Monday, March 26, 2007

All sorts of stuff happening at the moment, a lot of it to do with surfing, but not about me riding waves.

More about that later.

As I work freelance you go through quiet periods, and boy had I been having one. Starting to get a bit paranoid, the usual insecurity that does your head in sometimes, but when these things happen I usually look for an opportunity for a surf and let my worries wash away.

No such luck as the surf has been crappy for weeks and then, last week, just as I was REALLY READY FOR A SPLASH, I get a call and I'm into an agency for a few days. Thank God, I'm earning again, great place, but you'd think they'd at least time it between swells.

And to top it all off, this happens...

Like they say, timing is everything. Perhaps I'll get lucky tomorrow.

Shots nicked from Swellnet...
More pics here:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sometimes you come across something that just makes you sit back and count your blessings.
I won't say anymore. Just go to Illustration Art and see David's latest entry for:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ARTISTS IN LOVE, part eight

Monday, March 12, 2007

Way back in '04 I had my 50th birthday trip to Northern Sumatra. We shot an embarrassing amount of footage... boy, was it embarrassing, and I've been slowly editing it all.

My poor old (42-50) mates have waited a long time, so here fellas, is a taste.

For those of you who have no clue what you're seeing, this is Bawa, a break in the Hinako Islands, off Nias, which is off the northern coast of Sumatra, not too far from Bandah Aceh. The break was made famous by Tom Curren a few years earlier when he rode it at 12 feet on a tiny little Tommy Peterson Fish style board. After riding the wave all I can say is Tom - respect.

Of the crew on the trip, there were three regular foots, Robbie, Hec and me.

Robbie, just recovering from melanoma, avoided the sun like the plague, always wore a wettie, and while making a comeback after a long time away from the water, surfed in a lovely, relaxed style.

Hec was our doctor, and resident free spirit. The only longboarder on the trip, you can read more about Hec and his amazing exploits in the November archive.

Me, you can tell me because I have a dreadful habit of raising my left arm as I cutback or come off the top.

Of the goofies, we had Neil, Robbie's brother. An expert in artificial intelligence (couldn't I do with a bit of that), he doesn't appear in this sequence. Neil had the habit of 'paddling up the reef' to solo it at any opportunity. Nickname: Charger. I now know why.

Bim (real name Harold) was our best surfer. Usually riding a mid length board, he also ripped on Hec's long board, then kept borrowing our little boards and tore it up on them, too. He went short when he got home.

Marky organised the trip. Mark you'll see sipping a Bintang at the end. A human dynamo, Mark organised the trip, and entertained us every day. A long time top sailor, he's been in two Whitbread Round the World races.

Why'd ya give up surfing for so long, Marky.

... So I could ride 80 foot waves in the Southern Ocean.

And Rich, the guy I surf with more than anyone. You'll hear Rich pay out on me for "claiming" on the last wave in the clip. Top bloke, big smile, not much hair.

Also in the clip is spidery Aki, from the crew of Southern Cross, now one of the guides on Sumatran Surfariis. Knows the Ments and North backwards and a lovely, gentle soul. Plus, two Uruguayan rippers, living feral on the island, hop in to a couple and embarrass us.

That's about it.

Boys, if you read this, we've got to do it again before too long. To everyone else , don't laugh too hard.

It was a blast...perhaps you can join us next time.

PS: The tsunami of 04 struck three months after this footage was taken. The break hasn't been the same since.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Every surfer, as a kid, dreams of getting a picture of themselves in a magazine. I was no different but like most of chance.

Then, on my first trip through Europe in '79, my mate, Ren, and I where in a town called Figuera da Foz, on the Portuguese coast, enjoying a couple of plates of our version of spaghetti bolognese, when a white Kombi pulled into the camping ground. In it where Brian and Kathy, a couple of Californians doing the surfing thing through Europe,and shooting some stuff for Surfing magazine.

They wanted to know if we wanted to come south with them and surf this epic beach they'd found. It was, they said, huge and 'like Hawaii' and "we want someone to surf it so we can send it to the magazine"

The sentence was barely finished before we'd packed and fishtailed out of the campground. (I exaggerate)

When we arrived the next morning we found 8-10ft peaks breaking 50 yards offshore and reeling off in both directions, light offshore and pretty...well...epic.

Three days of this and it got bigger, we started to call it 18ft but in reality it might have got to a smidge over 12, I dunno, to us it was BIG. We'd only been surfing maybe 8 years at this point and looking back at the shots, we were rough.

Brian was a very good surfer himself, and mixed it with us, while Kathy shot from the beach. On one wave I remember taking off, backside, hitting a chop on the way down, and swinging an arm up in front of me to stay on.

"I hope she didn't take a shot of that" I thought.

Three months later this appeared in Surfing.


Twelve years later I'm surfing at a break called Two Mile down south here in Vicco. Now this is a serious wave, and this was a SERIOUS session. It was a once in a lifetime, 12-15ft solid gold special, with a list of stars in the water a mile long. Tom Carrol, Martin Potter, Derek Ho, Brad Gerlach, Ross Clark Jones, Tony Ray, Cheyne Horan, plus the locals, and a few semi regulars like... me.

I'm making a fist of it, and getting the odd one, and the odd belting, including one wave where I got in cleanly, very relaxed, maybe too relaxed, maybe...oops dig a rail, stick my bum in the air then proceed to get absolutely hammered.

Script reads..
"I hope no one took a shot of that."

A couple of months later...

DOH (2)

Now the thing about that session was I got one wave where it all went right. I paddle in clean on a BIG one, made it to the bottom and looked along a looong wall, and thought 'do I straighten off or pull in?'. I swung off the bottom, and as I drew up onto the wall the lip folded over to give me the biggest barrel I'd ever seen, much less been in. While in there I saw three guys paddle up the face, screaming, and I remember smiling back at them before I finally came out to another 100 metres of big, blue wall.

I pulled out right in front of Tom Carrol "Nice tube" was all he said.

I thought "nice?'

Thanks Tom.

Ten years later I'm sitting out at Winki when Craig (aka Pinhead) (now CEO Quiksilver in Torquay) says to me:

Micky, remember that big barrel you got at Two Mile that day?

Yeah Craigy.

That still plays in my head,even today.

Mine too mate.

A couple of years later, again out at Winki and again Craig says:

Micky, remember that big barrel you got at Two Mile that day?

Yeah Craigy?

Tom Carroll said 'that was the best wave that guys gonna get in his entire life...'


So far he's been right.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

FIFTY BLOODY THREE last Thursday!!

If I 'm not careful I'll enter my third or is it fourth mid - (ha ha) - life crisis.

Thankfully my family and friends have been very kind to me and it's been a lovely few days, notwithstanding the fact that I've got a poxy cold and the waves have been flat or crap for a couple of weeks now.

Little Tom turned twelve the day before me as well so it was birthday land all 'round, and to be honest it's much more fun celebrating twelve. I reminisced back to my twelfth, and then thought right back, and remembered this little shot of me at a bit past one year old, on a beach in Fiji, where I was born in 1954. See the little right hand barrel near my foot? I was born to be a regular foot.

The only problem is the surf gear. My bathers (that's what we called them then) were a crinkly blue nylon that I remember (and strangely, I do remember) as being pretty cool.

I don't think they'd pass muster today.