Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, a step aside, a moment to collect yourself.

My little board building exercise filled the spot last week, and this past weekend as my own little Demon wreaked a little more havoc on life I was forced to drag out the wooden board and set about refining some lines, getting the rails feeling right and checking for a fair curve from all angles.

It's a long haul, I would love a V8 sander but then I might find myself sanding the saw horse if I happened to slip off into mid afternoon daydreams of the waves I'd be riding on the splinter I'd accidentally created. So hand sanding is perhaps a more considered, sensible option.

The big plus though is the tiny holiday of the mind, and it beats weeding the 'garden'.

The other thing that's been filling up my time is I've been asked to curate a little film festival for the Clean Ocean Foundation, and so, this weekend, I get to host, sort of, a bunch of films I've managed to find, with the help of the amazing Keiko Beatie, and raise some money for a very worthy environmental organisation. Clean Ocean have been working tirelessly for years to get a sewer outfall closed at one of our best beaches, and the need to continue to fight new good fights is worthy of support and a party or two.

Last week I was even on the radio, and despite being late because of traffic succeeded in not sounding too dim, though the umms and ahhhs did hit the odd couple of times. You can listen here, if you like, the last quarter of the Film Buffs show with Paul Harris on RRR in Melbourne.

If you are down Sorrento way this weekend, check Sea Stories, the First Clean Ocean Sorrento Film Festival.

Pics: My board, and the filled in version of the mid tide peak that for a while was an absolute long walled hull blast on a warm Sunday morning.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

With all the tragedy happening around us, I reserved posting on a very fun weekend of taking a break from reality to join a wooden board building workshop run by Rich Blundell from Tree to Sea, at the home of local wooden board builder and host Rob Ivers.

Two long days and a very steep learning curve left a happy group of young and old with deep satisfaction, new knowledge, and a fair way down the track to a welcome ride of the wooden variety.

Rich is a gifted and patient teacher, an extremely bright fellow with a lean to the cognitive left. A fascinating conversation sits skin deep, all day long.

I chose to make a longish fish, known as the Striper, and look forward to finishing and taking it for a sweep on a long wall. I have no doubt it will run true.

The following day a glassy four foot@fifteen second swell graced Bells with occasional lovely lines, and I scored just enough to make me a happy chappy. Back to a real world to more of the same crap, the bliss departing just about as fast as it came.

The Pics: In progress, with some Old Coot, Paul, Rich, Wazza, Rob and Angus, ready to start fine tuning curves, bottoms, and rails. And Bells, rare and glassy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm due for a blog post but in truth, like many, I've been in shock over the recent events in Japan.

Being exposed to the End of Days images saturating the media, the disaster flick retina burning intensity is something all of us may have sought out at the movies at one time or another without ever contemplating seeing it come to life on screen or in your own reality. When the first images hit my eyes I audibly gasped, a twin towers moment without someone to blame.

I've heard said that our lives are brief sparks of awareness sandwiched between eternities of oblivion. Neither a happy nor unhappy thought. More an is, a call to be your best, to do, to give, to leave something that causes your spark to be remembered and treasured for some moments beyond its passing.

Last week in the fireworks display of life a precious burst winked out in an instant. Around the world others faded in a more regular daily pattern, but in stoic Japan, in those long black moments, the whole planet bucked and caused us all to face a gargantuan reminder of our fragile grip on existence.

As if it where ever not.

The Pic: One of my two beloved sparks, taken by one of his mates. I love ya Tommy. Shine bright.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

It was my birthday yesterday.

As a present, but entirely unintentional in the birthday department, I received a little parcel in the mail the day before.

Late last week I'd had an extended conversation with Andrew Kidman about a project I'm doing (no, not a film...yet). We digressed to surfing, as if that was ever far from either of our minds. Surfboards in particular. Andrew used the term 'surfing instrument' in the ramble, and this really made my ears prick up, as indeed that is what they are.

The instrument thing though has this implication beyond tool, and into self expression, feel, range, idiosyncrasy and personality, if indeed the inanimate can have one.

Anyone with any close relationship with an object will tell you it can, be it a car, bike or an obstinate rock. We project feelings and characteristics, but in the intimacy of instrument and player, or rider, that feedback loop is what it's all about.

I'm a thoroughly crap guitarist, can barely play a couple of tunes, but when I pick up a good instrument my clay fingers get a feel of what lies beneath. On a surfboard, with forty years of experience of course my feedback is far more nuanced, rubbish old hack that I am, the feet don't lie and much joy is still to be felt.

Andrew's timely but unintended birthday gift was a copy of his new film, Lost in the Ether. He said it was a film for the surfing purist, something that might be 'lost in the ether' to the non surfer, but not lost to someone with surfing history and a love for the act and the tools of the dance.

Sitting down last night I sat enthralled in a journey beginning with that famous Michael Petersen cutback from forty years ago in Morning of the Earth, and segueing through Michael himself talking very eloquently about design, and those magic days before he slipped away from surfing anywhere but in his mind. The film's thread was one of surfboards, shapers and technique. Great shapers, and good surfers who were not so far into the technical stratosphere that whatever they did lurched into the impossible.

The surfing was all about exploring history and line, with a narrative that explained why the board was so much part of the performance, how feeling counted and helped the surfer find different landscapes on familiar waves.

I loved this film, it has depths to be explored as you watch and hear the how and why of the making of the most personal of instruments. Few if any are played by your whole body, and few instruments have the public exposure surfing has. You can sit quietly in a room playing a guitar, but every right and wrong note played on a board is there for the world to see. Watching Kidman riff on a variety of boards, and hearing his rationale of the performance, both as a shaper and a surfer is something even a non surfer would get as it is not a discourse full of dude speak and populism. It is listening to a passionate man talking about something with love, and anyone can understand that.

This is not a review, but Andrew, well done.

I wish I had your command.

Pic: A screen snap of the book of the film. Go. Buy.