Archive | October, 2011

Surfing – good for your mind, body and…bank balance?

29 Oct

Happy in France

I spent yesterday morning in the Trafford Centre, Manchester. Being half term and pay-day for a lot of people it was rammed. For those that haven’t been, it is pretty impressive as shopping centres go, engineered to help you part with your money in as much comfort as possible.

These days, the only time I generally visit these places is when out and about for work. Why else would I be lured away from Cornwall to experience the delights of the Centre, Milton Keynes, Cribbs Causeway and Westfields? There was a time when these types of places would have been my destination for the weekend like they are for a large percentage of the population.

Before I discovered surfing, I got my thrills from going shopping. Instead of a testing paddle out, I battled with other shoppers to find a decent parking space. Now, I get excited by the changing seasons with the promise of hurricane swells, or warmer water or fewer people. Before, the seasons simply marked the latest sales. The adrenaline rush came not from pushing my limits in overhead surf, but from pushing the limit of a nearly maxed out credit card. Would the purchase go through or would I have the embarrassment of my card being declined? I am now undecided about which board to use, not which credit card to use. It is true, I had a problem. With nothing else to do at the weekend, I shopped for my kicks. It was an expensive habit which I have very nearly paid off.

Surfing may be free but the accoutrements of surfing are not cheap. I have had to make my £200 winter wetsuit last for almost three years, and although boards have been big investments, the pleasure and excitement I get from surfing has been well worth it. I have not racked up huge debts through surfing (although a fair spent bit has been spent on travelling). Shopping, and being away from the sea is now very much a chore.

With thanks to my sponsor (and Husband) for supporting my surf habit for the past 6 years!

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ASP Tour Judges – We Are Ready For You

11 Oct

As a result of some very inconsistent judging, we are going to try to make our voices heard today…

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European Premier of New Globe Surf Movie

9 Oct


The European premier of Globe’s new Surf Movie, Year Zero was celebrated in style, with a free party and screening held at a secret location in the forest in Seignosse, near Le Penon.

The event was a collaboration between Globe, Desillusion Magazine and Rockstar Energy Drinks and advertised as ‘The Death of Cool’.

The invite was open to all ‘folks, hippies and kooks’ that had been lucky enough to find the details of the event through the Twittersphere. ‘Suivez les fleches rouges’, or ‘follow the red arrows’ were the only clues to the venue.

Stepping into a clearing in the forest, the view was that of an old skool rave. Vibrations from a heavy dub step bass line coursed through my body, whilst dancers on podiums and fire breathers welcomed new arrivals. A big screen had been erected amongst the pine trees and coloured lights cast unusual shadows into the woods. Alongside the well stocked free bar and DJ booth, there was a chill out area, made to look like a comfortable but well worn front room, complete with Turkish rug. The effect was surreal, an Alice in Wonderland playground for adults. To add to this, Globe had strung a row of a hundred pairs of their shoes by their laces between two pine trees. A sign proclaimed ‘take me’. Whoops of delight were emitted as this bounty was discovered. An Australian QS surfer promptly ditched the scruffy pair he was wearing, purchased for a fiver at Shoe Zone in Newquay, for his new Globe plimsolls.

Gourmet sandwiches were laid out, and the bar stopped serving beer. In true French fashion, barrels of wine in red and white were provided instead. Wine with food, not beer came the simple explanation from the bar staff.

The crowd, well fed and watered danced in the light of the moon to a variety of tunes and the somewhat questionable deejaying. Finally, a countdown started on the big screen, and the lights dimmed. All attention turned to the film.

Featuring Globe team Surfers Taj Burrow, the Hobgoods, Nate Tyler and Yadin Nicol, Year Zero was shot in Mexico and South West France. The film featured the air show that we have come to expect of this calibre of surf movie as well as some excellent cinematography. The defaced World War two bunkers made for an interesting backdrop to the surf porn shown. Before the movie could climax, the heavens opened in that torrential way well known to this part of France and the audience fled.

Thanks for the great party Globe, we will be adding Year Zero to our DVD collection.

Notes From the First Morning at the Quik Pro France…

5 Oct

The eagerly awaited swell has hit early and the contest organisers have made the call to start the competition. The air is cool and fresh, but the sea mist is now melting away. The growing crowd on the beach has started to peel off layers of clothing, all eyes transfixed on the water. Although a gentle breeze can now be felt, the waves are glassy, as yet unruffled by the wind.

The second heat is underway. Jadson Andre has caught the first barrel, a long tube ride scoring 7.5. The cosmopolitan crowd, comprised of a collection of all surfing nations, cheers.

When not watching the surf, a big screen replays the last waves caught and the organisation of the Quiksilver Pro France really stands out. We have spent the last few days travelling up and down the beach, witnessing the contest area unfolding. From the multiple camera towers, contestant areas, stages and a huge skate ramp being constructed in the Place Des Landais, it is apparent that this is one of the biggest ASP spectacles. Most importantly, the surf has turned on!

It is the now the third heat of the day. The Quiksilver buoy marking the outer reaches of the contest area disappears, a sign that a set of waves is on it’s way. Tiago Pires takes off on a bomb, but doesn’t make it. Mick Fanning, the defending champion answers by taking off on the second set wave. He threads through a tube and then carves his way right to the beach to the applause of the crowd.

The tide is starting to push towards high, and the breeze is stronger now. The offshore direction of the wind is holding up the wave faces, and Brett Simpson tail slides across one for a 7.33, putting him in the lead. With 90 seconds to go, Mick Fanning slips skilfully into a barreling wave and disappears from view as he is enveloped inside. He bursts out through the curtain of the wave, and the crowd erupts. Mick scores a 9.37 to win the heat.

Due to the amount of water moving around, and the impending high tide the forth heat is restarted. The water running back from the beach makes the waves fat and hard to catch. Owen Wright breaks the stand off between competitors and conditions taking off on an ample wave. It breaks too quickly, closing out around him. Owen catches another wave arcing out of a deep bottom turn and pulling a huge floater across the lip. Dane Reynolds answers, but does not secure a good score despite completing a big turn.

The sky is now cloudless and the temperature is climbing steadily. The set waves are scarce and the clock counts down. A final exchange takes place between Owen and Dane. Dane pulls a frontside air reverse in the closing seconds for an 8.33. Not quite enough to win but a dignified finish to a slow heat.

Heat 6, Kelly Slater’s heat has just started. The crowd have repositioned themselves, ready to pounce as soon he leaves the water. Kelly gets a reasonable right hander, nothing special and is scored accordingly. Notably, the majority of spectators here are better versed in the idiosyncrasies of the judging criteria than the crowd in Hawaii at the Pipeline Masters last year. Hopefully this means Kelly will get scored fairly, if not more critically than in the other events we have witnessed this year. Perhaps it is because he is in front of a European crowd rather than an all American audience?

Kelly is undoubtedly surfing the best in this heat, although the high tide is providing the worst conditions of the day so far.

Freddy P Jr pulls a frontside air, the most exciting manoeuvre of the heat for a score of 6.83, although Kelly wins by one point. As the air horn sounds, a huge set of waves rumbles through unridden. The crowds mob Kelly.