Monday, March 29, 2010

A mixed sort of day yesterday.

Tides and winds indicated a set of beaches east of home so that way I headed, with the thought nagging like an itch inside my head that there were other possibilities. Nevertheless we pressed on and after several dead ends and the tide working against us, Richie and I settled on a very fun left hand bank that delivered the goods for a couple of hours after we spent a couple of hours trying to find it.

The net result was tantalisingly good, and frustrating at the same time as there was that little... "if only we'd come here first".

Late afternoon I settled down to watch the Australian Grand Prix on the box, an odd sensation where we live as, while I watch it on the telly, I can hear it out the door. The track is less than a kilometre from home.

Add to that the fact that an F18 doing a fly by overhead just prior to start time and there is no way the event can be ignored. Great if you're a race fan but those with timid pets beware.

Come the evening and I went off to see Andrew Kidman sing and play live with his Brown Birds of Windy Hill, to his film compilation Last Hope.

It was great to finally meet him as he'd been a great moral support to me via the phone in the early days of Musica Surfica, a lovely guy, a generous one, and a man surprisingly self effacing. I had imagined someone much more comfortable talking to an audience, but whether he was tired or this was his natural way, it was just a quiet banter introducing songs, and a gentle end, at the end, to the show.

Afterwards we managed a chat, it being good for both of us to finally shake hands and say hello.

I have to say the guy has an absolutely brilliant voice and musicality. I'd love to see him climb to deserved heights and get some exposure beyond the world that knows him for his wonderful films.

Pics for the day... a couple of walks back from dead ends, shot one of a dad and his kids, the wetsuited lad frustrated by the lack of quality at the spot we'd just checked. I hope he eventually scored, at least as good as our pot of blue at the end of an imaginary rainbow.

Monday, March 22, 2010

After last weeks meltdown over My Blog Sucking, I realised the best thing I could ever do was let everyone know how I think.

I wasn't chasing compliments ( weeeeell..) but it did cement the point of all this in the first place. Connectedness in a real sense can happen, and the icing on this cake was I received a pair of comments from the culprit himself. The connection thing happened, and the anonymous critic on the other end became a human being with a sense of humour and a firm commitment to the opinion that my photos still suck.

I must by a new camera... when I can afford one.

Surf yesterday was a much anticipated 4-5ft at Bells, lovely waves on arrival but absolutely PACKED.. pre Bells Contest the car park is full, and the lineup's likewise. Fifty to sixty out at Bells and the same at Winki.. thankfully there was little in the way of overt aggravation out there, though it was hard to snag a decent wave.

My first was gifted me by Maurice Cole..."take it Mick I just got one".. a long Rincon run through the bowl that had me thinking I was in for a cracker of a session, but I lapsed back to trying to find a quiet space for a cup of tea and a chat. No luck, and a long hour and a half before my next decent wave.

A bomb came my way but I had to straighten off due to the bodies in my way.

Another, a bumpy one where the whole ride was punctuated by my swearing as I hit ridge after ridge with a front foot slightly off position . Bump "fuck" bump "fuck" bump "fuck" bump "fuck" . When I pulled off the end of the 50 odd metres I had to laugh and think how funny that would have looked to everyone else in the lineup. Naturally my place in the pecking order assumed that of a surfing chicken.

Pics, Bells through thebushes as I had no access to my normal piccie taking spot, and a scribble of my devil of a son Tommy in a quiet moment that I did on Saturday, as taken with the wonderful iPhone Hipstamatic app.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Yesterday I had an epiphany of sorts.

In the bottom right hand corner of this page is a button to Shiny Stat, a hit counter that I check every couple of days, more out of habit than anything, just to see who's popped by.

One section in there tells me the referrers, sites that have a click through to me, the one place where specific addresses come up. Checking it yesterday I saw three references from a blog called Your Surf Blog Sucks.

Of course I clicked through and saw that indeed, my blog did suck. I wrote in Australian, which made it at times hard to understand. Lame photos. So so writing, and, indeed, I am an angry man who most likely will reply to said critique with some aggression or whatever.

Not so.

Though my first reaction was I was gutted, because this blog is a personal thing. On reflection, though, the angry guy at the other end has done me a favour.

I thought back to my motives for beginning it, and why I do it now.

The first post I ever did was as an attempt to connect with the family of a young Cali surfer who died on Nias around 6 years ago. Nothing came of that post, but it began a journey that has seen me connect personally with people around the world.

When I made Musica Surfica, and had the opportunity to travel, these connections became flesh and blood, people who would become real friends, and who I know, notwithstanding the geographical separation, would be people I'd happily share lineups, laughs and meals with for years to come.

Continuing the blog, and dipping in and out of many of that group at left, and others since discovered, keeps that connection going. I see Ras's face when I read Kuyah, Teddo at Six Foot and Perfect I've watched develop as an artist and shaper, and admired his grace when 5 minutes after meeting him, he put up with me retiring to the hotel bathroom and blowing out a retaining wall, such was the state of my travel raddled guts.

Surfsister, well I literally ran into her and dinged Novice Surfer's new fish.

In New York, Shipworm and Gribble became Mike, and Endless Bummer became Toddy.

A beautiful lady named Pineapple Luv interviewed me.

A surfing lawyer in England wrote a bestseller and sent me The Book.

And I had a surf with a one time Buddhist monk who wrote one too.

My Dear Old Dad reads it, and I love it that he does.

The blog became about connection.

We share our surfing world, and our world as fathers, mothers, lovers, friends.

The dig about the writing, well... perhaps I get lazy at times, and just belt it out. When I've become inspired I'll share a poem, or an insight. Whether the writing is good or not, that's up to the reader. I've tried to not be self conscious about it, I try to keep it simple. I'm not writing to show off.

This is me.

The photography. Sometimes the shots are a quick snap of a lineup. At other times, I'll make an effort. You can tell the difference. The one thing you will notice is that if you hunt through the months and years of this blog, and consider I am a one surf a week city surfer in a city with its nearest waves eighty minutes away, I am a very lucky man. We live in a wonderful part of the world.

That I hope to live closer soon is without doubt, but family and work demand me here now.

Today's pic then, is me, just turned 56, as taken by my son Joey. I'd turned around while cleaning the shed, he caught me unawares, and I do look serious.

Behind me on the wall are a couple of boards. Sandwiched in between two thrusters is a finless made for me by Derek Hynd. In the rear left is a sculpture I made that is dedicated in the most oblique way to my wife Sue. Next to that and out of sight is a portrait I'm trying to finish of Joey. Out of sight on the other side.. skateboard decks, too small wetsuits, fins and skim boards, detritus of growing boys.

A happy place, fronted by an apparently angry man.

Perhaps so. Dealing with a mid teen in full flight has got me by the nuts, and it has occasionally crept into my writing. It gets it off my chest, people write in and say, yep, I have one of them too, or yikes, mine are about to get there.

I made a surf movie and lost the house. Blame the GFC, or wonderful timing. Again, get it out, communicate. Don't go mad.

So cheers to Your Surf Blog Sucks. You've done me a favour. I'll try to pick up my game, and while my blog may suck, I love it just the same.

And I will continue to write in Australian. Oddly enough, I am one.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Damned if I didn't say no more surf reports, but dang if it wasn't fun yesterday.

A perfect little A frame, the left reeeeeeling off and some of the best small waves I've had since the last time I hit this little bay.

The shots are a couple I snapped prior to paddle out, and one of me snapped by Richie. He ran out of memory, missing the 360, the air and the giant hack, so you have to make do with a rather sedate cutty where I seem to be inspecting my toenails instead of regarding the section I intended to hit brutally.


I blame the straight ahead head on a neck so stiff from an old injury that looking at anything above my head is not, shall we see, comfy. Stargazing is best done flat on my back.

It was a lot of fun, though, and did a lot for my state of mind.

I'll add to this post tomorrow but times a snapping at my heels and I wanted to get this up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A long stretch in front of a computer screen, neck cricking, and about as much fun as sticking pins in my eyes.

That the work was mildly satisfying created some balance but even typing this is hurting like hell..

So to finish the day before I face the evening, a quick look at last Monday and the glory of a clifftop view. This bit of coast is my heaven, the cliff you can throw my wispy ashes from come the day. If I can't live there I might as well be sand there.

Mick's Bank.

That has a nice ring to it.

I wouldn't even mind if it was a left.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The black dog is not beaten, and today he took the form of a fifteen year old on the rampage.

Driving to school ended up with with a shouting match, a slammed door and my hand around his scrawny neck... not necessarily in that order.

That I love the little rat dearly and that he pulls more strings than Pinocchio ever had only makes the whole pathetic mess even worse.
I won't even say what got was blurted out as the car door slammed. Not a good start to the day.

Which is a bummer really as yesterday I scored the best splash in ages.

Not perfect by any means, but some punch and no crowds was certainly a good start to the week.
Location remains a secret but those who know will most likely spot the spot. A couple of belters including a massive double up that allowed a couple of what felt like hall of fame off the tops before the cocky old fart got well and truly slapped on lip hit number three.

What can I expect at 56? (Birthday last week)

Still the 6'2" flew and given it was my first real surf in weeks I was pretty happy.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I noticed I haven't posted for a couple of weeks.

The surf's been crap, and I'm attempting to kill a black dog.

Metaphoric of course.