Saturday, April 28, 2007


Some of you may remember an entry of a month or so ago about my friend Louise.

This afternoon I got the call I didn't expect to hear for a few months yet.

She left us last night.

I last spoke to her on Wednesday. She was chirpy, looking forward to getting home on the weekend as things seemed to improving after in and out of hospital over the last few weeks. All a waiting game but there seemed to be a little hope that she may just have enough time to finish her book.

Her biggest worry, though, was leaving that "funny little bloke" and "her babies"..

"They're just babies Mickey, how can I leave them?"

Cara and Mimi have recently graduated as Bachelors of Music, Cara in violin, Mimi in jazz singing... you should hear them both.

Bruce is funny, he's not little and a bigger hearted, gentler man you'll never find.

They'll be fine Louie, in the long run. But that Louise place in their hearts and ours will never be taken by anyone else.


Monday, April 23, 2007


Yesterday a young chap posted a comment on Safe to Sea. He has a blog called Pinniped, goes by the name SeaMouse.... and it seems, he's based in England, which means he's pretty hard core, dedicated and can stand the cold.

He is also a pretty shit hot designer/illustrator if you ask me. (Not that anyone has)

Please have a look. It will be interesting to see Pinniped evolve.

On another subject, the finless and alternativley finned boards are in construction, so there will be some shots to show in a week or two. I don't know about you but I can't wait. Maurice is also quite happy for me to post some more shots of boards so next time I'm down I'll try and get some of his tow boards...I'm sure they'll be of interest.

And no, I didn't get a surf this weekend as I took my (newly) 15 year old Joey off to a school camp. Gone for two months and on top of it all I blabbed to his teacher about how good I thought his blog (Spurred-Dreams) was, then came home and realized he'd used a bit of 'language' in his last post.

D'oh. And not a wave in sight.

He'll kill me, and he's big enough to as well.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Yesterday, I popped down to Maurice Cole’s to talk about the boards to take down to the MusicaSurfica event I mentioned in the blog the other day.

Perish the thought that I could actually get a wave while down there, no such luck, too much work, but I did get get a look in on some pretty razors edge surf craft, and a peek at some serious surf history.

Now Maurice is a very serious talker, and when he’s on a roll he’s hard to shut up, and why would you want to? The guy’s got more stories in him than Mark Twain, and everyone of them is worth bottling.

He showed me his board book, where every surfcraft he’s shaped for more than 20 years is recorded, with meticulous measurements, diagrams, and notations. I was going to show you the shot I took, but on closer observation it gave away some stuff that is probably a secret.

He let me in on why Tom Curren’s “Magic 6’9” worked so well, (again can’t say, but it was an eye opener), and showed me board by board, his design evolution of the past 30 odd years.
He’s got his best boards over that entire time, in the shed, as references.

One, a black railed 6'9' epoxy he made in the mid 80's,I rode at Santosha in Capbreton(Hossegor) in 1985 and got one of the deepest tubes I ever made, so far back I couldn't see 'round the bend. Maurice had loaned it to me as my board wasn't cutting it.

Then he showed me the tow boards he and Ross Clarke-Jones have been developing. Radical, black, sleek, hugely concaved.... they were very intimidating bits of work, the boards Darth Vader might ride. He’s adamant they’re hitting speeds upward of 80mph on the biggest waves available down south (3xWaimea) and are working on neck protection, joint braces to prevent over flexion, all sorts of stuff.

The design direction he’s employing on the tow boards he’s carrying across to his normal boards. The speed and grip he’s getting in the tow boards translates into the shorties, and he says he’s doing away with half his quiver as the 6’2’ works in waves from 2’ to 8’+.

Most of the stuff is his to reveal when he sees fit, bit it is refreshing to see someone genuinely working on something different in the high performance area, and not the homogenous variations on a 6’ thruster.

They are thrusters, but such different thrusters, with some fascinating, relevant details gleaned from all of that history.
Interestingly he’s not fully backing the quad thing, as he still has some issues about their ability to hold in that transition as you roll from rail to rail in a big off the top. (I’m talking him, not me).

We then had a yap about what we should do re the finless or “alternatively finned” event, and in a couple of weeks I should have something to share. He didn’t diss my idea either, so we’ll see what happens soon.

I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, April 16, 2007


You might remember my post of a couple of weeks back and my dinner with Derek Hynd. Well now I'm free to spill some beans.

For about 18 months I've been working on a film project that has been a bit of a dream of mine for quite awhile. Late last year, to get things rolling, I filmed interviews with Nat Young, Wayne Lynch, and Paul Witzig. I've also had some delightful conversations with Ted Spencer. With that list of names those who know will have little doubt as to one of the themes I'm pursuing.

At the same time, I've been building a team of people interested in joining my little escapade. I'll tell you now, I have no money yet, just the idea. (Sponsors anyone?) Musically, I wanted something different, and just to try it on, approached a man named Richard Tognetti, Musical Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, one of the world's best violinists, composer, arranger, named a National Living Treasure in 1998 and... a surfer.

I had a feeling Richard would like what I was thinking, and we began talking. Then, about three weeks ago he rings me.

Mick, there's a couple of tickets at the Melbourne Concert Hall. Come along, see the performance, and afterwards we'll have a chat.

The show was gobsmacking, and afterwards we walked through the streets of Melbourne, to a little after party nearby, and had that chat.

Now I already knew Richard's best mate was Derek Hynd.

He told me about a little thing they are holding on an island situated between the Australian mainland and Tasmania. Would I be interested in being part of an Antipodean version of Derek's Hebridean adventure of a couple of years back, but with some differences.


The event would be in conjunction with the surfing members of the ACO, plus some extraordinary guest musicians.
Together, they would develop a score for a a small tour of northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland, using the surfing as an inspirational base. Plus they would surf in the event with a group of some of the more innovative surfers in the world.


Derek Hynd, Tom Carroll, Tom Wegener ( with his fleet of alaia and olo boards), a group of young Noosa hotties, Belinda Baggs, Jamie O'Brien (we hope), Dane Beevor and...

But before I get to that...

No board is to be conventionally finned. Either old, ancient, or completely new board designs. A reason to think.

Which got me thinking, as Derek the board nazi goes... Mick, normal boards are banned, ya can't bring a conventional board.

But, but...


So, since I have no place to shape and the abomination I'd produce would be laughed off the island I thought I'd ask one of the most innovative shapers I know.

I popped into Maurice Cole's chook shed come new factory near Bells (after a quick surf), no sign of Maurice, but the guys said he'd be back soon. After an hour, I wrote him a letter and described the above.

The next morning, Maurice is on the blower, frothing, as only he can. I asked him if he could come up with the aforementioned Unconventionally Finned Board.

Maurice's head burst out of the receiver and said to the effect that I'd better start working on my legs as he was going to make me something that'd peel my ears back and tear what remaining hair I had off my noggin as I screamed through the Bells Bowl after taking off somewhere south of Lorne... sort of.

I took it as a yes.

He also asked me to get Derek to call.

So now, in addition to all the above Maurice is coming, and, it seems, Ross Clarke Jones.

Plus a few surprises.

Where do I fit in?

Well I'm pulling together a small team to cover the more arty side of it all, both in the surf and musically, with Jon Frank as my cinematographer, a great sound guy from Melbourne, and me. A book and DVD may follow.

I've got to say I'm happy(!!!) to be a part of it, with my tight budget and very talented crew.

The name of the event? Their Working Title: MusicaSurfica.

The theme: Stepping back, to step forward.

The end result? Perhaps one of the more important things to happen
in surfing in a very long time.

When: 11-21 May

Details to follow. Watch this space.

Friday, April 13, 2007

In my last post I wrote about a day down the beach with my son, Joey.

A great day. We spend precious little time together as he pounds towards manhood through the swamp of, as of tomorrow, fifteen-hood. Parties, friends, girls (as you can imagine) and school of course. They all take him away from wanting to hang with Dad. Except when surfing is on the agenda.

The great thing about him is he'll still let me hold his hand as we drive home.

Although if a truckie drives past the other way he pulls it away quick smart.

I arrived home from work today, and Joe announces...

Dad, I've made a blog.

What, not another MySpace?

No Dad a real one, like you do.

So you use real words, and don't go lol or g2go, or cyaz?

Yeeess Dad, reeeal words. (sigh).

I've even written about our surf last week.

Allow me to introduce you to
Spurred Dreams. I think our little (6'2'' 78K) boy is growing up. (Well sort of)

Happy Birthday darling. Mum and I love you, even as you drive us mad. And I can't wait 'till our next surf together.
I'll see what else I can think up to frighten the life out of you.

(Read Moments Destroyed in Joe's blog)

Monday, April 09, 2007

I have to gloat.

Had a lovely surf with my son Joey today. Wandered down the beach on Easter Monday, and found a beautiful little right with no one out! Three hours of laughs.

I even tried a 360 because no one was around to mock me.

Unbelievably Joey snapped it and insists I made it.

He must have blinked.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sorry for the lack of posts... I've bin workin'.

Had a brief, fun surf last week in head high beachbreak, took some snaps but I won't bore you with them.


I had a very interesting meal with a certain Derek Hynd last Friday. About what I won't say yet, so that I don't put the mozz on it but what he'd been doing that day will blow your mind.

Last Thursday the reports were calling for a pretty solid six foot and offshore in the Winki/Bells area.

So Derek loads up the car in Sydney, starts the 600 mile drive at around 6pm, hits Melbourne in the morning and is at Bells in time for the outgoing tide (good) around 11am.

So what.

Here's the rub.

He paddled out on one of 3 5'7' highly customised boards, with NO fins, and proceeded to rip the bags out of it, or as one young guy who spotted him when we were eating said, "you were shredding". He went on to say he couldn't believe a guy's face as Derek dropped down a wave backwards before spinning it 'round to come off the bottom.

I asked Derek a few things about control.

Can you bottom turn?


Hold a high line?


Get barrelled?



Not really.

So how do you stay close the curl?

Take it high and throw a three sixty.

Apparently he was making waves from Uppers to Lowers, (200+ metres) at speed, killing it.

Later, when I dropped him back to the car, I saw the boards. What were originally I think knee boards, had been scalloped, scooped, concaved and fluted in various configurations, some more successful than others, to produce enough drag in the right places to keep the back at the back when he wanted, and allow enough edge control to lay a decent turn.

Suffice to say a fascinating meal. Great guy.

After we finished he headed back to Sydney so that he could see his son's soccer match in the morning.

Things are afoot.

And did I mention he turns 50 this month?

Oh yeah... Happy Easter!