Sunday, December 27, 2009

Two posts in one day? What's all this about?

Well... Ages ago I'd begun
some webisodes for Maurice Cole. A lack of access to the edit suite I use due to a feature being cut in there meant it was taking way longer than it should have, so in the end I bought Final Cut Pro, mad fool that I am, and did the final little bit of cutting myself as my good mate and editor Tony was out of town. Reacquainting myself with it in ways other than sitting next to the editor was bracing, but I got it out in the end.

Tales from the Chook Shed will become a series, as we reveal the innermost workings of the mind of master shaper Maurice Cole. MC is a man you can't shut up, nor would you want to as when on a roll he is a very entertaining, and informative guy. His drum is his own, the beat unique.

This episode features an epic wave from Ross Clark Jones, at Voldemort. I'm calling it Voldemort because it's real name is off limits, as is the coast it's on.

In the coming episodes we'll have a history of tow boards, Nick Carroll's thoughts on what Maurice is doing, and some epic waves from Mordor.

For the kiddies I've bleeped most of the expletives, though for me it's all part of the fun.

Well I'm glad that's over.

A fun Christmas but the palaver gets a bit full on at times and the kids are getting past the "what presents have we got?" stage so it's more a matter of getting through it and touching base with a scattered family and looking forward to a much anticipated but perhaps economically inadvisable break.

Off to our the South Coast of NSW again, pray for waves and all that.

I can't wait.

The shots: Joey just having dragged himself out of bed, in his pj undies and showing us his copy of Benjamin Button, while Tom gathers himself for some paper tearing. An accident of perspective has Joey a little more large, relatively, than he actually is, though this time next year I suspect some catching up will have taken place on Tom's behalf.

And a group shot of my three, at the beginning of what was a fun Christmas day.

To all of you out there, I hope yours was too, and more, please have have a safe beginning to, and a prosperous and more importantly...happy, healthy 2010.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Usually at this time of year it's as much the Silly Season in the surf as out, mostly in the negative as the waves are flukey, winds the same, and crowds escalate with the onset of the holidays. A time when the poor souls who get less chance than even me to sample aquatic delights get their moment in the sun.

The past few days then have been decidedly blessed, with a series of swells and for some odd reason, not too many in the water.

Yesterday, try as I might, I had no takers to accompany me down. Joey working at the theme park and being stalked by cougars, Tom skating or going for another prison interview, Richie family bound for Christmas and me losing heart under the stream of no's and hitting the road by myself.

But I did stop for the obligatory coffee and croissant.

We Victorian surfers are tray sofistakated.

Anyway, blow me down if the 2-3 ft light onshore forecast turned into 4-5feet with the odd bigger set, glassy to light onshore and barely anyone out. What started out at maybe 15 or so out at Bells ended up at perhaps 5, it was pretty damn consistent, the crowd genial and the water balmy.

I can't say I ripped (in fact decidedly not) but I did emerge from the water smiling before I tripped over my leg rope and face planted in front of a bunch of tourists as I struggled out of the shore break.

My internal dialogue went something like...

"Ah yes, here's the brave surfer negotiating the mighty Bells shorebr.. oooops...splat.."

My cool days are long gone.

The pics: near empty Bells from Friday, Bells from yesterday with a longboard swish, and Winki through the railings, the shot taken not even bothering to wait for a set.

Friday, December 18, 2009

This year has passed like stars behind the Starship Enterprise at warp 9.

Or is that our lives?

Today gifted me with one of my more fun time passing markers in the form of a visit by my violin master mate, Richard. In town for a short concert series, and barely able to rise after a 3.30 bedtime caused by a way over time afterparty (and possibly too many glasses of red) he was still up for a near to 6.30 pick up and run to Bell's where we were surprised to find a rising swell with some sets well over twice the three feet forecast.

My finless was taken for a literal spin by Rich, why I opted for the 6'2" thruster before going in and swapping for the small alaia and a salad toss couple of waves.

Then the legs started to cramp.

It's a long way out the back at Bells when all you have is the legs to kick about.

Bodyboarders. Respect.

One screamer across the bay where I did hold a line gave some thrills before I lost my little wooden edge and was buffeted right up the beach.

The net result was a varied session amongst a friendly though diminishing crowd.
Pics of Rich as he came in after I left the water a little earlier that normal due to the odd crampy leg or three.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My first run on the alaia yesterday and I got blasted to Mars and back.

At slightly overhead Bells, onshore and bumpy, though uncrowded, my intentions were well above my beginners abilities. Visions of elegant high speed trims knew a reality oh so different. Even paddling the thing is an epic, let alone catching a wave.

Eventually though, I did snag the odd one, though standing up was an unfulfilled ambition, and a remote similarity to a trim for about a foofteenth of a second was about the best I could do.

Afterwards I thought it best to consult with Jarrah Lynch, son of Wayne and local alaia wizz. His counsel was to start a little smaller, and belly board, just like he did.

So there is hope.

The pic. Me as taken by Richie, staggering up the stairs after flailing for two and a half hours. He'd run back to the car to get a snap of me riding.. hahahahaha... but got this shot instead, cutting the sparsely foliaged top of my head off in the process. Please don't judge me too harshly at taking the non purist line of having a leggie. There is no way I was going to paddle all that way only to swim back in.

Stop Press. I've been meaning to give a shout out for Jaimal Yogis new venture. A film of his book Saltwater Buddha. Having surfed with Jaimal, face planted in front of him, read the book and knowing what a good soul he is, I think this will be something worth waiting for.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A post for posting's sake, it's a late Friday afternoon so why not?

The day before yesterday I slipped down for a splash, shoulda, shoulda, shoulda gone out at Winki as despite the crowd I think I'd have done better. After four and a half hours I'd still not managed a wave by myself at Bells. Very pretty, but very inconsistent with the accompanying frustrations.

A lot of guys on longboards doing the, "I've got a big board and I can catch anything I want' thing, and me imitating a cork named Bob wishing I hadn't sold the 9'2".

Still, it was sunny, and warm.

On leaving the water I was having a chat with one of the offending longboarders, a friendly German guy who was on a solo 'round Australia trip. He could surf ok too, having learned on the North Sea and the Baltic.

I had one of those once by the way. Took ages to kill it.

Ball Tick.

Never mind.

Anyway, the interesting thing with him was his other board..

Stashed in a bag, and with the wrong fin in it...

A beautiful 7'2" Liddle hull. In Australia there are more hen's teeth.


"Where the hell did you get that!!??"

"Dubai. I paid toooo hondred euros. Do you sink I vas ripped arff?"

The pic is the Winki I shoulda, shoulda paddled out to.

PS: I'm blaming the longboards but really I'm just an old plonker.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Launch occurred for the little alaia on Saturday.

My legs are buggered as the measly pins haven't been kicking anything more strenuous than kid's backsides for ages, though that particular workout I suspect needs arcing up at present.

Richie and I did the usual morning run via coffee and a muffin, the Bells/Winki lineup packed and pretty average, so we opted for a little beachy down the road a bit, one guy out, with shifting peaks and lots of waves.

Simply wearing fins and riding a piece of wood was a change, and I'm happy to say the board flies, holds a high line, turning pretty well too. It did everything I asked and given the waves weren't thumping barrels, I must say I can hardly wait to find some.

Two hours later I was knackered, cramping in the calves and my favourite bit of all, bellying right up the beach with my arms out like superman, is just as much fun as the last time I did it.

Also over the weekend I finally finished shaping the big alaia. I will, hopefully, complete the oiling and drying process over the next few days. In the shots it is at coat three with two more to go, so... not long now.

It is pretty though. I think I'm in love.

The other little addition is a hand plane I roughed out from the one off cut large enough. It features a full length concave and chine wings, all design elements based on flakey hunches.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A week down the track and the second alaia is underway while the first just needs a final coat of oil before launching.

The big one, at around 6' 4" is proving challenging. A slight lack of aesthetic appeal saw me making an adjustment in the tail from my first plan, the new one pictured more appealing to my aged slits of eyes and, hopefully, more functional, though two inches shorter.

They say if it looks good it probably is, so my fingers and other appendages, both crossable and not, are crossed.

Work that one out.

In the next few days I should be able to post reports on their hydrodynamic qualities, though I may try and find someone who actually knows how to ride one... for a more technical report.

As an aside, the waves have been pretty average, so no surf shots, though I did get a quick splash last Friday with son Joey and his mate Tom.

By ourselves at small Boobs, near Bells (don''t ya love the names we give our breaks? It could have easily been Tiny Tits, near Ding Dongs) we had a great time lolling about, laughing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You'd think after 40 years I'd have made a board for myself at least once, but alas. Noop.

I've helped out on a couple, in a minor way, and in my grommity (both young and aged) hanging round the surfshop days I've certainly watched more than few take shape.

Circumstance and space have been my shackles, but the advent of wood is good, and I wanted to make real a promise to myself.

Over the last couple of days though I've been working on my first alaia. Summer holidays on the coast are coming up and a chance to play meant now was the time. Last week I picked up two paulownia blanks. Over the weekend I hit the computer, worked up a few templates and printed a likely suspect out for number one.

I opted wide, fine and four feet long, my rationale being I have room to shave off some width if necessary, and a paipo-ish first cap off the rank. The soft fish shape was partially ergonomic, with some nice soft curves to rest my guts on and an extended rail line because it looks nice. Bottom line is a concave running into a rounded top third. It is still to be finished and made good though it's pretty symmetrical for a first go. I was surprised how much fun it is.

Kinda like artful exercise.

Tom Wegener has given me the good oil on the right oil, so next time you see it it should be quite pretty. Now to think on a name.

Tools were a spoke shave, block plane, saw, and surform.

How it rides remains to be seen but so far I think number two will be twice as much fun.. since it's pretty much twice as big.

I'm already imagining myself striding manfully across the beach with my little piece of wood.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A couple of weeks back I had an out of the blue email from the Chairman of Stoke Appreciation Society, the wonderful Eef, of

Those of you who don't know Eef would do well to go to that gentle place, his blog full of the happiest skulls and crossbones, tattoo motifs and scary stare-y eyes. He is, in my humble opinion, one of the great surfers of the world, if only because he seems the most appreciative of what he has. Onshore, cold, slop... week in, week out, and when the waves get overhead he shits himself, but take a look at one of his movies or his flakily beautiful paintings and you know he's found a happy place inside.

But I digress.

Eef perceptively noticed I was perhaps a little down, and offered to 'up my stoke' by sending me one of his hand boards.

Yesterday it arrived.

My stoke was upped. Oldest son Joey was very generous with his expletives when he saw it, so much so that I can't print what he said here and he was sent to his room without his supper.

Try that with a 6'2" 94 kilogram 17 year old.

I'm a brave man.

Eef. You're a legend. Thank you.

So to other legends.

The day before yesterday, in a desperate attempt to get a wave after a waveless weekend brought on by duty and a wedding, I did an early morning run with my Australian Chamber Orchestra pals, Richie and Julian,in the hope of catching a new but fleeting swell before a big wind shift. Alas, it beat us, the waves were crapp ( so bad they needed two p's)... soooo we popped in to say hi to Maurice Cole, and allow Richard T to order a board.

When we arrived, MC was in the final scrapes on Ross Clark Jones' new tow board for Jaws.

His fifty foot and over board.

It was a leaf.

5' 11" by three fifths of fuck all.

And it was quite ... beautiful.

Shots: Richard and Julian from the ACO gas bagging with Maurice, (ie listening without getting a word in edgeways) Eef's Great White Handboard, and RCJ's Magic Carpet to Hell.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In case no one has noticed, and I'm sure everybody has, there seems to be a trend/movement/explosion in creativity at a pavement level.

I've just had an email exchange with Tom Wegener, with part of its thrust being the amount of work done for love or exploration. In his case, and mine, it is the surfing world, be it making alaia's, making surfing movies, or doing this... writing.

To survive though, Tom has the joy of falling back on his finned boards to supplement the historic explorations. I do mean historic in both senses of the word, too. As Tom studies history he is making it, the past informing the present, creating an unlikely, surprising, future.

For me, advertising work is it, though that avenue seems as dry as a witch's tit.. if you'll excuse my french.

Paying the bills is an issue that won't go away.

Still we persist, I get more joy out of this blog than I ever did out of my career industry. The friends I've made, real or imagined, have more to give, with very dear exceptions. As I found out on my trip this time last year to the US, when you get there the people are real, they're not just one's and zero's but delightful flesh and blood.

All trying to do something beyond the grind, beyond their little patch, or in spite of it.

And so to those who do something within their patch, but under cover of darkness.

A few months back I went on a photo jaunt through the lanes of Melbourne, looking at the graffiti, trying to get my head round the whole thing. Having watched it in a cursory way since the early seventies when the wall scrawlings of choice were either political or sexual, the explosion today I find fascinating, infuriating and beautiful, all at the same time.

The infuriating is the indiscriminate, rubbish tagger, notably when it's on my front fence, which in principle is vandalism... and when I lose all the skin of one hand using the graffiti remover without gloves.

But then you see one tag wittily put up, and the wry smile surfaces, despite myself.

The fascinating and beautiful part, though, is a personal thing, and time needs to be taken to see it.
It helps to take shots and make your own assessments later. I did, and today, months after taking the shots, I had a look and saw things I'd missed before. There's an archaeology of graffiti emerging as over the years the tags, paste ups and pieces of artist's past become icons, as long as some new kid on the block with no knowledge of what has gone before doesn't tag over the top of a bit of brilliance.

These are some shots from a couple of the lanes of Melbourne.
I kind of love this stuff, and every time you go back you find something new. An evolving social phenomenon that is going to have to be accommodated as it will not go away, clearly, despite the fact that the powers that be have now, here, decided to make it a lockup offense to be found carrying.. 'the tools of trade'.

Monday, November 09, 2009

It's been a sunny day in Victoria. Really sunny.

It will continue like that for the week.

Mid thirties for five days straight forecast and it's not even summer.

There will be small fun waves and most of us will be stuck in hot offices.
Yesterday I wasn't, so we hit it to the coast, checking a raft of breaks, with one not quite as good as the last and always some excuse not to paddle out. It was one of those lovely, hot, offshore days where every where we went wasn't quite good enough.

When we finally made a decision, based on years of experience , of.... "well when the tide turns that bank will fill, the gutter will get deep enough and it'll be epic..."

Well yaa poo sucks to us as it just got worse and worse.

Dropping swell, rising tide, and for me the malaise of hitting the fitness type exercise so much the day before I had bugger all left in my tank and could have been drowned by a high diving mosquito.
I chose a right that showed promise, which promptly filled up and become riddled with rip. Two waves.

Paddled over to the left nearby. Rip followed me and the left turned to rubbish. One close out.

Paddled in and walked up the beach. Flat right got flatter.

We should've paddled out at the first place we checked. In comparison it was going off.
Next time, drive up, don't look and paddle out. The pics are the crowded crap we walked away from..

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The first Tuesday in November, in Victoria, is a public holiday. For a horse race.

The Melbourne Cup.

All of Australia stops to watch the $5,000,000 race, it seems, and it is a very good way to do your money. Every year we have a bet, though this year I couldn't have given a hoot, as we've never won a cent and the favourites rarely get up. So I found out about the win on the news.

Instead, I went for a splash and had a nap late in the afternoon. Though there was swell, it was blowing a gale, and once out the back I could barely see on takeoff. Couple that with old man legs, which afflicted me for some godforsaken reason, and my first three waves were laughable. Finally kicking into gear a few half decent rides were managed, but a fishy board would have been more the go as the waves were flat and pretty uninspiring. Around the corner at Winki it looked more interesting, but only... looked. Sections dropping down forced very short rides and most likely shorter tempers.

So a windblown couple of hours of exercise was the order of the day.

The shots are crowded Winkl under cloud, and a chap I snapped about to paddle out with a decidedly unusual quad set up. I didn't see him on a wave so can't comment on the performance. And Joe, with Sue, pre-Halloween party.

We don't even celebrate it in Oz, but any excuse for a party.

Oh .. and one more thing. I've been doing the odd bit of writing for Drift, and also for Phoresia. The Phoresia article, on Musica Surfica participant Sage Joske, is not yet up but should be by the end of the day (Dave?) It's worth a read as Sage is a very engaging and interesting guy. As for Drift, there is also a Joske-esque tilt to the latest contribution, as I've detailed the lovely agave board made by his father Paul from a couple of posts back.

Monday, November 02, 2009

After the fun of last Monday with Richard Tognetti, I repeated the exercise on Wednesday, again with Richard as he had the rare pleasure of time off in his all too familiar stupid schedule.

The waves were the same as pictured below, only better. Three to five feet, six or seven guys out, three at one stage, consistent and light offshore to glassy. We had a ball, and swapped boards a bit as Rich was anxious to try my new Maurice Cole, just to see. He loved it and has ordered two, one finned, one finless.

For a while there, though, while riding my old board with new board legs, I managed one of the best off the tops I've done in years, so much so a young guy copping the brunt of the spray hooted me. At least I think it was a hoot.

Perhaps he was just laughing.

What a cracker of a surf though. So good in fact that I gave all thought of surfing over the weekend the flick, and devoted time to errant sons, fatherhood and a little bit of work.

Guilt was the other reason though. As soon as I surf when I think I should be working it hits me big time. Even when there's no work. Of course I'd rather be gazing at a screen than basking in the refreshing sprinkle of water drops floating on an offshore breeze.

Pics. Tom on his fixie.. what a strange business fixie riding is, and another "me" shot, via Steve Ryan and some colour experimentation, just to even things up.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Every so often a weekend comes along that is just, well, different.

Saturday morning, with a friends wedding imminent in the afternoon, I headed off to get some exercise, the non surfing exercise in my life being a visit to the gym where I flog my heart out on a rowing machine for 20 minutes, try to die, then quickly whip across to an exercise bike where I repeat the process so that my combined cardio time adds up to 40 minutes, the gym is awash, then I do some light surf related weights.

Boring as batshit, but I persist.

So this day I spot my friend Dave as I walk towards the torture chamber.

Now Dave is nudging 70, fit as a bull, veteran of more marathons than Phiddipides and the possessor of very gimpy knees.

We always chat for a bit and he asked me to meet his wife.

I spent the next half hour listening to the most extraordinary tale of a childhood in a Japanese concentration camp on Sumatra, her father's adventures during this time, her recent news of contracting breast cancer, and her desire to tell the stories of their lives, just in case things go pear shaped.

Naturally this conversation put me off the exercise a bit, but I struggled through it, headed home and then off to the wedding.

There Sue swanned about saying "Champagne, champagne for everyone!!!" to no one in particular, with me hoping like hell she didn't appropriate most of it for herself as give that girl a party and champers and watch out world. (and Mick)

The next day it was surfless but late in the day I had a visit from Sage Joske and his father, Paul.

The Joske's are on of our great surfing families, Paul a master craftsman and the boys, Sage and Heath, phenomenal surfers.

Both came to King Island for Musica, and I have become good friends with the family. They are lovely people, and the boards they had with them had me gobsmacked.

Paul has made an agave gun for a friend, and this board has to be seen to be believed. Astonishingly beautiful. I will be posting some making of shots later, but my snaps with Paul gingerly holding it give some indication of the craftsmanship. It deserves to go into a professional studio to be shot but I suspect the next time it is photographed it will be well waxed up and on a wave.

The other board is an experiment of Sage's. An alaia fish, this is a detail. He added the minute fins as an experiment and reports its performance as 'interesting'.

Yesterday, I had the day off 'work' (hahahahahahahaha), and took Richard Tognetti for a splash. A very funny morning, for as a classical violinist he makes a good impression of one of the loons from Jackass. We managed an enjoyable surf on a mildly crowded but punchy Island reef.

Friday, October 23, 2009

One thing I now know for sure.

Never put a picture of your twenty one year old self on your blog when that day was some (cough splutter) years ago.

Seems people get a fright.

A small new venture has opened up for me, in fact a couple, neither of them earners, but great fun. That wonderful online magazine out of the UK,
Drift has asked me to contribute the odd bit of blather. Two articles into my contribution history, regular readers of these (yes, you two) pages will notice I am sort of revisiting things I've touched on before, being my travels in the Olden Days, and adventures with kids.

They say write about what you know, so the past is always good for me, and kids have my permanent attention anyway.

That other bastion of things that interest surfers with a brain, Phoresia, has also been in touch, having asked me to do an article on Musica Surfica stalwart and cover star, Sage Joske. I've sent Sage a raft of questions to ponder in his own time, but since he is busy shaping legions of beautiful boards, his words lie dormant at the end of a blunt pencil.

He's down in Vicco come Monday though so I keep my fingers crossed he is the bearer of some crumpled paper, hopefully well marked.

Back to Phoresia, and I must say congratulations in a public forum to dear 'old' Ras, Rick Salcedo over on the KuYah blog.

I met Ras and his co-Phoresian Dave in New York last year, they are great guys and now Ras is the proud father of Moe Kingston. All good with Mum and Moe so I think there might be a rainbow over Halifax this week.

Happy days.

The pics today are my page at Drift, the shot used the partner of the Phoresia masthead. I had to use it as it is just a dream shot. .... And new Dad with young Moe, looking pretty sleepy while dad tickles him with his beard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What news do you report when there's no news to report?

Well, actually, there have been some developments, none reportable yet, and none of them, unfortunately, in my bank account.

Buy Musica Surfica!!

The surf had been crapparoony (I assume there are two p's, and the L is silent as in river) so a very abbreviated splash with Richie on Sunday saw minute and very busy Rincon Bells.

A few waves were caught by me, none with much panache, though I did have a nice chat with an English marine biologist out surfing a Fourth Gear Flyer mat, which is an unusual sight in these here parts. Very nice chap but he did not have a clue about the drop in rule. Every bloody wave in front of someone. Still, not to worry. It was not worth getting at all bothered by.

My youngest, I mean Tom, has found himself in more hot water. This time at school with a major indiscretion involving gun running or some such.

I do exaggerate, of course, but another hoop to jump through for us, and him, as we lurch through the teens.

So yesterday we went for a bike ride after dinner, along the bay and up to a hill overlooking the sea. With Melbourne in the distance, I snapped a pic of the lad with my iPhone, techno head that I am, and later applied a filter via CameraBag (neato software that gives Helga and Lomo camera style results, great fun for happy accidents...) Anyway, below is Tommy and his new bike.

On looking at it I saw something familiar. I dived into the archive and found a 1975 shot of me at art school, 21 years old, a year before I had my face rearranged in a car smash that meant I never quite had my nose or right eye pointing in the quite same directions again. Tom will always be a tad lighter than old fatboy, but we do look alike.

Lovely boy for a devil.

The other shot is the drivel of Bells, filtered to look pretty.

And speaking of pretty, what do you reckon about the first generation Beachcomber Bill thongs, and the genuine Australian Army surplus pants cut down to shorts, preempting cargo's by thirty years? I can't remember what brand the T-shirt was but it did have a pocket. Also note the St Bede's College school bag that I continued to use for several years after I left.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

There are days and there are days.

A few weeks back the swell in this rather eventful year hit overdrive, with Bells and it's environs occupying an intense purple patch on the swell maps. Four metres at twenty to twenty two seconds saw close to if not twenty foot wave faces.

Only surfing could mix it's measuring systems so perfectly.

Nearby... or should I say somewhere else in Victoria, those who cared knew it was going mad, with waves nearly twice as big. Since we know that wave power is proportional to the wave period and to the square of the wave height, this meant it was packing a mighty punch.

Particularly in the morning. While the tide was low and the wind offshore, the sun not yet hidden by approaching clouds, this wave was a magnificent thing, and luckily someone was there to capture it.

Who, I'm not saying, as a protective bunch of locals have declared it sacred, not to be photographed, though those up to it are free to ride it.

The fact that it has had feature spreads in multiple magazines over the years , is in every surf guide known to man, and is located on a major tourist route seems to mean nothing. It is no real secret, but in deference I'll not name it.

It is one of the more self editing waves in Australia, if not the world, by dint of (in)consistency, isolation, relative cold, and the fact that to get in you jump off a 15 foot cliff into fuck all water. It's a quarter of a mile paddle from there to the take off. To get out of the water, broken board or not, you have a paddle of a mile along a hundred foot cliff line, then a dash across a black channel criss-crossed by the odd chum smeared fishing boat that's been working a coast that could be referred to as the highway one of Australia's great white shark population.

If you fuck up you rescue your self. End of story.

The intimidation factor alone would be sufficient for most if the wave height wasn't enough.

I've never seen it really crowded.. maybe eight or ten in the water at a maximum, and when it get's to tow in size, just a few teams work it, if any.

So why am I sticking up a shot?

Because it is beautiful, and at times something needs to be honoured for what it is, regardless of politics.

The surfer is Ross Clark-Jones, on a four hundred yard run, fleeing a freight train. Maurice Cole made the board.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In one of my last posts I moaned that every shot I ever see of me seems to be a bottom turn. Imagine my joy then when a couple of snaps from Steve Ryan turn up with me in the top third of the wave. Alas no hell snap or alley oop inverted whatever, but at least the view is different.

So when you do scroll down, you'll see me taking off!!!! ..... and... trimming!!!!!!!!

God I'm good.

The other shot, at the bottom, follows on from my last post about Maurice Cole. It's snapped on a phone by 'anonymous' and it is 'somewhere' near Melbourne.

It's quite large.

When you see the webisode I'm doing for him you'll see bigger (in moving pictures) if only I could get some edit suite time.

As for the rest of life, Beelzebub has transmuted into that demon thingo Hellboy fought in his last movie, though this picture is in his nice, pupal stage.

Spare me fourteen year olds.

The lunatic has bought himself a fixie (fix wheel track bike) and in 7 days has worn out the back tire, gone over the handlebars and told me I know nothing about anything because everyone wears out their back tires. The road in front of our house resembles the starting grid at a dragstrip.

And I'm an idiot.

I do love him though.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Yesterday I had the pleasure of showing Saltwater Buddha author Jaimal Yogis a little of our coast as we headed for a splash at one of my favourite spots.

The waves behaved, he caught a stack of them and it seemed to be a highlight surf for him. I surfed crap and he probably thinks I'm a gumby, but it was sunny, uncrowded and if I can't provide the comedy life ain't worth living.

The great thing was I think he leaves Australia thinking it's not half bad.

The shots. One I snapped just before the paddle out shows Jaimal in a very yogic pose, in reality just a timing issue as he stretched but I had to laugh when I actually looked at it. The other, the peak opposite the better one we actually surfed. It did go cross shore not long into it but who's to complain?

I must also here add an apology to my youngest brother Pat.

Last week before the Big Game, he organised a shout out to me from Afghanistan, where he is posted with the Australian Army. I chose not to mention it in the last game related blog post as I didn't want to draw attention to his whereabouts but it seems I should have, judging from the comment he left.

So Pat, thanks mate. Maybe you pulled the Cats over the line, much to Maurice's disappointment. I was pretty stoked though.

To see Pat's shout out, along with a few other Australian soldiers and one rather attractive American service 'man', click here.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I've always liked the way Garrison Keillor begins his stories.

It was a sunny day in Lake Wobegon.

Not so Victoria today. It's cloudy, onshore and I haven't posted for a bit, when I should have.

Jaimal Yogis had his book launch last Thursday, and it was different to say the least as he led the twenty five odd attendees through a very 'calming in the middle of town' meditation which set the tone for a gently amusing reading from his book.

An impressive young guy, and it looks quite likely we'll be getting a splash together tomorrow, with fun wave possibilities to boot.

Changing the subject, I have recently been sent some snaps from Steve Ryan, resident west coast surf photographer.

Steve has a been a presence on our coast, and on the pages of the magazines for decades. He snapped me falling (literally) down a twelve foot wave that made it into print nearly twenty years back, and I've been waiting for the day when he'd do me the honour of snapping a shot where I wasn't buggering it up. As my wave riding ability star was never as bright as most others in the surfing firmament, it has taken a while, but as you can see from last weeks post the day finally arrived.

He's been sending me a few lately, all bottom turns meaning clearly have no game off the top, which is not what you could say about another 55 year old I know.

Maurice Cole is two weeks younger than me, and has had a hell of a lot more battles in his life that most people could fit in to two. The most recent has been the ongoing battle with prostate cancer (which seems to been beaten, though the bills haven't), the death of his dear old dog Taz, as well as other deaths in the family and his ongoing battle with bureaucracy and the care of his beloved Bells.

To top it all off last weekend we had the Australian Football League Grand Final, between the St Kilda Saints and the Geelong Cats.

Now our game is a tough mother of a battle at the softest of times, a massive arena, with big, fast guys and a lot of blood. It was one of the great games of the last few years and it was a nailbiter.

Maurice is a rabid Saints supporter, so much so that on game days if he is not AT the game, he stands alone in a darkened room, scarf around the neck, telly in front, and screams at the set for an hour and a half.

After leading for all but the last ten minutes, last week the Saints lost.

MC was devastated. If you go to his blog today you will see he has decided 'that he will not be taking orders from Geelong Football Club Supporters until further notice". Everyone in Torquay barracks for Geelong.

It's that bad.

As the week has passed he has mellowed. By Christmas people may get the chance to put in an order.

But if you are in the US and attending the Sacred Craft show, Maurice will be there, with a flotilla of magic boards (and they are) to show. Say hi if you do make it along, and as they stay, light the blue touch paper and stand back for the fireworks. He's a very entertaining guy to listen to but don't expect to get a word in edgeways.

Now back to Steve Ryan. Maurice was the target of his lens a few weeks back and unlike me, Maurice went off the top as well, laying some beautiful lines. The shots are taken on a dropping swell at Winki. On a six foot board, he is wailing. When I saw the shots I thought how often do you see a fifty five year old cancer patient doing what you see in these pictures? This time last year he was given a death sentence and this is not what I call taking it laying down.

So the shots.

A couple of snaps from the Big Game courtesy of the Melbourne Age, some hits of MC at Winki, and me again that Steve sent me last night, from about a month back.