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Pushy Mum?

19 Sep

Whilst I am aware this is extremely premature as my son is only 2 weeks old, I found this online today…

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Does the fact that I think that this would be super cool mean that I am harbouring a pushy mum instinct, desperate to have a little surfer / skater dude?

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Not So Secret Spot

20 Nov

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For those that read my earlier post referring to a secret spot with a fabled right hander, here is a picture of Tim surfing it last winter. It only works on a certain tide when the swell is coming from west to north westerly direction, and it needs to be a big swell! This was the biggest I’ve seen it. Unfortunately it is not as secret as it once was. Only 3 or 4 years ago we surfed it with a maximum of 8 or so people. This weekend there was probably nearly 40 people out.

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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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.

British Surf Film Festival

22 Sep

I have just returned from a night out to the inaugural British Surf Film Festival in Newquay. The new WTW Lighthouse Cinema hosted the event and my friend Karl Mackie was one of the organisers.

There has been a buzz surrounding the event over the past few months. Newquay has a large population of surfers of all ages who have made the sacrifice of low wages for a better standard of living, and the ability to surf as often as possible. It is really exciting to have an event that has been directly targeted this community.

The new Lighthouse Cinema opened this spring, and has already dipped its toe into the water with a few surf films. It screened Rio Breaks, a documentary about two best friends from the favelas and their life in the slums and surfing at Arpoador Beach, in Rio de Janeiro. It also held a Surfers for Cetaceans event where we saw Dave Rastovich’s movie Minds in The Water followed by talks by the surfers, directors and producers of the film.

The Lighthouse was a great venue for the film festival with its large atrium and multi screens. A band played, canapés were served and drinks were available from the bar. A red carpet was laid for Bethany Hamilton, the inspiration for the film Soul Surfer, which was premiered at the event. There was a good turnout from Newquay’s finest, dressed in their glad rags.

Although Bethany Hamilton’s story is inspirational, Soul Surfer (a Disney production) was not for me. I did however see two other films tonight.

Thirty Thousand – a beautifully shot surf travel movie by Richard and Andrew James. The premise of the documentary is two brothers who undertake a trip from Casablanca to Cape Town surfing the west coast of Africa as they go. This was eloquently narrated and unpretentious. The mellow, retro style surfing of the James twins was a joy to behold.

Last Paradise – an unintentionally funny documentary about the pioneers of extreme sports in New Zealand in the 60’s and 70’s. The stars of this movie, included AJ Hackett the founder of bungee jumping (who looked as if he’d done one too many), truly had a screw loose. I left with a longing to emigrate and live within spitting distance of Manu Bay, Raglan.

The British Surf Film Festival continues tomorrow, when a film competition will also be held with a screening of the entrant’s submissions. A great event, I hope this becomes an annual occasion!

Drought

20 Jun

Drought! I hear the fellow Cornwall dwellers cry, as another mizzly June afternoon draws to a close. Drought! Our water butts are full and our jackets are steaming on the radiators.

Whilst the rest of the country laments their empty reservoirs, we are suffering a dearth of decent surf.

How cruel to tantalise us with a spring of sun, swell and favourable wind directions. How delighted we were, perhaps a promise of springs to come?

No, we have been misled by the weather gods, delivered a June with the grubby finger prints of climate change all over its dank afternoons. My previous praise for our modest, Cornish paradise is now retracted.

This is dangerous territory. A bank account cleansed by extended bank holidays and family weddings may take further strain. Fingers are getting trigger happy as they stroll with the mouse over pages of foreign shores. Ferries to France? A flight to Spain? A fantasy of warmer water and cleaner waves could be swiftly gratified within a few clicks.

Or do we hold firm. Stiff upper lips, grin and bear it. Excel at surfing a swirling grey and white mushy mess, whipped up by a westerly wind.

At least it’s not flat some say, take up kiting say the rest.

A Karma Ding

17 Mar

I tried to sneak by on a sweet little left hander and I paid the price.

I have managed to crack the rail on my beloved longboard so it has to go to Dr Paul Fluin at Diplock Phoenix on Saturday. It looks like there will be a perfect little longboard wave this weekend too.

Karma for being greedy and dropping in.