Monday, September 21, 2015

The last couple of months, the weather has been pretty crappy here, making it hard to get outside to run, to walk and to generally be outdoors. To be fair, it has been winter. But last weekend there were some wonderful, sunshine-y breaks in the weather. Sadly these didn't include any waves - through circumstance and timing, I hadn't surfed in weeks, but I feel pretty zen about that these days. There'll always be more waves, and in the meantime I still got to go for a long walk.

I rarely check the surf before I go for a walk, so I always wonder if when I get to the top of the hill if I'm going to see anything tempting below me. A few times I've crested the hill and found myself running the kilometre or two home to get my board and rush back to the beach, or kicking myself for not being more organised.

Other times I've been floored by the crazy, messy ocean in front of me - whitewash as far as I can see.

Last weekend was somewhere in between. It wasn't nice, but it wasn't insane. As far as waves go, it was just big, mushy, whitewash-y crap. Let me put it this way, there was no-one out at Manu Bay - not so much as a car in the carpark. Same at the beach. Closeout crud.

So when I walked down I was blown away to see two women on soft boards in the shorebreak, paddling into the crud and having a ball. Actually, I was stoked by the sight. These two women were learners and clearly had hire boards and the waves were cold and messy and uninviting and it was still pretty early and yet, there they were. Learners often get a hard time from more experienced, more skilled surfers, but in all of the world famous surfing paradise that is Raglan, they were the only two people stoked enough and committed enough to be out in the water. They were the only two who got up and got out there even though it wasn't pretty, wasn't perfect and wasn't warm. They were the only two people getting waves.

So great. And I was so, so jealous that I don't yet have the kind of buddy here yet, where we can convince each other to go out, rain, hail or shine, pumping or crud.

As far as I can see see, those women are as surfy as it gets.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I haven't written much on my blog this year. I've wanted to but the stories didn't seem to flow from my brain into words on the screen the way I've always found they have. It's not writer's block because I've been writing lots of other things in other places, so perhaps my word count got used up. Or something. I don't know. But I think about it a lot because I really love writing this blog. Actually, I really love writing.

But I have a couple of stories I want to share from today and last weekend, so I'll write them up over the next couple of days.

In the mean time, how beautiful is Aotearoa!!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Published without comment

Only because I'm feeling equal parts 'ugh', 'meh' and impressed.

On her Instagram post, the surfer, Maud Le Car, says she lost a bet hence the get up. But the clip description on YouTube is a but more political:

"Being a sexy pro surfer is one thing and being a skilled and accomplished pro surfer is another...

Pro surfer Maud Le Car wants you to know that female pro surfers can look glamor and talented at the same time. She wants to prove that surfing is not just about glamor. Surfing is one of the most physically demanding sports there today."

I'm not entirely convinced of what kind of awareness it raises, but you know. I get it.

Oh look, I made comment!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Where will it end?

Hopefully it ends very soon...

I've been avoiding watching this clip all day but it got sent to me in an email* and, after watching it, I can honestly say I have seen few things more pointless and lame and irritating than that clip. The money, the time, the image of a Red Bull sponsored guy gunning past a woman on a SUP and Tahitian men in a waka is mortifying.

It is everything I hate about Red Bull sponsored everything, in one tidy clip.

When I watched this clip, I didn't see the new horizons of human endeavour. Instead all I saw was a waste of money, time and human capacity and ingenuity. And this is coming from someone who believes in art, music and sport.

Near the end I was actively cheering on the heaving wall of whitewash, wishing it would engulf that fool and smash his stupid contraption, but then I realised that if it did, petrol would flood into the crystal waters in that lagoon. How was this even a thing that happened in this place? How did they even get permission?

I don't consider myself old or particularly conservative, and I'm certainly a champion of creativity, problem solving and new ideas. However, this is none of that. To me - and, look, maybe I can be convinced otherwise - this is a company with too much money, spending it on something that doesn't matter that has no greater good. I mean, think what these people could achieve towards chancing the world for good if they set their minds to it. Instead, they rode Teahupoo on an adapted motor bike.

This clip doesn't inspire awe in me. This clip makes me despair.

*An email whose subject line inspired the title of this post.

Friday, June 05, 2015

I'm 100% going to watch this: Redux

I'm a passionate advocate for voting in elections. Although I don't always like the choices I have on offer, I still go along whenever I have the opportunity to participate in the form of democracy that we have on offer, to make sure that I have contributed to the formation of government. Along with paying tax, I see voting as one of the few responsibilities we have in return for living in a safe, prosperous society. At the very least, I feel that voting gives me the right to whinge about politics. Of course, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for elections.

Over the years, I've wondered if the apathy Australians (and many others) feel about their right to vote - seeing it as a bother rather than a power - is due to the fact that as a nation we didn't have to fight for it and thus take it for granted. This morning I remembered that's a load of crap. Most people except land-owning white men had to wait and often argue for the right to vote, including, of course, women.

The suffragette movement was an early and fundamental building block of the feminist movement which has grown, diversified and flourished ever since. Despite this, I never expected to see a Hollywood, possible Oscar-contending film about the suffragette movement in the UK. But here it is!!

Hell yes!!!

This film is made in a time when the politics of women in mainstream films remain a highly visible reminder that women's issues are not usually embraced as interesting for the public, and women actors are not seen as viable leads on their own terms. Salma Hayek recently explained that she had lost roles when a male lead decided he didn't want to work with her, while Geena Davis has a whole movement happening around the visibility of women in media. I'm not suggesting that the issues highly paid actresses face in Hollywood are the most pressing of our global concerns about women's rights, but it is a highly visible one.

And it makes the production of this film all the more interesting. And it stars Meryl Streep and Helen Bonham Carter - two women who have managed to hold careers that they were in control of and in which they have played interesting and varied characters, as well as speak to the politics of Hollywood with authority and integrity.

And it's a film about an important historical period and change - women gaining the right to vote. Nay, women fighting for and winning the previously denied right to vote. This fight has wrought social and cultural changes for women to the point that, in the West at least, we now are able to take for granted. This film is a timely reminder of how far we have come, and who was responsible for that change.

This is not a 'women's film'. This is a 'based-on-actual-events' film, this is an 'historical' film, this is a 'human rights' film, and while I cannot vouch for the quality of it yet, we should all go check it out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I am 100% going to watch this

Confession: I love action films.

As in, they're one of the few things in life that makes me happy to momentarily throw aside my politics and critical thinking and just get lost in the insanely problematic maelstrom of explosions, car chases, violence, and special effects. I don't even need a plausible plot! I just love the total craziness of it all. That's not to say that I don't notice all the propaganda, sexism, racism and homophobia because you know I do. I so, so do. And it's not to say that I don't want the film industry to find ways to fix all of that stuff up. And of course all of this is something that is hotly debated online: Mad Max: Fury Road has certainly inspired some good debate and media around that, any film by Joss Wheadon* is also an opener of worm cans, and The Hawkeye Initiative sure highlights the degree to which comics and superhero films treat women really terribly. Of course, I think through all the issues later on and think of ways that they suck and I read all the debates that go on line in terms of, in particular, sexism. But I love them anyway.

I can't really explain why, but when it comes to action films, you can count on me to be on board as an enthusiastic viewer, so when I saw this trailer for Point Break 2 my heart leapt into my throat.

That clip is everything. It is all the sports you can think of - surfing, snowboarding, base jumping, sky diving... Did they actually miss anything except high lining? It is also all the cliches and all the stereotypes. And yet, check out a woman charging Teahupoo. Yeah, of course she's in a bikini, because no woman can possibly surf waves in a wetsuit or boardshorts, but she's there and that's something, right. Anyway, since we have Bodhi and Johnny Utah back, that woman better be called Tyler.

Also, how's how Bodhi and Johnny Utah have swapped hair colours! I wonder what the thinking was on that? Is brunette more edgy now? Also, why does Tyler have to have long hair. Yawn.

Oh my gosh, I'm so excited. I'm excited to see it and I'm excited to see what decisions they make about representing women. Come on Tyler!!

*You can look Joss Wheadon debates up yourself. He's surrounded by controversy at the moment, but he made Buffy and he's been consistently vocal about making better female characters in action films.