Saturday, January 18, 2014

Another aeon since I posted anything, the excuse the best I could possibly have is all energies are being directed at projects outside of blogland.

Gone are the days when I had a spare few minutes to belt something out and I've tired of putting up pictures of perfect Bells, though lately it has been far from that.

The summer illness you see. This coast and good waves in summer have a tricky relationship.
Here and there, here and there.

Lately too it has been blisteringly hot, no news if you live here but if you're reading this from northern climes we have had four straight days between 42 and 44 C or 108 and 111 in the old temperature money. Phew. Cook an egg and the bacon with it.

The good news though is during the same week our second edition of Great Ocean Quarterly started bursting out of mailboxes across the land, and should soon be arriving at our OS subscribers homes soon too. It hits the shops next week on the 23rd, bringing some salty joy to all and hopefully winning some new lovers of GOQ too.

We're very proud of this one, it is lovely, and we are now already swinging into the the next edition. 

On other fronts, I am still working towards funding The Reef (as a feature) hitting some snags but hope springs.

As well the odd foray to the beach, though nothing for three weeks and if it doesn't swing to active mode soon my manly chest could do with a visit to the bra shop, or a more practical perusal of a Victoria's Secret Catalog.

But I'm not there yet.

Anyway, have fun, happy new year, and here are some pics for you to enjoy while I'm gone. They comprise the cover of the new GOQ, some spreads as a sneak preview and a little quote from one of the stories that fell off my pen so well, sometimes writing with a pen and ink is like riding a wave... it just works... aaaand a pic of the best of the tiny waves we've been having...

Monday, November 11, 2013

I just had to fit in a post, perhaps for fun. Not sure really.

Great Ocean Quarterly is now up and out there, sales are anecdotally good, and we are beginning to receive correspondence from potential contributors, which is very heartening. Some very good writers and photographers are coming on board, with all the excitement good work brings as we start to sift through and Make a Plan.

In parallel, I've been over to Western Australia working towards bringing The Reef to the big screen, with a view to returning to the far North West in the middle of next year to make good an already wonderful recipe. 

Nothing signed or sealed yet, but the smoke signals are good.

For my home waters, we are now in the middle of our first run of real rubbish surface and swell conditions for some months, on shores howling away and the surf empty bar the odd aberration of a day that creates some magic out of a sea of popcorn.

With that in mind a memory still lives of a weekend just two weeks back, a day of days in a winter of winters.
The waves peaked at a strong Victorian 10 feet... and the picture here is after I came in, the wave not far off half the size of the sets that had been on offer just an hour or so earlier. The pic is in an onshore swing from a perfectly aligned glassy/offshore, so with this wave as the bad, imagine the good.

Onwards, pals and buddies.

Keep your fingers crossed as this barb wire canoe I continue to paddle seems to be having leaks plugged and gathering a head of steam.

To Marky and Jock, my new partners in dreams, thanks for keeping my meanderings on course, and fingers crossed for what's up next….

PS: the next issue of GOQ is looking wonderful, but no tasters just yet, and I should save them for our website anyway...

PPS: and the bottom shot is what was given away as an beautiful art print to our first subscribers. A beautiful art print by Jon Frank of the entrance to Port Philip Bay, affectionalelly know as The Rip, though it is a body of water sailors worldwide regard with some awe. Mad place when it is angry and mad when still, too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Great Ocean Quarterly is Alive.

Another long break from posting but the excuse has been hinted at in many previous entries.

Yesterday we finally sent the first edition of Great Ocean Quarterly to the printers, with it hitting the news stands, and off to subscribers, in two weeks.

It has been a massive effort, I've never been so tired and worked such long hours for such an extended period. The result is a beautiful magazine that we aim to make better and better as we learn, grow, and our community grows with it. Our contributors include the work of Jon Frank, Rod Hyett, Jack Finlay, Dean Gorrisen, Rebecca Olive, Gregory Day, Favel Parrett and Dan Crockett, of KOOK magazine fame, with one of my favourite poems ever.

The other day Mark, Jock and I sent out our first electronic direct mail to our list of family and friends to get our first burst of subscriptions. They are starting to roll in, and we are in the throws of getting our international subs coding done so that any of you far away can join in the fun. 

If you'd like a copy, drop me a line at and I'll send it to you too.

We are now looking for contributors, naturally, so if you are a creative person of any description please get in touch. We have a desire for top quality writing, and will pay!

Just remember it is not a surfing magazine. 

My premise is the 'sea affected life'. Put simply if you have a coastline near you , be it ocean, lake or puddle, and it means something to you, then GOQ will work for you, and your work will work for GOQ.

That being said as all three of us are surfers there will creep in that love of ours from issue to issue. It is simply not the centre though the love of the briny is definitely keeping our hearts pumping.

Our next challenge is to build our website so expect that to be populated by more and more very quickly. I just have to get my head around the Wordpress interface... The poor brain is a bit fried at the moment and even typing this is a challenge.

To finish off, and just to emphasise how much dedication has been put to this project, this has been one of the most relentless winters for surf ever, weeks of off-shores and swell after swell, and I've had not much of it at all… 

Below some grabs from GOQ as a taste, with more to come.

If you already have the yen to subscribe, you can get to our page here, and keep visiting the website as it grows and grows.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Well we're about 9 weeks away from sending Great Ocean Quarterly off to the printers! Holy snapping whatchamacallits!

Time to panic.

I have websites to design, photography to shoot and pictures to draw (sort of) as well as choreographing the real talent contributing to our first issue. The hair is falling out too, so my head may soon resemble a follicular metaphor for One Hand Clapping.

Or one hair flapping.

All the above though is, for the moment, an investment with a long payoff period, so luck flapped my way with a lovely job up on the River Murray, a nature shoot of sorts, which allowed a lot of moments waiting for the sun to rise, or set, or deliver the odd jewel. 

Overall we 'got skunked' as it rained a lot, and was overcast even more, The Moods we were briefed to capture were too often a trifle sombre, though sombre does have its place when it is of the happily low key, which fits the shots below.

Accompanying them are a couple from this evening, taken just three or so hours back, at my local favourite stormy beach, where the light shafts through a split in the hills just on sunset. 

And last but not least, but in the middle below) a couple from a particularly special surf at a semi secret break nearby that is my new favourite wave. These pics were taken on dark, after the swell had dropped off a lot. 

On a couple of waves I was young again.

Back soon for more, with luck.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Be careful what you wish for.

I thought I'd better stay true to promise and place some more frequent musings up here so perhaps the time lapse between this and my last log-in is not as great as those monthly maximums of late. Perhaps only just. 

After a long run of on shore winds that followed the last post we have suddenly been hit by a relentless succession of swells, with offshores and good to near perfect conditions for days and days. Of course the strange thing about living here is that familiarity does breed contempt, and self imposed work discipline has meant late sessions in underprime times. Like the late go out on dark. 

Why the self imposed denial? Well, in truth, all my project meanderings of the past few years, filmic and otherwise have given me, apart from some accolades and many friends, a rather deep and terrifying hole to dig out of, at a late age when digging is the last thing I expected.

It has meant the blog, which as I've said before has been a cathartic place to connect with near and dear, and dear and far, has become a place I've tended to avoid because of fear of emotional exposure.

I was thinking about this this evening, and then decided… bugger it, as I'm not that anonymous, and I can hold my head up in many ways as I keep on giving it a crack, successful financially or not. It doesn't help the terror, or perhaps it does. Ask me in a year or two.

As our editor Jock says, when we're cigar chomping magnates we'll look back on all of this and laugh.

Jock you are rather epic.

So today I find myself alone at home, errant son away somewhere being errant, older son not so but catching up with devil boy to coax some sense into him and trying to change university courses at the same time. My dear Sue is up in town working and chasing work to keep us afloat as I sit here in a down moment in between working on sub edits on our magazine, have anxiety attacks and try to allay them by this blog post. By now you'll realise this is rather stream of consciousness, but that is how I've been working in Safetosea since it began so no need to change now.

The one thing that has kept me alive, and I mean this seriously, is the sea and its proximity. My wandering up to the headland at Bells or Southside, a long look out to the horizon and those deep breaths of connectedness to something great, coupled with enough paddle outs to keep my body fairly strong has made the other stuff weighing me down bearable. 

When I started this blog I had a house, assets, and family. I still have the family. Risks, and expectations... have their risks. 

Lesson learned, and as I said to Sue yesterday, when we met nearly 30 years ago, we had nothing. We built something, it's gone awry, but we can do it again. And we're still together.

Last Sunday Bells was big and perfect, and local photog Steve Ryan took my picture on the second wave of a lovely session. I'm six months short of sixty, and I never expected to be riding such beautiful waves passably well, so many years later. Of that I'm thankful and the sun is still shining.

Thankyou and goodnight.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I must apologise for the past months of not posting much.

The fact is the blog has taken a big back seat to life, good and bad.

Way back when I began the thing the reason was connecting to a family in LA after seeing a memorial to their son, a lad lost while on an Indonesian surf trip, and my acute sense of what they must have been feeling given I had a couple of my own.

It evolved quickly into both a diary of sorts, and an ongoing letter to my Dear Old Dad . After he left us the fire went out a bit, and the other stories, about kids and what they get up to, started to get a bit too personal to share, as one, in particular, started to get up to more than I expected, more than I could bear, and more than I could fairly let the big wide world become privy to.

Is that improving? Perhaps, but I will be trying to be here more often. There are some good things happening.

As I have written earlier, the Reef, our collaboration of film and orchestra, is on a trail to becoming a feature of sports.

That it is taking longer than one would expect is no surprise if you know anything about the machinations of the film world. It is not easy.

My other project, and hopefully my later life career, is as Creative Director of Great Ocean Quarterly. 

This was an idea I've been ruminating on for about three years now. I'd wanted to do something about "living Near The Sea" for quite a awhile, but as a businessman I really do fall short and decided, for this particular bright idea, to find partners.

Happily I found them, in Mark Willett and Jock Serong. We incorporated a couple of weeks back and have begun the build for a launch in November.

Mark is a great business head, a former round the world yacht racer, manic surfer and an old friend. Jock, as editor, brings some heavy writing skills, a planet brain, and again, his connection to the sea is strong.
His first book, Quota, is being released later this year.

The whole idea is a Sea Informed Life. Arts, ideas, very good writing, all connected by proximity, be it emotional or physical, to the sea. We have some great contributors on board with more to come, including a few friends from blogland who have the writing chops to help me fill a brief to myself of having "other coasts' as companions to the area we will feature most, this glorious Great Ocean Coast of Victoria, way down here in Oz.

As we progress I'll keep you posted with enough to make everyone want to subscribe because we are very serious about this, and fully intend to make it fly.

On top of it all the surf has been pumping, though for the past few days the Big Wet has set in, and the Devil Winds too.

The pics following range from last Sunday to yesterday afternoon, with the bad winds in the middle. Enjoy your fill of chill.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

An amazing run of swell hereabouts over the last week or so. Relentless and perfect at times, with one big raw evening touching big enough for some rather long boards to get a run without seeming silly. 

Bell's when it gets over a certain tipping point becomes rather hard to catch. At a size somewhere around maybe three to four times overhead, the big fat lumps have a habit of going from zero to hero in a very sudden second. An early hook in makes it all the easier, and for a while I wasn't getting it. A six ten and old bones meant a couple of cartwheels down the face, but somehow the old rheumy eye dialled in and I managed four or five giggles before dark by sitting in, and under the lip, letting the fates guide me down.

For the rest of the past week the endless perfection allowed, amidst the crowds, quite a bit of fun.

I also did some filming, albiet not that successfully as I was having camera operator issues, which means, really, that I'm a bit better at directing than shooting, though I am working on it. Jon Frank. Respect.

The shots are from the smaller, more shapely yesterday morning of the larger night before. I do have to say it is not a bad set of reefs to have just up the road.