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.