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.
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.
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.
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...
a classic witzig image of a hugely influential surfer.
Tiki, your friendly local importer of Global Surf Industries boards are organizing a promotional tour from 17th - 20th August featuring Bob Mctavish, Steve Walden, Greg Webber and Richie Lovett. They have a number of things planned including a couple of chances to meet the guys & a Q&A session in croyde village hall. There's a lottery to get tickets, if you want to sign up for the chance to go visit here
I've been lucky enough to get the chance to do some short interviews with them for Drift. I must admit I'm pretty excited about meeting Mctavish seeing as he is one of the most influential surfer/shapers in the history of surfing. So if any one has any burning questions they want answering post them in comments, I'll consider anything sensible.
As we get older i think most people start to look back at their life and it's path. It's natural to start to analyse the journey (and possibly disappear up your own rear end, so top me if i am!). With time comes perspective and it's amazing to see how major directions in your life can hinge on small , seemingly innocuous events.
In my case, my friends younger brother getting a "Pacer Road Hog" skateboard for his birthday started a path that has led directly to my current situation some twenty years later
I had a pretty comfortable middle class upbringing with great, supportive, loving parents who sacrificed much to send m
e to a private school in the nearest city. I was never especially good at the normal school sports but enjoyed being active. A happy but somewhat protected existence.
Enter the Road hog, my own Variflex and my first copy of RAD magazine. I can still picture it, Ken Park eggplanting on the cover, Hosoi advertising aquamarine Chuck Taylors inside and pictures of people grinding things, ollieing off things and how to "Hail Mary" inside (full marks if you 1. know what that is and 2. can still do them!)
It was a whole new
exciting world that my school friends knew nothing
about and frankly looked down upon when they did. Ultimately my taste in clothes, music, culture and people were based on my skating experiences. All of a sudden i was meeting kids from all sorts of backgrounds as well as some older ne'er do wells i would never have met otherwise. It gave me self confidence and a sense of place and i am sure that i am a more well rounded and grounded person as a result. Full credit again to my parents for supporting me in my obsession and letting me find my own way.
From there I can trace a direct line through snowboarding obsession, back to skateboarding, to the friend that convinced me to give surfing a proper go, to sacrificing big bucks in my career in favor of living by the sea with an older car. What's more, I couldn't be happier. I have an amazing family, some very close friends and a focus on fun in my life. Not everyone can boast that.
Makes you wonder if it would all have been the same if Rob had wanted a Scalextric that year!
So i've had my hull out a few times over the last few weeks, although i'm still waiting for that classic lined up summer swell where saunton does it's best right hand point impression. So far it's been super fun, such a smooth feeling in trim and so fast once you set a high line. BGA likened it to riding a bar of soap. It's pretty difficult to cutback, they need to be nursed a little but i am loving the full rail hull bottom turn, so smooth with such projection. It's not a board that will allow you to impress bystanders with your radical turns but it's all about feel & i am beginning to get a little addicted...