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.

Monday, August 01, 2011

At the beginning of the year I was up in Queensland, a Christmas spent as an extended bedside vigil as my Dear Old Dad clung to life, his beady eye occasionally fixed on we, the gathered family, as if to say, "I'm not going anywhere just yet."

This morning that anywhere was where he went, as we finally lost our dearest of men to the fight and fate of all of us. I'd had my ticket booked, due to spend a week with him come Wednesday.

You feel robbed sometimes. Today was one of them.

I spoke to Pa last week, he was getting very confused, which is hard as he had a mind like a steel trap, but I knew when I was speaking that he was listening, that he knew we cared and loved him.

Experience has taught me that the last thing to go is that comprehending mind. Confusion may reign when trying to gather thoughts, and communicating, but if all you need to say is said, they will understand.

If I go with a shred of the good humour, grace and dignity as my old man, I will be blessed.

This past weekend was spent with my friends Rod, Hazel and young Benjamin down south. My favourite coast, temporarily waveless, but a delight to stand on the brink of vast horizons. A few snaps on a cliff edge, one now entirely appropriate. Benji on infinity's brink, a metaphor for my Dad on the his last full day.

Benji with a life ahead.

Dad with his life trials behind, ahead a grand adventure, or a long, good, night.

I loved and love you always, you wonderful man.

Goodbye Dad.