December 30, 2011

The Boiled Lolly

Envisaged, shaped, coloured, glassed, sanded and ridden by Azz. Seen here eating up some uncrowded Winter walls.

December 28, 2011

Friendly Surfs

Most of the time I go surfing alone. And to be honest most of the time I prefer it that way. But I do enjoy surfing with friends too. Especially when it's on a quiet little peeling point break with a lot of hooting, claiming and general shenanigans. Good times recently with good friends Kyal, Kara, Jason, Azz, Michelle and Katherine. Hope you're enjoying the holiday season with your friends and family too.

December 21, 2011

Queens at Waikiki

"Do Waikiki" said Surfer Magazine's 67 Things To Do Before You Die (Aug 2006). Here's my wife Katherine  sliding there a few years ago. I'm pretty sure this was at Queens. I know it was way cool. Warm sunset sessions with live Hawaiian music on the beach are etched deep in our minds. If you get the chance, go for sure.

December 19, 2011

The Red Nosed Surfboard

Oh for some Winter conditions! Clean, sunny and uncrowded sliding.

December 16, 2011

December 14, 2011

Slide Hawaii

Included in Surfer Magazine's 67 Things To Do Before You Die (Aug 2006) was "Do Waikiki". My wife had to almost drag me there a few years ago. Crazy I know! I can't really explain why, I just didn't feel like going away at the time... But I'm so glad I went. Both Hawaii and Waikiki were amazing. Even though we only surfed on the south shore of Oahu in their Summer (so no Sunset charging) it was super fun. It doesn't look like much but we had a blast surfing tiny Waikiki. I won't rave on, but I think surfing Waikiki definitely deserves its place on this list. 

December 12, 2011

Nude Surfing

Well sans surfcraft anyway... 

December 10, 2011

December 7, 2011

Manufacturing Stoke Reviewed

My wife Katherine  has a cool blog called Drawn Lines. She's just written a very eloquent review of the recently released surf flick Manufacturing Stoke. I haven't actually seen it for myself yet, but it sounds like I should. Katherine's review is posted in full beneath the trailer.

Manufacturing Stoke (directed by Pierce Michael Kavanagh, misfit pictures)
Rob Machado, Dan Malloy, Kassia Meador and Alex Knost do not appear in this film. The first surfer featured is 9-year old Tiara Thompson: an environmentally-aware, frothing girl-grom from California. And that is perhaps the most refreshing aspect of Manufacturing Stoke — it is one of very few independent films not relying on 'in-crowd' surfers to garner appeal. In fact, the lack of prominent surfers and locations makes this almost an anti-surf film. If sponsored shredders are the tip of the surfing iceberg, Manufacturing Stoke goes below the surface to bring up a colourful and varied cast of pioneers and commentators including the eccentric and inspirational Carl Ekstrom, Richard Kenvin, Jon Wegener and others.

For the first part of the movie, you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching an episode of Grumpy Old Men — grey-haired blokes with a malibu-chip on their shoulder about an industry that is partly responsible for propelling the planet towards environmental doom. And you could also be forgiven for thinking that the man behind it all is Grubby Clark. But as the film rolls on it becomes apparent that there is a future for surfing — and it's getting progressively greener. The old guard are graciously handing the baton to a new breed of environmentally conscious independent surfers, shapers and manufacturers like Danny Hess, Lucas Dirkse, Ed Lewis, and Clay Peterson of Marko Foam. As the focus shifts to this new generation, the outlook seems increasingly positive. Here are a growing group of modern-day pioneers whose innovations are starting the next big and much-needed change to the surf industry paradigm — what some commentators are labeling surfing's true renaissance. It's an exciting time to be a surfer, and Manufacturing Stoke gives us a peek into future possibilities.

Manufacturing Stoke's production values follow the lead of pictures by directors like Jason Baffa and Thomas Campbell — with plenty of atmosphere, sensitive camera work, a palpable story-line and a bespoke soundtrack. But it's the film's core message that makes it so different, and so challenging. This is not the sort of movie you put on to fill the background. It demands concentration and a willingness to look at your own surfing habits in the cold green light of environmental responsibility.

Much like the nature of the youthful surfers featured, Manufacturing Stoke asks hard questions and urges you to answer them. While it provides an insight into how the industry is changing for the better, at the end of the day it is up to individuals to make responsible choices and change their own habits at a personal level. There's no neat-and-tidy happy ending here, but the education that this film provides brings us one step closer.

December 5, 2011

December 3, 2011

December 2, 2011

Embracing Summer

Summer's here, got to be stoked about that.

November 30, 2011

Chunky Thruster

A favourite chunky thruster of mine. And like my favourite board ever from last week's post, this is another Valla custom by Paul Joske. I had it made back in 2007 and it's far thicker and wider than most thrusters from then or now. It's 6'1" with a rounded pin tail and a double 6oz top and bottom, so it was never intended for airs! I was after something that rode a bit more like an 80's thruster, it goes great. I took the board photos before waxing it up for a first surf at middle Narrabeen, and the surfing picks are from a really fun and uncrowded mid day session about two years ago.

November 23, 2011

Favourite Board Ever

As I've said in the past this blog's not intended to be all about my own surfing, but about everyday regular surfers, or surfer joes. But as I'm a surfer joe myself, sometimes I get a pic or two as well. I'm going to pop up around once a week over the next few weeks—please excuse me if it comes across as self interested... And it won't always be this verbose!

Now that I'm getting older, I find I'm becoming less certain or definite about a lot of things. A little slower to make absolute, finite, best-ever kind of calls. Like for instance "this is my all-time favourite surfboard". But I thought it might make for an interesting post.

To begin, I considered my first ever board. It was a pre-loved 6'1" Sam Egan thruster (complete with the dinged rails from my first attempt at balancing on it in a backyard pool). After all, those first rides will remain some of my most memorable. Or perhaps my favourite board was my first custom, shaped by Brett Warner at Brookvale when I was not long out of high school? However, these are both fairly conventional thrusters which I haven't ridden so much in the past few years.

Then I thought about my funky purple double-ender—a thick, short and wide Chris Brock number complete with a deep single Ben Lexcen winged keel fin. My first summer riding that board was super fun. But then, I've also had massive amounts of stoke in recent years riding longboards. So, what about my first custom McTavish malibu that I picked up second hand for a song at sleepy Evans Head? Or maybe one of my sweet single-finned Valla longboards by Paul and Sage Joske?

I'm tempted in my old age to temper the absoluteness of my initial quest and tweak it to "favourite shortboard" or "favourite fish". But that just won't do. I've gotta say it loud and proud: the Valla fish pictured below is a dream board. I just love it! Now I sound like a teenage girl...

It was hand crafted by Paul Joske over 8 years ago now. After my first surf on it I wrote to him gushing that I felt "destined to ride this board". Unlike a lot of the closer-to-a-thruster "fishes" that get around, it's a traditional, timber keel finned, wide swallow tail fish—far closer to the original design that came out of California in the 1970s.

For a few years previous I'd been mesmerised by the footage of Curren riding a true fish at Jeffreys Bay. The high-line speed runs and massive drawn out cutbacks looked like so much fun, and so different to how a thruster would have performed in the same waves. Paul's been building all kinds of boards for over 40 years, and when I saw his son Heath ripping on a fish his dad had made him, it finally dawned on me I could have one under my feet too.

As with a lot of good things in life, you have to wait for them. I'm sure it was at least 6 months before I paddled the fish out for it's maiden voyage at the south end of Mona Vale in October 2003. It was a dawn session and I quickly took these board photos before heading out. It was only small, but I was alone and just so stoked on the unique way it rode. Still am. The surfing shots are from a great afternoon session a few winters back—at least 6 years on and the fish is still going strong.

So there you have it, my favourite board ever. So far at least...

5' 8 1/2"  X  21"  X  2 7/16"

November 11, 2011


A recent Spring morn. 

November 9, 2011

Mr Enthusiasm

Going on the amount of times I see Tony out for a morning session, it must be pretty rare for him to pass up a surf. As a regular longboarder I end up splashing about in some pretty marginal conditions; the kind of conditions most won't bother with on a short board, but Tony often paddles out on a trusty thruster to snag a few before work. His surf stoke and energy nearly out does the groms. Cool to see. Sometimes he even puts in a decent ride to and from the surf as well.

November 4, 2011

Eyes Fixed

Gaze already fixed on where he wants to be next. Smooth surfers always seem to be well and truly ready - in the right place at the right time. It doesn't happen by accident of course. An integral aspect of the broad skill set accomplished surfers have built up is the ability to 'read' the wave as it bends, tilts, jacks, wobbles, slows down or speeds up, even while they are split seconds away from being there.

October 31, 2011

Tip Time

The sure footed nasal antics of Sealegged board builder Aaron Frost.

October 29, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Found this old school montage yesterday, love looking at the various styles, boards and techniques over the years.

October 28, 2011

Stormin III

Overhead beachies don't happen everyday around here, meaning rain and grey skies aren't much of a deterrent. So we make hay while the sun doesn't shine...

October 26, 2011

Stormin II

Unexpected lines on a longer board.

October 24, 2011

Stormin I

Mid winter. It was cold, grey, dark, raining and crowded. As always there were moments though.

October 21, 2011

October 19, 2011

October 14, 2011

October 12, 2011

Early Two

I have a few sessions like this etched into my surfing memory, me and a mate trading waves while most of the world sleeps on, or walks their dog, or worst still goes to work! Soak up those moments when they come along I reckon.

October 7, 2011

Surf Checking

It's part of the ritual. No Hawaiian sized waves this day, but the sun's out and the water's moving.

October 5, 2011

Scott Solar

Scott Solar: SUP shredder, Australian kite surfing champion, occasional "regular" surfer(!), fellow school teacher and all around good guy.

October 3, 2011


An attempted sitting tube ride by myself on a trip up the coast with legit photographer mate, Jason Smith (whereas I'm a self confessed digital hack!).

October 1, 2011

Hot Generation

Yew!! Major yew if you're into surf history or longboards.

September 30, 2011

September 28, 2011

Great Expectations

One of those fleeting moments that makes surfing so good - the anticipation of the ride ahead as you feel the rails and plan your first move.

September 26, 2011

Azza & Jason

Two good men. Azza's the man behind Sealegged surfboards, captured here by Jason Smith - also above  in his own self portrait. I'll be featuring some of Jason's photos over the next few Mondays. He's the real deal!