Sunday, November 24, 2013

Way to Go

“Did you surf again today?”

It was turning dark and my housemate Krede had just walked in the door after a day at work.

“Yeah, I went out at Mains again." I replied, "Just sniffed around, watched a few and then paddled back in without getting a wave.”

“It must’ve been pretty big this afternoon, which board did you take out?”

“My six-seven.  I was way undergunned.”

“How big was it?”

“I reckon ten, maybe twelve foot on the sets.  I didn’t realise until I’d already pulled my wetsuit on in the car park though.  There was a crowd at the top of the steps watching it.  I figured I’d have looked really stupid if I turned up, got changed and then got back in my car and left again without paddling out”

“You should have taken one of my bigger boards!”

I didn’t say anything, but I never borrowed one of Krede’s bigger boards, despite his regular offers when North Point was breaking, because I figured that if it was too big to paddle into on my 6’7” then I had no business being out there.  I’d be terrified that if I had a bigger board then I’d actually have to man-up and use it.

“Did I ever tell you about the time Ernie lost his eight-six” out at Mains on a big day?”


“It was a pretty sizey; maybe pushing fifteen feet on the big ones.  Big enough to thin the crowd out a heap.  He snapped his leash when he fell on one and couldn’t find his board so swam in over the reef, thinking it’d been washed in.  It wasn’t in the shallows though and when he got to the top of the steps he could see his board way out the back behind the peak; it’d floated into the rip and was halfway out to sea.  He had a spare board in his car, I think his seven-ten, so he grabbed it and paddled back out to go get his board.  The current had taken it around the back of Mains and Southsides and it was most of the way across the bay down towards Boat Ramps, which was breaking too, like a kilometer away.  He said he kept losing sight of it because of all the chop.”

“What a mission.  He got it back though right?”

“Ha!  Yeah.  It was snapped in two though, just held together by the glass on the deck but he didn’t realise until he’d paddled right up to it.  It’d looked like it was still in one piece when he’d seen it from the top of the steps.  He’d paddled all that way to find out that he’d snapped his favourite board!  He was spewing, hey.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Portuguese Patchwork

Having been a bit on-and-off posting to An Tor Orth An Mor over the past few weeks (due to one reason or another that has kept me away from my computer on a Sunday evening) I thought I'd take it back to some straight old, surf based, travel photography.  I was lucky enough to visit Portugal again for a few days at the end of October, and my trip coincided with the arrival of the mega-swell generated by the St Judes storm.  The images that I shot of enormous waves towering over the cliff-top lighthouse at Nazare (shortly after Carlos Burle rode a potentially record-breaking wave there) will hopefully be appearing in print at some point soon so I can't showcase them just yet.  Instead, here are some of the images that I took on the couple of days before and after whilst travelling up and down the coast between Porto and Lisbon from our base on the little island of Baleal, with just the one teaser of the swell smashing the coast at Peniche as the sun came up on that famous Monday morning.


Patagonia London Exhibition

From Portugal I travelled to London where a selection of my surf and travel photography is now hanging on the wall downstairs in the Patagonia store in Covent Garden, alongside the heritage collection and their winter 2014 wetsuits.  I'm truly honoured to be exhibiting my work on the walls of Patagonia's flagship store in the UK and to be associated, albeit in a very minor way, with such an inspirational company.  If you live and work in the big city or are up there Christmas Shopping then please visit the store on Langley Street in Covent Garden and whilst you're there head downstairs to check it out.  Unlike in the photo above I won't be sat there awkwardly cluttering up the place. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

LS/FF 2013

Well it's been a busy week.  This time last week I was trying to get to Nazare in Portugal before the sun set to see whether the St Judes mega swell had arrived.  On Monday morning I was stood on the cliffs there taking photos of enormous swells breaking beneath and yet seeming to tower over the lighthouse there.  And right now, a week later, I'm sat at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London, as the 2013 London Surf Film Festival wraps up for another year.  This is the festival's third year and this year I was lucky enough to not only be invited to exhibit some photography, but to also be the event photographer.
It's been a busy couple of days, but great fun and it's great to be involved with such a highlight of the British surf scene's year.  It seems as though half of Cornwall have come up for the weekend, as well as loads of London surfers and it's really nice to catch up with some familiar faces.

On Saturday afternoon there was a free event with solo surf travel adventurer Kepa Acero making the trip across from the Basque Country (and missing a classic day at his home break Mundaka) to present some of his short movies, and the premiere of Finisterre's short film Fv25.  In the evening there was a "Surf Trippin' Triple Bill" with three brilliant movies that I've been looking forward to watching for ages; Compassing by Cyrus Sutton, The Fortune Wild, and Chris Burkard's Russia about his exploratory trip to the Kamchatka Peninsula.  If you get the chance then all of the above are worth watching.

This year the Approaching Lines room showcased art, photography, and surfboards, with a live shaping demonstration on Saturday evening in a specially built booth.  It was great to be a part of the London Surf Film Festival again this year, and massive thanks has to go out to Chris and Demi for masterminding such a great weekend.  I'm looking forward to next year already, and this year's festival hasn't even finished.  Speaking of which, I'd better get back upstairs for the awards ceremony...