HOME And Away's teen idol Dieter Brummer made a startling admission
halfway through his bacon and avocado foccacia.
He can't surf.
Yes, even after two years on Channel 7's sun, sand and surf soap, he has
not yet mastered the art of mounting a board - let alone hanging ten.
"I'm determined to learn how to surf this summer," he said.
"It's a bit embarrassing. I don't even have a board. I'm trying to tee one
up somehow. I should do an in-store promotion for a board company."
He leaned close to the tape recorder and added: "If anyone's interested,
they can give my agent a bell."
The down-to-earth 18-year-old laughed, admiring the stunning blue vista
from the big picture window of Bally's Cafe By The Beach in Balmoral, a flat
water beach favoured by windsurfers, snorklers and sun worshippers.
A native of Sydney's western suburbs, where he still lives with his
family, his chances of hitting the surf with any regularity were fairly slim
until he joined Home And Away, which is filmed at Palm Beach.
He is looking forward to a holiday from the soap which transformed him
from an average high school student with boy-next-door looks to international
"I feel really tired at the moment," he said, stifling a yawn.
"This sort of work really wears you out, not physically but mentally
because there are so many new scripts to learn each week.
"We work really long hours on the set and after I finish work the last
thing I want to do is go home and learn more lines.
He suddenly looked conspiratorial: "Now I study my lines in the morning
just before I go to work, between scenes and in the car at red lights.
"I try to do other things unrelated to work like go to the gym, play
squash and see my girlfriend just to try to keep myself sane. Otherwise work
just becomes all-consuming."
Remarkably unaffected for someone thrust in the spotlight at such a young
age - he was barely 16 when he joined Home And Away - he groaned with
embarrassment when asked about his effect on teenage girls.
"My pigeon hole is always chock-a-block with fan mail from girls which is
good because it means they're watching the show," he said.
Melissa George, who plays Dieter's on-screen bride-to-be, Angel, receives
an equal amount of fan mail - from girls wanting to know what it's like to kiss
Dieter's appeal does not go unnoticed among diners at Bally's, an airy
cafe where dressing down is perfectly acceptable. A number of women, and men,
peer over their lunches to get a closer look.
Fortunately Dieter's off-screen girlfriend, who is not involved with the
acting industry, is very tolerant.
"My girlfriend's cool. She's real good about it. Obviously she knows it's
all acting, it's all fake and it's just work," he said.
It sounds as if she'll have to live with it for a while.
Right now, learning how to surf is the top priority.