Photo: Brad Masters

I met Tony ‘Doris’ Eltherington in 2007 in Majuro, Marshall Islands. He was driving the Indies Trader I around those isles in search of surf for The Search with Tom Curren and Steph Gilmore, and I had somehow slimed my way into a berth on that fair ship. It was windy as assholes. He was sun-wizened, physically powerful and had a distant, knowing stare. I played him Libertines on the Trader’s stezza and he was surprised such a delicate sounding song bird could be on the smack and the crack. I tried to steal the lat long coordinates for some secret spots written down in book in the wheel house from The Quiksilver Crossing. Doris caught me, called me a ‘Pommy journo cunt’, picked me up and threw me below decks. (We made up later in the galley over a vegemite sandwich). Then I bumped into him a few years later in the Ments, looking that bit more sun-wizened and distant stare-y. Then, just last year, I heard it was he who rescued that Saffa guy who fell overboard and spent 24 hours adrift.

He sure is a swell fellow alright… or to put it another way, a sick cunt.

Just lately, we caught up with him for a little chat…

Doris, is there a moment that stood out when you thought ‘my life’s a bit different’…

One time, I was on a commuter train from The Goldy to Brisbane heading up to an epic wave; surrounded by businessmen stifling in their suits and the green and orange OHS workers all heading to their day jobs, empty stares and resentment written on their faces when they saw me clad in board shorts carrying my weathered Rip Curl board bag with a quiver of brand new boards and the scent of curing resin lifting off the boards and floating thru the train car. It was then I realized just how blessed I was to be a surfer for a living. Every day is a different experience and for me surf travel is adventure every time

One trip that changed your life…

There have been many amazing trips that have shaped my life. But, two come to mind.
In 1973, I attended the Australian Titles at Margaret River, WA that my guru, Richard Harvey won. There was a 25′ swell that I had never witnessed before. Seeing it, I nearly shit myself. Over the course of the next few days it did settle down but since I was in the first heat with Mark Richards we were dealing with 12′ left handers on the reef. I lost the heat but came to realize over the course of the two week event that I love left hand reef breaks rather than the right hand breaks of the Gold Coast.


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