Friday, 27 November 2009


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


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!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

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.
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