Imagine a regular day in a board/surf shop – gently guiding deluded beginners away from the high-performance rack, putting on countless deck-pads, hard-selling soft boards, and soft-selling hard boards, and indulging those regulars who just want to talk-up their morning head-dip, fondle every board, and walk out with nothing but a cake of wax. Just another day waltzing the aisles of the gleaming new shapes and killing time between customers. Then suddenly, the hum-drum of the day’s proceedings is broken by the arrival of Sacha Baron Cohen – aka Borat, Ali-G, Bruno – and his actress wife Isla Fisher.         

Cohen and Fisher, who have moved to Sydney’s eastern suburbs, recently made a cameo at Bondi institution Surf Culture. Owner and Proprietor of Surf Culture, known to all as ‘Froggy’, admits he was floored when Cohen and Fisher walked through the doors, but the famously smooth store operator played it cool. “I never let on,” he insists.

Things got pretty interesting when Cohen decided he wanted a pair of new boardies and couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw in the kind of joke that makes retail workers squirm. He was like ‘Have you got something to cover my package?’” recalls Froggy, who couldn’t stifle the laughter as Cohen switched to Borat mode. In a rather hilarious scenario, Froggy then found himself wrapping the boardshorts around Cohen’s neck as a way of determining if they were the right fit. The old school method of quickly sizing-up a customer soon had both Cohen and the shop’s staff cracking up.

“He was a really good bloke,” insists Froggy “ and definitely the funniest guy I’ve had in the store.”      

Meanwhile, Fisher, eager to add her own dramatic contribution to the shop double act presented her husband with a pair of shimmering Speedos and sarcastically suggested it was what real Australian men wear. Cohen dismissed his wife’s sluggoes suggestion, but did make earnest inquiries about buying a Stand Up Paddle Board to keep fit. Froggy tactfully suggested hiring one in the harbour was probably his best option.            

If Cohen does get the urge to don the lime green mankini and take Borat for a surf at Bondi, he won’t be the first surfer in the suit. A few years ago riding waves in the Borat mankini became a popular prank for pro surfers looking to break the monotony of getting barrelled on boat trips.

It certainly would be interesting to see Cohen develop a surfing character or unleash Borat on the surfing world, mocking every little idiosyncrasy of a subculture that seems ripe for a send-up. Perhaps ‘Borat gets barrelled’ followed by the sequel ‘Borat goes Big’. Imagine how much fun he would have with all that jargon. Just picture Borat talking to a surfer who says something like, “It’s off its tits out there. My last wave blew-out all over me.”

Yes, Cohen’s skewering comedic approach may make surfers feel a little uncomfortable at first, but you know what they say. If you can’t laugh at yourself you might miss out on the best joke in the world.


Cohen at Bondi back in 2007