Rebelsessions through the lens: #Gunrunners – Tim Coles

Tim Coles
“Aaaahhaaa-haaaa,” laughs the skinny kid with the floppy hair. “No pressure right? You guys just stole all the good answers. Now I’ve got to come up with something that’s totally out the ball park, something like ‘nooit bruuuu I train at Muizenberg every day, ’Aaaahhaaa-haaaa!!”(Neil Webster has been doing video interviews with the 4 “gunrunners” for the rebel sessions site.)

The floppy haired kid laughs a lot. “I washed my hair the other day, it was such a mistake! I never wash it. I washed it like once. You need all the natural salts and oils.” The 19 year old suddenly sits up straight and pushes his shoulders back. “My mom will slap me if I have bad posture in this video. Aaaahhaaa-haaaa!” He points at his leather shoes. “She was like; ‘You need leather boots.’ And I was like; No, I need skating shoes. So I got the boots and I’ve worn them every day since.”

Webster hits record on his camera and asks formally. “What’s your name, what do you do and where are you from?” The kid pushes his shoulders back again and says, imitating Webster’s tone. “I’m first year marine science at UCT, I come from the Boland and my name is Tim Coles.” Neil continues. “So why do you want to surf big waves?” Tim smiles again. “I’ve always liked bigger waves. I remember looking at a photo of Sunset and thinking that I REALLY wanted to ride it.” Webster nods approvingly and asks. “So how do you deal with the fear on big waves?” The kid laughs again. “I don’t think about it too much beforehand. I try to be mentally confident....and I shoulder hop a lot of the time (laughs again) I don’t put myself in too much of a critical position...which can back fire very quickly at Dungeons!” Webster laughs ruefully at his last comment. (He’s been shooting Dungeons since 1996 and has seen his share of carnage.)

“What’s it like being the new guy?” Asks Webster. “Very positive most of the time.” Replies the kid. “The guys say ‘don’t paddle there’ or ‘don’t sit on the inside of that dude.’ Most of the time, they’re friendly. But I did get told off the other day for ditching my board without looking behind me. But ja, I see them in the parking lot and I’m all like, ‘I saw a clip of your wave and now here you are.’ It’s so rad!!!” Webster smiles and asks. “Do the new young guys hang together? Have you formed your own posse?” Tim looks up at the tree that he’s sitting under and says. “Yeah, we banter. It’s great to have guys who are at the same point as you are. Someone who you can realistically base your markers off. It makes me feel like, ‘ok, gonna try be deeper too.’ Fabian is always the deepest. But haaaa haaaa ha, it’s nice to have a friend there. Makes us think that we can sit there too.”

Webster changes his line of questioning and asks Tim to talk about his worst wipeout. The kid grimaces. Then laughs again. “It was BIG Dungeons. It would peak, then fade. I kept going deeper. Then suddenly the biggest wall of water I’d ever seen stood up in front of us! I was not mentally prepared for that situation. It landed (laughing again) right in front of me!! I ditched my board. Luckily I had an impact vest on. When I came up I was disorientated. I’d lost my board. Paris Basson had to rescue me. Earlier that morning 5 of us had jumped off the seal boat and he’d come over on his ski and told us what to do if we needed rescuing. Having that at the back of my mind was soooooo good. Knowing that he was up there somewhere, made all the difference.”(The red tip of Tim’s board can be seen bottom right of the line-up photo in the slideshow above) Webster is down to his last question now. His dad and the kid’s grandfather are lifelong friends. His last question has real heart behind it. “What about your family? Are your folks happy about you doing this?” The Kid looks serious for the first time. “One of the older guys got hold of that impact vest for me. I didn’t have any money, so I asked my grandfather to pay for it....which he did. My mom and dad are supportive, but not happy. My dad does get stoked though, when I send him pictures of my waves and stuff.” The kid runs a hand through his floppy hair again and looks down at the shoes his mom bought him. “Before a session, I’ll send them a message. I say, I love you guys....see you later.....”

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