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Showing posts from 2015

Collecting Wood.

I first entered the world of skateboard collecting about a year and a half ago, when I purchased my first re issue board, a Powell Peralta Cab mini street.I made this decision independently and while it felt a little extravagant this was a board that I have always coveted, but never owned.At this time I had every intention of setting it up to use, as such it was fully justifiable.  My decision was made, I ordered the deck and that's where it all began.
While the Cab was set up, to this day it has never been used.And I am fine with this, more than fine in fact, for since this first re issue related purchase I have obtained many more, while my collection is fairly slow when compared to other peoples, it is something that I extremely proud of nonetheless.They are simply beautiful things to own and I get a great deal of enjoyment from just looking at them.I have no desire to make any money from them, I am in no rush to own each and every board that I once owned, or want to own.They are…

Far From The Sodding Crowd.

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While surfing the other day, in a line up that was so ridiculously crowded, that it resembled an uncontrolled zoo where the animals were just left to their own devices.  A scene that was a free for all, where the usual etiquette and rules that everyone should at least have a inkling of are being totally ignored or simply not being applied.  Anyway, it occurred to me (after I had been dropped in on multiple times) that there has to be a different way.  I want to surf without the crowds of kooks, the aggro, unfriendly people, and the down right clueless.  I want a different version of surfing to be my reality, no crowds, and attitude, but near solitude where smiles are plentiful, the vibe friendly, and space.  I think that latter is the thing that I crave the most, for lately it would seem that personal space is something that is no longer observed in the line up, any more than it is on the land.   For it is so busy, dodging flotsam and jetsam in the impact zone, being drooped in on, an…

Like finger nails on a blackboard.

While it is true to say that the commodification of surfing has been taking place for quite some time, it would appear that the suits within the corridors of power at many of the companies who have a vested interest in surfing have seriosuley upped their game.

Okay, let's start with the shark 'attack' during the comp at Jeffrey's Bay, okay, it wasn't orchestrated, but the whole incident was given far more coverage than was actually needed.  Surfing, and indeed Mick Fanning, received unprecedented amount of media coverage (someone correctly pointed out that Fanning will be remembered more for this, than for anything he has ever done in surfing), at all levels throughout the world. Suddenly surfing was in the spot light, not because of anything to do with surfing, but the fact that a shark was perceived to attack one of the competitors, but was fought off, thus thwarting the shark and saving his ass.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't wish for a second that Fann…

Getting Heavy.

After a run of fun but slightly mediocre surfs, last weekend yielded something that I had been craving for quite some time.  Fast, racy, heavy shore break. Praa Sands style!

I love surfing here in these conditions, it was the beach where I grew up, as such I have put enough time in over the years so that I have got it more or less wired.  Because it was the place where I predominantly surfed during my formative years, it no doubt shaped my style and approach towards surfing.  I have surfed it a lot throughout my surfing life, taking a fair few knocks in the sand along the way, broken some lovely boards too, but I do love these waves. And I am truly in my element when the tide gets high and things get a bit heavy!

This past Saturday as soon as I saw what was happening, that shift from the outside banks to the ones just below the high tide line, I knew that I was in for a treat.  And I realised that because I am no stranger to these conditions, instinct kicked in and I was picking off the…

Still Rolling.

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Lately I have found myself being drawn more and more towards skateboarding.  The magnetism began some time ago when I bought the first of my re-issue desks, a Powell Peralta Caballero street.   This was bought as a treat, based upon how it looked, as-well-as with a tinge of nostalgia, as this was one of the boards that I coveted when it was first issued, many years ago.  Being a child of the Bones Brigade era, Animal Chin was the film that really sparked my interest, so really it was the natural choice. Anyway, while I had every intention of getting out and using it, once I had set it up I just couldn't bring myself to do so.  My rationale has always been that I have older, well used boards, so why mess up a new one?  Whilst it was never bought with the intention of re selling it, I simply wanted to keep it pristine. A wall hanger, the first one of my collection.

So, fast forward eighteen months or so, and I find myself at a vert comp, with a whole heap of guys of a similar age to …

Backlit Beauty in Green

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I saw this photo on the Surfer Magazine site recently, and it really struck a chord with me.    For this is one beautiful wave, I love the colours, deep blue fading to emerald green, the way in which it is back lit by the sun, but most of all I like that it is a wave that I can relate to.  I could surf it.

It is also empty, untouched.  This one went through un ridden. This heightens its beauty, and further fuels the imagination.  I am imagining riding it, on my backhand, going off the bottom, off the top, flying down the line super charged.

Just looking at this picture gives me immense stoke, in fact if I could surf waves like that every day, or even most days, sans crowds I would be a happy chap.

Bury Me.

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This is a clip from a film that helped define me in terms of my surfing life.  For a long time it alluded me, searches proved fruitless and the VHS copy I had has lone since been lent out to a friend, never to be returned.  Finding it was difficult, partly because I thought it was called something else entirely, but on hearing Bury Me by The Smashing Pumpkins on the radio recently, I made another search.  And guess what?..

This film was from the Momentum era, a turning point in surfing, which paved the way for a whole style and approach.  This was power surfing taken up to the next level, these guys were doing airs, in pretty small shore break surf, the type of waves that I grew up surfing.  It smacked me around the chops and made me alter my own surfing.

This particular clip also introduced me to the Smashing Pumpkins, a band that have waned a bit in recent times (in my opinion) but for a while in the 90's they turned out some amazing songs. In fact I can't hear Bury Me without…

Bella Vita, Surfing and Pure Italian Style.

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This weekend I had the pleasure of watching Bella Vita, Jason Baffa's latest surf film.  I had been looking forward to this for quite some time. Having treated myself to a copy of the DVD from Mollusk while in San Francisco, it received its debut in our house on Saturday evening.

I had anticipated that it would be a great film, based upon Single Fin Yellow and my all time favorite, One California Day.  I wasn't disappointed, not at all.
The film is made beautifully. For a start it is shot entirely in 35mm, giving it a really lovely look and feel, capturing the colours of the Mediterranean and the Tuscany countryside in their full vibrance. The narrative is absolutely lovely, providing an insightful look at so much, surfing related as well as Italian customs and culture. Put simply, the film has got soul.
As for the surfing, well that is everything you would want it to be, plenty of great footage of CDM, styling in the Italian waves and mixing it with the locals. He is joined by D…

Moody and Beautiful...

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A Hoppy Taste of California.

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Whenever I get back from my travels I always hold on to the feeling by enjoying the things that I had while I was away, if possible.  One of these things is beer.

Beers sampled and enjoyed on European visits are usually pretty easy to come by at home, my favourites of American Craft variety less so.

Many of these are produced by small, local breweries, as such they are only available in the immediate area, even some of the larger ones do not export.  However, luckily for me one of my all time favourite beers is Anchor Steam, which you can find over here, it's quite rare, but obtainable, with a bit of effort. So I thought that this would be a nice treat that reminded me of my trip.

A quick search found several possible sources online, but I also tracked some down and found some in a shop just around the corner.  The guy on the phone told me that he only had a few cases left, so as the weather was conducive to beer drinking I feared that they would all be gone by the weekend.  A trip t…

Mollusk Surf Shop...Surf Retail Perfection.

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Surf shops get me as excited now as they did when I was a grom, in fact I really struggle to pass one by.  Wherever I am in the world, if I spot one, I'm in it.

I have my favourites that are both local and further afield, and I love discovering new ones too.  But I never fail to get excited when I visit a good one.  I get a real sense of anticipation when I enter through the doors, and then once inside I am hit with the sight of all that surf stuff, the smell of wetsuit neoprene and board wax filling the air.

Every now and then I get to visit a Surf Shop that is on my wish list.  One such shop is Mollusk in San Francisco, which has been on my radar for quite some time, and recently I was able to visit it in person. I wasn't disappointed.

As we were heading south from Guerneville to Monterey we would have been pretty much passing the door, so the zip code was plugged into the GPS and off we went.  The journey itself was outstanding in itself, we travelled through wine country, far…

The Only Place.

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Every trip that I make to California gives me a fresh perspective.  I come back home feeling rejuvenated and inspired.  In short I always bring a bit of the vibe back with me.

There are many, many things that I love about California, these include the climate, the light, the colour of the Pacific, the sunsets, the wildlife, the incredible variety of plants and flowers that grow naturally.  I love the surf culture, the car old scene, the emphasis on outdoors living, the list goes on and on.  In short I'm a big fan of CA, and have been for a very long time.

This latest trip filled me with so much inspiration, perhaps even more so than on previous visits - yep, we are talking about a lot of inspiration. I think a big reason behind this is because the amazing trip that we had involved taking in a whole range of different places, a significant number of which were wholly new to us, although did go to many of our favorites as well.  We set out wanting to experience new things, involving s…

Back on board.

For quite some time I have been a little bit disillusioned with surfing. I have mentioned this before and is part to do with the fact that I don't know how I fit in with it all, part because the world of surfing has changed beyond all comprehension, a lot to do with the fact that I live in a cold part of the world, and the fact that I am in my forties might be partly responsible too.  Okay, that las bit might be a lot to do with it.  But whatever the cause of my perceived despondency towards the very thing that has defined who I am and how I regard the world, for as long as I can remember, I have been very much at the sidelines of surfing, looking in at it.  Maybe a little too much.

However, this has all changed, and I am very happy about that.  This shift in thinking is down to a number of different factors, principally a prolonged period of should searching has yielded many of the answers that I have been looking for. I have also been on quite a journey of self discovery, in all …

Hello, my old friend.

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This afternoon I was reunited with a very old friend. As a result my stoke levels are at an all time high.

The friend I am referring to used to be very close to me, I grew up with them, they were there when times got tough and they inspired me. Sadly, in recent times I have neglected them.  Something that I now regret.  For having rediscovered just who special they are, I wish I had never let things drift as much as they had done.

This afternoon, while enjoying quiet time at work I clicked on Surfer Magazine.  I cannot remember the last time I did this, but today I am so glad that I did.  I was instantly mesmerised by the photography and absorbed in the features.  Although I had been absent for a while, it didn't take long at all to become fully acquainted again.

Also, having been a little bit disillusioned with the modern surfing world of late, I am thrilled to realise that this has now been dispelled, to a degree at least.  I was quickly reminded why I love surfing as much as I do,…

This Surfing Life.

A life in surfing has given me many things.  For a start I know how to ride surfboards on waves.  This may sound fairly rudimentary but years of experience has equipped me with the knowledge that enables me to do something that is pretty unique.  For I have the ability to read the characteristics of a moving wall of water in such a way that I can move a board, pretty much exactly where I want it to go, using nothing but the momentum of the wave as a power source to propel me across its face.  I can look down the wave at the moment of take off, plan my route and know which moves the shape and features will permit, then execute the entire sequence accordingly.  This is quite something, when you stop to think about it.  Working out what a wave is going to do, making the calculations to plot a route, before carrying out my moves accordingly is something that has taken many years of practice.  And without really realising it, these judgements are made in a single moment, and on a good wave…

Dirty!

This mornings cycle was a dirty old business. Filthy. The recent rain has made the trails and tracks so muddy. Also the fact that most of the leaves have vacated their Summer residences upon the trees, and are now on the floor adds to the mess. Still, it was a good ride, different but heaps of fun none the less.
There was plenty of wildlife around, loads of squirrels, most of which were running off with horse chestnuts. Jays causing a ruckus in the tree tops, and Herons chilling by the lake. Oh and a crazy assed dog running loose in a field. Not a wild animal, but worthy of a mention none the less, simply because of how nuts it was.
The sea looked amazing, wild and booming, so different to the calm tranquil scene that I have become used too. The spray was being blown in shore by the stiff South Westerly breeze, so the air was damp with ocean, and incredibly salty too.
The dust trails of Summer have gone, but I think I will get used to the muddy conditions, it's a case of having too. …

Sliding & Rolling.

As I don't have a great deal of time to write anything today, I thought I would post some short clips instead. Here they are.

















A Real Mercedes-Benz.

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It is no secret that I have a real appreciation for German cars, particularly those from the Mercedes-Benz family.  The cars I really connect with tend to be those from the mid seventies to the mid eighties.  During this era the designs were pretty much as perfect as you can get,in my opinion. The build was solid and the overall look was synonymous with German (over) engineering.  However, these cars were not so utilitarian so as to lose any trace of personality, not at all for the models from this period have this in absolute abundance.  From nose to tail they have an incredible number of characteristics that are uniquely Mercedes and befitting of the era from which they hail.  These are just some of the things that provide them the appeal, but to be honest there are a whole host of ingredients that combine to give this car a set of qualities that never fails to make my head turn when I see one.  

The models that I have a real interest are those which are built on the W123 chassis, ba…