Tuesday, 29 May 2012

changing man

you know that can't get into your suit quick enough feeling?


Friday, 25 May 2012

quiver in transit...

Every option covered! Lovely bespoke Oddsocks board bags too!

So FINALLY a little bit of swell to write home about, the sun has been shining and the water has warmed up a little. The new Nineplus 3/2 retro full suit has been keeping me toasty, if only i could say my arms have been performing as well! It's depressing how quickly you lose paddle fitness, well i do anyway!

This time last year i was surfing Rincon and i can't help wishing we had booked flights this year too. Subscribing to the coastal push is not helping. The bank manager is happier but i miss surfing right hand pointbreaks! Next year hopefully.........

On the subject of subscriptions, i've recently had the first couple of issues of Foam Symmetry magazine. It's an Australian mag with Justin Bevan and Dane Peterson at the helm so you know it's going to be visually beautiful. It's high on content, low on advertising with creative use of design and paper stock, much closer to surfers journal than surfer but with more edge. I'd probably describe it as a paper distillation of the exciting stuff that's happeneing on the innumerable blogs out there. It's well worth a look if you get the chance. There's a cool article on the UK hip wigglers by Russ Pierre in issue two.

It may just be me, but whenever i've been out of the water for more than a couple of weeks, i'm always thankful i can still remember how to surf. I guess it's like riding a bike but it's always nice to get that first wave out of the way and know you can still make stuff happen. I've definately been feeling rusty this week though, bogging rails at stupid moments, making the wrong split second timing decisions.

Still it's been hella fun and thats the whole point when you think about it! Long may it continue.....

Monday, 21 May 2012


Two different branches of the simmons design tree with the same basic ideas within them but a different application.

It's interesting how influential Richard Kenvin and his championing of Simmon's ideas has been over the last few years in terms of board design outside the thruster realm. Although you could argue that the recent trend to shorter wider thrusters has some roots here also!

Before Kenvin's original simmons replicas no one was really using the concepts Simmons came up with all those years ago, with the possible exception of the hull crews and whilst related, they are very much a different type of craft. Since then, more and more shapers are offering some kind of take on the concept.

Take these two, both definately directly inspired by Kenvin but neither direct copies of the original "casper"

On the left is a 5'2 Tyler Warren Bar of Soap. The shape originally came from Tyler making a small version of the original "casper" mini-simmons for the daughter of his father's friend. It came out so well, he kept the first and made her another! Hands down the favorite board i've owned to date. It has the chracteristic short wide mini sim style but with the wide point pulled aft of center, snub nosed with a wide tail block. It's stringerless with two very wide based keels which owe more to a conventional keel fish than the half moon simmons style. The bottom contours are the classic simmons bellied entry into flat but through the fins theres vee and deep double concave (spiral vee if i remember correctly!) The rails are soft in the front third but pretty hard through the fins and pretty thinned out.  In the water it's fast and lively, very responsive, probably best described as a fish with afterburners. I've overtaken people who've dropped in on me on this one on more than one occasion. Although it's still a lateral style board it's looser off the top and goes more vertical more easily than the other mini sims i've ridden.

On the right is a 5'6 Jeff McCallum Mford. Named after Jeff's tattooist mate Milford Barnes, he asked Jeff to make a board that felt like floating on a cloud (allegedy - it's unclear how many ales had been consumed at this point!) Jeff is credited with making the second ever mini simmons and is part of the same san diego surf scene that spawned kenvin. This board takes the bottom contour and the rails of the simmons but marries it to a template based on Greenough's velo kneeboards with a widepoint forward and a narrower tail block. The fins are quad half moon keels and the deck is concave. The rails are softer and rounder than the soap but still follow the same high to low shape. Bottom shape is still bellied entry but very quickly goes flat for most of the board with a medium single concave through the fins. In the water it's more idiosyncratic to surf, smoother and more flowing through the water, more lateral, more hull notes in there. It's wider and a bit flatter and goes better (brilliantly) in junk waves.

There are lots more variations on these ideas out there. Mccallum himself makes at least two other shapes based on the simmons idea, Royal makes his Simzers, Baugess makes copies of the original casper and bing, zamora and christenson all have versions. Unfortunately hardly anyone over here has jumped on board although dale walker and Tim Mason have been making some, steve croft at empire has his lumus model (a bonzerised quad version) and Nineplus have one in their new Hasu range thats out soon . It's only a matter of time before more shapers do, they are superbly suited to our regularly average waves and a whole heap of fun!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

factory effluent

Just around the corner from the american road (so named as it's a remnant of WW2 military excercises) i sits this sign. It reads "Factory Effluent" and sat in the middle of a lush green vista, it's incongruity with it's surroundings made me pause for thought.

The shot, sadly, is a typical holga near miss, in my minds eye, the sign was a lot more legible! It's certainly not my best photo but if this truly rubbish run of "summer" conditions continues i am actually going to run out of photo's to post!

 It's on the way back from a short mountain bike loop that BGA took me on. I'm sure he took some sort of satisfaction form watching me hyper ventilate up the hills but the rush of bumpy downhill single-track is worth it and a new pleasure i've been introduced to recently.

Meanwhile the ocean went from flat to howling onshore mess and as i type looks like it's heading back to flat again, while i heroically fought some kind of stomach bug from under the duvet. I hate being ill - i'm really bad at sitting still!

 I did watch Steve Cleveland's new movie "Paradigm Shift" which runs along similar lines to his previous films. It's got some great surfing in it and some clever editing. Jai Lee and Dane Peterson probably have the best parts but Knost, Warren and all the other usual suspects are all present and ripping.

It didn't totally blow me away although that might be because i've hardly surfed at all myself recently and my stoke is at a low ebb. I think maybe watching it made me sad i'm not about to hop on a plane to california this year rather than get me excited about going surfing later as it usually would, which isn't Steve Clevelands fault!
 It might also be because the progression in logging seems to have slowed a little - there's no new noseriding trick that i hadn't seen before, nothing really made me stop and rewind. The level of noseriding is now so high it's inevitable it will plateau a bit before the next climb.
I certainly can't put my finger on anything that's wrong with the film, so ignore me and buy it, you'll love it and i'm sure i will once the flat spell is over!

Jack Coleman's "Polyester" is worth a watch too especially if you're an Alex Knost fan. Be warned it is SUPER arty, all scratched painty super 8, weird angles and a velvet underground type soundtrack. It's reminiscent of early Volcom films and definately in the "art piece" category but a good diversion for half an hour and i really like it.

 There's (pleeeeeeese!!!) a small chance of a loggable wave at this end of the week. If there's anything at all in the way of tiny clean waves i'm breaking the sup or a belly board out, i NEED some kind of sideways sliding action and at this stage i'm really not being choosy!

Monday, 14 May 2012

checkpoint charlie

Massive congratulations to Tim and Louise who got married on Saturday. Hope you enjoyed your day as much as everyone else did!
Probably a good thing that Mr Heyland only got to dress you for your stag, not the actual day eh?!;-)

In other news, Gulfstream just sent their first epoxy prototype shortboard to morrocco with Nigel Cross who's loving it apparently. Stay tuned for their upcoming epoxy high performance thruster range. Jools is, as ever, fully stoked on making custom surfboards and has plans for a few new shapes to add to their range over the summer.

Meanwhile in California, plumber about town and lovable drunk Cotty was quite frankly robbed by the Billabong XXL commitee and missed out on taking the prize for biggest wave. He did get the satisfaction of having towed Garret McNamara into the portugese beast that won and some beer money as a result. Well done mate! Incidentally, if you don't read his blog it's well worth a click and a few minutes while the kettle boils!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

highs and lows.................

I mentioned before how interesting it was to see our coast through fresh eyes when i posted about my visiting californian friends a few weeks ago. As well as being slightly freaked out by driving in our narrow country lanes, they couldn't believe how big our tides were and were literally gobsmacked to realise that our biggest tides were pretty much ten times the size of theirs!

Most of our surf spots are tide dependent to some degree. Plenty don't even exist at certain tides, others vary in quality as the tide moves over the banks so having a handle on what the tide is doing can make the difference between scoring or not. Most tide clocks or watches are not really that accurate and most people will have one of the classic yellow tide books stuffed in a corner of the bookshelf or glovebox. A timeless classic perhaps but a bit boring which is why my friend Germi created "Highs and Lows" a slightly more surf-centric tide table.

At the moment it's only for the North Devon coast but next year there's going to be a cornish edition too. The tide times are clearly set out as you'd expect but it's bookended with nice pictures of our people, waves and coast. Useful and nice to look at!

So If you want to look like a local when you're checking the surf here, or just support a little homegrown cottage surf industry, keep your eye out for the highs and lows tide book in our local shops or get it online from www.eyeballhq.tv or www.citysurfessentials.com

Monday, 7 May 2012


Part of the roomy interior of the Nineplus shop in Braunton, snapped whie Rob made me a coffee.

It's the closest shop around at the moment  in vibe (except revolver maybe) to the californian shops like Thalia or Mollusc.

With some nice US made logs, Vans, Levi's, some vintage clothes and smooth skin wetsuits, it's worth sticking your head through the door on your way over to Gulfstream to check out their locally made beauties.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

in the estuary...

It's a boat.....who'd a thunk?!!

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Solvang is kind of a weird place. It's west of santa barbara and inland of the ranch and was founded by Danish settlers in the early twentieth century. Those settlers took their heritage VERY seriously and so the whole town has an "olde worlde" danish theme complete with faux old buildings and windmills! It's kind of like going to a bit of disney land but weirder since it's not actually part of a theme park and (i think) devoid of irony!

It's kind of fun all the same. If you happen to find yourself there, there's a bakery that makes, in the words of Mr Kipling' "exceedingly good cakes!"
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