Friday, 2 October 2015

This is Getting Seriously Close to Being Real: A Garage Shaper!?! Me?!

I can't believe that buying a surfboard a few short years ago has led to this! I've been working hard to convert a garage into shaping and glassing bays. I've got fins to make... materials to buy... decisions to confront...

Building a Shaping Garage

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Sennen Cove

I really enjoyed surfing Sennen Cove recently. It's amazing how different new beaches feel. It was a bit messy and funky and then as it neared high tide it became clean & fun head high almost beach-break waves. All the kids appeared popping airs and getting covered-up. A really different fun performance vibe from where I've been surfing recently. Maybe it's the tropical looking water?

I enjoyed my 5'4 Tyler Warren "Bar of Soap". Love this board - it's thinner and more lively feeling than you might think. A bit of a bugger to paddle but really, really fun on a nice clean wave, steep or not. It does prefer clean waves though. Chop tends to throw it off its game. It's no 3" thick Mini-Simmons floater-bloater that's for sure!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Making a Shaping Rack

This little Flickr gallery shows how I've made myself a shaping rack. Hope it works! I used wood I'd found in the garage so a lot cheaper than buying expensive metal ones online. Still got my Mum's empty garage to convert though so there's lots to do. Hope I'll be buying a blank before too long! Making My Shaping Rack This surfing journey is becoming more than I expected!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

I've Made My First Surfboard


This is very exciting!!! A whole new step along the path to, well, I guess my whole life being absorbed by what started out as a dip in the water a few years ago. (Actually, I've labelled this board "Number 0.5" as it's not really my first because I made it under instruction.)

I went down to visit Chris Hartop of Lovefoam and he showed me how to do it at his workshop. I'd highly recommend it if you've ever had an inkling that you'd like to make a board. The main think is that I've ended up with a board that I want to surf and DO enjoy surfing. It's not a 'first board shocker' pre-prepared for the local tip! (Focussed on the foil not being too thick.)

I took the measurements of a Lis Fish and compared them with my Bing Dharma and the Skip Frye fish discussed by Andrew Kidman in his recent Surfer's Journal article. Basically ending up with a fish with 12" between the pins and a slightly pulled in nose.

I've started clearing my Mum's garage... uh oh!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Stoke Is...

...seeing your daughter catch the first little wave ever surfed on the first surfboard you've made yourself!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

I Like the Silver Colour of Winter Surfing

Just took a few photos of people enjoying the waves at Croyde on Mothering Sunday. Instead of surfing I was cooking lunch and then walking to Baggy Point. I didn't mind though - I've just been discovering the joys of a good swell at Saunton combined with my 6'6 Archie's Left. Plenty of nice clean waves last week basically and a promising few days to come. Nice, joyous waves, after a frustratingly dark winter of paddling through tons of work rather than surfing.

Monday, 26 January 2015

A Rare Photo of Me Surfing

Ben Barnes took this photo of me near Woolacombe - he did well managing to get a few snaps after the drop before the waves closed out on me! They were breaking too fast at the shit pipe the other day. He'll take photos of you surfing for a few quid. Get in touch with him via Facebook here >>

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Heavy Cotton

It struck me while watching this how insane this all is. I wonder if I'm going to get a good wave when I go for a surf, but I travel a handful of miles and go for 15 to 30 waves in a session I suppose. I think it's a bit far to go down the coast and nervously explore an unfamiliar break. Andrew Cotton (like other big wave surfers) plan a few days ahead, travel to different countries and all in the hope that they might find that one significant ride. (Not to mention the fact that he's doing this coming from Devon when most big wave surfers will come from Hawaii, California, Australia or other places blessed with grand local surf.)

I mean - how hard do you want to make it? How unlikely and how much of the whole experience gets shifted into the framework of logistics, travel, preparation and training? Cotty deserves his own biographical movie. He's a compelling surfer and as a person is achieving amazing things considering he wasn't born near a world class surf break. He looked so bloody happy chatting after that amazing left - you could see the joy of all that preparation, gambling, risk and hope paying off with a ride he deserved to find.

Super film and editing work by Mikey Corker to bring these adventures home to us too.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Life vs Surfing

Been so busy with work and life. I've not surfed so little since I started - especially with the early dark now. Probably only getting in once a week. I've become a 'weekend warrior' while living five minutes from the beach. Again this morning I had to watch people surfing for five minutes before getting back to the computer. I'm complaining, but I deeply understand the spoiled and imbalanced nature of my complaint when placed in world perspective.

This was Woolacombe this morning before the wind trashed it.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tom Curren, J-Bay 19th July, 2014

Did you watch the ASP J-Bay Open, live online? Specifically the Occy vs Curren heat?

I've warmed to the ASP World Tour over the years, realising that it promotes and helps the sport to support itself when surf companies are struggling to survive and it also, due to it's competitive nature, gives us surfing moments with a drama that otherwise wouldn't exist. (Who can forget Slater unbelievably emerging from that 'Perfect 10' scoring barrel at Hossegor 2010?) The excitement is further enhanced for me by the fact that my Fantasy Surfer team is currently seventh overall! Anyway, I was looking forward to J-Bay anyway.

It also happened that I watched the surf movie "Instruments of Change" by Simon Saffigna the other day. We all know, or should, a bit about Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo. It was Tom Curren who I was interested in though. I've been amazed by the style of his famous 'first wave' of his at J-Bay (his smooth bottom turns appear 'jet-propelled'!) ever since reading about it in Tom Anderson's wonderful book "Riding the Magic Carpet". I'm still dying to see the Rip Curl "Search" movie, so if anyone can help me get a copy on DVD I'd be eternally grateful. I've loved Tom's surfing in other films like "Idiosyncrasies", however, I wasn't prepared for what a pleasure "Instruments of Change" is. Especially as an older surfer it's really compelling to watch the seasoned style and warm stoke of Curren and Occy - not to mention Gary Elkerton (filmed getting a bomb of a barrel!) compared directly with the jumpy, staccato performance surfing of the groms they take with them (Pat Curren, Kalani Ball and Keanu Asing). The ability of these elder statesmen, with their new-found middle-aged girth (of varying degrees), is astounding and it's beautiful to watch; not to mention inspiring to middle-aged surfers like me. Not only is the surfing great, but it's beautifully filmed with the camera following them from just behind the lip of the wave, I guess filmed from a jetski or something, but it felt like something I'd not quite seen before and really makes you feel like you're following the surfers along the wave.

So, because of this, I made sure I was sitting down to watch the Curren vs Occy heat live on my laptop. I'm not kidding - Curren's first good wave nearly brought a tear to my eye. After watching the current pros lose their positioning and make mistakes the unbelievable fluid precision with which Curren negotiated his a wave was just mesmerising. To see someone combine such style along with a scientist's eye for trajectory was exciting and an education - and at fifty years of age on good sized pumping J-Bay walls! Curren's 10 scoring wave that rocked up next though was unbelievable. It was surfing unfolding - live - in a way that seemed unimaginable. It's perhaps, for me, the greatest sporting live event I've ever watched. I don't quite know why I feel so emotional about it but it felt like watching his first J-Bay wave, combined with Michael Peterson's cutback, Hynson & August surfing Cape St Francis and Miki Dora surfing Malibu, but LIVE. It felt like the history I would've loved to be part of being performed in front of me: now. Something significant. Dear Tom Curren: thankyou! And thankyou J-Bay for showing up with a well-timed swell and rubbing out the plague of air-reverses.

Now if you haven't watched that wave then watch it now. And then watch it again…

Monday, 9 June 2014

Five Years of Surfing

Five years of surfing now, have finally led to me surfing a tricky spot that I've been looking at for years. (These are not me - they're pics I took while browsing.)

A bad move and you end up on the rocks (I did once with–luckily–no damage), there's lots of paddling to do to keep in the right spot but had the best waves of my life and left super stoked! It's spots like this that you find it's clear why you shouldn't rock up and surf it to tick off a box. It's sketchy and pretty unnerving to see your fins flying so close to the rocks now and again. But oh - so nice!!!!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

It's Been a Winter of Big Swells

Big waves, sketchy windy days, I haven't had the time to go and find the sheltered/better spots so it's been lots of testing surfs. Some good, some bad. Really enjoyed a surf in clean 2ft the other day, simply because it made a refreshing change from overhead stuff. This Winter's sorted out the surfers who have the time, dedication and skills to go and find the super waves from most of us who've been carrying on grabbing waves at our local breaks when winds/tides allow. So for some it's been the best Winter in years, for most of us it's been difficult: for everyone pretty tiring! Looking forward to some eeeeeeeeaaaaaasy summer surfs...