Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The creative process has always intrigued me, not least in the way an idea can pop in to my head, and won't go 'till it's seen through to it's natural end.

I'm blessed with two boys who never cease to both amaze and exasperate, in no particular order.

Flashes of brilliance followed by acute cases of pain-in-the-arsitis make for a lively home life and a lot of fun most of the time.

My youngest, Tom, is all stuff and bluster, daring and derring do. So far this month he's been in emergency 4 times.. two broken fingers, pushed back teeth, hip x-rays, on and on.. and this kid is very well co-ordinated, he just doesn't know when to stop. In his 12 years he's had three broken arms, a mildly broken back, dozens of stitches, ribs cracked, you name it, he's inflicted it on himself.

My older, more thoughtful one, Joey, is safe at the moment, as all he does is grow, sleep, grow some more, snooze a bit, grow some more and eat, with occasional rest stops to draw, go surfing with Dad, play some basketball or chase girls.

Through it all is this wonderful life, that bursts from every pore of both of them.

This, then, popped into my head yesterday.

You parents will understand.


measure your days my sons.
take a moment to breathe
and look to the side
of the advancing moment

before gripping it
with all your young might
and making it yours
to crystallise

in ways we never
dreamed could be,
but always hoped strong
would become

the lives that danced
before us all afire
with delight and dark
eyed smiles.

measure your days my sons
take a moment to breathe
before you burn blazing
across all our skies

Monday, July 23, 2007

13th beach.
Thirteenth beach.

Not surprised.









Saturday, July 21, 2007

A couple of posts ago I displayed a drawing I did.

A few asked if I had any more 'pieces' to show and it caused me to reflect that I had not much to show at all really.

As an art director, I draw, of a sort, every day.

It's usually a quick scribble to flesh out an idea, or the precis of a storyboard to brief...wait for it, a storyboard artist. I can do them myself, of course, but time is of the essence and often you have other fish to fry.
Secretly though, behind every art director is a frustrated artist of one sort or another and I'll put my hand up for that one too.

I've always enjoyed the making of marks on paper, and 'back when I had time', that is, before kids, I went to life classes to keep my eye in and just to do it, too.

Losing oneself in the drawing moment is like riding a wave... in a way.

The good ones flow, you become one with the act, and whatever the result, in the doing there is a great peace.

Remembering I had a bunch of old drawings in the shed, I dug them up in the hope of finding a lost gem or two.

Some of it was dross, but there were a few moments worth sharing, just.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Yesterday I snuck down for a much deserved splash.

I was greeted with strong offshore winds, perfect 4-5 ft waves and a lineup filled with a bunch of guys just as wave starved as me, given the near month of drivel we've suffered as the east coast of Australia single handedly consumed the rest of the world's quality surf.

It was hollow, fast, straight as an arrow, and... could I get a decent wave?

Too far inside, blown takeoffs, just "one of those days".
Scored a couple of near misses, short speed runs that had hope writ large, only to see them race off ahead, a couple of beauties that I thought were mine! mine! mine!.. only to see a flash of board out of the wrong corner of my squinty little eye.

Getting tired, but not getting cranky as I was enjoying just being there... and then it came.

A medium-large one, an under the lip take off helped by a hot young kid that paddled up my leg trying to get into it, only to nudge me that little bit and help me catch it instead.

A sign of a quality ride is when you don't remember much, but it did have that fast, reactive quality that marks a good one, and it eventually saw me me setting up a loooong clean barrel that I, almost , nearly just quite didn't make it out of.
I'd tried hard to keep my line open, my stance looser and more responsive, stayed higher, learning the lessons of three weeks ago, weaving, weaving and whack!

Came up smiling, a young guy said ' that must have been a good view mate.. I thought you were gonna make it out but then it just ran away from ya'

Glad to hear that as I thought I just stuffed up.

Went in soon after. No chance of matching it so off home with a smile.

After all, it only takes one, doesn't it?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The push towards more environmentally friendly surfing has had me thinking.

Down here in Oz, to the best of my knowledge, the only attempts to produce boards with less reliance on materials sourced from the petro chemical industry involve wood or bamboo laminates, which are then either finished with epoxy or common garden variety resins.

The exception to this is Chris Garret, who is varnishing the wood laminate. His boards are quite beautiful, Dave Rastovich sings their praises, but very obviously there is a need for much greater care.

No one is making contemporary wooden boards in the style of the wonderful Grain Surfboards, or 42 in Oregon, Hess, Paul Jenson, Ocean Green in Nicaragua or Plywood in Brazil...go to phoresia for a list of what delights are offered in the Northern Hemisphere.

That being said, there are beacons down here for what is possible.

Paul and Sage Joske of Valla Surfboards in Nambucca heads have explored the koko'o. This shape features a flat deck and rounded bottom, and was originally made from willi willi wood.

Sage made one from a light wood found near his home, and glassed it for durabiltiy and strength. He loves this board, and took it and one other koko'o on a boat trip to the Maldives recently.

A seriously hot surfer, for someone like Sage to opt for his koko'o's is saying something powerful about the ability of ancient boards to fuel the fun.

I was lucky enough to get to know Tom Wegener while filming the Musica Surfica event on King Island.

As many of you know, Tom is a wonderful old school longboarder with a delightful, happy style. I have to say happy because Tom lives with a permanent grin, a grin I think erasable only by a thermonuclear warhead.

The one time I saw him down in the dumps was one morning after a call home...he was missing the family.

Tom's boards are, with the exception of a Fish, classic D fin paulownia longboards ranging from around 9 to 16 feet.
In addition he has begun a range of boards in the style of the ancient hawaiian alaia. Shaped paulownia planks, these are about as environmentally friendly as a surfboard can get. A saw, a sander or sanding block, and a spoke shave or draw knife. No resin, no glass, and the residue can go on the garden.
The boards are sealed with a mixture of gum turpentine and linseed oil, and don't need waxing.

Now all this might sound like an ad for Tom, and you could take it that way.

But think about it.

These boards worked.

Sure... mostly straight line trimmers, very fast ones at that, but I did see basic bottom turns, rebounds and rudimentary cutbacks being achieved. They were viable surfboards, sourced from a timber yard.
Tom is starting to experiment with variations on the original shapes, and he tells me some of the kids around Noosa are getting to a fair level of performance on them.

Even Tom Carrol has been seen riding a Wegener alaia at Newport, following on on his Musica Surfica experience.

So why not shape one yourself? Try some variations.. slot's, concaves, shape in some channels.. who knows?
My point is the experimentation is so easy, and if it all goes wrong, whittle it down to a couple of boogie sized alaia's.

The belly board versions of them are body surfing with a double shot of caffeine.

How satisfying would it be to ride a wave on a simple piece of wood, holding the purest of trims imaginable?

I know I'm going to give it a go.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Surf's crap again, it's freezing, raining and I haven't put anything up for a week. Digging around for something and found this doodle I did about 10 years ago.

I tried to remember what was going on at the time and realised my wife Sue had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor, we had a 5 and a 3 year old and my job was fucked. (excuse the french)

So the picture makes sense.

Things are a little better now, despite the lack of waves.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Some of you who read SafetoSea will probably visit Six Foot n' Perfect and Pet Cobra.

A couple of months back they both offered up to the web the chance to do some logos for them.

I threw my hat into the ring with a couple of ideas and, happily, they both liked my offerings. You can see the logos on PetCobra at right.

My reward?

To see a couple of happy chappies on the other side of the big water, and from Clayfin (Ted) at Six Foot, a clay fin.

The other day it finally arrived.

Today it went to Bells with me.

Unfortunately it was tiny, we rode the beachies, but I had to snap this for Ted.

Thanks mate.