Waugh, a Michael Bevan bat…the list goes on and on. Get down there and bring your wallet with you!

Winners
Andy King (centre) and the winners of today's huge
golf tournament at Woolooware which raised $17,000.
Only about 60K to go, which will hopefully come together
at Saturday night's auction of sports memorabilia.

Andy has been understandably overwhelmed at how his friends have rallied around him, proclaiming to me a few weeks back, unknowingly shouting, with tears in his eyes, “It’s been like I died – but I was here for my funeral!” How good is that! Andy faces a long haul back to fitness and his former surfing brilliance, but rest assured he will be back. Andy is aptly named ‘King’. They say that horse racing is the sport of kings, and this much-loved goofy footer has a heart as a big as a horse’s ticker! How good is mateship? Have you told your best friends how much they mean to you lately? Do it! Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
ENDS

* Special thanks today to John Veage for the golf shots (Veagey, now Photo Editor at Suburban Newspapers, was my first ever apprentice, circa '81), and also to Waves' magazine photographer Sponnas, for his typically sick water shot of Kingy.