Friday, July 31, 2009

Catholic guilt is a terrible thing.

Every time I nip down the waves when I think I should be working, or sneak in a surf after a meeting, I get consumed by 'maybe I shouldn't have done that'.

So last Wednesday, after the tastiness of the day before, I took myself off to confession at the Church of St Lippy the Glassy Walled. Old Father O'Barrellin' was taking confessions and as a true hard nut Oirish priest, he was driving a rock hard confessional this day. No room to move and the penances were merciless.

......Bless me father for oi have sinned ( I always slip into the Irish at church)... it's tree weeks since oi last had a decent splash.

That's no excuse son. Get on with it me boyo... What have you done?

Well fath'r, oi slipped off for a splash when oi shoulda been at a meetin'..

Go on, go on!!!

... and it was epic fath'r, breakin' from outside Rincon through the bowl, the new board was firin"

... this is naught goood!

... and on my first wave oi did a screamin' bottom turn into the biggest hack oi've done in years, followed by another off the bottom that had the fins a hummin', then oi slipped up into a noice little barrel and finished it off with a roundhouse and the sweetest of rebounds before a reo in the shorey.."

In the name of blessed St Thomas O'Blake 'tis wickedness, sheer wickedness young Michael.... how could ye?

How could I what fath'r?

How could you not call before before y'went down..? Oim - not - happy!

Sorry Fathr.

For penance it'll be tree dug rails, a blown take off and 4 caught insides. And you're lucky oi don't get yer to follow the example oi set that young Derek O'Hynd and not let him use his fins for three years!

Yer a hard man Fathr, tis true, but it hasn't seemed to stop our Derek.

Oi know m'boy, I always thought he'd come to no good and look at him now! Spinning round like the deevil stuck a merry go round up his ar... er... Never mind about that Derek. You'll thank me one day m'boy. Now what are you doin' on Sunday?

Welll Fathr, oi cannot tell a lie. The reports'r offshore... six to eight feet at 16 seconds.

Begorrah! Pick me up at dawn and could you throw in yer spare seven six? Oi think I'll need a bit of meat under me chest.

And so it was that the next day, yesterday, I had a pre meeting surf down on the Island, it was horrible and cross shore, I dug rails, had gimpy legs and managed half of one good wave. The old bugger got me. To top it off, late in the day on the way home I checked a few likely spots for some action, I'd run out of time and found a couple of secrets doing their thing.

I only hope the reports are right or penance will be surfing onshore slop for months.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Don't you love a good meeting? Especially when it is scheduled for a day with a few waves, and th emeetin is right by the surf?

Finally our drought of swell above three feet has broken, and while I didn't manage any mega barrels like my last surf (!!!!!) I did manage a few tasty waves yesterday on the new board. It goes great, maybe even phenomenally, notwithstanding the plonker who it has the misfortune of having as Ship's Captain.

Oh to see Kelly aboard.

Still I had a lot of fun and it took me to places I hadn't been for awhile (other than the bottom) until fatigue set in and old Mr Robot Legs possessed me as he usually does a couple of hours in.

Banyak buddies Rod and Justin shared the line up at different times and generally the crew were pretty mellow given the lack of waves preceding yesterday, so all was right with the world when I actually made it to the boardroom table. Well, kitchen table actually.

It was an informal meeting after all.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yesterday our west coast saw one of the most epic swells I've seen in years. Solid, easy 10-12 foot, sucking barrels. All time is under rating it as I was speechless.

I had some of the best waves of my life, though unfortunately the best wave was, after a long, on the edge tube run, brutal as it crushed me shortly after this doggy door exit.

Of course I utterly reject the insinuations of my 'friend' Richie, those insinuations relating to me allegedly photoshopping myself at reduced size onto a three foot wave.

The other chap in the photo was just unusually tall and he threw the apparent scale way out.

Or not.

The other shots are a little break we spotted on the high tide on the way home, dammit, and some old boofhead riding straight in at the end of our earlier session.

We photographed him on leaving the water and why someone of such advanced years even bothers to dip his toe in the water is beyond me.

He was riding a 5'10" speed dialer quad shaped by NZ guru Roger Hall, which he said was on loan from a kiwi pal.

Clearly he was delusional to even take the thing out in the water.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A fortunate alignment of the stars yesterday (perhaps it was the solar eclipse) conspired to have me down the coast for a work related meeting yesterday.

On leaving the meeting I noticed that somehow my new board and wetsuit had fallen into the back of the car, which not long after accidentally stopped in the Winkipop carpark above the first good waves in about six weeks.

I know, your jaws are agape at the coincidence.

You will appreciate then, my astonishment when I found myself, on my very first wave on my brand new board, getting a screamer from uppers all the way to near the valley, close to 200 metres, even managing a few turns that may have even drowned a bee.

Naturally I told the family it had been a bit of a tough day at work though I suspect I'll be explaining the sudden appearance of my wetsuit on the clothes line.

On another note, and a very happy one, I heard from Maurice Cole that his biopsy is in and he has been declared cancer free. Now that makes for a Happy Day.

Well done mate.

Pics. Winki via my iPhone post surf as Joey had nicked my camera from my bag, and a far better rendition of another day, via my dear, but mildly(!) eccentric pal Rod, who's Great Ocean Road Calendar 2010 will be out soon.

You can see why they call it the Great Ocean Road, or why this coast is called the Surf Coast. The view is from Boobs, through Winki to Bells and beyond. Get the calendar. It is full of goodies and sits well on any coast lover's wall.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dreams are what keep us going.

For years I've gazed out the window and wished for a place on the coast, and forever had it move quietly out of reach as kids, school fees, surf movies and a dear wife who loves the city keep me dreaming on.

Then you see things like this and wish it was yours, parked on a windswept corner of the earth gazing out over a storm wracked ocean, a coastline of nooks and crannies with hidden gems begging for footprints on untracked beaches.

Of rain on the roof and a cracking fire.

One day. I'd even let them bury me nearby at the end of it all.

Who designed it?

Find out here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I've never posted so often in such a tight space of time but I stumbled across something that needs a little attention.

Just recently I've been doing a little project for Maurice Cole. Within the job we snapped a history of his tow boards and since I've been spending some time with the lad (I can say that as we're the same age) I do know that a twin stringered board of his was borrowed and ridden in the incredible Kirra swell post Quiksilver contest by a certain Mr Slater. Apparently he loved the board.

So when I read that the latest run of boards Kelly is experimenting with are inspired by wake boards and manta rays.. well. No.

The shot at top left is the Twitter shot of K's new shapes. The next is Kelly at Kirra.

The concave shot is a tow board shot on the shaping stand last Friday.

Below them are a progression of MC's more recent carbon fibre tow boards. The one at far right is Tom Carroll's new board.

And two posts down is my board. Look closely at the tail and you'll see the shape ( as opposed to the glassing) is also the same crescent configuration. Maurice calls it a Swat tail (half swallow, half bat).

So credit where credit is due. No more. No less.

A post a day after I've already done one?

Well.. for a good cause.

Every couple of months the ACO tours Australia, and when they hit Melbourne Richard, Satu, Julian and I try to catch up for a surf. Next month though, Victorian surfers are in for a treat as we've managed to organise, with the help of my mate Marky, a showing of Musica down the coast at Barwon Heads, and a performance by the three above luminaries in the Barwon Heads Town Hall.

So if you're on the west coast, or feel like taking a weekend down there, you'll get Musica Surfica, plus Richard, Satu, and Jules playing some wonderful music afterwards.

Proceeds of the night go the the 13th Beach Boardriders and the Barwon Heads Fine Music Society. Now that is a marriage made in heaven.

Oh.. and we'll be selling the film too.

Get in fast and give Mark a call as tickets are flying out the door.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The west coast of the States is in for a little treat soon as Vicco shaper, rabble rouser and restless creative Maurice Cole is headed over there for some treatment for his cancer (which is going well) and to make an appearance at Sacred Craft, do some interviews and show off some boards.

Those interested in seeing something very different in three fin land should check him out. He has a lot to say. In fact it's pretty hard to shut him up.

Since he was disappearing as of today (he's in the air now) he finished off a board he's promised me for awhile now and I think this one is a bit special. Partly because it's mine, mine, mine!... but also there's a bit of that ephemeral magic about it that tells me it's a keeper.

Look carefully and you'll see it is also subtly asymmetric, with more curve, fin set further back and with more toe in on the heel side (I'm regular foot), and more drive off the toe side.

Of course the proof is in the pudding so I guess I'd better give it to Kelly instead of wasting it on Mr Wobbly.
6'3" x 20.25" x 2.75". You might think too thick and too wide but these boards will wail in 8ft Bells. They are pretty special. Very complex curves, huge concave, slightly dished tail to get the back foot closer to the water and meat under the chest.

It's also insanely strong. Glassed with aeronautic epoxy and a PU blank that I CANNOT dent - try as I might.

Now if only I could do something other than look at it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Not just for the sake of posting, here is a little bit of footage I discovered of Derek Hynd shot a week or so back.

The dear boy is still at it. Three weeks in JBay filming for Jack McCoy. Half his luck.

At about 27secs the rail grab bottom turn he does is out of this world, and you get a sense of the speed he's getting as your compare him to the poor soul he drops in on in the beginning.

As for us down here in Vicco, it's cold, onshore and either fat or flat.

Next week holds promise.

Derek Hynd, Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. 26/06/09 from Yves Van den Meerssche on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Way back when the kids were little my oldest, Joey, was a Batman freak.

He never got out of his Bat suit, and I still have stashed away about ten plastic Bat masks, all stuck together with sticky tape, each one a study in the trials and tribulations of Applied Batness. The little chap lived the part.

He'd draw him, we had bat ropes out the back, and bat hides through the house.

Around the same time I was the proud owner of a custom 7'6" Wayne Lynch gun, a lovely board I enjoyed most at one of our deep south breaks, one I've referred to before, sometimes called Boneyards, or Elevators, and most popularly, Massacre. It's a break with a lot of history, the good ship Falls of Halladale lies on the bottom in the channel, and the point it sits off is the site of an appalling atrocity against the local aborigines in the days of early settlement.

So it has its ghosts, plenty of atmosphere and it's a bloody fun wave too, grunt in spades, rarely crowded and it will hold a lot of size.

One fine day, must be at least ten, twelve years ago, I was enjoying a belter of a session, well I think it was until I did get really belted, and came up to find half a board attached to my leg, and no sign of the other half..

After recovering from the near drowning and making my way in (which is no picnic at this place) I searched high and low for the front half, but it was as if it had been absorbed by the sea, which, fortunately, I hadn't. I wasn't happy because it meant I couldn't get it stuck back together, and I had already begun to enjoy the thought of the repair, given I have this theory that boards for bigger waves go a bit better heavy.

Still I kept the half I had, maybe to salvage the fins, maybe because I simply hate throwing things away. Not long after, struck by a let's give the kids something to do.. or was it more, I've got a bright idea, I said to Joey.. draw me your best Batman!

Proudly presenting me with the drawing I proceeded to transpose it, with a bit of poetic license, onto the board.

It has decorated the house since and it is one of our precious things.

Here he is, in all his Batness, as painted by me, Joey and Tom, circa 1997.

One day the other half is going to turn up. I just know it.