Friday, December 31, 2010

Now at the end of 2010 and for my family near the end of one of our live's great chapters.

Those that follow this blog will know my Dear Old Dad is struggling, so much so that about three days ago we were all summoned to the bedside. A darker mirror of just a couple of days before, we filed into a tearful room, and began to say our goodbyes. Typically, and in bog Irish fashion, large swathes of our genetics being Fitzpatrick, Brady and Murphy, Pa began, amidst the gurgle, to pick up and give short sharp replies to our commiserative group.

"What are you lot looking at? You're like a bunch of bloody crows sitting on a fence..."

Naturally this opened the door to progressively blacker humour as we'd cry a bit, brother Brendan cracked us up with a look at his watch and a twinkle eyed, "Will you hurry up?" to Dad which elicited a Mad Eyed sideways grin and something like "Get stuffed" from Pa.

It got worse from there, the common denominator being we still cried a lot and didn't really know if he'd peg out any minute.

In the end we decided lunch was in order and all went off for a coffee and a sandwich.

So it has continued the last few days. Brothers and sister tag teaming 4-6 hour stints with Pa, helping where we can, conversing when awake, and dodging bullets when he was really awake and pissed off something wasn't coming out quite the way he wanted.

Like trying to remember the name of a friend of his from his mining days in Fiji almost 57 years ago. Phonetically I know the man's name was Charley Sinamaimbao, even remembered him vaguely if that's possible, but my effort to work out what Pa was saying at first could have been as far off the mark as Bingbang Wallawallabingbang.

We got there in the end.

Onwards into 2011. Our beginning is being written as I type, and yours, I hope, will take you safely to the places, and waves, you dream of.

My pic, a moment from the Wake that Wasn't, a grainy dear old Pa holding brother Bill's hand, continuing to surprise us all.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What a couple of weeks it's been.

As with 'most everybody, the Holiday season is both a time of joy and stress, demands of family, friends and work making it a roller coaster of love and life. For our 'mob'... a particularly special year, as we all headed north to Brisbane to celebrate both a Christmas and a Boxing day birthday with my Dear Old Dad. Pa to grandchildren and children alike, his run up to this particular Christmas has been demanding to say the least.

This time last year he was diagnosed with cancer, the prognosis poor and his attitude philosophical. Deciding not to go the chemotherapy route, and take his licks..." bugger it, I'll just have to eat more oysters!", his past year has been one of catching up with friends, getting his business back on an even keel after a bit of GFC beating, and being attended to by a tag team of sons spending some time with him and giving a rest to my sister Kath and brother Ben who, by dint of geography, live in the same city and have a far greater role in caring.

Those of us from interstate would come up for spells of a week or so, and tell stories, relive moments from their own far off dream times, the common denominators being the love and fun had with Dad, and Mum, in those carefree days long gone.

Of course, in the telling, you discover why Dad was a grump sometimes, and we could say finally, 'we understand!" as we too deal with the storms of bringing up kids, and all the pyrotechnics hormonal monsoons bring.

And laugh. A lot.

So come this Christmas and the run in is all good, a couple of weeks back Pa gets up for a midnight pee, tottery and half groggy as you'd expect at three, leans the wrong way, falls down a flight of fifteen stairs, head first he goes, ending up at the bottom, out cold, with a busted rib. Naturally a fall like this should have killed a near 83 year old, or at least broken everything, but not Pa. Shaken and stirred, down but not out.

A couple of days later we hear, to top it off, and this really is a topper, he has a stroke, loses his speech, and the use of his right arm. Hoo-fucking-ray, if you'll excuse the french. Who's going to tell the jokes at Christmas?

Fast forward a day or two, and we are getting sentences out of him, the ever sparkly mind saying, "I'm learning new stuff everyday" referring to the discourse with the physio and speech therapist. Good on him. Skinnier now than a cattle yard dog, but still swinging though the punch wouldn't knock out a starving budgie.

Ageing surf rat that I am we had planned, post Christmas, to spend a few days on the coast, catch the odd wave and play, a car load of boards and a road trip adventure with father and sons being the way north for both budgetary and fun reasons. Pa's misadventure, however, meant Sue and Beelzebub took a plane, while Joey and I did the gun north (2000K) over two days to get there on Christmas Eve.

All good. We did the drive with only one or two hair raising moments. Always something happens on these drives. This time 'round, apart from the locust plague (I'm serious), a near miss of a rather large kangaroo, and me dozing off, only being saved by hitting a pothole which woke me up just in time to avoid us going off the road. My frustration there was it happened fifty metres before the rest stop I was aiming for.

Finally in Brisbane and straight into the hospital, Pa propped up, on the oxygen and looking a little like a twinkling Mad Eye Moody from Harry Potter, a wicked crooked smile on his face and a welcome good hand. Speaking way better than I could have imagined, lights on, everybody home, but now so skinny you wouldn't even feed him to the cattle yard dog.

Still good for a laugh though, so yesterday, Christmas Day, the whole family gathers at home, and I mean every grandchild, every child and every spouse, plus friends, all together to wish Pa a very special Christmas.

Holding tottery court on his throne, oxygen at ready and rugged up, he managed some pureed turkey, stuffing and joy of joys, a prawn and four oysters that slid down beautifully. Understand that post stroke eating is no easy task, and the slippy slidey oysters proved the hit of the day, no chewing, just a delicious toboggan ride down.

After dinner, an endless round of family photos, to the point I asked Dad if he was getting over it.

"You're dead a long time" was his reply. Amen to that.

With time to get back to the hospital looming, while we ferried Pa to the car, the kids, from, 8 to 28, lined up for a Mexican wave as the car backed down the drive. Waving like the King heading off to his palace, Dad sailed into the night, skateboarding on the street resumed and we went back inside and had another drink.

Wonderful Day.

The pics: The road north, Joey's Christmas Pa portrait done on the sketching toy the hospital use to help patients with speech problems communicate, and Pa, crooked smiling and Mad Eye in the shade.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two posts in a day.

This can only mean I stumbled on something worth sharing.

Via a variety of sources I encountered this, what you might call a snuff movie, from Tasmanian hell man Marti Paradisis, who's quite well known for his Shipstern Bluff exploits.

This bit of lunacy puts paid to earlier youthful ambitions I had of surfing Shippies, as you'll see. There must be, though, given the extremity of the wipeouts, an inbuilt flush mechanism, a unique hydraulic action of some sort, that keeps the surfers from death at every flogging.

I find it quite amazing this is an injury free session.

The music I could live without.

Stern Carnage from marti paradisis on Vimeo.

After lurching into politics over the last week or so in an attempt to bog up the blog, it comes as a very pleasant change to be able to report a surf.

Saturday finally had a lately rare combination of swell and offshore that coincided with a shoulder that threatened to hold together. I decided to make the run down a little later, partnered by my artist friend Harley, largely in a bid to find a shift change in a water no doubt populated by every other surfer in the area frustrated by a long crap spell.

We seemed to time it well, and arrived to a crowded but hopefully dwindling Winki pack. Gingerly paddling out, I was greeted by more friends in the water than I could have imagined, a bit like a reunion dinner that made for a lot of friendly chatter, chatter that made up for the still competitive line up.

Out of the blue people started to disappear, the line up cleared, I managed a few waves beyond what I'd expected and the shoulder held up. I even, rusty as I am, managed the odd good turn.

The next day, no pain, shoulder good, old porky happy.

Pics.. Winki looking very fun indeed.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The other day, the bad day, I let loose on my nostalgia for a simpler life. While I don't resile from that, I do need to step back on what may have come across as a bagging of Wikileaks. Of course we could know less, in a head in the sand sort of way, but the right of freedom of the press is what makes the model most of us live under, though imperfect, still the one I would prefer.

With the constant possibility of disclosure, the less admirable impulses even the best of us are inclined to are discouraged, at least. When you consider even the milder alternatives out there, like the repressed press of China, or the murderous treatment of an impressively idealistic and courageous press in the former soviet republics, you cannot but thank your lucky stars we have what we have.

Therein lies the rub when someone like Julian Assange dares to put it all out there, and governments jump over themselves in to find ways to shut him up. It begs the question just how much they have to hide? Human nature being what it is, quite a lot.

There was a tiny political party here in OZ a way back, The Australian Democrats, led by one of the great idealists of Australian Politics. Don Chipp was his name, and he formed the party with one clear direction in mind.

To Keep the Bastards Honest.

That is what Wikileaks does, and so I, apolitical ostrich that I am, support wholeheartedly their right to publish.

On another note, I had the good fortune to have a twitter message pop up the other day, another follower of @safetosea, where I tweet not, ever. Why, how, people find the moribund home of my tweets I do not know, but for once I was glad it happened. Through it I discovered a US pacific coast author who is well worth visiting.

Tom Mahony has just released his first novel, to consistently good reviews.

I dipped in to a couple of his short stories, and liked very much what I found. As one who aspires to write more but finds frustration through time, procrastination and belief, to see someone getting it done, and done well, is both food for the soul and inspiring in its own right. That Tom is also a surfer, and I suspect, from the odd shot on his site, a good one, allows another excuse to dip in and perhaps put a penny in his pocket.

Pic: Tom, at the end of a ride, and hopefully at the beginning of another career.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

After building an alaia late last year I entered the water with much hope that a new dawn was about to break for me. Unfortunately the choice of five foot Bells as a first go out meant that the only thing that broke was a Bell's lip, on the back of my head.

More than once to be quite honest.

They are devilishly hard things to catch a wave on, let alone ride, and doubly so as the years creep up. Compounding that has been a last third of the year where injury and lately, lack of surf, has kept me out of the water altogether, and I am clearly not going far in my alternate surfcraft advancement.That being said the little belly alaia I made has been a huge success, and continues to get a run, when the mood strikes.

Rummaging around on this near flat and onshore Sunday morning, waiting for the family to wake up, I came across this gem via Jon Wegener's site... a glorious clip of Rob Machado riding a little peanut alaia at a silky little lefthander. Edited as a bonus to Taylor Steele's Castles in the Sky, it is one of those rare combinations of fine surfing and unexpected music that works beautifully.


Pic: My efforts, and below, how they should be ridden.

Alaia & Machado from 360 To Nowhere on Vimeo.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Did you ever get the feeling that 'things are getting complicated'?

'That there is too much to know'?

'That every bit of news I hear is bad'?

I'm finding myself wishing for simpler times. Times without credit cards, without mobile phones, where there wasn't some window to the world sitting at you finger tips saying 'plaaaay with meeee'... Sapping hours away from daydreaming time, from work time, from time when you might have had a good idea, or one that changed the world, or just remembered something lovely.

I wish I didn't know the synapse by synapse development of a growing brain, how a brain rewires itself in adolescence and how much we need to protect that plastic wonder from every thing we know is sitting out there waiting to rewire it into some Golem that will take over our babies.

I wonder where that worry came from?

Now we have Wikileakes making sure that we know everything about everyone, but mostly about what the US says about about everybody else, but then who do you know that doesn't say something Unkind or True behind somebodies back? Human nature is unkind, imperfect and has muddled through since we rose from the soup, will continue to do so but now we have the added insult of Knowing Too Much.

Wouldn't it be nice just to step back a little and be oblivious to some things that we really could do without knowing?

I'm having one of those days.

The truth is, knowing and the search for knowledge also gives us a chance to see the infinite possibilities that are out there, it gives us the chance to look beyond our noses and our personal worlds, to feel tiny and great at the same time. If the fundamentalists amongst us allowed themselves the luxury of knowledge of the 'other' before blind belief closed worlds off to them, all our worlds would be better places.

And if the young fuckers out there allowed themselves the possibility that someone over fifty might actually still have something to contribute, that wisdom is not a barrier to creativity, that some things actually get easier....


I think I need to go surfing.

Pics: Wasted time sometimes has it's rewards as you discover hidden gems here and there with the magic of Google Earth. My lips are sealed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Today I watched the online premier of Cyrus Sutton's Stoked and Broke, a little movie about as lo-fi a surf trip as you can possibly get. Just a walk along the San Diego Coast, towing home made bamboo rickshaws laden with boards, wetsuits and the the very meagre necessities of living they granted themselves, Cyrus and young Ryan Burch have a fine, and ultimately, wise old time.

As we all know, doing a surf trip gets you to places you'd never otherwise go, exotic places, strange and sometimes dangerous places that take you away from that comfortable bubble the familiar gives us.

It's part of the fun.

What these guys have managed to do is look at home in a far different light. By placing themselves on the outer, busking, making, bartering, selling for a little extra cash or a dog biscuit (true) they find a new So Cal and do a little self discovery in the process.

Sure, there is a safety net. Never probably more than an hour from home, nevertheless the sleeping rough, and placing themselves in places where they meet those they might not otherwise meet, they connect and now will know more of the realities of where they live.

So what did they learn?

It's clear they already know how lucky they are.

A bit like being born in Australia, to be living near the beach in Southern California is ahead of most of the pack for a start. They realise that surfing is not the be all and end all, and that sooner or later the stark realities of living will loom, and hopefully not devour.

Of course I could go into more detail, but that would spoil the journey.

The surfing is eclectic to say the least, and both surfers are fine examples of open minded water play. Longboards, handplanes, planing hulls and blocks of foam, they rip in a different way, and sometimes just choose to feel the glide and read what's going on ahead of them. There is a lot of good surfing, some quite incredible, but it is surfing that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Which is as it should be.

Did I like it?

Well, it ended with me wanting to go for a surf, and wishing I could travel again, both looking distant options at present as I pass up glassy four foot Bells while I sit on the couch and cough my lungs out.

Go online and have a look. Nine bucks won't leave you broke, and broke or not you will be Stoked.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

While out at lunch I picked up a copy of Surfing World, the issue a bookend of Kelly and Andy, with all that entails, given events of the last few weeks. It contains one the most heart wrenching things I've ever read. The parents out there will get it most, especially those who have lost a child, but it would be a stony cold heart not to be affected.

A quote from Phil Irons, Andy's Dad, on his last chance to hold his son.

"Held my son, kissed him, heaven almighty, he could've got up and left with us if he was there, he was so perfect"

Nearly a month.

Never before have the wheels fallen off like they have, in one way or another, over the past few weeks. The lesson I've learned is that looking after yourself, at every level, is the only way you can look after those that mean the most to you. A psycho/physiological feedback loop can kick in that does its best to do its worst, as I have only too well discovered.

That pesky shoulder stopped surfing, then stopped exercise. A virus stepped up to the plate with a very big bat and proceeded to slug me left and right... joints, chest infection... get rid of that, conjunctivitis in a, forgive me, blink. That goes, tonsillitis. Go to the Docs. Lose weight, let's take your blood pressure.

The cuff popped off!!!

Naturally the fear mechanism kicks in, I began to worry as bullet proof me suddenly doesn't seem so, blood pressure was something old people have but when the contemplation of Bells over six foot has me concerned for my well being I know another game is afoot.

The shake up has been accepted and a goal is set.

Now to get back into the water, strong and lighter... my saying I was back earlier was so premature as only the last day or so has this minor injury begun to be pain free... sort of.

Enough of that.

Today I got an email from blog brother Ed Lewis of the Daily Shaka. He has informed me that Cyrus Sutton's Stoked and Broke is going live for an Online Premier this Friday 26th to Sunday 28th only.

A whole bunch of very cool (at over 50 am I allowed to say cool?) prizes are up for ticket holders as part of a raffle, so it behooves you to skoot online and align yourself for a Mega Hoot Fest Toot Sweet.

Image today, a fast and loose rocket I'd be on in a flash to see the whole shebang live, and to shake Cyrus's hand as he seems to me to be doing things right.

Monday, November 08, 2010

This past weekend Beelzebub and I lit off to the coast for some time together, hang out a bit and play with my mate Marky and his kids.. and his lovely wife Ginny. It was pretty epic, though the surf was as flat as it can possibly get.

Of course you can still have a good time without waves. Talking, having a laugh and hanging out at the skatepark did the trick, plus an evening of fish and chips at the local chippery, watching the sunset and then a late skate to top it off. I even had a go. (Cue laughter).

Naturally, Tom copped a little derision because his vehicles of choice are blades. Once he rolls the detractors shut up as he does light up a park. I shot a little bit of lo-fi on the iPhone and have cobbled this over the past hour. This is by no means a highlights, just two runs, one on blades, and the other...

I love this kid.

(Double click on the frame to get the uncropped version via you tube)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Much has been written in a very short time about the profoundly sad loss of Andy Irons.

Just as the world needs its bright stars of the intellect, so it does those gifted to show us what our physical selves might be. Andy was an athletic nova in the infinity sandwich.

Trust Pete Bowes of Kurungabaa to find this quote from e.e.cummings.

It got me.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Good god I got a surf in yesterday but boy oh boy is the time out of the water showing. As my mate Rod said this morning, if I leave it much longer I might as well hang up the board. Some would argue I should have a while back.

So it was pretty weak Bells, very inconsistent,the old arm was very stiff but, for the first time, I know it is pulling up ok. For want of a better term, I'm back. Stop Laughing.

One fun one and a couple of moments on others so now it is working on the fitness and getting some stretching as I did notice certain parts groining under the strain if you get what I mean. Today it's Melbourne Cup Day, the only public holiday in the world put on for a horse race. I could be chasing onshore waves but decided to hang back for the family and watch this race the whole country stops for. I will not be betting.. never win at that stuff so I'll just enjoy the relax.

Today's pic. Sloppy Bells, and I do promise the guy did a very nice snap that followed a well placed bottom turn, neither of which was captured due to shutter lag.

I must apologise too for the previous post.. unsure where I was going with that one and the Fish Man disturbs me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The long dry continues, but only figuratively.

This past couple of days we've had a month's rain in two days, the sun just now threatening to show its face before perhaps another cloud skitters by, a grey mask to another grey day.

Did you ever have that deja vu feeling when a smell or a certain light, perhaps the wetness after rain, takes you somewhere else? I got that today and was taken back to long runs around the lake in Hossegor, France back in the late 70's, during one of those endless waits for the swell to get manageable that that delightful french town is famous for amongst those who've stayed for long enough to see its cycles.

You had to wait through them because when it got good, it was every Sunday at once as you held a line in an endless sandy hollow that may or may not end happily. That same sand bottom sort of guaranteed no disasters, the smile over a cafe au lait and a croissant after held me for years on, and to this day I find myself ordering little else when it came to accompaniments to a good coffee.

Today, I didn't have a coffee but split an almond croissant over a cup of tea with Sue before she scarpered off to work, yes on a Sunday, but god bless her it helps. The kids, one off with mates and the other supposedly studying, as it is mid final exams, and me, waiting for the sky to clear enough to think about belatedly clearing a gutter. My plans to have a splash were thwarted by onshores and swell size... again. For a change, I 'pumped' a k out at the pool, first swim in a year or so, and it felt good to stretch the bung arm... Quite pleased with a lap rate of about 48 secs after so long away from it, not trying to strain but really just to work out a still sore limb.

Bit of a ramble this one isn't it? Even doodled some really odd stuff while lying in bed last night, don't ask where this crap pops from.. though the multi eyed guy started from a drawing I saw on a wall... er... I hope.

If I get time I might try and dig out some shots from those magic days in France, but remember, we were there when there where five surf travelers in town. The locals where a delight and the waves were too.

Today's pic, from the little moleskine, Mr Fish thing and a very good argument for me never to have taken up architecture.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Almost two weeks since I last logged in so this is almost a record. The main reason is total distraction with life, the focus being the fifteen year old and the accompanying trials that all you parents are either facing, have faced or are about to.

Good luck.

The other day I looked at a picture of me and the kids from about twelve years back. It sits on a shelf near the kitchen table, always in view and teasing me about what was, with a complete lack of forboding on my face. Two fresh, smiling little wonders atop the knee of reasonably youthful, happy, youngish, dark haired dad.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Now it would be a wizening, haggard coot, losing ( grey) hair, sanity and other parts sagging under the weight of a 202 pound, six foot three inch 18 year old and a 110 pound fifteen year old I wouldn't wish on Pol Pot.

Happy days.

On the good side, I love the treasures dearly though they send us to an early grave, with an empty wallet.

I did manage to get another bung shoulder test out splash a few days back. A tentative couple of hours, with a wonderful end wave that made it all worth while.. and all on my 6'2" which made the few good turns all that sweeter.

As well, work has finally picked up with a lovely job directing a little corporate film for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Going out and meeting people who have been struck by cruel luck through MS, or brain injuries acquired through accident and misfortune can make your own life trials recede into a sobering reality. I met and filmed some wonderful people. Big personalities hiding until you dug, or keeping you in stitches with wisecracks as we tried to do some filming that made a bit of sense. A lot of fun and the work is being well received.

Today's shot.. A fun semi peeler down the coast last Sunday week, with some promise of better for the weekend.. if the lad behaves.

Friday, October 15, 2010

One of the pluses of parenthood, and believe me at present they are rare, is seeing the kids get up to things you never dreamed of doing.

The Devil Incarnate, aka Tom, is always doing this, and lately they are things I never dreamed of because I wouldn't, though he seems to take the whole of life on as a dare.

Within that though, is a knack of picking things up incredibly quickly.
Not so long ago he got a 'fixie' for his birthday, went through the first set of tires in no time flat as he worked out how to stop, and had 'track stands' covered within a few days of buying it.

This shot was taken when I found him doing a track stand in the kitchen, insisting it was alright, mum was ok with it (like hell), but I was so astounded I took a snap before kicking him out. He held this pose, stock still and no hands, before turning the bike around and riding back up the hall... and out the door.

Waves this weekend and the shoulder has a go ahead. Yippeee!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Since moleskine notebooks are so expensive I've started using a couple of different pens and using the book one way, then writing over the notes at right angles so that I extend the life.

Then I might do a doodle over the top while talking on the phone. Below is a doodle over two different sets of jottings... You can tell I'm a little starved for blog inspiration, so consider this post a placeholder until my shoulder is 100%, though typically, the weather for this coming weekend, being my first glimmer of hope for almost three weeks, is looking grim.

This is better, though Canada is a fair drive from here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A long, long time ago I tried to define to myself what I wanted to do. "To show beauty" was what popped into my mind and to this day it continues to do so. At the same time my 'trite' buzzer keeps going off. What the hell does that mean, to show beauty? What is beauty and what is the point?

We all make beauty, either purposefully or unknowingly, many times in our lives, or perhaps just once. Never never. A child is beauty, kindness is beauty, being the best we can be is beauty, and of course, the world has it in every nook and cranny... though sometimes you have to look.

Our different perceptions of what beauty is define our creative world.

The other night I watched a broadcast of Britain's Stephen Fry in conversation at the Sydney Opera House. His deft but unselfconscious use of the language, and his deep general knowledge, was masterful. Beauty to him lives in the word. Alliteration, rhyme, rhythm, the pun, all dancing together over forty five minutes, the whole performance Stephen's equivalent of a well ridden wave. Nothing out of place, with the umms and ahhs a synaptic fizz, as one reviewer described it, matching the climb and drop between spectacular verbal turns.

There is beauty when you least expect it. I remember getting on a bus as a ten year old, and being confronted by one the most singularly unattractive old ladies I'd ever seen. Shortly after, while sitting behind her, some idiot decided to make me the subject of his aggressive attention. Not being a particularly forthright kid in the self defense department, I sat copping it when the said lady jumped up and gave my persecutor a serve of monumental proportions.

At that moment she became the Madonna. I wouldn't have been surprised if sunlight had burst from her wizened brow, and my memories of her face are relief coloured as beauty.

Now at three hundred and fifty six (minus three hundred), in the middle of unexpected and unwanted twists that I should have seen coming, with a fifteen year old tearing and melting my heart at the same time, the same desire to show beauty out that cut my advertising career to ribbons as my obtuse sense of what was right sat at odds with a profession I still struggle with, that sees paintings sit unfinished for fear of technique failing a vision perhaps not so splendid, and my own seeming deep genetic predisposition for procrastination stopping me doing things before I start, still I persist.

Perhaps the struggle is not so much to show beauty.

Just keep trying to see it.

Pic for today, my Dear Old Dad, about three months back.

"Come on Dad, give me a smile."

What a beauty.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

As I walked up the steps at Bells last Sunday I bumped into local surf photog Judy Scanlon. She took a nice pic of me once a while back so I said hello, we got talking, only to be rudely interrupted by Maurice Cole, sneaking up behind me and frightening the life out of me.

A great big chat ensued and it was revealed that Judy had a few good shots of Maurice she'd wanted to pass on.

This got my attention as MC and I are involved in a little project based around his story, with a particular emphasis on the period around 1990 when he developed the reverse vee with Tom Curren. As part of the whole thing MC has shaped three replicas of the pivotal boards of that time based on the originals and their dimensions. Included in this set is the unstickered yellow railer that TC rode to his first Hawaiian victory at Haleiwa. As someone who has seen the boards said, these a "pure surfing DNA", full of heart and history.

Naturally to complete the story I'm chasing good shots of Maurice on point, and last night Judy flicked through a few shots via email, one being a lovely hack on his trusty 5'11" that makes 56 year old cancer survivor a descriptor that needs a bit of revisiting. Included in the set too was one of me on the borrowed yellow eight footer, just easing off the top and nursing my poor old arm.

Pics: MC, Ol'Fatty, both shots by Judy Scanlon, and the three TC boards, just leaning on a wall, as shot by my old friend, Les Horvat.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Perhaps it was unwise in retrospect but as the shoulder was feeling passable I borrowed a big board and made for the coast on Sunday where a forecast 3ft sounded just the ticket, me with visions of a quiet ease in to the water after a few weeks off.

No such bloody luck as we turned up to find pretty classic conditions and an almost pumping 4-5ft with the odd bomb that would definitely test my gimpy bits.

So out there, feeling very stiff and tentative but old fatty ended up getting a couple of nice ones. Not too much to test me apart from the initial paddle out as the 8 footer I was on was pretty boaty, wouldn't duck dive and I was not game to test it with an eskimo roll. Naturally, I did the unthinkable and ditched the board a couple of times to save my arm. Thoughtfully I did look behind me before I did, so no lives lost, though perhaps my dignity suffered.

A couple of hours and luck being on my side I hightailed it in, counted my chickens, left unscathed, only to follow up yesterday gain, my excuse being a 'board meeting' with Richard T and Derek, a catch up and a bit of scheming in fun three foot with a bomb six foot set mixed in, again some fun trimmers, as that was almost my limit, a coffee and a sandwich to top off the morning.

It's always fun to see those two, DH in lunatic form as ever, Richard his thoughtful self, the mix, as friends, probably the best thing that's come out of the whole Musica Surfica experience.

Last night we all got together again, Derek and I to see a concert, Richard, Satu and friends, to play it.

Unfortunately the arm has pulled up sore this morning, though my hope is I've not done too much damage by being a little premature.

PIcs: Bells and Winki, looking very fine, and me, exiting drink, as taken by Richie.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A couple of weeks back I received an email from Ed Lewis of The Leucadia Project blog.. alerting me to Australian film maker Mick Waters' project, Little Black Wheels, being now available via download.

Mick, I've not met in person, but have via email as we swapped movies and bantered a bit when Musica Surfica came out. He is clearly a fine man, and is of that group of northern NSW film maker surfers that have carved a lifestyle with an emphasis on life. Mick, Nathan Oldfield, Andrew Kidman... peas in pods.

Not that this means they live in some sort of idyll freed from care. Both Mick and Nathan have experienced great family losses and I think this informs some of the heart that comes out in their work.

So... here is a link through to the Surf Network page and Little Black Wheels. Support a guy who makes a black glass rectangle something worth looking at.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Over the next few days I'm thiinking of getting a few torture instruments. Barbed wire undies, single nail earmuffs, that sort of thing.

Might as well since I began the habit with a visit to the coast yesterday while unable to surf.

Unfortunately I had to take a look at what was on offer and as they say on facebook.. OMG!!

A soft offshore and the afternoon tide filling meant the hordes who'd inhabited the name breaks had exited to recoup, have a coffee, cuddle up to a significant other, or flop in a beanbag and drift off to dreamland.

Yesterday afternoon dreamland was in the water as apart from Winki, everywhere was empty and all was Perfect. Bells, maybe 6 out, tops. Centreside, none. Perfect right just up coast, none. Boobs left, none, right 5.

Shots, some snaps in no particular order of empty perfection, a trembling handed grab bag at what was on offer on our lovely coast.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When we made Musica Surfica one of the great characters on the shoot was Dane Beevor.

Dane really, really loved a beer and a party, any party,
had him drawn to it like bees to the beer, er.. honey pot.

His surfing, what ever his state, post fun, was always on. One of those natural talents that never seem to have an off button. It was hard to let shine given the event was finless, but even then as with all the guys on the trip, the talent sparkled. On the odd occasion when he took a finned board out, something special happened and luckily we got a bit of that in the film, a dazzling counterpoint to our very steep finless learning curve.

Rarely seen on film, I came across this clip of Dane in Sumatra via the Kurungabaa site. This sort of surfing I could watch all day and Dane I think, like Occy and Curren, has that ability to do the right thing at the right time with elegance and power. The wedgey left he's riding reminds me of a favourite right down the coast, though I never in my wildest dreams rode it as well as he does here.

If Blogger crops this oddly click on through to you tube to get the full picture.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I was contacted the other day by Jon Kolker from an organisation called explore, "a philanthropic community whose mission is to champion the selfless acts of others, to create a portal into the soul of humanity and to inspire lifelong learning."

Well amen to that. Jon asked if I'd give them a plug on the blog, so this is it.

If they'd been remotely god bothery or evangelistic I'd have told them to go jump, but reading of the work they do I can only give them as much support as I can. With a philosophy focused on the breaking down of barriers between 'us' and the 'other', the recognition of common humanity and more importantly the fact that we are on this blue pill together is perhaps the most important lesson any of us can learn.

There's a competition to win a board or some music from Jack Johnson, and there's the site to explore, which seems to be becoming an ever expanding window to the best of our world.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A bit of a wait between drinks in blog land as I've been away visiting my Dear Old Dad on Queensland... and nursing a very bung shoulder that is going to keep me away from anything like an aquatic ripple for the best part of five weeks.

Like I really needed that.

As was suggested to me by Ed Sloane I need to write something about the perils of cold water surfing.

More like the mixed perils of helping ladies on buses and daydreaming while taking your hood off, then going surfing while the two pings that became the problem became one big ping by paddling about and trying to pretend I'm twenty again.

So what is a ping?

Ping number one on the bus to the long term carpark at Melbourne airport, the lady standing next to me has a big back she can't get to so I dutifully stiff arm it off the rack, it's a heavy bugger... ping! in a tiny spot in my shoulder...ooh that didn't feel so flash, never mind, what a shame.

One week later after a surf at Winki, wandering through the carpark while trying to get my hood off with one hand, pulling distractedly, daydreaming, the hood neck down in the neck of the wetsuit creating suction that would make your eyes pop, then PING!, that really didn't feel flash at all and damn it's hard to get my arm out of the wetty without screaming.

A few days go by and the Big Wednesday with it but relatively Big Thursday with a bit of side chop is offering so I just have to give it a hit and the shoulder disassembles and I head off to the physio where I get the bad news.

Pic for today? I'm struggling so I might just go with my Sue about to chop onions.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yesterday after hearing of all the great waves being had I cleared my desk and dove down for a quick splash. What a waste of time... feeling like I'd aged thirty years and was no longer the limber whipper snapper that I once was..

Hold on.. I have... and I aren't!

To top it off, I pulled a shoulder muscle trying to get my hood off.

Dangerous things, them thar hoods.

Deciding to retreat to the safety of a computer screen I was pleasantly surprised by a touch base from an old friend, Mike Jenkins.

Mike I've known for a very long time, we rarely see each other, but I had heard he had a mid life renaissance as an artist. After having a chat and checking out his site I thought it worth sharing as he is having a fair amount of success and it is lovely stuff. Another interesting side bar to Mike is he is brother in law to the legendary Wayne Lynch, though that doesn't stop him from being a very decent surfer himself, when he finds time, what with all the creative juices keeping the inspiration burning and therefore limiting his water time.

Pics, all by MJ.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I meant to add this to my last post.

That restless lens, Ed Sloane, posted this of a sand bottomed point on our coast that only rarely shows its form. Ed claims he is a neophyte in the shooting moving pictures department but to me he sure demonstrates a fine aesthetic.

Love the music, and with local ballet dancer Sasha Leitmanis being balanced by blow in noseriding diva B.Baggs, its a lovely little show.

Sand Bottom Point from Sloane Photos on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I was talking to a mate the other day, about the Bells area and its hinterland.

He intrigued me when he mentioned a little secret valley nearby, a path following a creek line, a path lined with rare orchards, untouched by the casual visitor and indeed rarely trodden by anyone. He'd recently been introduced to it by a naturalist friend and had been astounded as the bushland opened onto a lush green field with kangaroos a bounding.

So there I was yesterday, sitting on the tailgate of my car, prying off a wetsuit booty, back to the sea and looking out over the Bells back blocks after a couple of hours and a few waves at Winkipop. A fun three or four feet with the very odd bigger one, the aftermath of the whopping day before that saw occasional ten foot sets at both Bells and Winki, a day I'm glad I missed as I think in my current state of fitness I'd have drowned.

Anyway, as I said, there I am gazing into the distance when the sun strikes though the clouds onto this patch of emerald populated, as I could barely make out, by a mob of very content kangaroos. I grabbed the camera and snapped a couple off, looked to the screen to enlarge what my pinholes of eyes couldn't resolve. Sure enough, roos lolling about everywhere, grazing, looking or just doing that wonderful roo elbow on the ground, taking in the world.

Pics: A Winki bomb, and the Green.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

As part of a project I'm working on I had cause to head to the coast the day before yesterday, naturally timing my visit so that I could include a short "board meeting" at Bells before the more serious work took over.

On the way through I popped into Maurice Cole's to say hello, and while there snapped a couple of shots while he was serving a young chap picking up a 9'6" beast killer intended for Big Voldemort, The Break That Must Not Be Named. The board was a beauty, twin redwood stringers and plenty of meat. It looks like a lot of fun, that board. Nearby, in the racks, was Ross Clarke-Jones' new Hunter as well. With the tendency to try to paddle bigger and bigger, the boundary of when you can tow is pushing out, so the alternative, if you want to surf, is paddle.

Now where did I leave my wallet? And I wonder if Maurice will accept moths?

Pics... Chunky Bells, MC talking shop and MC's messy table, in tones of blue.

Monday, August 16, 2010

As I mentioned on Friday there was to be a bit of action in NY for those lovers of the different in music and surfing.

I had a flurry of texts from Richard Tognetti in NY both before and after he played at the Mollusk Surf Shop.

To quote: " What a gig! This is the coolest place. Just amazing"

I know the feelings were reciprocated, and the local crew that made the time went away with a fresh look at what the world offers. Chris Gentile of Mollusk sent this to me this morning:

"Absolutely insane! Best thing that has happened in the shop hands down! People were blown away! Thanks so much for putting this together Mick! Peop[le were seriously choked up after the film too!

Well my pleasure Chris. All I did was pick up the phone.. ( a few times) and attempt to give back a little to my favourite surfing town north of the Victorian border, and to help some friends.

Anyone manage to get to the Glide today?

Pic. Musica Gasometer Molluska

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New York New York

This weekend if you're in the Big Apple and you have a cultural bone in your body and a block of wax in your back pocket, there are a two events on that are must sees, because miss them, hear about it later and you'll be on ebay for the Best Arse Kicking Machine money can buy.

On Saturday August 14, that's this Saturday folks, Mollusk will have, free to all comers, Australian Living National Treasure Richard Tognetti, plus Satu Vanska and Julian Thompson, doing a masterly live performance of soul stirring strings before a Live on the Gasometers evening showing of Musica Surfica.

You may have seen the film, but there is nothing like these guys live... it's a mind boggler, and it is all to promote what is on the next night.. The Glide, at the Poisson Rouge.

Only ever performed twice before, and perhaps never again, this is a life altering experience and unforgettably beautiful.

With incredible vision by Jon Frank, arguably one of the great masters of surf cinema, shot in Iceland, Waimea Bay, South Africa and elsewhere, and music by Bryars, Elgar, Shostakovich and Tognetti...

Look, I could go on like a broken record, but really, you owe it to yourselves, on both counts. Take your mum, take your wife and kids, just.... Go!

The pic, a grab from the Glide.... enjoy the show(s)..

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A different weekend has just flashed by.

On being informed that Musica Surfica was showing at a wonderful little gallery/coffee shop in Manly called Saltmotion, and that my partners in crime, Richard Tognetti and Derek Hynd were going to be there, both to play and speak, I thought it appropriate to throw caution to the wind and join them.

Not least in my list of reasons to go was the realisation that it would be the first time all three of us had gathered for a showing at the same time... so I saw the chance to say thanks for the ride, catch up for a laugh, and join an appreciative audience in never passing up a chance to watch Rich, Satu and Julian play live.

The show went down a treat, and if you visit the Saltmotion site you can see some pics of the proceedings.

Luckily the swell coincided with the stay and we all scored a fun splash at Manly and later I joined my mate Simon Phin in a few fun peaks at Freshwater, the home of Australian Surfing, as it was on that beach that the Duke had his historic ride, way back when. I also had the privilege of standing in front of the Duke's board, in plexiglass case, and seeing a serious piece of surfing history, in the empty clubrooms on a quiet Saturday afternoon.

So the pics... me dutifully saying cheese, Derek looking like the cat that just got the rat, and Rich looking aghast at something Derek must have just said, plus a Manly peak, and a little of the performance.

Tomorrow another post as New York is in for a treat this weekend.

To Joel and Saltmotion, thanks. It was a great night.

And to Simon and Nicole... thank you too for putting me up, and putting up with me.

Friday, August 06, 2010

While editing the Tales from the Chook Shed 2 naturally frames fly past that though not for the subject at hand nevertheless hold gold because they are what they are.

Out in the pretty solid Bells swells, that lovable Derek was charging away on one of his finless creations.

The unique thing about Derek, as boards finless make inroads in their alaia variants around the globe, is his take, approach, attack, call it want you want, his thing, is taking it to whatever the ocean dishes up.

Tiny slappers.


Beach break peaks.


Screaming J-Bay walls.


And Big Bells Boomers.

Great Big Tick.

This pic below was a Boomer, and Dekka chose to go the whole hog and ride it through the whitewashed inside, holding a line where even finned boards struggle amid the snow, all the while with a looming hook clawing to claim him.

He made it, the crusty old coot, he made it.

(I can call him that because I'm even crustier)

This shot is from the morning session. In the afternoon session I paddled out and saw one wave in particular where his judicious application of power with control takes the idea that it is all just a slide show and throws it out the window.

Pic is a frame grab from the shoot for MC's Chook Shed, shot by Luke McNee

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Last February while on a flight to Western Australia I was lucky enough to have a window seat in the daytime, glorying in the view granted by a three thousand mile cloudless day.

Over the southwest, where the wheat fields give way abruptly to the wilds of the interior, a madman's chequerboard, or perhaps his dining table, stretched out below.

I'd love to drive the area one day, to see what I was seeing.