Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The sound of the gnashing of teeth and the rending of garments is loud and being heard from every corner of Victoria at the moment, and no it is not because Kim Jong Il has bitten the proverbial bullet.

It's been near flat for weeks, and though I might paint a rosy picture with the pics today and those from last week, the truth is it is ugly. I can only hope that after Christmas some drought breaking swells arrive with happy winds to put some smiles back on a few faces.

Until I have something more to report or get a burst of inspiration I'll leave you with a couple of pics from Sunday. At the bottom end of what I can actually get to my feet in, the waves were pretty well shaped and fun until the swell Disappeared Completely. I wonder if Radiohead were playing over the top of the dunes?

PS: The first pic is a plant.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Devil Winds ended for a morning and half an afternoon on Saturday, hot with a light breeze that slowly accelerated from the north, but not before gifting a couple of very fun sessions, lefts and rights, fun and games over two banks, with lunch in between, before a whopping storm hit and blew it all to bits.

That new board from Maurice is the duck's nuts, and it is clear any limitations are the plonker with his feet planted on the deck.

Easy into waves, fast, loose, but when you push it holds and it really does like to be put on its rail. I even managed to pigdog one of the larger lefts on takeoff and had a 'view' for a moment before getting swallowed.

That being said my good mate Richie maintains I still plant my top turn a little low and more 2:30 than 12 o'clock though he did concede I did whip one off worth a nod of approval. All I can say is good thing he isn't an ASP judge because had he judged me under that criteria I'd probably be summarily executed.

My other surfing highpoint of the weekend though was sneaking a few sessions viewing the Pipe Masters online and shedding a small tear for Kieran Perrow. It was so good to see someone being recognised for doing what he does best and loves most. Courageous surfing in heavy waves. Not frilly or flash. Strong, solid and when he did win all were happy.

Pics for tody: The left after the wind started to get into it, and the second front pushing through on the way home.


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Almost two weeks without going near this door crack to another dimension, mostly because I haven't had much time, or perhaps because the old brain has had the fuzzies, what with 'life and all".

High point for a moment the week before last was trying a new board. If you don't surf you won't understand but getting new, lively glass and foam under the feet, feeling it out and seeing where it takes you, pushing lightly then pushing harder, asking I wonder if and getting an answer that shouts yes, well... it might be fleeting but I'll take that kind of ephemeral any day of the week.

And who cares if my bum sticks out sometimes.

Since then the weather has shifted into one of those devil systems.

An Oceanic Bad Hair Week.. or two.

Elsewhere thinking and planning for The Reef project, ... and again trying to make a buck, which is full of promise but no golden eagles crapping near me today. Fingers crossed for the next few days but until then a little snip from partner in crime Jonny Frank and the Glide. From this you can see why I'm looking forward to the next gig. 

The boards by the way are a six two and six ten, for the bigger days. Six two gets a big tick, the other will have to wait for a swell.

Pretty aren't they? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

At an impasse today, so a quick blog post is in order. A week and a half since the last entry, three surfs, two good, one crap, a son run over by a car, another ten days at Chez Madhouse.

Don't worry, if you are, the boy is ok, a rear ending lady not looking saved from a lifetime of guilt by good reflexes on Tom's part and a bit of luck. Young Tom has a lump on his shin and a wrecked bike, now replaced.

Work very quiet on the money earning front is being supplanted by the planning for the Reef, so at least I am occupied.

Pics: MC with a new big gun for Mark Matthews for Voldemort and other breaks in perilous Mordor, s
ome very wind affected scrub, a lovely beachie, plus a quick snap of the fun Winki of Sunday.

Ho hum.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lately I've found myself reflecting on what it was like to be 16, using 1970 as my yard stick with the combination of innocence, fear, and wonder that went with it.

The Vietnam War was in full swing, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin had just been there and done that, big time, being our first official space tourists with ground time, and to my young eyes hippies were everywhere, my hair was too short, I'd just been on my first surf trip, camping with 13 mates, 11 of whom were named Mick (true) and the beginning of the ruin of my life had begun.

Just entering the final two years of high school, pissed off I was spending most of every weekend lugging bricks from the front of the house to the back to help the builders put an extra bedroom on the back of the house, watching the wind just in case it got over 30 knots and the crap waves that blew up on Port Phillip Bay let me get a splash (imagine the Great Lakes wind slop and divide it by 3), and hoping some girl, any girl, would look sideways at me, and that paints a fair picture of my time in the manhood starting blocks.

Add to that pimples, smelly feet, too much action in the underpants department, as in all dressed up and nowhere to go... Well it's about as much fun as sticking your head up an elephant's backside and trying to recite the soliloquy from Hamlet.

Fast forward forty two years and I am staring at two me's, one a Mini but catching up fast, and a Maxi, but stronger, faster, with more lip and more attitude, better looking and they have got me stumped.

The world has moved so much, the internet and the black spaces it offers have informed too much, and any challenge I mount to their all conquering world view is met with derision, as I lived in the stone age, and never did anything anyway.

True in a way. Got drunk at sixteen more than a few times, then decided it was for the birds and didn't touch the stuff again, until introduced to the glories of English beer at 24. Never smoked anything either, ever. So yep, boring young fart, now a boring old fart but I loved and still love my watery delights, living in my head, trying to love my family, re-inventing or perhaps de-inventing my working life and that is more than enough for me.

Where is this going? Not sure, just venting a little as working out how to guide and protect is becoming an increasingly tough gig.

One day I might write a book about it. For now I'll buy another box of band aids for my noggin. Headbutting the door to make a point has its drawbacks.


Tiny but fun Winki and Bells. Solace for a Sore Head on Saturday

Monday, October 24, 2011

A nip down on a sunny day, trying to outwit the crowds and get the light onshore after the glassy morning as an odd surprise new swell drifted into nooks and crannies across Vicco.

Sadly up there for thinking was too smart for its own good and what I got on arrival at the beach was a fair handful of devil wind riffling a lineup that would have been pretty magic.

I'd picked up old MC as he is car-less at the moment, so we hunted wider from where we might usually wet the boards, eventually settling on a spot nearby with headland protection and a nice little right that wasn't too shabby.

For a while there though it was hard to get a wave as the local lads of the throwing air variety had also woken up to the spot, so old fatboy  was doubly restricted by age, slowing reaction times and hot kids thirty plus years my junior getting the better of me.

Mind you Maurice wasn't slowed down much, and he's only two weeks younger.

But I ain't him.

Eventually a few dances to crow about, as the wave had speed and steepness, and the odd bit of size though the shot was taken after the tide started to fill on a quick turn around walking back up the track.

The sets were at least twice as big.

Pics: One of the airboys and MC looking a bit waterlogged.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Once more with feeling perhaps as it seems as though the show might again be on the road.

Those that follow this meander know the story of Musica Surfica. Changed my life, turning it both into a joy and a train wreck depending on what side of the bed I get up in the morning. 

The sometime surf film with a lot of brilliant music and oddly compelling surfing. A group of strange bedfellows making beauty and talking a very different cultural story..

Making beauty is what it is all about, a little bit of lift to make days worth living. We succeeded to some degree, I think, and we (are, may..) be about to have another crack. On paper it is done and dusted, filming next May but there is the little issue of 'finding the money' and that journey is what is underway now. One way or another something will happen, it is just the scale of the venture that is in the lap of the gods.

The knowns are some brilliant music, and a whole new composition, just for this. An incredibly exciting prospect, with, again some wonderful people.

Watch this space, as I said innocently in early 07, not knowing what was in store.

The Reef. 

Coming soon. 

I hope.

Pic: A little snippet of continental edge, much further south but coloured in the reds and lilacs that beat the eyes senseless in our wide and wonderful land.


Saturday, October 08, 2011

When I made (with a fair bit of help) Musica Surfica back in 2007 I reconnected with Maurice Cole, relatively fresh back to Victoria after years of wild success and some adventure in France and Western Australia.

I'd known him pretty well since about 1972 but we've now become great friends and to watch the guy go through a day, attack life so hard, and keep coming up with a positive spin on even the blackest of news is a source of wonder.

This past week I've been putting together another Tale from the Chook Shed, this time around a more detailed explanation of the why and how of his boards.

Full of passion and a deep surfing knowledge, the separator for MC is that at 57, he can back it up in the water. Every surf is R&D, the results speak for themselves as he flies through sections, with those beady blue eyes always on the look out for the next poor soul who "thought he wouldn't make it".

Friday, October 07, 2011

Parenthood, whatever your age, is not an easy gig.

Being a teenager, and sixteen at that, can be a much darker place, when what it should be is full of hope and discovery.

Scribbled after a drive back from wherever, being tired brings things out as you sit and watch miles fly by.

Good, bad or indifferent, it's for every kid out there who is doing it hard, with a personal bias to one in particular who I love so very much.

The Dark, the Light, the Joy.

When will you see the sun,
my son
When will you see the day?
When will you see the light,
my son
And come back, my shining boy?
The dark is not your place
my son.
The night is not your home.
When will you see the sun,
my son
and fill your life with joy?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Over the last couple of days a mate from north of the border has been on a bit of a road trip to Mexico (as the New South Welshmen like to call Victoria) and although he chose to pick a less than optimum time for swell he did choose to go to the best possible spot when it comes to picking any up and dealing with the devil winds out of the south east quarter.

Talk about a lucky boy.

As it turned out the best banks in what might be the history of the universe have settled in to a range of phalanx like triangles up and down this particular beach, and managed to communicate to the surf gods a message that spelt out 'send me your most perfect and straight three to four foot swell"...

The jackpots have been sounding up and down the beach, Mark is near comatose with muscle failure after days of hours and hours and hours of paddling back for another.

I managed one trip down to enjoy it with him yesterday and partook of three prime banks over four hours, including one left and right peak I had to myself for two of them. The pics were taken with the sea breeze on it...

Most of the time it has been sheet glass.

Doesn't get much better than that.

Now to get rid of the permanent drill in the side of my head caused by Beelzebubbles.

Pics: Waves, empty peaks and a couple of kids dancing in the Southern Ocean.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I was a bad boy today.

Needed to get out of town and have a surf after a week chained to a monitor.. I hate it sometimes.

Anyway I had a spot in mind with the wind the way it was and a swell that was big enough this place is one of the few that can manage a near devil breeze and seem vaguely offshore, what with the rather high cliffs and the odd little microclimate they bring.

Rock up to the carpark expecting a few cars and it is... empty.

So I walk into the lookout and it's sure big enough, the wind is a bit dodgy but not that bad so the mind game is going.. this is not a good idea Mick but yeah you're going to have a crack anyway and boy if you get into strife you won't be getting any help at all.


Gathering up the board, wetty and towel, I marched the k or so in and was just entering the little hole in the wall track to the cliff top when whoops, er... sorry...er, I'm going to have to walk past you as I stumble over a young couple being very positionally inventive with a bouncy horizontal tree branch and no pants..if you get what I mean.

Keeping my eyes on the road I got to the cliff top, slipped and scrambled down the couple hundred feet via rope and very dodgy track... after 40 years of climbing this thing it only gets worse...

Anyway, upshot was I had two lefts to choose from, both in the 4-6ft range, one slabby, one almost sloppy, and given the dodgy nature of my solo mission I opted for the sloppy.

I do usually surf the other when I go here but  a stunned mullet does not climb cliffs well so soft option for the old fella.

Good thing too as there was the odd rather big bomb set that wouldve made the slabby wave ugly.

Anyway, got a few, was careful, didn't stay too long and managed to make it back up without a coronary.

And my team won the footy.

Pics: The two lefts, and the rope on the way up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Checking my email yesterday, and blow me down if another Ed turns up and asks me if this is me. 

Attached was a shot from another angle of that wave from a few weeks back, and he had a sequence. I have to admit to being a little stoked as there was a shot in there of the wave as it started to throw and I started to worry about making it. 

Actually, I wasn't that worried as I barely remember a thing from the ride. Just a take off, a rush for a bit and then cruising through the inside thinking .. 'well that was a surprise!"

Thanks Ed. It's nice to have little gems like that arrive. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

For some reason I feel a little embarrassed about that last post. It was a lucky shot. Mind you I was stoked, so perhaps it's not so bad.

Yesterday a fun little surf at a wedgy peak I like to go to, that is often inhabited by a tight pack of regulars who play the block the old guy game. For the first 45 minutes I could not get a look in, as at every paddle attempt someone would paddle in front, or fake paddle inside just as I was about to go.

Made me nervy and hesitant as if I need hesitant at my age.

But I persisted, got a couple then the crowd thinned and thinned, right down to two as the tide got to rock popping out of the water low and just a bit dodgy.

It paid off, I had a few really nice waves and quite a few floggings as I ain't that flash at under the lip bubble take offs. Sometimes I make 'em. Sometimes I do somersaults.

The young fella I ended up surfing with was born and raised here, lives over the dunes at the back and it showed. Pulling into ridiculous backdoors on the sets (not shown) he had a Go Pro on his wrist that would have had a few moments for posterity. He got some floggings too, but under far more glorious circumstances that mine. I value that small lump of grey jelly enough to not try the foot of water behind the peak throw the board under the feet Hail Mary take offs he was occasionally pulling off.

Salut mate.

It was fun to chat.

Pics. Just before I paddled out, and a couple of ladies who parked on the seat to have a chat.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A  little while back now this wonderful coast was blessed a cracker swell, one of the best in years, massive period and pretty solid.

A glorious day in a wild and woolly way, and, as luck would have it, the last in a long window where photographer Ed Sloane could get a snap of me on a wave where I didn't look a complete fattened goose.

The snaps were for an article on me and Musica Surfica for Spanish surf mag 3sesenta. Felipe Verger, the editor and all around polymath has been a bloggy pal for ages, his nom de blog being Niega. Being in town for Bells, we had a coffee, a  chat....and shared some pizza.

Anyway, Ed got the shots, though he was standing up and hooting as I hit the bottom turn, ( I think in surprise that I made the drop) as I got lucky on a good one at a spot south of Bells.

Now that the magazine is out I can show off.... Here they are and a head shot Ed took, to let everyone know what old and crusty looks like.

Apologies for the type size again, and the weird indent at top... blogger playing with my brain.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Things have been decidedly dodgy on the surf front recently, so with a rising workload I took the opportunity to do some photography for a design job I'm doing.

The subject of the work is a company owned by a born and raised boy from our Mornington Peninsula, a wave haven sometimes called the Hoax Coast but in truth home to some absolute gems. A unique and beautiful environmental mix, the landscape of the place seemed a good balance to the rather dry financial subject matter.

Hunting inland and also just more intimately exploring bits I've normally run through in a wave induced fever, it was very therapeutic to just be, and explore a little. Working with the Canon G9, a camera a couple of steps above happy snapper without being remotely high end, and desaturating the images to suit the style I'm chasing... well, I had some fun.

If you are a local you might just spot some pathways to perfection, or recognize something you may have glanced if you looked sideways instead of sprinting.

PS: Blogger is behaving oddly so please excuse the tiny type...




Friday, September 02, 2011

Film is becoming a rare beast these days, so when Tim Ryan contacted me (God know why) to display his wares, I was intrigued.

This little piece gives gentle drama to the modern process of surfboard creation. Man and machine, perhaps a little at odds with the old school, but definitely serving to preserve aching joints from RSI while still allowing enough room for insight and the happy accident.

I've been around modern shaping bays enough now to know pre-shapes can still turn up 'all cocked up' and the opportunities to save a blank and discover an unexpected magic board still exist, thank goodness.

So sit back and relax into Sanded. Not a wave in sight but if you are a surfer, as you watch a board being shaped, however the method, waves start being ridden inside the coconut.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The coast was smiling yesterday.

A groomed 4-6ft plus swell, consistent, warm, offshore. If I was french I'd be going ooh la la.

On days like this though you can sometimes end up a bit frustrated. So many waves, which to choose, where to go out? On top of that the lucky boys of the Torquay Boardriders had the day slated for Bells, so they had its empty perfection to themselves.

Oddly, and a testament to what can happen when people choose to get along, is that although many chose Winki, myself included, there were solo waves and laughter for the entire afternoon. Of course there were exceptions, but the spirits were collectively willing.

It was good to see, as young rippers and old coots mixed it up and really enjoyed a near perfect mix of conditions.

Before I went out I said to myself just two good ones will make a good session.

As it happened I had four or five, a couple of which rate in the all time category. Not one to hoot, the best had me screaming at the top of my lungs at the end of 200 metres of speed and carve.

Sure, I had the odd hammering, probably looked a complete goose on a couple too, as that is de rigueur pour moi, but... it was bloody good.

Alas, my old mate Harley, hung over and very much the worse for wear after a bucks night the night before, never really got on song.

Harls loves riding the Hynd finless. Today was not his day.

Looking across as he attempted a big peak, I wasn't feeling particularly comfy about the looming hook behind as catastrophe courted him and he launched right into the maw of a very thick lip.

Two jagged pieces surfaced, the board making a V for victory sign, while Harley rose, took one look, and looking anything but victorious held his head in his hands before sinking to the bottom in despair.

Surfacing, he made a desolate sight as the waves washed him in.

I had to shrug it off as 'stuff. With the experience of many busted boards in the past, a broken board is not a dead one. It will be resurrected, perhaps a little portly, but a bit of weight never hurt anyone and I wouldn't throw a wobbler over the uncontrollable anyway.

It was great day, either way.

Pics, Emptiness, Perfection and Winki. I'd have better shots but my battery ran out.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We finally saw my dear old Dad off this week.

A cracker funeral, if such a word really should apply, plenty of tears, a fair few laughs, and to paraphrase Led Zeppelin, a whole lotta love.

As the new family elder (yikes), the eulogy fell to me, I made it, falteringly at times, through the 4000 odd words (long, I know, but he had quite a story to tell), and my greatest pleasure was the number of people who came up and said, "I never knew that".

Into the night and into the next day, the Black Irish came out, we all got very happy, the very bad jokes flew... "my dad was really badly burned.. oh dear, is he ok?,, ...well they don't hang around at those crematoriums..."

The end result? A great, good life was celebrated in a great and good way.

As I left to fly back out in the front yard I heard laughter and play.

My 25 year old niece Marcy was playing pirates with little Hanna and Harry, the youngest two of my brother Billy.

Life goes on.

Pa would have smiled.

Pics: Dad's gift of waves the weekend before the funeral, his bouquet of wildflowers, and the Battling Pirates.

POSTSCRIPT: My mate Mick Waters has made a pretty astonishing contribution to the Innersections Project, with a mindboggling little film on Proportion and Rastovich. Log in and vote Mick!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sometimes the sands align, and parts of our coast just love it when the winds dawdle and the swells fluke about, sneaking in from the rare east, nudging and tweaking in a delightful dance with rock and rip.

When that happens and the swell swings back to the south west, but doesn't get too big, there can be some beautiful music.

On both Saturday, and Sunday, many days preceding, maybe even today I suspect, banks and occasional reefs that need that little extra help fired on all cylinders.

I had a little hunt about first saw some near gems, but they were oddly fogbound and too lonely, so we opted for company and a very small crowd, just up the road.

And the waves were good.

Pics: Some mystery spots that didn't make the cut,, but are worth checking because occasionally....

And, in the sunshine, what we got.

Mid winter in Vicco. For a few minutes we were in t-shirts. And would you believe, that where I surfed yesterday, the bottom shot, for at least an hour there were just three of us. No that I'm rubbing it in...or anything. Second bottom was Saturdays wave, just for variety.

Monday, August 08, 2011

After a big, very emotional week and the prospect of an empty house all weekend, what with my little family scattered to the winds, Sue still away on a long deserved chance to catch up with friends overseas, Tom in LA causing mayhem I hope (not) and Joey up the snow after saving all year, well... Old (true) Fatboy (truer) went for a splash, two days in a row.

Good waves too. Saturday, a lovely bank to our east, busyish but friendly.

A little explore later scored a D'oh moment when Richie and I found a little reef firing with two guys out, and not enough time to play.

Sunday, flukey winded and unsure of what was happening, I waited, did some chores and then made a run... hitting the water just as the wind changed.

Going in anyway, the wind swung back and back again. All corners of the compass it managed to find and a few corners I found too. Rode Winki Lowers practically by myself in side, cross and onshore but never over 10 knots, and had a ball on the hull. The odd four foot set started to become a consistent one, and by the time my arms wouldn't work any more both Winki and Bells Rincon were looking very fine indeed, especially when it was one of those days when many had written it off.

Slept as well as I could wish, but a lot on the old mind when I think of the weeks ahead.

Or am I just being a little pessimistic?

Pics: A lovely bank, the empty reef, lowers at Winki just before I went out, and the lucky few at Bells late in the day.

I do love Victoria.