Wednesday, October 31, 2007


The last couple of days have been a bit of a quiet revelation. Yesterday and today, Derek Hynd, Sage Josky have been down here to do some filming on finless boards of various persuasions, with the help of Jack McCoy and his assistant Lachie.

The waves were pretty mindless, and the surfing very different.

What this difference did was transform the lineup at Bells from reserved to chatty. Guys who might otherwise stay quiet were commenting on the guys with the strange boards..

""You should have seen this board this guy had on the beach... no fins, weird edges, no fins, it'll never work..."
...only to see said board with skinny square jawed pilot go streaking by, grinning, sideways, moments later. This continued all morning yesterday, the scene repeated today.

The boys amazed the crew, got a heap of waves, everyone enjoyed the show, a lot of questions were asked.

Someone asked Derek what the point was.

"Fun" he said, and fun he had.

All through the session though Sage ripped on his wooden boards... double overhead on a couple, streaking on a 1000 year old design.

Sitting out the back I asked how he was enjoying things...

"Pretty good Mick, but I'd love a couple on my six one."

At the end of my session as I staggered knackered from the water I saw him run down the stairs with his thruster.

A few minutes later, from the carpark I saw him absolutely destroy two 8ft waves in a way that would make Occy proud... I'm serious here... I've never seen anyone do what he did on those couple of waves.

When he came in I asked " Little bit of pent up frustration there Sage?"

He just grinned.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

No surf this weekend, but the week holds promise.

I have to share something that happened while doing the last Musica shoot. The scene was the concert held for the school kids of Bellingen, NSW.

The reason all this MS thing began originally was to provide the surfing backdrop to the concert series, and to get the reaction of the kids.

The orchestra was to play a 17 minute piece, a combination of their arrangement of Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and Paganini's Caprice 24, all choreographed to a film cut we made that was to play behind them on a big screen. Come the moment that they they were to commence playing, and as I'm preparing to enjoy the show from right up the back near the projector, I lean back, put my foot against the wall and kicked the plug out of the wall. I died a thousand deaths, and started to sweat as I saw 8 months work begin to disappear out the door.

In the end, after the orchestra played everything else they could think of, we (they) got it all going again, and managed to laugh about it afterwards, and in retrospect, I think it was better because of it, but you couldn't have made me feel more sick if you'd stuck my head in a bag of crook prawns.

The pic is part of the crowd of 500 kids, (who loved it by the way) taken after the projector went back online.

I'm gonna stop now before I kick the plug out of the wall.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A couple of snaps from last week.

The first shot is from the rehearsals for the Coff's Harbour performance of Musica Surfica. How cool is it to see a 12 foot alaia on the stage of a classical music concert?

The second is a "fuzzy from up the back shot" taken during the performance. The orchestra is performing live to a choreographed edit of the footage we shot on King Island. The audience of 600 loved it and the reaction has been the same right up the coast. We're all slightly stoked to say the least.

Also up the back in the projection booth was Jack McCoy, who afterwards said it was the best surf film he'd ever seen. Not sure about that Jack but it's nice to hear it said. In truth it's very different surfing with some very different music. It changes the way you see this thing we love to do.

One thing that really helped was a stroke of genius from Derek. Together with Louis Thorn the ACO AV guy, they made a variation on an early edit I'd done, super slowing down the footage we'd shot. It was so brilliant I barely changed a thing on that section. Thanks guys... it made the show.

Typical bloody Derek. He'll steal anyone's thunder given half a chance.

To end this entry I'm going to quote him from something Richard Tognetti has read to audiences as an opener to every night of the tour. Derek wrote it quickly when pressed to explain why he chooses to ride finless. I think it is quite profound... but don't tell him I think so.

“To surf free friction, or fin free, primarily forces the surfer back to the core. It is an act of homage to thousands of years of wave riding. It’s a return to an unpredictable wild side in a sea of conservatism. It is a test of composure in delivering the upper hand to nature. Most of all though, it’s just a frontier feeling of being untethered and unguided that brings fun to the fore, and fun is the key.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just back form the North Coast shooting, and more about that later.
For now, I have to share this.

My fifteen year old Joey came along for the experience, and made me proud. Helped as a strong back with gear, lights and all that filmy stuff, and got to experience the whole thing, meeting movie stars, famous musicians and seeing how it all comes together.

He also clicked with Derek Hynd, who was there as well. One day after shooting, the two of them were on the basketball court of Bellingen High, after a performance for the kids of the town (which we filmed). Joey, who loves his basketball, was telling Derek all about Michael Jordan, and then they decided to have a jump off.

The debacle ended when Derek barely managed to touch the bottom of the backboard while Joe as hitting it with his elbow.

All the while they were laughing like drains, just having fun.

A couple of days later, Joey is trying to describe Derek to my Dad, then simply draws this, bung eye and all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Today I'm off to do the final bout of filming for Musica Surfica.

A very intense few days to follow, and many heavy weeks of editing after that.
Next Saturday, after the shooting, I've been invited to the launch of Tim Baker's book, High Surf.
Richard Tognetti is one of many featured surfers of note, those surfers including Kelly S, Ross Clarke Jones, ethicist Peter Singer, MR, and many more.

It'll be an interesting evening for sure, and they've asked me to show the rough cut of the film. It'll be great to get a response from the luminaries of the life.

The forward is written by Jack Finlay, old salt, raconteur, yachtsman, boxer, and an Australian Surfing Treasure, as his tales of the sea are a delight to read, his presence in the line up always welcome, and you can discover more of Jack in his book The Wind on the Water.

So a pretty culture filled few days coming up. Wish me luck and a new post next Monday.

Oh, the shots are of Jack himself out the back in pretty shitty Bells on Sunday, and said Bells before the wind got to it too much.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A non surfing entry today.

In Japan the institution of 'National Living Treasures' provides a recognition of individuals of great cultural significance. These individuals serve as icons of what we can be, the best in all of us. Australia borrowed the idea some time ago. Richard Tognetti, of Musica Surfica fame, is one, and he was granted the honour at the ripe old age of around 32.

Another is Michael Leunig.

If you don't know of Michael, he is the most humane of men, a humorist and satirist who's cartoons, prose and verse are funny, poignant and always pointed at some gem or lump of coal embedded in the human condition. Sometimes you won't agree, some people think he's mad, but his perceptions have delighted me (mostly) for nearly 40 years.

Attached is a cartoon I clipped out years ago. I placed it near my screen to remind me what the internet can be about, the bad that comes with the good.

The first reaction I had when I saw it was "it's all about porn", but even pornography can be life affirming if it is about joy, and fun, mutual consent on all levels, and respect... Sex is part of life.

On reflection, though, Michael's cartoon spotlights for me the horrors that can come unbidden to our screens.

The other day I was sent a link, with the comment: "Check the link below for some good 'ol American justice." It also said "hold on right to the end... it's unbelievable."

It sure was. Follow this link only if you've got a strong stomach.

For me it's one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen. It features a police chase, followed by what can only be described as the murder of some poor fucker who panicked when he saw a cop car... zigged instead of zagged. The officer in question is heard, halfway through the chase, saying if he catches this guy, he's "gonna take him down"...

At no stage is the driver a real threat to the officer, he's running, that's all.

Finally ramming the fleeing car, the officer get's out and in a full combat stance, proceeds to pump bullets at the driver...and then is seen, kneeling on the bonnet, pumping some more into the driver's slumped body.

If he stuck a funnel in the guy's mouth he couldn't get more lead in.

Following up all this on the net, the police paint it as a drug dealer who tried to ram the police several times and the officer acted in self defence.

No. At no time is that officer under any real threat. He wanted blood and boy he got it.

Still, I'm not here to rant too much over his motives.

My first response was to brand him a fat redneck with a gun fetish and a tiny willy, which may or may not be true. On reflection I think it boils down to recruiting and training. When someone is trained to a level where instinct is guided by a cool head, these situations would rarely, if ever, arise.

Consider this as a comparison.

Showing an action in Afghanistan, Australian forces are seen engaging the Taliban.

Now, this could be any well trained force. I use this as an example only.

These guys are cool, aware and dispassionate. I would like to think any police force was as well trained as this. As the army is supposed to protect us as a nation, so too do the police protect us as communities and sometimes from ourselves.

The driver clearly had a problem, his reaction said as much, and a level headed cop would not have had the responses this one had.

Instead of " I'm going to take him down", imagine if it'd been followed by " to the station", for a " good talking to" or even a "quiet chat" out the back.

Sorry for attempting humour with this, but it guts me to think that even the worst of us could be subject to such summary justice, Australian, American or anywhere else.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

In the article mentioned below I'm referred to as a surf nut. It was the only thing I took slight issue with in an otherwise great write up.

Why take issue? I suppose I find it a bit demeaning, preferring, perhaps, longtime surfer, old, even fading. But nut?

Still, today was a bit nutty. Winki busy as hell, but Bells, why... for awhile it was 4-5ft and just 2 guys out the back. I got some belters and not too many beltings, and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately my mate Rich did something to his back and came in early, and so snapped a couple of me with my crappy snapper.

"Micky, I can't get this thing to take it when I want it to take it."

Shutter lag is depressing....which of course means he missed the airs, hell cutties, and the deep, weaving barrel.

But then, so did I.

The other shot is Winki looking very Morning of the Earth, just before I paddled out.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Musica Surfica continues to gather momentum, with Foxtel officially joining us with some funding, and more shooting of musical performances to come mid October. Things are getting busy now, and I'm getting a little bit tense, as we're committed to delivering a product to Foxtel by the end of November.

The documentary is scheduled to show on Foxtel in Australia during December.

Then, it's up to Us Phoques, (the name of our little production company), to spread the word to the rest of the world. So some time in '08 I hope you'll get to see it. If there's anyone out there interested and with 'connections' drop us a line.

Still, things keep developing. Today, Australia's greatest paper, the Melbourne Age, gave us a full page article.

If you'd like to read it, here's a link.

And, if you'd like to see a snippet of the film again, here's another.

Oh, and incidentally, if you think the Us Phoques name is a bit trippy, it came from Phoques Bay on King Island, where we got some of our best waves. And phoque is, it seems, french for seal.

It seemed as good a name as any.

Monday, October 01, 2007

There's been a bit of swell around lately.

Saturday was my window on several fronts. Best day for swell, only day I could go, and I felt a cold coming on so thought I'd get in while I could still breathe.

Got down to a solid 6-ft with quite a bit bigger bombs.

Fortunately I'd thrown my 7'6" in and took it for a run.

Sadly, age and lack of surfs took it's toll this day.

Bells at size is a hard wave to catch. Fat, then popping, it is pretty unforgiving and it definitely didn't forgive me. After a couple of blown take offs, and a couple of too deep ones, I managed to get a belter from deep inside and it was pretty damn good, at least from my perspective. My reaction was 'this wasn't going to be half bad after all.'

Another shorter one a lttle later wasn't too bad either, my confidence rose accordingly and then began a series of absolute shellackings as I took a few late ones which included airdrops, lips in back of head, slides down the face and to top it off a fight with my board somewhere in the washing machine that removed one of my fins, and a TC FCS carbon fibre Redliner at that.. Not happy.

Went in, grabbed my 7 footer, got a couple more but really feeling knackered, then called it a day.

The pic isn't even a set.

Oh, and Geelong, my long suffering team won the Grand Final in the AFL (Australian Rules Footy) after a 44 year drought. I spoke to Maurice Cole on Saturday just after the surf and he had big screens set up at home, kegs, and I'm sure Torquay was a very happy town that night. GO CATS!!