Sunday, May 30, 2010


Back in the depths of winter I found my dream camera on a certain internet auction site: a Hasselblad x-pan 35mm panoramic rangefinder camera. I quickly figured out which of my meagre possessions I could sell and even dipped into my sacred surfboard budget but it ended up selling for four times my bid. Who was I kidding??! As a consolation prize I had a rummage in my camera box and pulled out a crappy "panoramic" point and click excuse of a camera, basically a cheap toy thing with two bits of plastic screening the top and bottom of the frame cropping it out and making a wider than normal image. I put a crap roll of film in the crap little camera and stuffed it in my pocket. 36 shots and 5 months later I got the film developed, and just look at what came out, here's my top ten...

Early January, police warnings to make no unnecessary journeys due to heavy snow. We loaded up the Landrover and drove across Bodmin Moor, Davidstow Moor and onto Dartmoor to go climbing, passing scenes like this.

A junky needs their fix. A mile inland the snow and ice forced us to turn around and settle for the junky surf of home: MJH encased in neoprene heading in whatever.

Davo and me could check the waves from our loungeg window at low tide, but as the water pushed in we had to walk along to the cliff top. February evening, trying to decide if it's worth getting cold for.

My friends Rob and Sarah are my inspiration for living well. They live in a walled garden on an organic herb farm with their chooks, ducks and sheep, off the grid and an example of the good life for the rest of us.

A wide angle view of another perfect wave going hollow and unridden at a certain spot in West Australia. Not for long as I was already halfway into my wetsuit.

My good friend Krede with a truck full of big boards for riding big waves. We only needed our regular boards this afternoon for surf number 2.

My housemate Matt pausing/tensing for breath and a look around on a gnarly and as yet un-named free solo ascent a stones throw from our house on the nearby cliffs.

The "other" view of Pentire Head, with Gulland and Newland sitting seaward. Turns out it's a beautiful bit of coastline whichever direction you're looking at it from.

I shaped an alaia recently, an ancient Hawaiian wooden and finless surfboard design. Before I could though I had to recondition the hand plane that I inherited from my Grandad who was a wooden boatbuilder and master cabinetmaker. I felt the pressure of craftsmanship and I hope I did a worthy job.
Andreya Triana under the spotlight fronting Bonobo on the recent tour for the Black Sands LP.
With no control over aperture, exposure or even focus this camera was always a gamble machine. There's something about panoramic images though, I guess there's a reason why our eyes are side by side and not one above the other after all.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It's hard to pigeon-hole the music of Bonobo. I could best narrow it down to "loosely electronica based atmospheric orchestral compositions which is kind of up-tempo ambient in style, melodic, some instrumental tracks and some vocal tracks, part ethereal and part driven and beat based"...but you see what I mean, kind of hard to describe. Suffice to say he's signed to Ninja Tunes which will give you an idea - just look at the calibre and diversity of stable mates such as The Cinematic Orchestra, Fink, Mr Scruff, Hexstatic and Amon Tobin.
My friend Ru turned me on to the creations of multi-instrumentalist Simon Green a few years ago and I've had his albums on heavy rotation ever since, especially when I'm sat on trains or in airports, for me it's kind of transit music.
So three years since his last LP Days To Come, there's new Bonobo album out called Black Sands, which he's been touring with an eight piece band/orchestra fronted by singer Andreya Triana who also appears on the new album. They played the Hippo Club in Plymouth a couple of nights ago and I managed to sneak my camera gear down to the front row and get some shots. Griff from Jelly Jazz collared them for an interview which is well worth a read and features some new tracks and the video to "Eyes Down".
The tour continues, climaxing at this years Glastonbury, go look and listen if they're passing by.
For all you music heads the set list was as follows:
  • Kiara
  • Ketto
  • All in Forms
  • Stay the Same
  • Days to Come
  • The Keeper
  • (Drey's solo bit)
  • Kong
  • Noctuary
  • Recurring
  • We Could Forever
  • Eyesdown
  • Nightlight
  • Transmission '94
  • El Torro (encore)
  • Between The Lines (encore)

And images from the top down are: Nightlight; Mr Green (a.k.a. Bonobo); Flutist; The Drums Hold it All Together; and Spotlight Silhouette.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Glass Slippers

From functional footwear to installation art:
These multi-coloured solid steppers are nailed up outside the door of the
Phoenix surfboards factory in North Cornwall. They used to enclose the feet of Mr Paul Fluin, one of the finest laminators in this land until all of the little droplets of resin caked them, turned them rock hard and rendered them unwearable. Rumour has it that Paul used to laminate surfboards barefoot because of the number of pairs of shoes that he ruined in the glassing room; he'd finish his day at work and wash his feet in acetone to get all of the resin off his skin.
Now the shoes of most surfboard laminators would just end up coated in standard clear resin and look like they'd been dipped in glass, but the gents at Phoenix have the bespoke end of the market covered and one of their specialisms is beautiful coloured resin tints, hence the multicoloured glassy wonders pictured above. It seems only right that once decomissioned they be hung up for all to appreciate.
It's a pretty solid team up at the pig shed, with Bro wielding the power-planer and Paul encasing the resultant creations in fibreglass; the boards that leave the pig shed with a phoenix decal on them make their way to the more boutique surf stores in the south west, whilst you can safely assume that if any North Cornish spot is having its day of days then you'll spot a few boards bearing the performance lines
Diplock logo. Check their output here, but good luck getting them to answer the phone, they're far too busy making beautiful surfboards.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Paint the town...every colour imaginable

"If it doesn't move, paint it white" is the go-to decorating advice that anybody in Cornwall will give you, as in many other coastal fishing communities around Europe where whitewashed homes cling to the cliffs.
These directions never made it to Bo Kaap it would appear.
Bo Kaap is a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa; a Muslim community traditionally inhabited by the Cape Malay descendents of freed slaves. The story goes that slaves lives were devoid of colour - they had to wear white, lived in white rooms and as you'd expect life wasn't particularly vibrant. When that horrendous chapter of human history eventually ended and the slaves were freed they rebelled against the years of monochromicity and got busy with the paint. The result is a community where every street is a full on visual overdose - and a photographers dream.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Moving Photographs

Moving photographs. Is that why they're called movies?

There're a couple of surf movies due out over the next couple of months that have got me pretty excited.

Todays post was meant to be a quick and easy one to spread the word about said surf movies, but instead I've spent longer than normal sat here trying to change file formats and upload and do things that I don't understand. So I've given up because I want to go and play outside. There are now links instead, so it'll take a bit more footwork on your part to get the full visual experience, but it'll be worth it.

The latest instalment in the Sipping Jetstreams series premieres any day soon at the New York Surf Film festival and looks AMAZING. Taylor Steele and Dustin Humprey have gone and done it again, combining some of the worlds most progressive surfers with some visually stunning destinations. All about the journey over the destination, and going one step further. Check it here.

The clip that I REALLY wanted to upload but couldn't because I'm a bit of a techno-tard, is for woodshed films latest epic 180 Degrees South. Click here to link straight to the trailer. Watched it? Doesn't it make you just want to pack it all in and go on an adventure?

Jeff Johnson and the Malloys have been doing exciting surfing/climbing/rugged outdoorsy trips for ages, most of them finding an outlet through high end publications such as The Surfers Journal or through producing coffee table books - walk/swim treks around remote islands, driving the length of Baja in a vegetable oil powered truck, surf trips on bicycles.....if it sounds like an alternative, environmentally friendly surf trip, they're probably the brains behind it. And Jeff Johnson takes some real nice pictures as he does all of this fun stuff.

180 South replicates the trip that inspired Yvon Chouinard to go ahead and call his company Patagonia, and grow it into the worlds leading environmentally conscious apparel retailer. California to the bottom of South America down the Pacific coast to surf, sail, climb a massive mountain and highlight the threat to an incredible wilderness area posed by hydroelectric dams.

Go check the trailer to get the full story though.

Due out June 8th (already touring cinemas in the states I think) and with a beautiful big coffee table book accompanying it too.