Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Thank you!


So as the year comes to a close, i want to say thanks to a few people.

A massive thanks to my great family for putting up with my various obsessions and the time i devote to them. There's no way to overplay how wonderful, cool and joy bringing you both are.
Thanks to Tim & Jamie for encouraging me to get this going, thanks to Rebecca & Chris & Jack Brull for the Holga help & inspiration, thanks to Angela and Tim at Drift for the opportunity to foist my opinions on a wider audience and thanks to all my friends in the line up who keep me surf stoked even in the depths of winter.

Finally thanks to all of you who check here from time to time, whoever and wherever you are!


Monday, 28 December 2009

Catch as catch can

I'm not a super gismo geek but i did get an iphone earlier this year. I just think it's such a great & useful bit of kit. Anyway, this pic was taken with it at valley of the rocks near lynmouth a few weeks ago after a particularly bracing windswept sunday afternoon walk.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

tis the season....

After a run of fun waves at the spots i have time to get too its back to flatness again. Maybe it was an early christmas pressie. Taking off on my first wave in nearly a month last week i was seriously relieved to find i could still actually surf! Amazing how much colder it seemed too, properly into winter rubber now with only the prospect of colder water to come for the next few months. At least the days get longer from now on!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

point concept

>Introducing my newest cyber friend. Ryan Lovelace is a young californian shaper who is lucky enough to have Rincon as one of his test tracks. Although he produces beautiful boards of all shapes and sizes, it's hulls and their variants that have him most excited at the moment. Check his blog out for pics of some beautifully bladed out hulls, some forward thinking new shapes (check the "gullet") and some great pics and videos of them in action.
It's easy to think that the major developments in the shaping of hulls all happened years ago but people like Ryan are taking Liddle's ideas and pushing them forward, helping to get a new generation of surfers stoked on them.
Long live the joys of forward trim, and believe me, it is a joy!

Top Pic is taken by the highly talented Morgan Maasen,
This one by Ryan:




Monday, 14 December 2009

silver lining

One of the few good things about shorter days is the chance to witness more lovely sunrises & sunsets. Another case of iphone & opportunity, just yards from my house

Saturday, 5 December 2009

long gone

The lifeguards are long gone now, in fact they haven't been at my local beach for years, a result of wranglings between the council and the beach owner. Each year the number of people they pull from the sea increases as more people venture into the surf in their supermarket wetsuits, more people make a weekend run to hit the surf (dude!) with little regard or experience of the power of the sea. It's a shame they only patrol in the summer, the beaches are increasingly full of clueless fools even during the winter when the swell is up and the water temp is dropping fast.
Yet you can't help some people and it sometimes makes me despair about the nature of many in our country. People wont swim between the flags, people shout abuse when you suggest they might want to avoid floating in an area thick with large hard fibreglass objects, some of which lets face it, are under questionable control. Worst of all i've witnessed a father screaming at a friend of mine for suggesting that he might want to stop his young son from swimming in a powerful rip.

OK rant over, ignore me, just look at the pretty picture!


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

pazza...........



Christiaan Bailey just posted this neat profile of James on the mycornwall.tv site.

Friday, 27 November 2009

hotdogs

The hotdoggers midway through another contest a couple of months ago. Probably the biggest longboard club in the country, multiple interclub champs and boasting members from all over the country. Club chairman Norm is a larger than life character who has run the club, with and without help since it's inception many years ago.

I still remember when i first started visiting here from bristol, watching the longboarders in a hotdoggers contest noseride, awestruck and sure such antics were beyond me. Although i'm not an active member now & i've never done one of their contests, being a part of the club was definately a big part of getting to know people here when i first moved & i'll always have a soft spot for them as a result.

As usually happens, on this day they were running the heats in 2ft onshore slop. Better than herding us all off the main peak when the surfs cooking though!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

there's something about Vans....

The Shoes i mean, not the utility vehicle!
Not many of the "big" name brands in freesports have managed to maintain their core following and avoid accusations of selling out to "the man" yet Vans shoes somehow have. Despite now being part of a multinational that owns North Face and several other household names, Vans has still managed to keep itself grounded and stay true to the sport that it's been involved in since the beginning. Vans are still seen as one of the shoes to have if you skate (no mean feat in the fickle world of skate fashion), still sponsor a team of ripping skaters, still put a huge amount into the sport at a grassroots level, building parks across America, still produce stylish, comfy, durable shoes.
Ironically they weren't originally conceived as a skateboard company, they were a small family business making shoes to order that saw an opportunity to get involved with skateboarding after requests from the Dogtown team (who were just on the cusp of blowing up worldwide) for a shoe built to their specs to skate in.
As the company moves into it's fifth decade they have released a cool coffee table book celebrating themselves. Put together by Doug Palladini it is part history of the brand, part biography of the skaters, surfers, musicians and others who have become synonymous with it over the years (think Steve Caballero, Tony Alva, Joel Tudor etc) and part eye candy, filled with great action photos and pictures of one obsessive's frankly huge collection of the shoes themselves. It's a well thought out volume, with some really interesting stories and facts within it's pages, some of which you'll know some will suprise you. Since it's been around for so long, the history of the product in a way also charts the history of Skateboarding and to a lesser extent elements of the history of surfing, BMX and snowboarding too, all of which adds to it's appeal. It's a stylish package with good quality pages and the cover is inlaid with a red rubber panel bearing the vans logo, just like each pair of off the wall shoes.
I've owned & worn out numerous pairs since i started skating years ago, in fact I rarely buy any other brand of trainer and I know there are thousands like me across the world. If you've ever bought a pair of Spiccoli-esque check slip-ons or slid your feet into a beaten up pair of SK8-hi's held together with shoe goo (remember that?) prior to hurling yourself off the local architecture, you're bound to enjoy this book and it's a good choice if you're looking for things to put on your letter to Santa!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

waxing up



One little pre surf ritual that unites us all, whatever and wherever you surf!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Monday, 16 November 2009

if6was9......

A few years ago Neil Randall started quietly making surfboards in Devon. Handcrafted fish & logs with an eye for detail and an appreciation of glide, glassed beautifully. if6was9 was born.
Fast forward a couple of years & Randall parlayed his cottage industry experience in the UK into a plum job shaping for respected Noosa longboard label Classic Malibu while wandering through Australia.
Randall now firmly has ex-pat status and along with fellow Devonian Jake Bowrey and a few other like minded souls, including Dane Peterson, has resurrected the frankly brilliant name if6was9 as a clothing label.
There are some great designs in their first offering and the tees should start filtering over the water and into select shops here next year.
Check out what's up here

Friday, 13 November 2009

happy faces

There's something special about the first day of a new swell. A palpable excitement in the air, the carpark filled with happy faces and anticipation. Often it means seeing people for the first time in a couple of weeks, especially in winter. The air is filled with the sounds of van doors closing, wax being rubbed onto boards and friendly banter as everyone gears up to hit the water, sure of fun waves in good company.
For me it's even more special if it's early on a crisp autumn morning like this day, a rare morning when the only people at the beach were the regulars and a few early risers walking their dogs.
Although we moan about the number of people in the water, in reality, i'm sure surfing in solitude the whole time would be pretty boring. I have no doubt that the interaction between the regular faces "sharing the stoke" to use a hackneyed phrase, and the sense of community that each beach has, really adds something to the surfing experience for me.
Our beach is long enough to get a good peak to yourself if you are prepared to hike far enough yet most of us rarely bother unless the crowd numbers are past ridiculous. Happy to sacrifice a few waves a session to others for the pleasure of shared experiences
In case you were wondering, chest high & reeling, keel fish & big smiles!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

a sense of balance

It's been with a certain sense of mild amusement that i've watched the gentrification of Watergate Bay over the last few years. It's gone from being a slightly overlooked end of Newquay to a kind of middle class yuppie enclave where the London set come to take the waters without having to be bothered by the great unwashed masses that clog up the town beaches. Where the farmers market is Jamie Oliver branded and the flats & holiday lets are well out of most peoples price range.
A lot of it is down to the forward thinking son of the family that owned the watergate bay hotel returning home from years in london with some clever ideas to turn the family business around and you have to have a certain amount of respect for his achievements.
Whether it's a good thing or not i can't comment, i don't spend enough time there but it certainly serves as an antidote to the chavtastic chaos that often prevails around Newquay proper.

On a side note, i realise it's completely pointless turning the camera sideways to take a pic when it's a square format exposure, but it was pretty early when i took the shot & the sleepy fuzz obviously hadn't quite cleared, now it spoils the shot for me a little.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Go Jools!

So not my pic but stolen in a good cause. (i think it's from wavedreamer but i'm not sure) Some of you will already have heard me bang on about the quality of Gulfstream's boards, well now it is official, shaper Jools Matthews was voted best fish shaper in the UK in Carve Magazine's shaper's poll. Votes were cast by 35 different UK shapers and by a couple of thousand people online.
So congrats to Jools, it's well deserved and anyone in the market for a new fish (or log or anything else) would do well to give him a call!

support your local shaper!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

another burner.....

I love taking pictures at sunset. This is from my digital hero3 wrist camera, a little fuzzy as it struggles with the nonexistent light but just an amazing sky. No "post production" on the shot either by the way. We live in a beautiful place, sometimes easy to forget amongst the hustle & bustle of the day to day.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The British Surfing Museum

This fine splitscreen panel van (it's a very tasteful maroon colour if you're wondering) belongs to Pete Robinson, relatively recently moved here from Brighton. Pete is the man behind the British Surfing Museum which has previously existed as a travelling exhibit but is now well on it's way to a permenant home in Braunton.

This is a GOOD THING!

I have a huge amount of respect for Pete and his efforts to preserve our surfing heritage and you should do too. For updates on how the project is progressing, or to offer him your time & support check here or search the museum out on facebook.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Friday, 23 October 2009

one day in woolacombe

I can guess what you are thinking....."nice wetsuit"
Well bright is coming back, or so we're told by the people who decide these things! Thats a shot of the very talented James Parry, at the north end of Woolacombe while filming for One Day

Richard Gregory aka wavedreamer has been working on his "One Day" concept for the last couple of years. It's finally taken the form of a series of short films, all shot over a twentyfour hour period at a single location, set to a soundtrack that was recorded in twenty four hours too. Not like he wants to put himself under any pressure then!
Intended to be a celebration of surfing in this country, the first film was shot on a lovely sunny day, a few of weeks ago and will be out on dvd this winter. We were blessed with a small clean swell and plenty of people made the effort to be there in front of the cameras. There was some great surfing going on & given Rich's perfectionism & eye for a good shot, i have no doubt the finished product will be a really great piece of surf cinema

Check the trailer below





I recently interviewed Rich for Drift and it should be up on their site a little closer to the release date so keep your eyes open for that.

Stay up to date with what's happening in one day world here
awesome water shot taken two thirds of the way through THE day courtesy of the legend that is Jamie Bott

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

yum yum.....

my wife's baking rocks!!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

moments before the green flash...

Another distinctly lomo style digital hero shot. Still unsure if it's possible to call a shot taken on a low quality digital camera "lo-fi" or whether the fact that it's a digital media to start with makes that a misnomer. Whatever, it sure was another fun sunset session.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

a certain ratio

It struck me today how little time i actually spend surfing. By that i mean, sure i spend large parts of my life thinking (obsessing if you ask my wife) about riding different waves or different boards. I spend hours checking online forecasts, webcams, swell models, wind models, tide times, discussion boards, blogs.

I put miles on the clock driving to beaches, sometimes at leisure, sometimes stressing to squeeze a quick shot of stoke into a boring work day. There's plenty of time spent shooting the breeze with fellow locals - who scored where, who's ripping, who's riding what. The minutes hurriedly shivering in and out of wetsuits or leisurely changing in the sun, depending on the season, mount up as the months pass by.

Sometimes it's a ten minute walk to the waters edge, sometimes a ten minute paddle out, dodging cold mountains of churning whitewater to finally make it out to the lineup. Then waiting, waiting for the set, waiting for your turn (honestly!) jockeying for position.
But if you think about how much time you spend actually stood up riding waves, it's not very long at all. It's almost a depressingly short length of time, if you think about it too much. There can't be many pastimes where that is the case. I mean the footballer spends ninety minutes playing a game and the swimmer doesn't just spend time floating in the deep end (though there are always ladies of a certain age cluttering up any pool for whom talking & floating seems to qualify as excercise!)
Yet perhaps that is part of the draw, the reason surfing grabs you and i by the very core of our being and wont let go. Forces us to plan, sacrifice, risk career and relationship for just one more fix, one more perfect wave, one more glimpse of the ecstasy.
I'm confident that not one of you reading this would say it wasn't worth it, that the stoke doesn't measure up to the commitment. Yet we all know people who don't get it, who would find it amusing that you might try and surf more than once a day, or even every day. Those for whom the joy of trim holds no attraction, have no interest in finding their limits and pushing them further.
We can stay smug in our secret, knowing we are part of the "us", feel sympathy for "them" for they are missing out.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Major

Tom Major, another one of the younger local crew with a penchant for longer equipment, now terrorising welsh line ups until christmas...

Monday, 5 October 2009

old toy, new toy

Current fave fishy, a lovely 5'8 Larry Mabile classic keel & the wheelbarrow my grandfather made me when i was five. Was supposed to be a tighter shot but caught out again by the holgas quirky viewfinder!

Friday, 2 October 2009

fizzers!

Happy faces after making the most of another Westerly day. Greg (on the right) is possibly one of the most surf stoked people i know & always down to surf no matter what the conditions.
He has a blog here

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Bottworld

Jamie Bott, master lensman, in front of the camera for a change. Check Jamies world here

Here's a little slideshow of Jamies pictures, shown at the cornwall film festival last year. This years festival starts on November 13th at Falmouth's Phoenix Cinema


Sunday, 27 September 2009

fusion...coming soon


Another taster for Fusion, a new british surf film, coming next year..

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Local Legend

Tim Heyland, part owner of Tiki & one of the pioneers of the UK surf industry. Still absolutely rips especially on a longboard.

Monday, 21 September 2009

question....

Important social comment on the plight of Hawaii's indigenous peoples in the modern age or too much time on my hands on a sunny day?

or possibly how pretentious am I? You decide

Thursday, 17 September 2009

sunset sessions

I'm not a big fan of winter (unless i'm in the mountains) so it's always with a certain amount of sadness that i watch summer end, the nights draw in and after work surfs finish for another few months. Something about facing up to the inevitability of having to don even more rubber in chilly car parks to get a few waves for the next 8 months brings with it a sense of melancholy.
However, autumn is a great time of year for clean swells and the last few days of sun. Some of my favorite ever surfs have been trading small waves & smiles with friends, watching the sun go down, catching a wave in by feel alone & stumbling up the beach in the dark. I've been lucky enough to have a couple of sessions like this recently, reminders of years gone past when the crowds were fewer and you knew every face in the water. Fun times.........

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

microstoke....

slightly self indulgent but i am stoked/ very proud of my daughter who stood up on her first wave sunday, not bad for 4 3/4 years old. Wish i could have started that young!
video

Thursday, 10 September 2009

the accomplished mr mason..

Just published on Drift, a little interview with a lovely chap & a great shaper, Tim Mason.
check it out here

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

WOW!


So a little update on my continuing hull experiences. As i type we've been a little starved for decent waves (though hopefully that will change this week) but there have been odd little semi clean sessions. I've been surfing the hull a fair amount and had what can only be described as a pretty shocking wave on it on my last outing. Paddled into a chest high right which stood up as it hit the inside bank. I dropped down the face with a fair bit of speed as the wave prepared to section a good fifteen feet ahead, i crouched, banked over on my inside rail and a split second later i was past the section, trimming in a high line at what felt like mach ten. Felt like a true glimpse of the speed hulls are known for. In fact someone dropped in on me, past the section (i'm hoping because he assumed i wouldn't make it round, not just because he was a kook!) I had so much speed i actually overtook him on my next bottom turn before kicking out as the wave prepared to close out.
I paddled back out hooting myself and sat for a good few seconds slightly bemused by what just happened. As i've said before, they aren't for everyone, they are quirky to ride and probably more about the individual experience than impressing passers by with your radness, but they sure are fun and i don't think i've experienced as much speed with as little effort on a wave that size before!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

ex world champ

As a "p.s." to the skelton post, he really is ex world bellyboard champ, for this session selecting his mothers favorite board, painted with a pregnant seahorse in honour of skelly's birth.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

one more


There's an old bumper sticker, seen around california a few years ago: "One Fin, One God, One Country"

While I'm not in any way a religious man in the normal sense of the word, I am perhaps something of a zealot when it comes to my choice of logging equipment. I know there are sound performance reasons for choosing a 3 fin board but I've never found they work for me, their more drawn out turns don't fit naturally with how I want to surf, and as for bigger waves, in the words of Tmoe Campbell, "logging is a strictly under head high trip." (Don't even get me started on progressive longboarding!)

Thinking about this the other day lead me to an interesting question: Does your choice of equipment end up defining how you surf or do you end up choosing equipment that fits your natural style? It's probably a chicken and egg question but by way of illustration...

I spent a couple of hours surfing a friend's Junod Two-tone noserider the other day. It's a very "pig influenced shape" with lots of roll, wide hips and a narrow nose. Very much a pocket noserider and a beautiful board. I tend to surf with a fairly smooth (in my own mind) traditional style but with this particular steed, the more outrageous body english I attempted, the more it seemed to respond. Fixing in my minds eye a vision of Alex Knost style theatrics, I proceeded to have an absolute blast. Suddenly I could see where his style had it's roots and I'm sure that years of getting the most out of such a shape may have helped to define his approach. Jared Mell surfs similar boards and clearly has similar elements to his style too. Musing further, it's also clear that your local waves will have a massive influence both on style and choice of equipment. Piggy logs, for example, love clean steep waves but don't noseride especially well in the mushy windswell waves we deal with so frequently.

Not a conclusive answer or a scientific approach at all but something that made me think.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Richie Lovett

Richie Lovett chilling after his interview for Drift. Super friendly guy with an amazing life story so far.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Walden talks magic (& other stuff!)

Drift feature part two, Steve Walden talks board design, mass surfboard production and the state of Professional Longboarding. Look here

Awesome photos from Jamie Bott.
Thanks to Tim H & Tiki and Global Surf Industries (esp. Dan!)




Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Design for life

The first fruits of my interviews for drift are now up. Some interesting comments from Bob Mctavish (who was an absolute legend and a pleasure to meet) on quads, shaping and other things. All backed up by some awesome photos from Jamie Bott.

Check the interview here

Thanks to Tim H & Tiki and Global Surf Industries (esp. Dan!)

Saturday, 22 August 2009

hand crafted goodness

Ironically positioned opposite the aforementioned Tiki shop is Gulfstream surfboards, a true old fashioned surfboard manufacturer where every board is 100% handshaped and finished locally and can be tailored to your exact needs at no extra cost. Over the last five years they have broadened from a focus mainly on shortboards (some of the best around) into an outfit that produce some of the best riding & finished traditional logs in the country, some superb two & four fin fish and plenty of other stuff, all tinted & glassed to californian standards. I know this will come off sounding like an advert for them but the boards speak for themselves, Jools, Skelly, Ellis & co are super nice people, great surfers and they are an example of how good true homegrown board building can be. Companies like Gulfstream are an important part of surfing & deserve your support.
Support your local shaper!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

caught inside


Clearing out an old bookcase the other day, i came across "Caught Inside" by Daniel Duane and was reminded quite how important a book it was to me at the start of my surfing obsession. I came to surfing pretty late after a mispent youth obsessed with skateboarding and snowboarding. Surfing had always appealed to me but living over 2 hours from the ocean and not being a strong swimmer it always seemed an unobtainable pursuit. Around the time that caught inside was published i found myself with a job, a car and time to make it to the beach. Funny to think how those first few forays into the whitewater came to define my life thereafter so much.
The book itself chronicles Duane's year after moving from Berekely to Santa Cruz to learn to surf. Once there he immerses himself in surfing, it's history and begins to meet some new friends, real surfers not those chasing sponsorsip. Much about the book appealed to me, the descriptions of isolated NorCal beaches somehow sounding similar to our rugged coast, the agony and ecstasy of the learning curve, the way that surfing finds it's way into your soul and the sense of community found between everyday surfers sharing waves.
I loved every page and have read it several times since. For me it described something i wanted to be part of, ultimately something i've since felt i had been searching for all along and it definately influenced me into prioritising moving to the coast.
I guess many of you will have read it already as it's ten years old, but if you haven't, treat yourself to a cheap purchase from amazon and feel inspired.

Monday, 17 August 2009

climbing rocks





Super big thanks to my friend Mike who took me climbing on Baggy Point last week, such a pleasant way to spend a sunny evening with no surf. Definately found some new muscles too.

Pics are a 35mm film through the holga, nearly tore my hair out trying to get the negs scanned. As usual the solution was simple & nearly blindingly obvious once i found it!

Friday, 14 August 2009

anyone remember summer?

Maybe it's my rose tinted specs but i'm sure a few years ago summer was filled with balmy light evenings, the beaches graced with small clean logging waves and the world's cares were far from the minds of the locals as we traded waves & smiles. I'm probably just getting old but the last few summers seem to have been woefully lacking in perfect summer swells, the crowds seem bigger. I started this summer full of optimism as usual and May didn't really disappoint but July and August have seemed like midwinter in parts. I remember a few sessions at P-land battling horizontal rain which made the beach look more like January. Already there's a nip in the air in the mornings and the light is fading faster in the evenings. Our best hope is for another good september filled with light winds and deep lows pitched in the mid atlantic. There's always hope...
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