Sunday, April 24, 2011


I know what you're thinking..."what's with all the pictures of trains?" right? Trains aren't meant to be cool. I reckon otherwise though; I kinda like them as a means of getting around.

At some stupidly small hour this morning whilst most people were either fast asleep or being turfed out of nightclubs, my friend Kyle and I got back from a trip to Morocco. We went from Truro, Cornwall (well I did, Kyle started out in Wales) and got the train all the way to Marrakech with our surfboards. From there it was just a bus ride to the coast and we could get some waves. A medium haul surf trip entirely on a rail: Start-stop-start again, clackety clack, tickets, platform numbers and departure boards, four capital cities, Europe and Africa, pack un-pack, headphones, being kicked off platforms, midnight cafes and crazy taxi drivers, dining cars, eleven trains three of which were underground, a ferry, "you can't bring a surfboard on this train", books and looking out the window, seeing towns as the graffitied backs of warehouses and industrial units, "you want hashish?",lots of coffee in paper cups, wildflower meadows, funny looks and a jacket for a pillow.
We got a few good waves and climbed a mountain.

I have more rolls of film to develop than I can carry in my hands so once they're all done and I've absorbed and reflected on the whole damn deal I'll post a few up and put some words to it.

Because sometimes it's important to make the journey as important as the destination, put your feet on the stepping stones and nopt just jump right over them. Take a little bit of time.

The top one is the California Zephyr, which I caught from San Francisco to New York with my old man a few years back so that we could see what America looked like.
I drove my car onto the back of the Indian Pacific and let it carry me across the Nullabor desert right across Australia rather than sit on my own driving on a straight road for three days when my road-trip co-piolt couldn't make it.
The trains in Sri-Lanka are cool, old and clunky with little picture postcard train stations straight out of 1950's Britain. To get my surfboards on I had to pay for a first class ticket which was about a pound more.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Finger on the Pulse, A Surform on the Foam

At some point, sooner or later, I was bound to miss a weekly blog post. I apologise but I also fully blame the Spanish rail network, a French rugby derby and Arabic keyboards for my inability to throw something up last Sunday. Anyways, this one has been in the pipeline for quite some time but its out there now [this arabic keyboard has no apostrophes its killing me] so rather than me trying to type up some mispelt rambling with bad punctuation, go ahead and read an interview that I conducted with Nick Blair a while back. The man is a damn fine craftsman and knows more about the intricacies of high performance surfboard design and shaping and where its headed than most of us can ever dream of. Definitely one for all of you surfboard geeks out there. Its been published by Drift Surf Magazine so all youve gotta do is hit the jump. Im off on the hunt for some right hand pointbreaks tomorrow, the story of how Ive fully earnt a splash in the sea will no doubt follow in a few weeks once Ive got home and developed the mountains of film that Ive been shooting this past week.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Explore Your Own Backyard: Part 4

The story of Ducky's

Show us yer fins! The "staffroom" at Kitchen Windows, clockwise from top left is Brett, the real locals, myself and Kim.

Kim a.k.a. Ducky, slipping under the lip on a left at Kitchen Windows shot by a gent named Tom Harington.

Libya running up the point at Phantoms. Ducky's is just out of shot to the right.

Nobody called it Ducky's. It didn't have a name because it wasn't a surf spot. It was on the Wild Side and that was all there was to it until Kim started talking us into it.
I don't even have any photos of the place.

I guess you'd define Duckies as the patch of sand and rocks around the back side of Phantoms, the most easterly of the point-breaks in Jeffreys Bay. It was the start of a stretch of beach called the Wild Side on the edge of town that just looked incredibly sharky, was always windswept, bleak and very empty. There was a big yellow sign warning of the possibility of muggings stuck in the middle of the beach, which was a fair call because whilst I lived there somebody had their camera stolen when they took it out to take a souvenir comedy photo of the sign. I had to smile at the irony.

This place was the polar opposite of the world class wave at Supertubes five clicks along the beach. It was just a funny rippy little shorebreak with bits of reef sticking up out of the sand. Kim started running down to go bodysurfing there before work because it didn't require a lot of swimming, but before long we were all joining him and we nicknamed it Ducky's after Kim's favourite cap which had a big orange peak that looked like a duck's bill. So if time was pressing before work or the sunset, or we wanted a laugh rather than a serious surf, then we'd bypass the two regular respectable surf spots right in front of us and head around the corner for a splash & dash. We'd take a nominal "normal" shortboard, a surf-school foamy, a polystyrene belly board and a set of swim fins which we'd switch around between us. The waves almost always closed out, the currents were weird and there were odd bits of rock sticking out all over the place, not to mention the whole shark vibe that was going on there. We planned on building a driftwood clubhouse and having monthly "Ducky's Days" when we'd just hang there all day.
Nobody else ever surfed the place, and that's probably still the case today.
But it was ours, and because of that we loved it despite all of it's shortcomings.

Find a place and make it your own, just like Ducky did.