Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dolphin chop

As it happens, I've moved back to Australia! Back home to Byron Bay. It was a sudden move and it feels weird, but it's also wonderful and I'm enjoying the familiarity of home.

Yesterday, as I was looking at the shitty waves being messed about by a strong on-shore and strong currents, I noticed some commotion over at the Table of Knowledge*. I could see there was attention being paid to the nose of a longboard, so I went to have a stickybeak.

Sure enough, the board was damaged. A long incision that cut through the whole board, deep into the body of the nose. The cut was as long at the span of my outstretched hand from my middle finger to my thumb. Obviously, the board had been hit hard.

It was a dolphin! the man told me. He looked, while not exactly in shock, certainly in bewilderment.

Yeah look, it's left some skin behind, John pointed out, sticking his fingers into the torn fibreglass.

I stood, mouth open.



I took the opportunity to talk for a while about how I've been telling everyone for ages now that dolphins can be a bit sinister and smug, and how I've heard a researcher explain that they can be a bit clumsy. We have a lot of bottlenose dolphins around here, and it's really common to share a surf session and even waves with them. Along with turtles, stingrays, fish, sharks and, in migration season, whales, bottlenose dolphins are a part of our everyday surfing experience. According to a research project about the local populations, there are 1000 bottlenose dolphins that use the area regularly. When they swim around me, I can't deny how amazing it is to share the waves with such a huge creature, who moves so incredibly through the water. At the same time, I find it intimidating and a little uncomfortable, especially if they've come in chasing schools of fish. People often paddle over to them when they're in a pod, feeding, which I always find insane - they're feeding!! My relationship to surfing with them is combination of amazement, stoke, terror and suspicion...



But of course, I hope that poor creature is okay. It certainly got hurt in that interaction so fingers crossed the injuries are superficial and heal quickly.



*The table of crew that surf that spot at that time everyday. At this break, it's claimed before sunrise by John, who leaves his board bag and wet-basket on the table to make sure no-one takes it. I always stop by for a chat and banter and to dissect the waves fro that surf before getting on with my day.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Gwyn Haslock surfs in Cornwall

So, I know it has been around for a while, and I also hate that this is ultimately advertising but this little film is pretty great:



Some super interesting points that help highlight how and why surfing was possible or not for women in the past. For example, the capacity to carry their own surfboard (which was limited by the weight and length) and the limited number of other women participating.

Fingers crossed I get to live and surf as long as Gwyn.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Not pretty, not perfect, not warm

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

Speechless

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.