Oh the shame.

The pain of the shame. And damn that internal heater cooking me from within. It was days ago, but I’m still being basted in the juices of my own embarrassment!

I have a humiliating history of slobbering on the people I admire most.

The worst example (which I’m still in treatment for) was Richard Clapton. It was the early ‘90s and we were in a nightclub. It was late and he may have been drunk. I most definitely was – I’d been dancing. I was somewhere between the categories of “rat-arsed” and “plastered”. Clapton was on the edge of the dance floor, but because he’s pretty short and wore his thick black hair over his face like Cousin It, I didn’t recognise him.

My mate pointed him out as he left for the toilet. I put an immediate end to my impersonation of a whirling dervish and followed him. I cornered the little legend at the urinal and forced him to listen as I yelled his entire music catalogue in chronological order into his face. Poor bloke. He tried to get away from me by saying he knew my brother and that they’d spent some time together in Palm Beach. That made me practically explode with excitement and opened up the opportunity to recite Capricorn Dancer at the defenceless Richard, encouraging him to sing along. What a dick! Me – not him, of course. He was cool. He is cool. He’s awesome; Richard Clapton’s like a GOD! Oh, damn, there I go again. The experience was enough to make me reassess how I would talk to famous people. From that day on, I’d be cool. Laid back. Utterly, utterly underwhelmed.

Then I met Julian Wilson. At best, I was awkward.

You’ll know Julian Wilson as a pro surfer. Top five in the world and with lifelong bragging rights because he’s the guy who paddled towards the shark that Mick Fanning bashed up at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa last year. He’s epic. Julian’s 26, he’s very cool and my wife assures me he’s hot. She said she wanted to play golf with him, but I said she’d probably embarrass herself the way she did when she met AFL legend James Hird. She agreed. Besides, this was work, not fun and we were playing for The Golf Show on Fox Sports. To say I was excited would be an understatement.

Not only am I a golf geek – guilty of attacking my own golf clubs with mini-grinders so the grooves are groovier – but I’ve attempted to realign silly little things like lie and loft.

Julian Wilson is a professional surfer on the World Surf League tour and plays off a nine handicap in his spare time.
Julian Wilson is a professional surfer on the World Surf League tour and plays off a nine handicap in his spare time.

In epically bad news for Julian, I make my own surfboards at home – seriously. My son and I have been making boards for a while now – his are great, mine are crap. But I hold tight to the theory that if my board’s vaguely symmetrical and buoyant, it’ll work well enough for a kook like me. So I did my research on Julian.  He’s a 9-marker, swings hard from a slightly seated position and entertains the attainable dream of being a scratch-marker. Everyone says he’s a good bloke. He’s chummy with Adam Scott and Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater and that’s pretty close to my dream four-ball!

The pro surfers even have a golf comp over six rounds at the end of the year in Hawaii.

So we played. I tried to be cool in that hip, laidback, surfie way. But after six holes, I couldn’t help myself. I pulled out my phone and showed him photos of our homemade boards. He was into Felix’s. He said one of mine was kind of cool, but mainly because it reminded him of a Paddle Pop.

When Andrew Daddo isn't playing golf, he's carving surfboards with son, Felix.

He was backing away from me – it was his shot, and all. But I’ve seen that kind of retreat before – in a disco far, far away. It’s possible this was worse than spewing lyrics at Clapton, and still makes me shudder.  Embarrassingly, and without any thought, I said to him, and I still can’t believe it because it’s so utterly stupid and mind-numbingly arrogant, I gave him advice. Not golf advice; not something simple like, “Watch out for the water right.”

“You mean the Pacific Ocean?” he would have said.

“Ah, yeah. That water.”

I gave him surfing advice. If you’ve seen me surf, you’d know I’m only good in my head. So the fact my mouth uttered the words, “You know, if you spent a bit more time doing tricks with your board in the wave instead of off it, you might be able to score more points and have a better chance at the world title” is stupendously moronic. 

Like, I’m in therapy over it – that’s how bad it is.

If Julian heard, he didn’t say anything. He did smile before he hit his shot, which he flushed.

And then, as I lined up my own, I’m almost certain I heard him say, “You should try Jeffreys Bay.” I looked up, and he was looking at me, and grinning. I said, “Huh?”

And he’s like, “Huh?”

“Did you say something?’

“Nup,” he said.  “Just that this is a good day.”

“Nothing about J-Bay?” I asked. He shook his head. Maybe he didn’t hear me after all.