Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This past weekend was the Anzac Day holiday... Australia's time to reflect on the lives sacrificed in war.

One thing I have noticed is that, as the years pass, the losses on the 'other' sides are being acknowledged more and more, a recognition of humanity thrown against itself that perhaps time allows us to see. A mate told me of his grandfather, in the Great War, jumping out of a bomb crater, only to be greeted by a German doing the same.

They shot each other, the German copping it in the leg, and he in the arm. Looking at each other, and seeing another human being, not an 'enemy', the less wounded Australian took the German 'prisoner', got him back behind the lines to medical attention and respite from hell.

They remained in touch for the next 40 years.

Naturally, a holiday weekend means a chance for a splash, and while it could have been great, wind and swell direction meant it either missed, or wobbled, or wasn't as good as it could have been. I did though allow myself a trip down yesterday, and scored a very fun surf at Winkipop. Crowded, and inconsistent, somehow I managed, either by luck or rat cunning, to get a few really fun waves, sitting in the sun, saying thanks in my own way to the vets who made it possible for us to enjoy this life we live.

The pic: Even though I surfed Winki, little Bells looked a happy place too.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's Sunday, a day away from surfing to see the youngest off on an eight week camp, and a day to get into a few things I've procrastinated on.

So into the office for an hour, downloaded the shots from yesterday's waves, and a moment to get it into the blog.

As I've sometimes said, around Melbourne we have access to three coasts. Phillip Island, the Mornington Peninsula, and the West Coast. The Peninsula is sometimes called the Hoax Coast. Consisting of a long stretch of reefs and beaches facing fully into the brunt of any swell, it is usually half again as big as Bells on any given swell, and therefore often too big for anything there to handle. A few exceptional reefs can do it on their days, and when the banks are on beach break magic is there to be found.

But finding it is the key.

An endless array of tracks and dead ends has more semi secret spots in a relatively confined area than you could imagine, and local knowledge regarding tides, banks and what happens to a particular nook or cranny in a given condition means you can score or miss out by dint of one bay or street.

In a way I hate the place, but love it too, as it is the coast I grew up surfing and know it very well, so even now, when I don't go that often, at least I have an idea where to look.

Yesterday I checked this little spot. On arrival no one out so I rushed back, got into my gear and ran back down the track. Two guys already paddling out and we enjoyed a good hour and a half before it started to get very busy. Unusually I wasn't on a timetable, so I stayed out through the a couple of crowd cycles, and ended up having a great fun surf. Five and a half hours, a quiet chat with a few, dodging the odd protective local, and enjoying the sun.

The pics, the line up pre surf, and a snap just after I got out of the water.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I had a fun surf yesterday.

Maurice Cole had handed me a little 6ft Metro (Modern Retro)... wide and massively concaved... to try out when it was smaller.

Always a glutton for punishment I took it out in horrible Bells with the hope that as the tide dropped the swell that was forecast to arrive did. After a fashion indeed it turned up, so while Winkipop was entertaining a fair crew I joined a mixed band of geriatrics (me), in-betweeners (two or three other guys) and a grommit, out at Bells,, in the wind, sharing what occasionally crept through.

Bells became my own skatepark and this little board swooped and carved, so much fun, in waves near the top end of its range. I had a blast though naturally as I always do there was the odd embarrassing loss of face and coordination. Not enough to erase the inner glow though.

On leaving the water I naturally had to take my obligatory line up shot.

While leaning on the rail, snapping away in Dreamland, the very close proximity of the guy quietly standing next to me caught my attention and turning, I realised Derek Hynd had parked his wiry frame right next to me. He's a funny bugger that Derek, we ended up having a great chat, made me late getting home, but hopefully, if this swell hangs around I can sneak down and both catch a surf and see how much further his finless explorations have taken him.

Last year in big Bells he was epic, now working on floaters he tells me, his subtle art I suspect is rapidly growing artfully radical.

Changing the subject, and not, a few weeks back I was approached by Mary Mills, Surf Sista and one of the editors of Liquid Salt.

An interview no less.
I must say I felt a bit of a hoax amidst the luminaries inhabiting the site, but they seemed to like what I had to say and the interview is now up.

As to the pics below, the emptyish Bells lineup, and Winki, with aftermath of the contest, awaiting deconstruction.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

One of the worst surfing Easters for years had me hightailing it alone down to our deep south chasing... something.

An area that can be sublime has one spot that makes a mockery of many surfers, me more than most. Both on Saturday and Sunday a total of maybe 5 hours in the water realised perhaps one wave I'd give a tick to, the rest, a physical comedy that I couldn't laugh about as I was blasted hither and thither by crumbling lips, sections that showed promise only to disappear, bad timing, age and infirmity. The kids love this spot.. called The Point, somewhere it missed the point when the reef and location conspired to get it not-quite-right.

As a panacea, my photographer mate Rod and I decided to shoot the sunset and check potentials for waves as the swell abated and the hope of groomed banks beckoned. Some hope was out there amongst the turmoil, though a light onshore made it a little hard to read.

Shooting away as the light dimmed, me with my little snapper and Rod with his enviable kit, I decided to concentrate on the shooter as he went about his business.

Rod is a gun, and makes his living shooting the coast, knows its every mood, nook and cranny, in the water and out. With a nickname that I won't repeat, but one that alludes to the amount of people he represents in paddling power and wave count, he can be a formidable presence in the lineup, while his conversation as we wait for waves can be obtuse in the extreme. Sunday evening, sitting in a somewhat confused sea, he was discussing cosmic string theory.

God love ya Rodney.

Yesterday was frustration city as I had to hightail it back to town for work, only to discover halfway there that I wasn't needed. Doubling back I found a nook on the coast with a wedging rip bowl with no one out. Very thick, with 6-10ft faces ( it felt bigger and looks way smaller) while battling a ridiculously strong rip I managed a fun session all by myself on Easter Monday.

I can't complain.

Pics: Rod x 2, My shot of what he shot, and the said bowl, not a set, but indicating both wind and nature of the wave. It started out the back where the lines are, not this inside section. I was crowded out by chinese tourists as I tried to take the shot. It's about 300 metres away and with no one out hard to show the size.
The tree... a woolly old casuarina taken as I wandered past.