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Taking the Drop by Danielle Dubois, Jillian Flitton, Debbie James, and Sheree da Costa is an inspirational journey of four everyday women who wanted to share another kind of surfers’ world. They wrote this book not only to provide an entertaining and inspiring insight into surfing, but also to share their very different stories. This final excerpt is a funny story about the ladies doing some off roading.
Excerpt from “Taking the Drop” – Debbie’s story…
We just wanted to…
Sheree and Danielle saw what appeared to be an excellent surfing spot tucked away in the distance. It was a bit more remote than we’d anticipated and down a long unsealed road so I suggested we all get into my four-wheel drive.
Dan asked, “Deb have you driven on sand before?”
I was quick to reply, “Of course!” Well I sort of had… After all it was a fully automatic four-wheel drive transmission, what could possibly go wrong!
Everyone jumped in, and I engaged the auto transmission by turning the dial on the dashboard. Bright green lights displayed that the car had all four wheels locked ready to go.
“Excellent,” I thought, pleased with my car.
With all the girls neatly folded into my four-wheel drive, we headed off.
However, I was missing one very important piece of technical information. I needed to put the gears into neutral before turning the dial. Therefore as we headed off down the road that led to the beach, I thought it was in four-wheel drive… but it wasn’t.
The section of road leading down to the sand was rough, and full of potholes. Large Lantana plants as high as our car were everywhere. Whilst passing, I tried to avoid them, but my car got scratched to the shithouse. I tried to miss the sharp jagged sticks that protruded and attempted to dodge huge potholes at the same time. It was just nuts! When we finally reached the sand it was very deep and already cut up from all the previous four-wheelers who’d driven through earlier that day. Danielle suggested, “Gun it!” and to everyone’s amazement we made it. The tyres whirled, the car wobbled and sand flew everywhere in our attempt to get through the heavy bogged-up sand. The noise of the motor was eerie, and we still had no idea the car was only in two-wheel drive.
Approaching the water we were disappointed as the surf was actually terrible, and the wind had turned onshore. So we turned the car around and headed back after deciding that Crescent Head would have to do us for today.
… That’s when the trouble started. I thought because we’d made it onto the beach relatively easily, there should be no problem going back the other way. As we attempted to drive the vehicle back up the boggy section of the sand track, I revved up the motor anticipating a fast retreat.
Dan said once more, “Gun it!”
So I gunned it again.
We made it halfway in, when the wheels started spinning and the sand went flying. The motor stunk as the car became well and truly bogged.
Two women back seat drivers and one as a passenger was enough to send me almost stir crazy.
Flip! I stopped the car.
“Oh Shit! Reverse it!” came screams from the back.
So I did, and the car bogged even deeper.
“Fuck!” said Sheree quietly from the back seat.
“Don’t burn the diff out!” yells Dan… as I think, “What’s a diff?”
“Ohhh fuck!” says Sheree again, louder this time.
Turning the steering wheel in every direction possible was what got us down to the beach, and therefore, I repeated the same process. We were in trouble and bogged so far down we could only just see the tops of the tyres.
“What’s the tide doing girls?” Jill asked in exasperation. We were rather close to the shoreline.
“It’s on the way in,” Sheree said, shitting herself.
“We should all get out of the car!” said Dan firmly.
“No! No one gets out of the car, I need the weight!” I replied emphatically.
Obediently the girls stayed put.
“Fuckity fuck!” screamed Sheree, now clearly panicking.
Nearby, four guys carrying their surfboards saw the commotion and headed our way. We were in such a flap and very glad to see anybody who could help to get us out of our debacle.
Until they got a little closer.
Oh by golly, if we weren’t scared before, we certainly were now. All four of them were covered in tattoos, had piercings everywhere and their hairstyles sat somewhere between Mohawk and Skinhead.
Here we were, four middle-aged women scared and at their mercy. We were convinced we were going to be raped and pillaged, and never to be seen again. Those boys knew the car was bogged in a remote spot and couldn’t go anywhere. When they saw four females jump out of the car, they burst into laughter.
“Need any help ladies?” one of them piped up.
Then they offered some solutions.
“Dig the sand out that’s covering the wheels.”
We looked at them thinking, “Well who’s going to do that and with what?”
“Push the car from behind,” another sprouted.
“And just who’s going to do that?” we thought.
“Everyone get out of the car, except the driver,” as they explained we needed to keep the car as light as possible.
Ooops! Who said we needed the weight?
After the car was finally prepared for take-off, I climbed back in thinking this was another reason to be glad I’d shed those twenty kilos.
As I drove off, Dan yelled, “Fang it!”
Everyone then yelled, “Fang it! Fang it! Fang it!”
While I was ‘fanging’ the boys were being drowned in sand flying from the wheels as they spun furiously, the motor smelt like it was burning out and the whole vehicle slid and skidded along the deep-bogged tracks.
By this time we’d attracted a small group of onlookers and I nearly took them all out! All the spectators, including a fat Labrador dog, dived for the safety of the nearest sand dune. The car nearly flipped over on the top of the hill, before finally coming to a crashing stop at the top of the rough sandy track. I jumped out as fast as I could with my heart pounding and racing whilst laughing hysterically. “That’s enough drama for one day!” I thought.
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