So, just back from a rad trip to Norway. The light is so good when the sun shines it's easy to take beautiful photographs, it's a shame that all my film cameras are too bulky to fit in a pocket. Thats my excuse for posting digital shots anyway, that and avoiding frostbitten fingers messing around with fiddly camera buttons!
6'10 of californian goodness and boy am i excited!
I was hoping to have an initial ride report to post with the pics but it made it to devon just before i went to the mountains and the swell hasnt really co-operated yet, maybe today is the day?
It's a lovely board though, the glassing is flawless and the shape is really refined. It might be a midlength "egg" but it's about as far from a mini-mal or beginner board as you could get. It's going to be smooth!
Surfing is inevitably a stop/start endeavour over the cold months, bursts of consecutive panicking to get in the water while tide, swell and wind align followed by lengthy spells of wistfully watching videos and ignoring facbook posts from friends in warmer climes.
I've been riding inbetween, enjoying the hard excercise and the solitude and the beauty of my local surroundings. This cx bike (a charge filter if you're interested) was built up for next to nothing from ebay and scrounging and yet it's logged more mileage than anything else recently. It's comfortable and fast on our devon lanes and the added frisson of danger riding it off-road compared to a mountain bike makes it fun to link big loops of mixed terrain. I suppose in a way it's similar to riding a heavy single fin, taking something thats flawed in some ways and celebrating it's impracticalty, making it perform - overthinking again......basically its fun! ( apart from riding it home in the dark by light of my iphone when my batteries failed!)
Amazing what you can find just around the corner if you keep your eyes peeled. This beautiful old stone bridge is hidden a couple of valleys over from my house at the bottom of a forest track. The late december light was beautiful and the frost was hard enough to solidify the mud. The only sound was my breathing condensing in the cold air and the babbling of the stream.
Turns out i've been snowboarding for over 20 years! Twenty Years, which is kinda scary when you think about it. It doesnt seem that long in some ways, i can still remember the nervous thrill of sideslipping down Gloucester dry ski slope in rented ski boots set at some ridiculous angle, still remember cautiously linking turns on snow for the first time in Tamworth snowdome, just after it opened, still remember spending far too long on a national express coach up to aviemore sat next to a real life Rab C Nesbitt, it seems like yesterday in some ways. Yet in others it doesnt, snowboarding has changed so much, the kit is SO advanced compared to 1993/94, it's an olympic sport with national teams and icons, not the slightly disreputable brethren of skateboarding feared by ski resorts the world over that it once was. It's gone from fringe counterculture cool to massive boom mainstream popularity, from anti establishment to accepted. The thought of beng gently ridiculed by fellow package tour skiers as a "gay on a tray" now seems ludicrous.
If this all seems a little nostalgic, it's been brought on mostly by Lib-Tech launching a little mini-site here celebrating 20 years of sponsoring Jamie Lynn. Jamie was one of the first rock stars of snowboarding and after Craig Kelly was perhaps one of the most influential. His smooth but raw skate influenced style was adored and emulated the world over. His method air (see pic above) is still held to be the definition of the perfect example. I'm not ashamed to admit, i'd still kill to be able to style one out like that. My first decent snowboard was jamies "blue man" pro model from 96 and i've always loved lib's boards since. If you've been snowboarding as long as i have, you'll be nodding your head by now and heading for google to watch some old video clips from TB2 or the garden. If you're a more recent rider, this probably wont mean much and its hard to retrospectively explain how small snowboarding was back then.
This (volcom's the garden) perhaps sums up snowboarding in 1994 and is vintage jamie.......
There have been waves, HOORAY!!! It's cold although down here we have escaped the snow mostly. Hope you managed to sneak away from responsibility and snag a few!
Exmoor has some and there was a smattering up in the Quantocks where the picture was taken. This is from just before the swell came on a beautiful morning. If you ride a mountain bike and you havent been up there i can really reccomend it. Hard climbs but really sweet swooping singletrack descents that arent too technical and cope with wet weather well. Pretty much my favorite place to ride.
Obviously I'm normally not a fan of endless POV go-pro video but if it features me (in blue) then it's ok! :-) Filmed and edited by Noel. Cheers!
We are heading back to Norway soon, another dose of sideways sliding, cold weather and probably a few measures of cold spirits too! It's a beautiful country in summer as well as winter. Our friends Jim and Kath fell in love with it years ago and have just bought a slightly derelict old farmhouse over there. It's currently completey off the grid but the area around it is stunning. It's most definately a project but when it's done it will be stunning. If you've got five minutes to kill, check the story of their adventure so far here.. If you've got skills to barter for a chance to explore the area with them in the summer, get in touch with them.
So the keen amongst you might have noticed me posting a picture of Miles Hunt's new Wonder Stuff diaries book a few weeks ago. I've finally had the chance to work my way through it and it is , as i suspected it would be, ace!
Growing up near Stourbridge in the late 80's and early 90's, the Stuffies, PWEI and Neds were pretty much local bands (along with the much underated Fretblanket ) and collecting as much as possible of their vinyl output and t shirts consumed much of my teenage years. Although i'm aware of much of their story through my obsessive reading of the music press at the time, Mile's Diaries present an amazing insight into the early years of the band from the inside. It's joyous, sad, self -critical and riveting at times, told in a conversational style that makes you feel like you're listening to stories in one of Hunt's beloved shropshire real ale pubs.
If you had any interest in the stuffies prior to Size of a cow and Dizzy it's a must read! Roll on the next installment.
I'm not one of those people that gets excited about winter surfing. It's difficult for me to love heavy water, big swells and the cold. Give me warm sunny point waves any day. Thats not to say that i dont enjoy it, theres little nuggets of pure stoke amongst the grind of the the cold and grey. One of the best things is the light of winter sunshine and the burn of a crisp day's sunset over the western horizon.
This iphone pic was snapped in the last rays of light with barely there fingers fumbling to catch the moment before wrestling out of my suit in a dark car park reliving the stoke of fun min-simmons waves.