“Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ‘the rat race’ is not yet final.” —Hunter S. Thompson
I first met Noa and his brother Jimi when I was 18 on a surf trip to the Gold Coast. The Deanes were kind enough to let me crash on a spare bed they had in the basement. Wayne, who built the house with his own hands, kept his old boards and photographs down there. I liked the basement. It was cool in the Queensland humidity.
Noa was hurt at the time, so he was getting his kicks at home by playing guitar and painting. I ended up surfing and going out with Jimi. When we got back from Snapper one morning, Colleen, Noa’s mom, was helping Noa clean out his old shit. Wanting to be a good house guest, I helped them move his quiver.
While rummaging through a shoe box that lay forgotten behind one of Noa’s boards, Colleen pulled out a disciplinary note that Noa was sent home with when he was in grade school. The note read, and I shit you not, “Noa won’t stop jumping off things.”
The note didn’t specify what he was jumping off, but that he was asked to stop by a teacher and that he wouldn’t — hence the note and early trip home from school. I asked him if he was sending it off the swings or from the top of the jungle gym to prep his knees for hard landings, but he laughed it off and kept strumming his guitar. Colleen said it was probably a display of playground rebellion. Adolescent anarchy.