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Showing posts from March, 2014

Still Stoked

Recently I have come to accept that I am not as young as I was and when I stop to think about it, I am very comfortable with that.

I am describing this break through moment in the context of surfing, but I suppose I can also apply the experience to other aspects of my life too.  For an awful long time I was completely at odds with the world of modern surfing.  I felt that it went against pretty much everything that I held dear and associated with the surf lifestyle, the commercialism, the involvement of big corporate business and the 'look at me' generation Y traits as displayed by many of the top pros, as well as by the local guys from the beaches where I surf became tiresome.  In short, I came to dislike the whole scene.  I know that at the age of 41 I am not supposed to fit into the same age bracket as the younger generation, but I had never considered that the age gap would become as apparent as it did.  After all, we are all surfers and age is just a concept, and I certain…

Given to Fly.

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For many years mainstream surfing has become focussed with what goes on above the lip, rather than on the wave itself.Whether looking through a magazine, or surfing locally, the surfing, or should I say the younger surfing crowd have gone crazy for the aerial, or air as it is now better known as.

Now, let me first say that I am not against aerials, not at all, in fact in the late 80’s, during the Wave Warriors era when Matt Archbald and Christian Fletcher were pioneering them, I genuinely thrilled by the new school surfing that they represented.Things went a little quite on this front after the initial flurry of interest, partly because in a competitive sense they were still frowned upon and scored accordingly, and in the local context, it was that they were just so darned hard to do!

Rusty surfboards did a movie called 'Just Surfing', which I saw when it came out in '91.  This featured a free surfing section with a blistering sound track provided by the Smashing Pumpkins a…

Driving Nostalgia

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I have a real fascination with all objects that are old, this applies to most things, for I am not that bothered by the advance of technology, or the notion of modernity.I prefer the aesthetic qualities of items that have been designed with flair, built well and engineered to last.This is in stark contrast with the items of today, for these are intended to have limited appeal, and are built in a manner that is flimsy at best.  So as to fuel the consumer driven economy, rather than to remain in use for any real length of time.

I know that much of my view is based on nostalgia, but I am absolutely certain that things were just held with more value, back when the life cycle of products was longer.This theory can be applied to most things, but here I am talking about cars specifically.
There have been very few cars that have been designed in a manner that I would describe as being anywhere close to iconic, not for many years.Yes there has been the New Beetle, the Mini and more recently the …

Everyday Classics

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I have a long standing love of old cars, these tend to be German and Swedish in origin, and are models that were produced in the 70's and 80's.  This is my main focus, but I also have a veering towards French, Italian and some Japanease models from the same era, as well as American models from as far back as the 40's. In short, I am in to older cars.

With the exception of the Porsche 911, which in my opinion is a true design icon, I am not a massive fan of sports cars or high end marques that reek of yuppiedom.  My favourites tend to be everyday cars that were once common place, with the emphasis on small hatchbacks, and the Mark one Golf being my all time number one choice.

It has been a long standing wish of mine to own a truly original, box fresh example of a latter day classic of my own.  But while I have got as far as to look at a couple of affordable ones that I have come across, something always puts me off, so to date I have never fulfilled my wish, not yet at least.…

Mountains of Inspiration

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Last Friday I attended the Banff Film Festival when the UK tour came to town, and for the second year I was truly inspired by the films that I saw.The selection of films was on a par with those that were shown last year.And again I came away in total awe of this group of people who are not only masters of their chosen pursuit; they choose to live their lives in a way that enables them to focus 100% on doing what they love.

This really struck a chord with me and reminded me to not lose sight of the lifestyle that I am looking to attain.I have nothing but admiration for anyone who chooses a different path in the pursuit of a fulfilling life; I know that doing so takes an incredible amount of commitment.The people as featured in the films of the night clearly have the characteristics and self-belief to follow their dreams of doing what they love, without letting life’s obstacles get in the way, which I find so encouraging.Furthermore the evening of films provided an antidote to the disill…

The Wonder Years: Part One.

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While many would look at the trends and fashions of the nineteen eighties with a sneer, dismissing it as the decade that taste forgot, I would say that such derogatory terms are unfounded.  That is, if you happen to have discovered surfing and skateboarding at this time, as I did.

The prevailing cultural references from the decade are those that which reflect the mainstream popular culture of the time. Yes they existed, but they do not define the era for me.  I began surfing in the Summer of 1986, and I would say that this coincided nicely with the emergence of the modern surf and skate industries.  A time when many of the brands that I know and love today really came into their own.  Yes, it is true that the very same industries can be regarded as being responsible for selling out both of these cultures to the masses, this was the beginning of that.  But to an impressionable 14 year old, the fact that the brands that were held in such high regard were so readily available was by no me…

A taste of Summer.

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Last week I wrote about how much I have grown to dislike surfing in the cold months of Winter.  Well, it seemed that no sooner had I hit publish, the weather shifted, in that the sun came out, and dare I say it, the first signs of Spring emerged.  Someone on a much higher plain must have taken pity on me!

This changes everything.  Already I can feel the pangs of stoke that I get each year at this time, signifying the start of several months of surfing in comfort, although comfort is a relative term, but when compared to cold water surfing, it is wholly appropriate.

I have already begun the ritual taking stock of my surfing equipment, the main boards have been checked over, and everything is in place for the day that I make my annual come back, the day that I remerge into the surfing world!  I find this feeling heartening, for it reaffirms my stoke, which admittedly lies almost dormant for a little while each year.  But as of now, just looking at my boards brings it all back.  The antici…

The tide is turning

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It is difficult to determine exactly when the back lash against the traditional surf brand began, but I would say that it took place in the first half of the last decade.

These days the traditional brands are regarded with a degree of distain by a significant number of surfers, particularly those in the older demographical groups.  This being despite these companies having made small inroads by making a return to the styles and designs that were esteemed previously.  I think a key reason for this is that many of the brands took there eye off the core market when they went main stream in the nineties.  Those who had worn the labels with an unwavering loyalty for many years were suddenly shunned in favour of the promise of increased profits that selling to the masses offered.  Because all but a few of these companies were no longer run by surfers for surfers, instead they had become huge corporations, where the share holders called the shots, they were arguably out of touch with their co…

Toes On The Nose

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As I grow older I find that I am drawn to the more historical elements of surfing culture more and more.By this I mean the early nineteen sixties in particular.I am referring to the era that can be defined as being very Southern Californian in essence, featuring the styles and feeling of this time, both in and out of the water.  The colours, designs and general aesthetic of the period is particularly appealing to me. For I love the hibiscus prints, as well as the graphics that featured on the boards when bright colours, clean designs and vibrant graphics were the characteristics of the day. 

At the risk of sounding slightly clich├ęd, the aloha spirit seemed to be very prevalent, and the surfing scene was built upon the notion of riding waves for the fun of it, above all else.  Based on my understanding, which I think is an accurate, albeit slightly romanticized view point that has been gained from reading many books and magazine articles of the time. Surfing in the early 1960's was…