Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Well now I might just stay away from the old poetry given the limited response. Beware the muse lurking in the bushes.

Still, my Dad liked it.

I had a pretty interesting weekend surfwise. Lured down south by my mate Rod (visit his site listed at left) I was lucky enough to be gifted with a pretty special few days.

Rod, Hazel, Tris, Marcus and Ben live at Port Campbell, an isolated fishing hamlet famous for the Twelve Apostles, and to us folks of the surfing persuasion, waves of the mighty and fine variety. This weekend we got both.

A late run down on Saturday meant no waves then but in the morning, after a lazy start, we headed off to surf a spot that is as famous for it's entry and exit as for the wave itself. Entry, via a 10 odd foot jump into a nook in the rocks, exit via two body sized caves that you attempt to crawl into while dodging the sets. The wave is a serious double up take off followed by a fast hollow wall. Heaps of power and fun.

Unfortunately, a bit crossed up as far as swell direction goes, and hard to find the right one, but I got one screamer, really happy, and with Joey filming from the cliff top, I thought 'you bloody beauty... a good one on film.' When I looked up at the end of the ride I realised the dear boy was gazing at the break across the channel through the zoom, and when I later saw the footage, he managed to get me paddling back after the ride. Those rides he did film confirmed my opinion of myself as a doddering old fool. Young Marcus, however, was seen to rip it to bits.

Next day though,I got up early and headed out for an early surf check.

On leaving Rod's there is a spot where you can check the bombies from the road as you drive, and as I rubbernecked down the road I noticed a fair amount of action.

Checked the obvious spot when this is the case and was greeted with a raging 10-12ft right, barreling off it's nut and no one out.

One guy drives up and begins to suit up and I dive back into the car and head back to get my 'other' board, since this needs more than a six two.

Driving back I start to question my motives... is this for fun, why are you doing this, should you do this, the last time you surfed here you had a two wave hold down, busted a board the time before that, it's a kilometre swim back to shore, there's effing big sharks all along this coast... blah bah blah.


I love this wave. Being out there, the cliffs, the sheer majesty as one of these things thunders's why I surf. One or two, a couple on the head, it's such a blast.

Needless to say my answer to self was 'yes, it's for fun, I do it for fun, yes I should, and shite there's only one guy out."

So down the track, get to the jump of spot, it's low tide and about 15 ft down to the barely covered rocks.

To get in you jump when a wave comes through, then paddle like hell. It's low tide and it looks really shallow and for the first time I'm shitting myself as there's far less water that usual. comes a set wave, out I go...(and... you've got to jump between a couple of rocks, it's a bit deeper there, and fall shallow).... hit the water and bang, my hand hits a rock on the way down but only sore for a minute or two, better hand than head, and out I go.

Four hundred yard paddle around and out to the lineup.

My old friend Russ (the break's most passionate surfer... he'll be out there onshore and what he calls fifteen but it's really bloody twenty), another local, and me.

Now I was feeling a bit tentative, but the first one I got was a bloody screamer, super long fast ride, and the 8'10 felt pretty good. Naturally I thought 'this is alright!' and shortly after paddled for another, stood up early and this time the thought was 'fuck this isn't looking too flash' as I was held for a moment in the lip, but leaned into a now sheer face... hoping for the best. An absolutely killer drop, and a couple hundred yards later I pulled out, didn't really remember the ride, but I smiled as I settled on to the board in front of another mate Richard, who'd just jumped in.

As it turned out those were my two best... Typically I got eaten a couple of times on take off sliding most of the way down the face as I watched the lip arc over me, and got lucky duck diving the 8'10 (it ain't easy) through a very big wave only to find a much bigger one about to get the lot of us. No one around me and no chance to get through so I turfed the board to the side and dove, looking up to see where the lip might land. It kaboomed just land side of me, the bounce somehow missed the board so minimal pull, and we both popped up without too much drama.

A few more reasonable ones, then I started to get tired and slower, so one more, then paddled across to the bombie on the other side of the channel and in. Sat out where I thought the take off might be, only to see this huge peak heading my way.

It broke way outside, so I turned thinking I'll snag the whitewater and just head in. Keep in mind I'm about 400 metres out from the cliff line so the free ride is gratefully received. Unfortunately this white water didn't sound, or look, quite right.

It had deep blue bits in it and roared.

My first impression..."this will be interesting" was confirmed as it steamrolled me and the board, end over end, before ripping it away and backing off shortly after. So a little more humbled I dragged myself in a bit further before catching a smaller one through the the inside break, and then on to the beach.

Then the 3 k walk back to the car.

Session time... in the water at 8.30 am. Back to car at 2.30 pm..

The place is an epic from start to finish.

Next day, after taking the kids for a more manageable surf/skate on the way home, I snagged a quick splash at Winki, at the time heavily populated with sickeningly hot pros, amongst them Jordy Smith, who seemed to be trying to alleviate the drought single handedly given the amount of water he was hurling skywards.

Needless to say the density of youthful vigour reminded me of my earlier perception of myself
as a doddering old fool.

Again no pictures so here, instead, is the next trailer from Musica Surfica.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A belated heading off down the coast ahead this morning. Friday's Easter traffic held no allure and the swell, though up, was affected by on-shores, plus I couldn't be stuffed.

So today, me and the two boys (excuse the grammar, but it is the case as I'm practically dragging Tom) are heading down without Mum (she wants us out of her hair) to the Deeper South, hopefully some waves, with the odd stop at skateparks (to pacify Tom). I'm struggling to reconnect him to the water, his love of concrete pretty intense at the moment.

I'd been thinking about what it is we love about our passions, and somehow, in the middle of the night, 'affectionate water' appeared in my head.

I tried to keep it there for the morning and the, oh god not another one, Poem Idea popped up.
So here folks, is my instinctive, flawed stab at....

Affectionate Water

Long horizon, distantly spread
before slow lifting lines
that lope towards me. A thread
leading long, strong and fine

To a foreign storm, cracking
Silently, lives away.
This salted wall, it’s gift, stacking
high as a breeze lifts

Lace from its face. I rise
to glide down the wind dappled
skin of The Wave, my eyes
searching for that curve graced

to send me on that slow
swift flight of joy and wanting,
lifting me to greet the throw
of the wave’s arc sculpting

this finest of curves, it’s caress
along chest arm and finger
the loving, threatening touch
of my blessed, affectionate, water.

The frame grab, though I've shown it before, is Heath Joske on an alaia from Musica Surfica.
It is appropriate as it will feature in the next trailer of the film, coming very soon, and is pretty much my favourite image from the film.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Well another week goes by and yesterdays surf a carbon copy of the pic in the last post, maybe a bit bigger. Highlight of the day,in a pathetic way, was me chasing down a lovely peak being pursued by Taj Burrow who wanted it almost as much as I did.

Thankfully I held him off, got it, and didn't stuff it up. Very nice wave, which I thanked him for afterwards. Friendly guy, absolutely ripping as you would expect. The water was littered with high quality surfing, given that Bells starts next weekend.

Not to get a too big a head, I did do my requisite flail down the face on a late one. Still, good practice for indo.

On another note, I've chosen a couple of clips from Musica Surfica to share. This one is part of the film's introduction to Derek Hynd.

Now if only I could get it to download in wide screen instead of the poxy compression that happens.

Anyway... Enjoy the clip!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Again, I feel like a man with one less arm.

This time because there are moments when you just wish you had that camera.

Since we shot Musica Surfica, one of the rituals that has developed is a concert tour Monday morning surf run with Richard Tognetti, Satu, and Julian Thompson, who was also down on King Island with us.

Dutifully, we trotted off and we were greeted by some lovely 3-4ft beachies at 13th, and everyone scored, amidst the frenzy of shifting peak barrels and a lot of fellow wave hunters. The joy of the shifty peak, naturally, is that sooner or later, one comes to YOU.

I managed to get 4 or five beauties and emerged a very happy chappie. Low wave count, high quality is not always a bad thing. Equally, I also had my mandatory couple on the head and flails down the face, but hey, I've just had a birthday that hurls me even further down the well of geriatric incompetence.

On returning to the car, though, I was greeted by a sight I never thought I'd ever encounter.

Standing in front of each other, bare chested and tensed, stood Richard, Lead Violin and Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, taking shots at the exposed six pack (and I use the term loosely) of one Julian Thompson, cellist.

Julian was in no danger, that's all I'll say.

Satu, wisely, was ignoring the shenanigans and reading a book.

Later that night Sue and I went to a sublime performance of the Orchestra, which, in typical ACO fashion, mixed Elgar with Radiohead. The events of earlier that day never quite left my head.

The shot is 13th, but from a carbon copy day sometime in the middle of last year.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Another week and this one a little more significant as I had another birthday.


Waves wise I was gifted with delightful weather and gutless crap, but managed to get wet, keeping the hounds at bay for another week.

As is the case with birthdays, though, I had the odd visitor to help me celebrate.

My mate Mo dropped by, and over a coffee we were having a bit of a laugh, me griping and sounding very much like my Dad as I moaned about the kids need to low ride... the belt of their jeans sitting two thirds of the way down their bum crack. I was being laughed down, the conversation lurched into our fashion disasters, with Mo confessing to glitter and eye makeup during his "Sly and the Family Stone' period. Mo's big, and black, and the mental picture had me packing up until he fixed me with a bemused glance and said...

"The dressing gown... that's all I'll say."


Nearly twenty years ago Sue and I had a very rough patch, and in that twilight zone before I actually moved out for a bit of a break, we were tolerating each other, but I was still 'around'.

On the day in question she'd come home and said she'd bumped into an old boyfriend, an actor, who she hadn't seen for ages, and was it cool by me if she had a catch up dinner with him.

No problem says I... I quiet night at home, watch a vid, all that.

So off goes Sue, I see the vid, it's winter, I'll hop into bed and read a book. Can't be bothered with that, start reading a surf mag, then pick up one of Sue's Women's Weekly's just because it's there. By this time it's a bit chilly so I've popped on Sue's Japanese print dressing gown as I don't have one and what the heck I'm by myself and yikes that some fart coming on so I let her rip and boy is it a paint peeler when I hear the door open and Sue saying..

"Come on in and meet Mick, he'd love to say hello'

and I'm going "No, no, noooooo ' inside and in walks this guy I've never met, who steps into the bedroom with me in an effing Kimono for Gods sake, and reading a Womens Weekly, and smelling like the Port-a-loo at a Hells Angels Convention.

We shook hands, he smiled weakly and backed out, right out... the door, and the house.

Never seen him again.

I was back with Sue six months later and Joey turned up about 10 months after that.

God I'm a smooth bastard.