The Hep Pit was a small shed where we could leave our boards at South Bondi. It was called the “Hep Pit”, because the storm water drain in Knotts Avenue used to seep in from above. One guy actually caught hepatitis. We used to sit inside the shed on rainy days, but never really thought about it. “Where’s Frank today?” “Oh, he’s got hep. He’s home sick.” No-one really understood.
It was great to hang with guys like Magoo, Tony Rule and Bluey Mayes. It was a community. There were some hard, tough men. But, they nurtured young blokes. If you showed them respect, they’d look out for you; (a) that you didn’t drown and (b) that you didn’t fall prey to some creep lurking around the toilets. It felt good to know that people cared about you. It was like being part of a tribe.