When Wayne told me he'd bought a sailing boat so he could access some of the remote islands around where he lives, to tell you the truth, all I could think of was the trouble he could get into. I mean, it's one thing to get cleaned up in 20-foot surf in a rubber ducky with the shoreline a near mile away. But it's a completely different scenario sailing in one of the world's most treacherous oceans on a 50-foot catamaran. To put this in perspective, the ocean and weather Wayne deals with destroyed the fleet of racing boats in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart. Five boats sank, six people died, and only 44 of the 115 starters finished the race. It's easy to make a mental picture.
Sometime in late 2006, Dave Parmenter called me from his home in Makaha. I met Dave at Manly Beach when he was a touring pro back in 1985. From afar, Wayne has always been one of Parmenter's mentors. Cold, isolated, heavy-water surfing and shaping boards to ride these extreme conditions are just two of the many parallels in their lives. Dave had called me because he was wondering what Wayne was doing with his life as he moved into the latter part of his 50s.
"He's bought a boat," I told him. Dave was thrilled by this but not surprised.
"He's done what many of the great ocean men have done, Flippy Hoffman, Cabell, Phil Edwards, they all took to the sea when it got too much for them," Dave explained to me over the phone.
Directed by Craig Griffin, Uncharted Waters tells Wayne's story in its entirety. The documentarty follows him from his early days in Lorne on Victoria’s southwestern coast through his turbulent experiences as a ‘conscientious objector’ on the run from conscription and the Vietnam War. Premiering this summer, U.S. tour dates include: June 20th at the Broad Stage, Santa Monica, CA, June 21st at La Paloma Theater, Cardiff, CA, and June 27th at the Village East Cinema, NY. For more information, check out patagonia.com/surfblog.
Read "Wayne's New Road" by Andrew Kidman in its entirety in the TSJ archives.