The Baja goes full circle




In 1986, Mick Finn paid $50 for his first surfboard – the Baja. He attempted to ride it a few times and it went on the occasional coast trip where it probably looked better out of the water than in.

The Baja made its way through various rental accomodation in Sydney and somewhere in the late 80’s early 90’s it went missing. Amy Allerheiligen Weiss was implicated in its disappearance but stridently disclaims any involvement.

Fast forward to 2010, and Fergus Scott – a noted maven of detritus that retains cultural significance – spots an article in the Manly Daily of an upcoming auction of surf memorabilia. Amazingly in the background of the photo supporting is the Baja. The e-mail runs hot, as in a piece of hitereto undisplayed tecnological work, Ferg scans the photo and sends it out. “Is this the Baja?”.

Mick agrees that it may be – and phones the auctioneer and after confirming the presence of an identifying ding – puts Ferg and I in charge of regaining the Baja.

Ferg and I went to the auction, where surfboards from as early as the 40s are up for grabs. Fittingly the auction is held at the Harbord Diggers, which is adjacent to the beach where one Duke Kahanamoku intorduced surfing to Australia on 24 December 1914. One board goes for $7,000 – fortunately the Baja is not as sought after and after a nail-biting 15 seconds of bidding we get for Mick’s top price of $200.

As we proudly stand outside with our booty, the bloke who puts it up for auction sidles up and says – “Why’d you want it?” We explain the journey and he tells us – “Mate – found it on the side of the road in Bilgola in a council clean up”. Now what Amy Allerheiligen Weiss was doing in Bilgola is unknown – but nonetheless – we have retrieved it. We’ll have an update when the emotional re-union of Mick and the Baja occurs.