Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson attended a one-off book signing session in Coolanagatta, Australia yesterday for their respected books, "Surf For Your Life" and "Parko And Friends." Both great books, both very different reads. The former is about Fanning's scrupulous approach to his surfing career; the latter about Parkinson's adventurous lifestyle.
Things were mellow in the cafe. There was no mad rush, no entourage of adoring fans, just a few elderly people enjoying their lattes. Parkinson and Fanning were positioned comfortably behind a desk with pens ready. There was a small crowd of gob-smacked groms looking at each other in disbelief at who was sitting before them. Elderly men quickly ducked in and out every so often with books camouflaged in their hands. "It's for the kid," were their un-prompted alibis. It's okay -- grown men are allowed signed books for themselves, too, you know.
It was a low-fi affair considering the current world champ and runner-up were within grasp. All you had to do was walk in, shake a hand, say g'day and you were privileged to a little one-on-one time with two of the best surfers in the world. Imagine Tiger Woods was sitting in your local coffee shop, or David Beckham. You think you would have the same opportunity?
With autographs flowing, they began dueling for the best lines in their signatures. Although miles from a final, a world title or even just a wave, their competitive streak runs strong. Who draws the cleanest line in their signature? Who has the best autograph style? Who has the biggest exclamation? Just like in the water, these gents rip with their distinctive marks that identify them. So they should -- they've done enough of them. It didn't get too heated, they didn't start scribbling over each other's signed books ... really, it was all in the name of fun.