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, Satan..er 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.