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27.06.04 - MORE BRAVADO AND BROTHERHOOD - Another tale of battling the odds, this time by a young South African shark attack victim.
- Bordering on being maligned because of his focussed demeanour, Brasil's highest rated surfer is in fact a top bloke, simply misunderstood.
22.06.04 - TEARS OF JOY
- It was a freezing cold day, but even a blizzard couldn’t have blotted out the warmth of the spirit and love in the air for Andy King.
16.06.04 - OCCY – 38 YEARS YOUNG TODAY!
- Marco Luciano Jay Occhilupo, 1999 world champ, and the world’s most popular surfer, turns 38 today.
- Friends have overwhelm popular WQS surfer Andrew King after a senseless assault inflicted him with total deafness and threatened to end his promising career.

29.06.04 - THIS UNPREDICTABLE LIFESTYLE - Scheduled to be in South-east Asia, but ending up on North Stradbroke Island.
Ex sarge, Tuesday, June 29th 2004.

It was 2.17pm, and Occy was sounding distressed. “Oh no! That can’t be the ferry leaving. No! It can’t be! How could it do that?” said Occy. “Probably because it was scheduled to leave at 2.15” was all I could manage in replying with what must have been the obvious situation. He sounded like he had been personally wounded, as though someone had hurt his feelings, as though the car ferry sailing off into the blue yonder was a friend who had turned his back on him. It was another classic Occsterism, one of those guaranteed repetitive gems which one duly experiences when hanging with the man himself. His unintentional ability to stupefy knows no boundaries. It had been a bit of a stupefying day.

Mark Occhilupo
The jaw that needs no introduction. Finally on the
car ferry, Occy is still deep in thought struggling to
forgive the boat for leaving without him an hour earlier.

You never can tell what the week, or even the day ahead, can hold in this crazy pro’ surfing lifestyle. Instead of being in South-East Asia today, as I was booked to be, I found myself on North Stradbroke Island. I was talking to Joel Parkinson last Saturday, and asked if he was home until we left Australia late next week for the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay. He responded “No I’ve got to go to Asia, to Timbuktoo (*), on Tuesday for a few days for a photo shoot with Taj Burrow”. It sounded like a very interesting location, kept secret at this stage (!), so I enquired if I could tag along, and duly booked myself a plane ticket on Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

Mark Occhilupo
By the time I stopped shooting B&W, the waves had become
quite inconsistent and Occy was over it. This was his
last wave, which ended up being a messy but made escape.

Late yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from ASL photographer Andrew Sheild, inviting me to bring a few surfers down to shoot South Wall at Ballina with him today. I advised I couldn’t because I was headed to Timbuktoo, and he responded telling me that Trent Munro was on that trip as well. I rang Trent to ask whether he was flying out of Sydney or Brisbane, and he told me he was out of Sydney because there was no daily flight to Saigon from Brisbane. I was like “Yes there is, but why are you flying to Saigon anyway, when the wave is in Timbuktoo?” We eventually worked out that Joel had got it wrong and given me not just the wrong location, but the wrong country – it was Saigon that the boys were headed to. Dohp! Qantas don’t do Frequent flyer flights to Saigon, so I had to pull the pin. What a classic huh? No big deal. As it turned out, I had a great day.

Mark Occhilupo
Sharing the workload.

The mobile phone had rung about 830am this morning, the unmistakeable tones of Occy on the other end of the line. “Hey Sarge, I’ve just checked the surf at Duranbah, and I reckon North Straddie might be alright today. Wanna go up there?” Off we headed. We pulled up at Point Lookout to find some delectable looking peaks, averaging around three foot, with a light offshore holding them up. “Did you guys smell it from down there?” enquired one of the locals with a grin on his face having spotted the famous Occhilupo jaw. We were out there.

This guy didn’t miss the ferry (didn’t need to; he lives there),
but he did miss this wave. He was otherwise surfing well. Sorry mate!

Because it was the first time in a long time since just Occ’ and I had done a shoot together, as we had routinely done through his teens, I decided to shoot black and white…just for old times’ sake. He paddled out onto a peak by himself while I set up on the beach. Trouble is, tripods attract crowds, people obviously reasoning that the bank where the pro(s) are surfing, must be the best bank…plus, they can go to the pub that arvo’ and brag to their mates how they dropped in on Occy or whoever in their session that day. In no time, Occy’s was amidst an instant crowd of nine, still way better than 90 back at Snapper Rocks. The gems were few and far between though, the good sets becoming more and more inconsistent with the incoming tide.

Every day, they reckon there’s heaps of girls learning to surf
– more than boys are. It was no different at Point Lookout today.

Down the beach a father was teaching his two young daughters to surf, and they looked understandably stoked. Out on ‘Occy’s peak’, two young shredders named Lincoln Taylor and Noah Lane were getting more than their share, and ripping it up. There were surfers out there with varying levels of skill, all doing their darndest. You could have been at any beach in Australia. Towards the end of the session, a guy walked up, dripping wet, board underarm, and asked what I was shooting. “Just Occy” I replied, before being stunned by the reply “Which is Occy?” “How long have you been surfing mate?” was my immediate response. “Umm, that was my first time ever actually. It was unreal. That Occy guy was once number one wasn’t he?” He knew something after all, but could have been excused just the same. How insular we get in our little surfing world.

Charles Story
Commerce student Charles Story, from St.Lucia in Brisbane,
had his first ever surf today, and got to watch a former
world champion as well. He was stoked on both counts.

Occy was out of the water about 10 minutes later. “Let’s go Sarge! It’s ten to two and we can catch the 230 ferry”. “Okay, you grab the tripod while I get this stuff together” I said, whilst taking the big lens off the tripod and heading for the camera bag up on the high tide mark. “Who me?” he asked. There wasn’t another person within 50 metres. Just over 25 minutes later we were on the other side of the island watching the car ferry sail off towards the western horizon. Occy’s 2.30pm ferry was in fact a 2.15pm ferry, and it had dared to leave on time. How could it do that? How could I be on North Stradbroke instead of in Asia at Timbuktoo with Parko, Taj and Knackers? It’s an unpredictable lifestyle this one…and lovin’ it!
GODblessyas sarge
(*) Fictitious name.