Friday, December 26, 2008

One of the more interesting years has come and nearly gone, and I hope yours have been all you could have hoped for within the limits of a global financial meltdown and the usual swathe of disasters that seem to grow in frequency as the planet heats up.

Here I have to agree to disagree with my Dear Old Dad as he is of the geological persuasion and opinion that it is likely a part of the natural warming and cooling cycle. Fair enough, but I think the evidence is pointing a big fat hairy finger at US as having a bit to do with it.

What am I doing about it?

Not as much as I should. Still drive to work too often, but then it's a bit hard to whizz about with boxes of Musica Surfica on a bike. Still drive the kids to school more often than I like too, still drive to the hospital every time Tom nearly does himself in, no solar panels on the house, still drive an hour and a half for every surf that blesses me with the opportunity.

But the kids are healthy, or scabby at least, Sue is treating me like I'm not an alien at the moment, and the film is selling steadily. We're looking forward to an 09 that won't be boring...

Will I get my house back? Hmmm, not so sure about that, but if I manage to get another filmic project off the ground and pay the bills, then this time next year I'll be pretty happy.

Have I made a list, a plan, a road map of resolutions...? No, but the next three weeks will give me some thinking time as we head up the glorious south coast of NSW for a well earned break... though I will be taking all my work gear as I'll probably have to arc it up at some stage .. remote working on holidays kinda sucks but I have to keep feeding the beast.

If you're reading this then you're probably at least an occasional stopper at this Safe to Sea, and I'd like to thank you for doing so. When I started this blog it was to try and get in touch with the parents of a young guy that died in Nias not long before I first went back in '04. That never happened, but the world of friends I've made and in some cases now met has meant a lot to me.

I've noticed people dropping by from the most unlikely places. Estonia, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, odd surfless places that you don't expect to see, some come by more than once, I hope they enjoy the visit, after all it is just stream of consciousness from a boofhead in the deep south, but if they get something from it, good.

If not.... well there are a lot of blogs out there.

Highlights of the year for me.?

Getting through it always counts, but finishing the film properly, finding there are people interested enough to buy it, and to top it off, getting to New York and it's Surf Film Festival... then trying to stay awake and then discovering we'd won over there. Such a blast as I had no idea it was competitive until I arrived.

There were some very good films in the mix too, so it was a great honour to be so well rewarded.

Plus I got to go surfing.

The other big highlight though, on reflection... Mr Obama and his election does raise the bar in the hope department. If only more politicians had the brains and generosity of spirit this guy has... though I have to say Mr McCain's concession speech showed a class act heading a crap party.

Since this is a surf related blog, there has to be a surfing highlight too... and for me it's a tie between my trip to the Banyaks and... my trip to the Banyaks. Nothing really comes close to a couple of sessions I had there when it all came together as much as my aging bones will allow, and having a dry reef gurgle next to me while I gazed out of a throaty Treasure Island tube was, though not as frequent as I'd like, fun.

That my family has made it to the end of the year happy and healthy, all I can ask, though my Dad has had a rough one. He is well on the mend as I write this, and hopefully, as today is his birthday, he'll have had a nice red and big juicy steak to celebrate turning 81. The frightening thing for me is my earliest memories of Dad are when he was less than 35 years old, whizzing me around with my hand skimming the water at the beach. Perhaps that is where it all started.

Thanks Dad. And Happy Birthday.

So, to you all out there too, thank you for dropping by, and have a great beginning, middle and end to 2009.

Stay safe. I leave you with where I'll be playing for the next twenty odd days.

Late Addition: If anyone wants to listen to me rabbit on a bit about the film and other stuff, they can hear me on Surf Talk Radio with Scott Bass, from about halfway through the podcast.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I have a correction to make and an apology that goes with it.

If any one reading this has purchased Musica Surfica, (most of you I hope... if I haven't given it to you) then you will note on the credits at the back the track list for the soundtrack cd included.

One of the tracks is the Largo from the Second Violin Concerto by J.S. Bach, with the credits going to Richard Tognetti, Satu Vanska and the ACO.

When I got the track from the studio it was a master with no detailed credits attached but my assumption was that it was exactly the same musicians as played the track on King Island, plus the entire Orchestra.

A little email came my way they other day telling me that in fact on this particular track the two violinists were not Richard Tognetti and Satu Vanska, but Richard T and Helena Rathbone.

Helena is the Principal Second Violin in the ACO, and it was only through my not being informed the mistake was made.

Sorry Helena... and on the next round of packaging there will be credit where credit is due.

And as for me, me, me... the weekend finally saw me getting in the water, and another attempt at finless.... more success this time, many more made waves, but the spin eludes me..

I am though, forming an understanding.

Please read the accompanying biography for Helena. You don't get into this Orchestra until you are at the absolute top of your game... and as you can see a lot of hard work and talent goes into making it in this most difficult of disciplines.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My little bloke Tom would have to be every parent's heart attack.

I get home last night, Tom's at the skate park, and Sue tells me Tom nearly killed himself today. Oh yeah I say distractedly... thinking I've heard that one a few times before..

But then Sue says have a look at this as she pulls out Joey's phone to play me the latest catastrophe... and there's Tom bouncing up and down on the trampoline at Harry's place. Uh oh I begin to think as I hate trampolines and put the devil incarnate on one and all sorts of shit can unleash itself.

So I ask what's he trying to do... a double back somersault layout.. or something like that.

OK by now I'm getting the hair going up the back of my neck standing up and just then up and over he goes.. once twice... well almost twice and he lands on his fucking head and then bounces onto the grass.

Of course I laughed .. that nervous sort of laugh when you should be crying and then in walks Tom... and he's fine, tells me about all the new tricks he's mastered, scabby face and all. then goes and raids the fridge.

Today he rings me as I begin to fret some more. Where are you little mate...?

I'm at Harry's... on the trampoline!

I hate trampolines.


Monday, December 15, 2008

No surf on the weekend as I had to work, barely moved from my desk the whole time, and the waves were crap anyway.

A big low sitting smack dab on top of my home town meant screaming on-shores and so much rain I swear the animals were start to queue, it was cold, bleak and er.... cold and bleak.

So not much to report in that department but I do feel urged to bring a young guy to your attention who is about to release a book, well, in May he is, but in truth it was his blog that really got my attention, as I'll tell you all about the book a little later... like April.

Jaimal Yogis' site is a mixture of observation, poetry and quirky illustration, his life journey has so far been quite extraordinary and I have to confess he has a sense of himself in the universe that definitely eluded me at the ripe old age of 28 or so.

So have a read and I leave you with a shot I pinched from his site. It's him just pulling off a wave, but if that ain't dancing, my name is Ned Kelly.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

While not trying to push Musica Surfica too much, this review from Swellnet is an absolute beauty, and is worth reading just for the writing.

Of course a certain amount of bias on my part is, I hope, forgivable.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Finally, finally... I managed a surf over the weekend.... in the most mindbogglingly crap waves I've ever paddled out in, Bells the venue and I was by myself for most of the time.

That bad. A Sunday. Alone. At Bells Beach.

So out I paddle on my finless Derek Hynd experiment and had a ball falling off for three hours. A few times mixed in there I made some distance and eventually a young guy named Ben paddled out and remarked he thought I'l left my fins off the board until he woke up to the strange bottom contours.

Naturally I did nothing except examine the sea bottom that time, while another on another wave the rail of the board closely examined the area between my legs.

Though not too hard, it was enough to make me concentrate a little more.

So thanks Derek... I wouldn't have even paddled out otherwise.

My big surprise though was that the post op wounds and soreness prove to be no hindrance at all... so I'm back in action... albeit with a still puffy tummy... or perhaps that is old age.

We'll see.

Yesterday... I spent the day shooting cows.

I've got an advertising job going at the moment and went out to a dairy farm to do a TVC, and discovered I have a perhaps worrysome affinity with my bovine friends.

A pity I like steak so much.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I had a call today from a future fan (I hope) of Musica Surfica named Rowan, who wanted a copy of the film. Now Rowan, I knew... from a previous communication... had been having a play at making wooden boards, and had sent me a link to some shots of his latest project.

So we arranged to catch up for a coffee, I'd give him his copy of MS as long as he brought along his wooden board for me to have a squizz at.

To say I was impressed is understating. Remembering this is a first ever attempt at it, and he's produced a very nice, if a little heavy 6'4ish twin that paddles really well and works a treat. Rowan is a big guy, must be 6'1 or so, and around 90K I'd guess, but the board puts him out near the longboards and it's a happy glide in.

The frame next to it is his next project and is the beginnings of what will be a Simmons inspired twin made from paulownia, again his own construction method but different again from the already built boards construction method, which is a spine and rib style, with banded ply on the rails.

He's an inventive lad and clearly has a way with his hands. That he is a design engineer working at GM in Melbourne might have a bit to do with it.

I'm really looking forward to the end result on the Simmons experiment. Watch out Swaylocks.

Because I'm out of the water for bit longer and going vaguely stir crazy not being able to surf, or at least attempt my version of it, Finless Freddy, my new nom de surf, has been mucking about sculpting. Oh God you say... as if poetry isn't enough what 's he up to now?

My favourite all time sculptor is Brancusi, and those familiar with his work might see vague similarities between his approach and mine, at least when it comes to heads. The big difference is his is worth millions and mine is soon to be recycled as modelling wax is expensive and I'll try something else. I will say though that it is bloody good fun and better than staring at my scarified navel which incidentally is getting to look as far away from a six pack as it's ever been, and that is a long, long, way.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The weekend has come and and I promised myself the next post up I wouldn't say a thing about Musica Surfica (ON SALE NOW)... damn I did it again.

One thing I have promised though is how SafetoSea got it's name.

I've had a mild interest in things poetic for quite a while, mostly as a kid trying to work out how to read them properly, or throwing them in the too hard basket or indeed occasionally trying to write something that on re- reading was crap at best and utter crap when read by my Mum who thought everything I did was wonderful. Well not everything but I like to remember her seeing the best in me.

A few years back, reading the paper, I came across an article on the funeral of a young woman who'd died tragically. It was one of those losses particularly poignant because she held great promise and had, in her short life, achieved much. Her father gave the eulogy and in rounding up had quoted the second last verse of a poem called The Garden of Proserpine by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Swinburne for a time was regarded as one of the great English poets, though that high position has been long lost to him, and indeed his wild ways settled the fella down long before his death at 72 in 1909. He had a great haircut but some pretty dubious tastes, to put it mildly. Amidst it all though many gems emerged and for me this was one.

Sometimes called the Great Pagan Prayer, it has a bleak comfort to it that has always appealed, and inspired me to occasionally have another attempt at the art. Perhaps it is merciful that these moments are once or twice a decade.

Still they're not as bad as the Worst Poetry in the Universe.

According to Douglas Adams in 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy'

..."the second worst is the poetry of the Asgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his epic poem 'Ode to A Small Lump of Green Putty I found in my Armpit One Midsummer Morning' four of his audience died of internal haemorrhaging, and the President of the Mid Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos is reported to have been 'disappointed' by the poems reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve book epic entitled My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilisation, leapt straight through his neck and throttled his brain"

Apparently the worst belongs to a lady from Essex, though some would argue the worst was William Topaz McGonagall, (1825-1902) of Scotland who gave us gems like this:

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

Thank you William.

Poetry is a difficult art, to write, to read, to understand, I have trouble getting my head around pentameters, iambic and otherwise, but when it sinks in the effect can be profound.

Give this a read then, get into the rhythm, and let it flow like a nice easy point break.

Who knows, it may get you to delve more into things poetic, or it may mean you'll never read a poem again.

I can but try.

HERE, where the world is quiet,
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.

I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.

Here life has death for neighbor,
And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labor,
Weak ships and spirits steer;
They drive adrift, and whither
They wot not who make thither;
But no such winds blow hither,
And no such things grow here.

No growth of moor or coppice,
No heather-flower or vine,
But bloomless buds of poppies,
Green grapes of Proserpine,
Pale beds of blowing rushes
Where no leaf blooms or blushes,
Save this whereout she crushes
For dead men deadly wine.

Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
They bow themselves and slumber
All night till light is born;
And like a soul belated,
In hell and heaven unmated,
By cloud and mist abated
Comes out of darkness morn.

Though one were strong as seven,
He too with death shall dwell,
Nor wake with wings in heaven,
Nor weep for pains in hell;
Though one were fair as roses,
His beauty clouds and closes;
And well though love reposes,
In the end it is not well.

Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves, she stands
Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands;
Her languid lips are sweeter
Than love’s who fears to greet her
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.

She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother,
The life of fruits and corn;
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer song rings hollow
And flowers are put to scorn.

There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.

We are not sure of sorrow,
And joy was never sure;
To-day will die to-morrow
Time stoops to no man’s lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
Weeps that no loves endure.

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Then star nor sun shall waken,
Nor any change of light:
Nor sound of waters shaken,
Nor any sound or sight:
Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
Nor days nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
In an eternal night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Well if doesn't rain then it certainly pours.

Last week I was interviewed for NewsHour on the Australia Network, our Window to the World satellite channel, for a piece on Richard Tognetti and the ACO. It is also a damn good little ad for Musica Surfica, as you'll see.

Apparently it is seen by some hundreds of millions, which is a bit mind boggling.

If it takes off in India and China we'll be rich, rich, rich!!

I wish.

Now for the Urdu and Mandarin translations.

It's only six and a half minutes or so, but you do get to see the ACO in the context they usually work, and my ugly mug creeps in too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A novelty this past weekend as I was invited through a friend of a friend to be a guest on Radio Station 3RRR's Radio Marinara Sunday Morning Show, co hosting with regulars Bron, Dr Surf (not his real name) and Dr Beech... (his real name).

So in I went, with my three bits of music, as it was my choice for the day, and an open mind. I was also hoping my um and er gene wasn't in total ON mode, me being a bit um, prone to that when speaking in er... public.

Last night the podcast went up on the RRR website, so now all you out there have the opportunity to listen to me make a bit of a dill of myself as I try to mix it with a PhD in Marine Biology in a conversation about fluorescing proteins in jellyfish, biological video screens, and the mitochondria in ancient cell lines... or something like that.

At least when we got on to Musica Surfica (Now On Sale) I had a vague idea of what I was talking about.

The music I chose for the show included a piece from the film, and a Philip Glass melody that was edited for the podcast and I couldn't remember where it came from. For those interested the track is Dance VIII from the Glassworks Expanded Edition available on iTunes.

To all in at Radio Marinara, and particularly Dr Surf, thanks guys, it was a blast to join you for the hour and yes, I'd love to do it again. Seems next time they want to talk about Surf Blogs.

So many blogs. So little time.

This weeks picture... the pole outside my house, with Bird At Risk, as I killed time waiting for Richie to turn up at dawn a couple of weeks back.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back from hospital, four holes in my guts and as sore as all get out... plus I can't surf for a month, but some might argue I never could.

It's a good thing I have some good news though, as today we went live with sales for Musica Surfica

Just click on the Musica Surfica above and you're through to our sales page at Great Southern, where your orders will be dealt with as fast as our grubby little hands can stick them in a box.

There's also a link there for Euro orders through x-treme video, who are distributing for us over in Europe.

And if you've got a blog, tell the world. I want my house back.

To whet your appetites, in the pack is Musica Surfica, the whole thing again with a VO by me explaining what went on, Finless and Finned extras, a phenomenal Music Extra with Richard Tognetti letting rip with Paganini's Caprice 24 on his Violectra, a Reshaping of the Boards section, and a special feature on Warren Pfeiffer, our Master of the Zen of Mat Riding. All the extras have a VO by me so if you can't stand my babbling on, turn the sound down.

But wait there's more! You'll also get a soundtrack CD, with all the music from the film, and there's a lot, mastered and sounding rather good if I say so myself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As I said in yesterday's post I nipped down to Bells to pick up my new DH finless and give it a test run.

Hard. Very.

First four waves...or was it 5, flat on my face. Derek says first you've got to get low, then lower, then.... lower. Oh-Kay.

Then I made four on the trot, all the way through at four foot Bells. Light onshore but it was fun shape and not too crowded.

I can't say I spun, but I did the sideways almost backwards thing and still managed to get through.

Then I was munched on another three or so in a row and called it a day..

Op now. Bye.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's Tuesday, the weekend was an average one in many ways, Sue on the warpath, the waves small to middling, though improving a little on Sunday, but inconsistent and very crowded down Bells way.

I did the dutiful thing though and managed a constitutional, having my arm twisted by Richie to actually bother putting my wet suit on and actually paddling out.

It was that inspiring.

Still, he mounted a good argument (imagine driving all that way and not... hard to argue with) so out I went, and it was long wait followed by long wait.

My first wave was one of those flat take offs that make you feel reeeally slow and clumsy getting to your feet. None of that lift and spring that comes with a good one, I was all feet tripping over themselves, but it felt even worse, kinda like left foot on earlobe, right leg tangled up in nose hair, the usual things that befall the aged.

I did eventually get going and got to the other end not entirely disgraced, and even managed the odd really fun one after removing myself to the lowers section and avoiding the crowd.

That evening Tom gets in from a long days skating.. filming for the film he's in and if anyone tells me me the practitioners of the concrete arts are soft, take a look at any serious skater. This kid's body is like this every other weekend, he goes so hard at it, and then goes get some more.

Of course, that night in the shower it's ooch, ouch, yeoww , followed by aaaahhh as he gets past the stingy bit.

Pain can be a wonderful thing... when it stops.

Oh yeah, and the other diversion was Saturday night, as Joey had to go to a costume party... so he chose Superman. Now Joey has been a Superman and Batman freak since he was very little, and very nearly got the gig of young (13 year old) Superman in the recent Brandon Routh flick.

As it turned out he didn't get it but now at 16 he's nearly as big as Brandon. Maybe next time.

Tomorrow... I'm in for the gall bladder outy operation... yikes, so no waves for 3 weeks or so. This afternoon though I'm nipping down to Bells for a quick splash, as work is quiet, I hope I've sorted everything and.... Derek has just made me a finless, he's down to catch a swell and I'm picking it up.

Photo's next time.

Of course, not of me surfing the bloody thing.. now that would be funny.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Today is the day before the 2nd birthday of Safetosea. I had intended to celebrate by explaining how the blog got it's name, and then I got a message from Mike at, telling me he had a review up for Musica Surfica.

The review is a goody, so I'll leave it to you to have a read, and I'll just have to tell you of the Naming of the Blog next time.

CLICK HERE for the full review, and below is a taste of what you'll read. And Mike... thank you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

All this time back and I've neglected to say anything about my time in LA.

What a funny place.

Over the past couple of years I've made some bloggy friends, and dear old Ted, of Clayfin fame, offered to escort me 'round for a day or two, took time off work and met me at little hotel (Hotel 6) he'd managed to book not far from the airport and miles north of his home near San Diego.

I'd got a cab after getting my gear , and arrived tired and a bit fuzzy headed. Ted was not there yet, I'd just got out of the cab and begun to check in when in he walks.
I'm as pleased as punch to finally meet him, but somewhere in our initial conversation he says something about bags. In a mind numbing jolt I realise the cab has left with the whole shooting match in the back and as Ted is talking I go white, and then start swearing like a Tasmanian tin miner, ( I've heard them) while Ted is going. " relax man, just get the little ticket they gave you when you got the cab..."

"What little ticket, I didn't get a little (expletive) ticket"

Naturally all my visions of congenial conversation and a relaxing catch up went roaring out the window and as we went upstairs I could barely speak. Even my little trophy was in the bag...

So upstairs and Ted is chatting away, my mind is Somewhere Else and the phone rings.

Bags downstairs. Cabby found it on next job and popped it in.

I was amazed, and blessed his craggy grey haired head as I zipped very gratefully down to get it.

So the next day we went to have a surf at Malibu, and there I met Mary (Surf Sister), Al, (Waves of Discontent), and Brett who although he confesses to it, is not a Novice Surfer.

I'd hoped to also catch up with Jason of Pet Cobra, and maybe even catch a glimpse of Patch, but he was Hiding Out somewhere.

As were the waves.

Glassy, warm and the closest thing to flat I've ever paddled out in. I searched for some sort of analogy, the closest I thing perhaps a Zen Poem on the meaning of Nothingness... in braille.

Oh (dot)

void (dot dot)

think of (dot dot dot)

empty (dot dotdotdot)

emptiness (dot)

where's the bloody waves (fly spot)

So I sat for a (long) while, caught a bump and got dropped in on by two 13 year old girls, swapped boards with Brett and tried his lovely little fish, caught a half decent wave then was blinded by Al as he grinned at me with his new teeth, then dinged Brett's fish on Mary's board as I paddled madly trying to catch a wave and ran straight into her as she paddled out.

Brett was cavalier and said 'don't worry man', but I felt terrible as I watched him trying to suck the water from the crack as we walked up the beach.

A Tex Mex lunch afterwards in the Malibu Inn across the road, and then down to Venice, where I found a hotel to house me for the couple of days before going home.

Venice, because I was due to have a couple of meetings in the area over the next couple of days, I was told I'd like it, and there I was.

As it turned out the meetings fizzed, and I wandered about taking snaps, getting sunburnt and looking perplexed a lot of the time. I've never been somewhere with such a huge range of have and have not, slick on the beach apartments facing guys and girls sleeping rough, the man with his piano, the guy who paints, the smelly guy I made the mistake of walking behind, and the rich ladies with the fluffy pom poms on leads.

The back streets were great, I fell in love with photographing graffiti and paint splats on fences, loved the California light, and had a couple of fun conversations in the Mollusk shop... if only I had enough money to take a board back home.


I also spent about fifty bucks in ten yards on hip hop cd's sold to me on the boardwalk by three different guys, cool guys that had a patter that just wouldn't let up and had sucker radar that must have spotted me just before I left New York.

Still, Tom likes them, says they're actually pretty cool.

So all good.

A long flight home, and back to the real world.

To Ted, thanks mate, it was a pleasure to finally meet, and to Mary, Brett and Al, thank you too for making time in your lives to day g'day, and share a wave.

I gather the swell kicked a couple of days later.

I hope you all got one for me.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Today was an odd day.. full of promise I thought as it was still, overcast and the first threats of a warm, steady offshore were beginning to waft about as I sat on the front porch waiting for Richie to turn up at 6.45 in the morning.

Amused myself taking pictures of the bush in front of me and the ant trying to climb up my leg.

Got the boards on and stopped by the coffee shop to pick up our coffees, and, joy of joys, my strawberry jam croissant.

The drive down the usual catch up on kids hi-jinks, ....boy is that another story (Tom), and a laugh as Richie detailed the funnies he's encountered via his little bloke and one Eddie Izzard on YouTube.

Just search for Eddie izzard and Darth Vader. A treasure trove awaits.

And on to the Island. A solid swell and a low tide meant we drove from this break, to that break, and back to this break, then to another break, before checking down this road, but wait, what about that road, and on and on for two and half bloody hours.

Finally, back where we started, we just decided to go out and let the incoming tide gods look after us.

Once I paddled back from Tasmania, the river I mean rip having released me, I did manage to get a couple of nice fast rights, and half a left, then sort of just gave up the ghost and thought I'd have a look for something else.

Rich had the same idea and as we wandered up the beach tantalising waves fed tiny bits of bliss before another big bomb came through and spoiled yet another view of what we thought was The Promised Bank.

Sandwich shop in the end and a Triple Twirl on the way home saved the day.

I did have a good snooze on the bean bag but lurking deep was the thought that somewhere, one of those banks we checked was perfect, with no one out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Musica Surfica is days away from being on sale. About an hour ago I saw first proofs of the packaging, a little dark, so I've just completed those changes and sent them off. As a sneak peak for you denizens of my little blog, here is the box in a hurriedly done photoshop facsimile of the real deal.

Next time you see it I hope it is in your hot little hands.

If that ain't a hint my name is Mr Potato Head.

Details of where how to get those hands on a copy will be linked to this entry in the next day or so.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A warm and balmy weekend with a small swell and occasionally tasty sets rolling in at Woolamai, that beach of the triangular banks and limpid skies. At least, that was what it was like on Saturday.

Seems it was the first such period of well shaped sandbanks for a quite bit according to the locals, but our timing was impeccable as they were... everywhere. You couldn't photograph a bad wave... well you could if my lumpen flesh was shambling across it, but the surf gods were smiling as there were waves and banks for everyone.

No lineup too crowded, happy smiling faces and it weren't too bad at all.

Nice change from the rest of the world.

I hope the odd stockbroker was in the water attempting to relax in the face of Financial Armageddon.

Other news... we mastered the soundtrack to Musica Surfica on Thursday, all is at the printers and it'll be on sale in about three weeks...

Links soon for those souls anxious to get a copy... which naturally I hope is everyone who reads this blog times about six million.

If that happened then I'd Buy the Banyaks and put in a super fast web connection to my chosen isle so that I could still do SafetoSea and have the odd gloat.

Since it's unlikely I'll just have to settle with sitting in the boy's old kiddie bath in the backyard while Sue splashes me with warm water and Joey belts me over the head with a piece of coral.


Monday, October 20, 2008


Two posts in two days though today's has nothing to do with my projects save to say it is to do with my two life projects... ie the kids.

My little bloke Tommy (13) is a mad keen blader, of the streety, try and kill himself any way he can kind. I'd love it if he surfed more, but the concrete is his love and great skateboarder that he is he loves the blades even more. Woe betide the poor soul who calls him a fruitbooter though as I'd hate to see the consequences. He may be small and wiry, but boy is he a handful. (That's another story)

So, the other day Tom says "check this Dad" and there he is on Vimeo in a clip for a new movie coming out.. featuring in part... him.

Well I have to say I am a proud old fart.

So here's a link to the clip and the rascal at the beginning, the little one darting about.... that's Tom.

Then there's Joey.

Tom's polar opposite, Joe is our first born gentle giant. At just sixteen he's 6'2" and over 190lbs, which makes him just under a foot taller than Tom and draws, draws, draws. When he's not drawing he's thinking about it, playing basketball, growing muscles or avoiding romantic entanglement.

I poked around to find a something he's done and found this little sketch he did of Linkin Park.

Summers approaching and the school sport program is nearly finished.

Soon they'll be coming for a surf with me too.

Happy days.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New York still sticking in my head a bit... especially after seeing a film last night that was set there and was current. Just seeing the ambiance of the place had me thinking.

During my wanderings, during the days killing time for the nights, I naturally had the snapper handy and what caught my eye was not the big buildings or the flash. More, the patina of life that stuck to the walls, the ideas plastered about, the fucked up roads and the scale of things.

If ya going to stick something to a wall, or paint it... paint it BIG.

So it made an impression. What can I say?

Today's shots, a few from New York. More to come, rest assured.

Surf shots from yesterday's would you believe abortive session. Zigged when I should have zagged, ending up surfing a crowded, crappy left with a too strong for it's distance from shore offshore, and got out of the water grumpy. As if I need grumpy at my age.

Dad you're just a grump, my kid's say sometimes...

Deep breathing exercises on the way home to arrive with a smile.

Didn't work.


The other shots were a little spot I checked on the way back. No time to get in but it was full of potential, no one out, swell a bit big for it but I would of had fun. I just know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New York.

I'm not finished with it yet.

My first stop there was the Mollusk Shop.

My opinion, though perhaps coloured by the novelty of the experience, is that it is the Best Little Surf Shop I've ever been in. Beautiful boards, artful clothes, art on the wall, and the books for sale were not just surf rat stuff.

Deep thought meets some pretty hard core surfers.

The guys were smart, interested and welcoming and to top it off there was good art being made upstairs, behind, next door and on the walls. Even the pavement was a delight.


The river smelt a bit manky but the gasometers helped mask the smell, and I'm told they work well as a movie screen.

One day I hope to make it back and health and wealth to the good souls working there.

To Chris and Mike, thanks guys, for both looking after me with boards, the guided tour upstairs and having me over to show our flick.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oops another gap in posting but I've just been flat out since I got back from New York.

Finally, yesterday I got a much awaited clear space to the coast. As usual it was a west coast run and noticed Bells though quite good had a fair crowd, the wind was a bit from the north and Rich and I decided to 'have a little explore".

Just ten minutes away is a spot that I've driven past for all my surfing life, but on this particular day, on this particular swell, we both thought "lets have a look at...."

So out and about, down a side road, along a little track through some recently burnt out bushland and BINGO, at the bottom of a not to be sneezed at cliff were the most delightful peaks, not big, but fast, hollow and, joy of joys, uncrowded.

Naturally we proceeded to fall into our wetsuits and try hard not to fall down the cliff as we made our way to the delights below.

A strong offshore was tempered for most of the time to near glassiness by said cliffs, and three hours later we both staggered out of the water having caught more waves in a session than I can remember for many a long day.

It's amazing too how much more relaxed I felt in familiar territory.

For some godforsaken reason I'm always slower, more tentative and feel just plain weird at new spots, (ie NY) and really don't do myself justice, but just me and Rich and a couple of others and suddenly I felt freer than I had for ages.

It's all in the mind I know.

And on the way back, I paused to sniff the flowers that surrounded us, a reminder that summer is about to spring upon us, although you wouldn't know today. Cold, wet and windy.

Ahh Victoria.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Well what a week it's been.

All a bit of a blur really, what with the effects of jet lag never really leaving as I lurched from time zone to time zone.

After some 25 hours in the plane I arrived in New York, and promptly got the cab to what seemed to me to be a logical first base as at least there would be, though not familiar faces, at least friendly ones. The Mollusk Surf Shop in Williamsburg was that Port of Call and I have to say it is without doubt the most unusually placed, friendliest little surf shop I have ever been in. Tiny and full of Beautiful Surf Craft, the guys in there were welcoming and enthusiastic, especially given I had arrived with a brand new Maurice Cole thruster that had been ordered by Mike, one of the guys who both worked at Mollusk and helped organise the New York Surf Film Festival.

On hand also was the shops owner, Chris Gentile, artist and gentleman, who, as both, allowed me the pleasure of an upstairs art studio tour and offered a choice of his extensive and eclectic board collection if luck smiled on me and I scored some swell.

There also I met Tyler Breuer who was to feature prominently in the following days.

Then on to the hotel in Chinatown,and my first sight of the Big Apple which caused jaw rash as said appendage dragged along the freeway on our approach. The place is just massive. It was raining and late, the lights were on and just an incredible, impressive sight as I crossed the bridge from Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan.
The next day, I had hours to kill until the Festival so a rain soaked walk and and a visit to MOMA, and later a pre festival meeting at Tribeca before the evening showing of Musica Surfica.

Somewhere in there I was interviewed out on the footpath by Will from Fuel TV, while being watched by a guy peeing on the wall, and later expressing his stoke that he could observe a Fuel Interview in progress.

A unique experience for me, and only in New York.

There also I met Ras and Dave from Phoresia, who turned out to be lovely guys and great company over the couple of days they were there. Good surfers both as I discovered, but also good humoured, and passionately involved people. Thinkers as well and a pleasure to share a day or two with. New Friends.

Later that night, the Musica Surfica screening, which was very well received, followed by a long Q&A with Tyler and an enquiring audience. To say I was a little nervous would be kind, but it seems my excessive sweating and hand wringing went unobserved.

The next day a surf run with the Phoresia boys, courtesy of boards supplied by Chris of Mollusk, with me having the pleasure of a Christenson bonzer which proved an enlightening ride in the 3-4 foot crunchiness of Long Island. Much better waves than I could have expected as a hurricane swell arrived in perfect synchronicity for the NYSFF.

That night, festival time, and me being introduced to the delight of the Vodka Red Bull by Franke from France's Xtreme Video, this in an attempt to keep me awake as by then the jet lag had me in its' grip as I slept through film after film. Not being rude or disinterested, but I was just so shagged.

Sunday, another surf run , this time courtesy of Mark Temme, maker of The Rocks. Mark was a loud, motor mouth gem of a guy, a well traveled and world interested New York surfer, we had a ball, and the waves were good.

I always suffer from new spot weirdness, I rarely surf well (for me) straight up, but amidst all this managed to get a couple of nice ones, and my singular impression of New York surf and surfers is... way friendlier than they have a right to be, and they were way better than I expected. They have barrels in sight of the skyscrapers, and it was one of the most unique surf experiences of my life.

Awards Night.

Held at the Red Bull Space a block or so away from Tribeca, and I felt quite the odd one out as an Old Fart in a Sea of Youth. Just settled in for a quiet watch of the proceedings and the odd chat when Tyler B gets up to announce the Awards and the winner was... Musica Surfica!

You could of knocked me down with a feather and I managed to get through the speech without making a complete dick of myself but I'm not sure I thanked everyone I should have and I can barely remember what I said.

Later got hugged by girls of an age I haven't been hugged by since before they were born and I didn't complain one bit.

Great, surprising night in a wonderful city.

Next stop LA but next post more on New York as I haven't finished but wanted to get something down quickly. My apologies if this all sounds a bit lacking in flow but I can barely see for jetlag.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A very belated reminder to all of you who read this from Brazil or are likely to be there over the very special six days in January (20 - 26), please go to Jair Bortoleto's wonderful Santos Surf Art Festival.

Jair has rare passion and judging too from his emails you couldn't find a nicer, more caring man.
A photographer, shaper and perhaps an artist of life, Jair has the generosity of spirit and the energy to make other people's work a passion too.

Visit the Santos blog, and you'll read interviews from surfer artists of all persuasions, some famous, some you may not know but should.
You can even read my ramblings.

And me?
Last post before New York.

Wish me luck, if you see me there, say hello, and if you are a film buyer type, grab me by the arm and make us an offer. The pic is an offering of mine from my 2004 Telos/Nias?Hinako trip.

I just love the smile.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A lacklustre Saturday surf.

Only chance for a surf this week was yesterday and very forlorn waves, but at least had an interesting chat or two in the water. The swell was due to rise and arrived overnight... after I'd left. Today is pretty epic.

Never mind. Family time before I go away.

With luck over the next week I'll be surfing New York and Malibu. Now that's a novelty week.

The pics are Nixon's Nose between Winki and Bells, and the shadow of myself not even bothering to take a pic of the waves.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

After last week's visit to the hospital I've been feeling pretty bloody crook, but not crook enough for it to stop me having a splash on Sunday.. Bells again but a high tide windy, two swell weirdness that had only a couple of guys out and if you could look into the chaos of gale force winds, there were these lovely smaller sets running right through Rincon to the sand. Pure fun and I got quite a few.

The Big Sets were a hoax most of the time, but just after I left the water the wind started to drop and I suspect later on the afternoon it was pretty special.

New York in a week.

'Twill be interesting if my guts hold together.


Shots...the Big Set, the Rincon Run Through, The Shorebreak Peak and the Sand with Splashy Bit.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What a couple of days.

Wednesday I had to go down to Torquay to have a brief meeting in the Quiksilver headquarters. Never been there before and very low key, art filled offices spelled a gentler company than I'm used to in the world of surf business.

Then a dash for an hour in the waves, that hour being a little frustrated by an errant north wind which, though offshore for many of our breaks, means an ugly cross wind at Bells and Winki, both of which had been pretty damn fine until an hour or so before I became available to splash.

Eventually though I found a little peak at 13th and had a fun hour almost to myself before having to head back to the office. Felt a bit odd while out there and while driving, had a nice dinner and hit the sack around 10.30, only to wake in agony at about midnight. Rolled around the bed for about an hour then got up and drove the little porcelain bus for another 2 before deciding hospital was the only way out

Snuck out leaving a note and the family to sleep and drove to the emergency ward where I spent the next 12 hours. Bloody gall stone attack, lots of morphine and assorted pills, x-rays, ultra sound and proddings meant a variety packed day through the drug induced haze.

They were going to whip it out but decided against it, as the pain finally settled as something must have shifted in the Minotaur's Labyrinth that is my innards.

So back to work today, a bit woozy and sore, but ready for the weekend.

Other Things.

I'm off to New York in ten days to attend the New York Surf Film Festival and show my scruffy head on behalf of Musica Surfica, and perhaps find someone interested in showing it on the American telly. Whatever happens it'll be an interesting time as I've never been to the Big Apple, four days not enough to see it nor will I have the chance really but I guess I'll be doing a lot of gazing up, up, up and going 'fuck that's big".

Which never happens when I'm gazing down.

Still, it should be fun. If anyone who reads this is there, look me up as I'd love to catch up. Ras.. this is for you.

As part of all this I thought I'd begin to write something about the beginnings of the whole shebang. Hopefully for publication, but me being me, I thought I'd test drive the first bit on you, who manage to drop by the blog when you get a free moment.

So here is how Musica Surfica happened... right up to the first wave ridden. Comments gratefully accepted, critical and otherwise.

Musica Surfica the film was serendipity on celluloid.

A happy accident followed by many lucky moments written on blind faith and the fates.

When Richard Tognetti first asked if I’d like to join him on remote King Island off the south coast of Victoria, Australia, along with Derek Hynd, a mixed bag of surfers and surfer/musicians, to play and ride some surfboards without fins, my first response was.. “huh?”

He’d called out of the blue, about a month after my first contact with him, that being an email from me flying an idea I’d had, a “would he be interested letter” as, if that idea ever saw the filmic light of day, I’d like him to do the sound design.

Why Richard? Why ask an Australian National Living Treasure, a virtuoso violinist who’s art is played out on a 300 year old, ten million dollar violin, to do the soundtrack to a surf movie?

The clear and only answer was first, he is a surfer.

The day of that email he called and we had a long conversation, we got on, understood each other, and the thread of a bond was formed.

His call a month later invited to me to an Australian Chamber Orchestra concert at the Victorian Arts Centre, and to catch up afterwards for a chat. “Derek Hynd and I are going to King Island, to surf without fins! Would you like to come and film it?” This is where I said: “Huh?” Then, walking through the cool Melbourne streets at 10.30 on a March Monday night, I began to ask questions. Later I wrote a two page treatment of what I thought they were trying to achieve, and what it could become. That treatment became Musica Surfica the Film.

Before I even began to get anywhere though, Richard said I had to meet Derek.

A week or so later Derek called me, we spoke for over an hour (which never happens with him) and then we arranged to meet in a little inner city Melbourne restaurant, to sound each other out. He was down to catch a Bells swell, had scored good waves and was to begin the thousand kilometre drive back to Sydney as soon as we’d eaten.

I was full of questions about how the hell you ride a board without fins, would they hold a trim, could you bottom turn, could you...well,... anything?

His answers were all... “yep”, ...except for the bit about could you do a cutback.

“Naaa, can’t really cutback, but I just head up toward the lip and do a three sixty.” Or nine, as I was soon to discover.

After dinner I was dying to find out what one of these things looked like and wandered back to his car on a dark, hooker filled Melbourne street. I stood agape in front of a couple of the strangest looking boards I’ve ever seen, not least because they were ridiculously short, so short in fact that they made the hookers miniskirts look positively Victorian.

Both around five foot eight, and pretty much reshaped knee boards with scallops in the rails, concaves and flutes on the bottoms, just subtle little experiments in drag and release. Derek had been thinking long and hard, and was experimenting in real time as he’s take a board home after a surf, scrape, grind and glass, take it back out, refining or discarding these strange little ideas on strange little boards generated in his strange, not so little mind.

Where these thoughts were taking him I had no real idea, but the scuttlebutt coming back from the coast was that he had been doing some weird, but very impressive things. To further confirm these impressions halfway through our meal a young guy came up to us, just having to compliment Derek on how good he had been surfing that afternoon.

Dropping backwards down an eight foot Bells wave and making it?

Getting tubed out there without fins or leg rope, and still rarely swimming?

I couldn’t wait to get to King Island.

To get there though required money and since I’d recently sold the family home to free up my life so that a dream or two might see the light of day, I had been prepared to throw, mad fool that I am, what I could at it. I’d called John Frank, of Litmus fame, to see if he might join me. A friend put me in touch with a freelance sound guy, Craig Johnson, who was to become a mainstay of the time down there. I got more and more nervous, wondering what the hell I was getting myself into, while I also marveled that it was actually happening to me.

And how would I ever make any money back? Stuff the money I thought back to myself. Things like this just doesn’t happen that often. In reality it had never happened before and could never, ever be repeated again, but I still didn’t know that, yet. I was on Cloud Nine, and didn’t really care.

Meanwhile, back on earth, wheels were turning.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra is a machine with many cogs, and one of the Big Cogs was Jessica Bloch, Assistant General Manager and a big fan of the treatment I’d written. She passed it on to a Board Member, who passed it onto his mate Kym Williams, head of Foxtel Australia, who passed it on to his documentary department who in turn decided they could help us. I suddenly had a (bit) bigger budget, and our team grew to include a producer friend of mine, Simon Whitney, who had a clue.... where I didn’t, and a mainstream director of photography. Tony Brennan didn’t have a clue about surfing, but did know how to shoot, and together with Jon they made a formidable team.

Two weeks later we were on King Island, and I was wondering what the fuck do I do now?

We did have plans, I’d shot listed certain scenes I wanted to get and my writing was all based around going with the flow with a vision of where I wanted it to all end up. With Derek running the surfing side of things it was very clearly, or it would soon become clear, really the Mad Cap Adventures of Dada Derek, as his deconstructionist tendencies nearly drove Simon mad, while I followed along, called waves for Tony, let Jon shoot surf from in the water and out to his heart’s content, and generally let things happen.

My God we were lucky.

Our first day at Martha’s, just hours after we landed, was high excitement for everyone. The atmosphere was electric as we unloaded the boards, boards so varied and in some cases, so damn beautiful, they begged to be ridden as, naturally, peoples’ internal visions of what they would do were, I imagined, spectacular and wildly successful.

When it came to the crunch though it proved to be wildly anything but. Wave after wave went by with fall after fall, until Derek... hit the water.

Almost the first wave he caught, a wedging peak rising from two feet to five saw him swing in a surprisingly tight trim and, climbing to its apex, suddenly throw five or six lightening fast three sixty degree turns before using the exit from the final spin to drive down the line and set up another display of surfing pyrotechnics.

At that moment I knew I had a movie.