Friday, June 29, 2007


Anyone out there got any idea why the last three links I've put up default to this bloody site?


Sorry to Kim at Sharkbait, Beachbum and Eric at Breaks Selection. I've tried everything. Now I'm off to bed to sob and suck my thumb.


Monday, June 25, 2007


Well, going on the flood of comments on my story about a pig, I better get back to surf related stuff.

Yesterday, we had one of those perfect, clear, offshore winter's days. Cold, crisp and full of promise as my mate Richie and I headed down for a much needed splash. The forecast was three to four feet on the beaches, perfect wind direction and strength... it was going to be ON....

When we got to the island, it was all of the above, except could we find a bank that wasn't closing out, or a reef that wasn't just a tad too small?


Three hours of driving here, there and back again for zip. We finally just went out to get wet, on a tiny left that had the occasional outside peak, a peak being dominated by a guy on a longboard who took everything.

A bit frustrating, and nothing against longboards at all, I have one myself and love it, but shite... he was greedy.

To punctuate the matter, I rang my mate Marky over where we should have gone...

It's going off Micky, almost as good as the day a few weeks back, when that guy shot those pictures of you I sent..

Oh.. that good.

Thanks mate.

You see, last Wednesday night, Mark rings me and says..

Mick, what were you riding, that day at 13th?

My yellow 6'6".

Did your wettie have a bit of red on it?


Wearing your Gath helmet?

Yep. (Surfers ear, worry about the kids without a Dad)

You might like these then.

So he sends me a couple of shots.

I was a bit stoked, as gems like these come rarely at 53, and I'm gonna have to work on my tube stance.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A challenge has just been thrown down by Gazelle in the comments of my last post. I quote:

"Your banner says "Life" & "Art" before it says "Surfing." So, if the surf sucks (we've got the same problem right now in Oregon), you're free to spout off about just about any other topic, as I see it... "

Strangely I'd been thinking just that when I saw his entry.


I'd been thinking a little about empathy, and the fact that it is one quality the world could do more of.

This story was written a long while back, one of my very few short stories, and is based in fact. I had followed a pig truck in a thunderstorm on a 1000 mile hell drive from Melbourne to Brisbane. After that it's pure extrapolation...


He was driving north on a stormy evening in southern Queensland. Ahead a thunderstorm and a spectacular light show to allay the boredom of another 10 hours at the wheel. At the back of his mind the hope that he could get into the middle of it and see a few lightening bolts in the act, so to speak. It had always fascinated him and touch wood, he’d see, but not be touched.

The traffic was light, with his progress being only occasionally slowed by a truck struggling up a hill. Just such a truck came into view as he rounded a bend, a truck laden with pigs on the way to he could easily guess where. It was approaching Christmas, after all, and we all love our ham.

His headlights were giving these pigs their first view of the surroundings for some time and they were becoming agitated, with one poor creature in particular making use of the light to get itself out of its predicament. It had fallen and was trapped under three companions. Hind legs tight beneath, it was doing ineffective push-ups, trying to dislodge one weighty neighbour and find the comfort of four legs. The belly of another was above its head and it was butting upwards trying to lift it away, all the while squealing, squealing, as it was God knows how many hours since it had fallen and the pig was in pain.

He could feel it.

His memory took him back to the endless minutes in church when he was young, kneeling in regimented rows with his equally none-too-devout classmates as old Father O’Halloran stumbled through another consecration of the Blessed Sacrament. His knees would be in agony, and form funny little flat spots on the caps. It was this pain, ten times over that he translated into the body of the pig. He hated the scene in front of him and as luck would have it an overtaking zone appeared ahead.

As the truck grew smaller in the rear vision mirror his attention was taken again by the thunderstorm and a stomach that was signalling the need for something more filling than a packet of corn chips and a diet coke, which had through habit become his travelling food of choice. The memory of the pigs faded as he tucked into a juicy hamburger with the lot at the first truck stop he came across.

Suddenly, he heard a thump and crash and looked out to see the pig truck coming sideways around the corner leading to the cafe. The driver had misjudged the bend and jackknifed, the rear end sliding out and nicking a tree on the other side of the road before it all came to a halt directly in front of a bunch of cheering truckers who had watched the whole shemozzle doubled up with laughter. Unfortunately, the impact had opened the side of the truck just enough for a couple of the pigs to escape and one of those pigs was the trapped porker that he had been watching a short while before.

Several truckers lunged out of the door and began running around in an attempt to round up the pigs. He watched their clumsy tries to corner them with a mounting horror. It was not that they were being consciously cruel, but their insensitivity to the pigs distress seemed to be in inverse proportion to his own. He suddenly seemed to be feeling exactly what the pigs felt and he couldn’t stand it any more.

He ran outside.

By this time one of the pigs was under control and on its way back to the truck but the other, the pig that had been trapped, the pig that had been in a blind panic for hours and hours, that pig was free and its fear was, to him, so intense he could reach out and touch it. It seemed to form words he could hear, as though the pig was talking to him, pleading for its freedom, its life.

“Don’t hurt me.. .don’t hurt me..,” this big pink creature seemed to say, over and over, over and over as he approached it, trying to sooth it, trying to calm nerves shot to pieces with terror.

Now he was talking as well.

“It’s all right. Ssssshhh...Sssshh”

The pig was now behind the cafe. It was quieter there, and a grassy slope formed the beginning of the hill the truck stop backed onto.

“It’s all right. Ssssshhh...Sssshh”

“Don’t hurt me...don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me”

He didn’t know why he was hearing this or speaking to a pig, but the pig was getting calmer. It had flopped to the ground and lay there shaking, tears rolling down its fat pink cheeks as he patted it on the head.


Calmer. It was like a big baby.


Calmer. It was nearly asleep.

Its grunts seemed like a gentle snoring. It had stopped shaking and was finally peaceful.


Suddenly, a loop of coarse rope was around the pig's neck. The trucker had appeared behind him.

“Got ya, ya fat bastard!” he roared as he wrenched the pig to its feet. His voice sounded like a ruined gearbox.

The pig screamed, resisted.

“Fuckin' move!” He kicked it hard in the flank.

It screamed again.

“You’re hurting, please stop hurting...”

It had started again. He could hear the pain.

“Easy mate, please don’t ...”

The trucker turned on him and gave him a look of pure contempt.

“ Mind your own fuckin business, pal!...I heard ya talkin’ to it, talkin’ to a pig. What are ya, a fuckin’ poofta or somethin’?”

“Pleeeease!!!!” The pig screamed again as he hauled it away, blood streaming from the skin under the rope as it cut into the soft, pink flesh.

The trucker looked at him.

“Anyway, it’s just a pig.”

He heard the cheers of the laughing crowd as the pig was dragged back to the truck.

He watched as it lurched into the storm.

He kept looking into the night for what seemed like hours.

“Yeah,” he said to himself finally.

”Just a pig.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Those of you drop in on this blog may have noticed I've written nothing about going for a surf lately. Because, bar a couple of very short sessions while shooting the Musica event, there's been very little to speak of in Victoria.
Weeks of absolute freezing drivel, punctuated by short periods of slop.

Not very inspiring.

Meanwhile, the east coast of Australia has been battered by swell after swell, in between storms, floods, high winds and a fair amount of mayhem.

The talk is we're entering a La Nina event.

At least the 100 year draught is over.

As I do my daily Swellnet check, I see waves, waves, waves all the way down the coast.

The day before yesterday was a classic, with the daily pic (by Sean Scott) a little more beautiful than most.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ya gotta laugh... this is the text of an email I got from Derek in J-Bay last night.

"TOMORROW IS THE TEST...I've built in some modifications ala Dane and Belinda.
Also I chopped the nose and tail off one of them and I'm under 4 feet now...hee hee.
See you...I'll let you know."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A quick thank you to Warm Jet and Doc for their attention in their respective blogs.

I'd put links through to them but they're both at left as the Central Shaft and Surf in Oregon, so I can avoid the technology once again.
Much appreciated, both of you.

As an aside, I just had an email this evening from Derek Hynd. He said he's hanging in Jeffrey's Bay waiting for a swell... with a four foot no finner in the starting gates (!).

It sounds like a disc to me, but after seeing some of the stuff he's managed down on King Island, I think he'll survive.

Imagine this with a foot and a half cut off.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Just got back from finally seeing some of the rushes of Musica Surfica, and had to share some screen grabs.

They give a taste, and also show that you can style finless.

Top shot is Derek in mid spin on 2/3rds of a board, Jon Frank risking his all to get the shot and still keep his head. In instances like this, pictures aren't worth a thousand words, as it is the whole, and not the parts, that make Derek's rides so special.

Middle is Sage Joske on one of Tom Wegener's alaia. Sage ripped on this board, is part cat, and a lovely guy.

And finally, Tom on the big olo. This thing as a powerhouse, and it took a brave man to ride it.

Naturally, Tom stepped up to the plate.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm going to break recent tradition today, and not talk about Musica Surfica for one post, as it's Sunday.

The day a lot of people go to church.

Now I'm a lapsed Catholic. And by lapsed I mean see ya later alligator, out the door, gone for love and money and don't forget to turn out the lights.

All this started when I was about four. We were a Mass on Sunday, don't eat meat on Friday family, and I had my first day at school in February, 1959. I also got hit that day for talking. Not a good start.

We learned by rote the Catechism, (who made the world - God made the world) etc etc.

By the following year I was well and truly in the loop, knew all about heaven and hell, limbo, purgatory, and all the sins. Mortal, venial, and the appropriate punishments for all. None were pretty, and eternal damnation for not going to church on a Sunday really took the cake. I also said my prayers every night and believed the lot.

One day in that September we were all getting dressed on a cold early spring morning. Dad had just left for work, Mum was wizzing about, seeing to our tiny needs. Kathy, 5, Brendan, 3, little Julieanne, 18 months and I at 6 were taking turns huddling in front a small bar radiator to get warm.

I'd left the room and I didn't see what happened but Julie over balanced, touched the bar, and was electrocuted.

My next memory is Mum yelling at me to get help as she put Julie on a bed to give mouth to mouth. I ran outside, screamed to a neighbour to call an ambulance, and went back and prayed while Mum tried to save her.

My last and lasting memory of Julie is a small pink burn mark on her finger. It is vivid, photographic and will never leave me.

She died on the way to hospital.

At that moment, the rot set in for me, and the rest of the family I'm sure, and I for one realised I'd been sold a packet of wet crackers when it came to religion. We all went through the motions for about ten more years, I still said my prayers (God bless Mummy and Daddy, Kathy and Brendan, Grandma, Grandpa, Mumma and Poppa and Aunty Brenda, and Julieanne in heaven...)

But that dwindled away and sometime in the early seventies, Dad marched out for the last time when our 80 odd year old parish priest launched into a fire and brimstone denouncement of late comers to church, only to realize he'd begun mass early.

That was it for Dad, and I'd just been going because of tradition.

My belief system evolved into one centred on the golden rule...Do unto others etc. I lapsed often, and as a twenty something in the seventies and early eighties I did as much doing as I could as often as I could, but that was what you did, wasn't it?

Still, I tried my best, and still do, and it's what I tell my kids.

In the late nineties, I met and became friends with Nat Young. Nat, bless him, is a big, opinionated lunk, who has a few little wisdoms he likes to share.

One is about surfing, and the importance of keeping a beat. Another revolves around his motto, 'make it a beautiful life'. And the other is spreading Tom Blake's message of the "Church of the Open Sky'.

This one I've always liked, and knew it long before I met Nat, but tell it to a non Open Sky person and they look at you kind of strange.

But the fact is this Open Sky is what surrounds this little planet of ours. A view of the earth from space reveals it as a tiny mote in the vastness, and this for all of us is IT. We live, die, and all human existence is played on this delicate stage.

We divide ourselves through tradition, religion, tribe and race... but we are all human, and in our humanity we are equal.

I believe there is no surety of heaven, nirvana or 70 virgins waiting in paradise, that doing the right thing by our fellow man or woman is an end in itself and a good enough reason for being here.

And the oblivion of death is no worse than the oblivion before we were born. You just aren't, just as once you weren't, and then were.

Our legacy is the memory of our existence, good or bad. Our immortality is our children, and the world we leave them.

On another note, Clayfin mentioned he thought one of my sunset shots below would have looked better with a kitten in it.

Behold The Kitten. And it's cuter than a Golden Calf.