Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Grace, Power and Passion

There aren't a whole lot of modern day surfers that I really follow, there is no real reason for this, other than me not being all that interested in the pro circuit, and haven't been for quite some time.  Plus I haven't been paying all that much attention the surf media of late, at least not the outlets that give coverage to the current generation of rippers.  So for one reason or another I am a little bit out of tune with what's going on.

But that said, there are a few guys that really get my attention when I see either a still shot, or video footage of them surfing.  One such person is Clay Marzo.  I first became aware of him when I his surfing a couple of years ago in a short clip that was presented by his then main sponsor, Quiksilver.  It featured his rehabilitation after suffering a pretty full on knee injury.  Getting back in the water after months, first on a bodyboard and then back on a surfboard, it was clear that he had talent and style in equal measure.  In fact I would say that at the time of watching the mini film I hadn't been impressed to that level by surfing in quite some time.  His style mixes the most cutting edge of new school moves, with good old fashioned power surfing, and the end result is a combination of massive turns, technical flicks and fully launched airs, many of which are seemingly impossible.  Yet he connects them up and consistently pulls off some truly outrageous moves with an incredibly high success rate and truck loads of flair.

I find his surfing absolutely fascinating to watch, because you really do not know what to expect next.  But his style is far from eclectic, for he flows from one big move to the next with grace, not to mention heaps of speed and power.  I have been following him on Facebook for a while now, and some of the sequences he posts are mind blowing.

While he surfed professionally for a short while, the challenges as presented by his Asperger’s Syndrome meant that this world wasn't a particularly good fit for him.  So instead he is a soul surfer, in the truest sense of the term, a role model of the highest order and an absolute inspiration to anyone who faces similar life challenges.  He really does have an absolute passion for surfing, added to which he comes across as being an all round decent human being, something that goes an awful long way in my book.  Anyway, here are a few shots of him, and will tell you more about this truly inspirational surfer.


Sequence as featured on Facebook.

Fun Clayback, again from Facebook.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Fair Weather Ahead

After what seems like the longest, wettest and frankly the most miserable of winters, finally things are looking up.  The evenings are now longer, the air warmer and things seem just that little bit more calm than they have done for an awful long time.  I love this time of year, when nature comes too after having been dormant for the winter months.  The beaches are friendly places again, the sea is that little bit warmer and the anticipation of what the summer months have in store is fixed firmly in my mind.

As always, I am hoping for a long spell of good swells, warm weather and lots of sunshine, but living on the far South Western tip of the UK as I do, you never can tell!  One thing is for certain, and that is I am going to make the most of each and every day that comes my way, getting in the water and out in the country is going to be of the upmost importance this year.  For these are the main reasons for me choosing to live where I do. It might not have the type of climate that ensures consistently good weather, and the waves too can leave a lot to be desired, but when the sun does come out and the swell hits, there isn't a whole lot to complain about.


Original Soundtrack

Yesterday I got talking to someone about the surf and skate movies of the mid to late nineteen eighties and how they featured the most incredible sound tracks.  It is true that when I was a young chap, my musical tastes were heavily influenced by the films that I watched.

As I have mentioned before, the Quiksilver production, The Performers '83-'84 had a massive effect on me, from the moment I saw it I knew I was on to something.  The same can be said about its soundtrack too.  Each and every track was an absolute treat to my ears and my musical horizons were expanded immediately.  Within days I had bought Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues, this was quickly followed up with the purchase of many other Talking Heads albums, as well as the music of the other bands that were on the sound track.  Some were easier to find than others, I recall Rose Tattoo being particularly tricky to source! But for the next few years my taste in music was influenced massively by surf and skate movie sound tracks.  The ritual would go something like this, I would see the film, and invariably there would be at least one track that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, so I had to get the album of said band.  This was a long, long time before the advent of the internet, but thankfully there were record shops that would source albums from here, or sometimes the US or on occasion, Australia.  The imports undoubtedly provided the most kudos, from my pals at least, for the perceived rarity, not to mention the fact that they were derived from the other side of the world represented something a whole lot more exciting.

Towards the end of the eighties, something happened with surf movies though, many became elongated adverts, the production was awful and the sound track worse. The Jack McCoy produced Billabong series bucked this trend though, the first of which was Surf in to Summer, and introduced me to the likes of Agent Orange, and TSOL. But on the whole, surf movies had gone way down hill, in my estimation at least. However, this was in stark contrast to what was going on in the world of the skate movie.  H Street, Santa Cruz and Powell Peralta produced some of the most iconic films that ever were. Where as surf films had gone down the corporate road, the skate films remained truly authentic and felt a lot more under ground.  The bands as featured gave me my next lesson in my musical education and exposed me to new genres to explore.

All in all these films provided me with an alternative way of discovering new music at a time when it was relatively difficult to do so.  From a very young age I loved music and would constantly look for new bands, one band would lead to the discovery of another, or sometimes I would strike gold and find a new label, or even an entire genre. A theme that has continued right up to the present time.  As my musical tastes evolved I no longer needed to be introduced to new music by way of the surf and skate movie.  While I was able to find my own way, I know that this exposure to music provided me with the grounding that shaped my musical experience and began my journey.  Many of my favourite bands of all time were first introduced to me in this manner, so I am truly thankful that these films were produced.