Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tokyo Steez

The streets of Tokyo throw up some pretty big polarities in the world of what people wear: throngs of sombre businessmen in sharp suits, the occasional lady in a traditional kimono and then periodic groups of young people proudly wearing the badge of whichever subculture they follow, and follow fervently.
Now I'm no
sartorialist but I could hardly let this guy walk on past me without collaring him for a photo. Despite the language barrier, I think he got the idea of what I was after, waving my camera at him and pointing to the row of crazy vending machines.
I wonder where he got that jacket?

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Batten down the hatches and bed in for the winter.
Check the weather charts every day.
Explore the reef on spring low tides.
Get to be so that you tell the time by the tide and not the tide by the time.
Be Patient.

Tell the boss your car wouldn’t start.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Have Fun with your Fins!

Fins are a pretty important part of a surfboard. They ensure that you go in the direction that you want to be going in rather than spinning around uncontrollably (as any of you who have tried to master an alaia will have found), providing drive and lift. Unless you never have to take your craft anywhere or are a fussy professional surfer, your surfboards will most likely have a changeable fin system. These allow you to take your fins in and out and try different shapes and sizes. On a recent trip to the right hand points of South East Sri Lanka, I went one step further.

Assymetrical surfboards have been around since the late 1950's when surfers at Malibu in California realised that, because they only ever surfed the same right hand point break, they only ever went the same direction and so could adjust their boards accordingly.
The trend for assymetrical boards came and went but has been bubbling away in any locale where there are long point break waves. Carl Ekstrom has been shaping assymetrical boards for years now for the surfers of Southern California and in particular the points of Baja Mexico.
The idea of assymetrical boards and fins is this: the side of the board "facing" the wave is designed for speed, flow, control and drawn out turns, tending to be gunnier with more holding power, whilst the "open" side of the board is designed with turning in mind, so is shorter and more pivotal. The telling trait of an assymetrical board is the unusual step tail, where the back end looks like a cut & shut marriage of a semi gun and a fish.

I don't get to surf point breaks quite so often anymore and so my boards, like 98% of all surfboards, are multi-directional. But I had my friend Nick Blair open up the options for an assymetrical fin set-up on my last board, with five fin plugs allowing me to ride my board as a thruster, twin, twinzer, quad, 5-fin or, as in this case, assymetrical.
The half a quad fin set-up you see on one side of the board is on the "wave" side, providing hold and drive by spreading out the area of the fins. The big twin fin on the other side (the side I'd turn towards when cutting back) provides the same amount of fin area, so equal drive and lift, but concentrated into a single fin which the board can pivot around allowing for sharper turns.
I took it out a few times and it went well, super drivey and fast down the line and then loose through turns and transitions. Having all of these options on a single board allows it to be more versatile, and allows you to get to know the board and how different fins affect performance, which in turn can only help to improve your surfing. So get out your allen key and go have some fun with your fins!

Bottom image (surf shot) by Dan & Neda at onelovesurffilms, cheers guys.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

No speedometer but a string of prayer beads...

There was also a range of various Buddhist and Hindu deities displayed in all of their flashing light glory above the rear view mirror ensuring safe passage as the driver hammered along the narrow road. From my standing position in the aisle I couldn’t really see what was going on, but I could sure as hell feel how fast we were cornering and caught glimpses down through the windows of all of the tuk tuks and carts that we were overtaking. Mostly on blind corners.
People were puking out of the windows, mums were breast-feeding, there were bags of stuff from the market everywhere, a tyre blew out and had to be changed on the roadside and we were joined for a few miles by a couple of soldiers toting AK47’s, hitching a ride up the road to the next check point.
Just a few of the myriad sights you get to see when you put your life in the hands of a local bus driver.
Your board bag will either have been stuffed through an open window and wedged in the aisle, or strapped onto the roof alongside a cage of chickens. A friend of mine once had a trussed up live goat tied to his boardbag on the roof of a bus in Nicaragua.
In almost every “developing” nation in the world, where the car hasn’t yet become an everyday, often unnecessary, “necessity”, buses compete with mopeds as the primary form of transport. You’ll see a lot more on a couple of hours ride on a local bus, meet more interesting people and generally step down at your destination a lot more grateful to still be alive.
It’ll take a lot longer, be a hell of a lot more uncomfortable and probably be terrifying. But it’s heaps cheap, and a million times more interesting than a taxi.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Glimpse Through the Lens of Mr Joe Curren

Those of you with one foot in the surfing world will probably have heard of Joe Curren: born into one of surfings most iconic families, his father Pat was one of the original pioneers of the North Shore of Oahu, and in particular the big surf of Waimea and is an esteemed big wave gun shaper, whilst his elder brother Tom was America's first World Champion and one of modern surfing's most influential stylists. Joe has the style and flow gifted by his genetics, but rather than following the well trodden road of competitive surfing he has instead forged a career as a free surfer and photographer.
Joe travels to surf and take photographs. Rather than being a surf photographer however, his output is more that of a photographer who surfs, allowing it to influence rather than define his work. A staunch advocate of shooting on film and one of the lucky few to own a Hasselblad X-Pan which produces the stunning images above, he is one of the most prolific chroniclers of the fabled right hand point break at Rincon near his home in Santa Barbara, California.
In between stints at home as the the crown prince of Rincon, Joe travels to some of the more far-flung locales of the surfing world such as Iceland, West Africa, the Great Lakes, Taiwan and Japan to surf and shoot photos.
His website and blog are well worth taking the time to dig through and appreciate some of his photographic work which is as artful as his surfing, then take the inspiration, buy some rolls of film and go catch a plane.