Showing posts from February, 2012


And I found this cool little film over at the lovely Mar Hirtzel's blog...

MARGAUX. from Shaper Studios on Vimeo.

'By The Way', by Hayley Gordon

Also, this is pretty great...

By The Way from Hayley Gordon on Vimeo.

Balancing act

When you ride a surfboard that is a bit over 9 feet long, you have to learn some tricks for manoeuvring it around the place.  My board is not only long but is wide so my arm barely stretches to reach around its thickness, and I have to lock in my fingertips and elbow to make sure I don’t drop it. Years ago, when I was fit, this was not a problem and I could happily skip up and down walkways to the beach, a longboard clutched under each arm. Alas! No longer. These days I struggle to carry my heavy board very far at all, so instead I lift it onto my head where the weight and length is more easily managed. Because I ride longboards, I am used to seeing people balancing boards on their heads, and because I carry them this way myself, I guess have come to assume it as a pretty normal sight. But, apparently, it’s not so normal here in Newcastle.

The other day, as I walked along the coastal path to go surfing, I passed a school group. As I passed them playing soccer on the sand, the teacher s…


My sister sent this photo of my niece to my phone a couple of days ago. Little miss continues to love the beach and the ocean, which continues to fill my heart with joy. And I love, even more, that it is my sisters and I who are central to sharing all that with her.


The first time I visited Newcastle, I remember being taken aback by the sight of coal ships queued along the horizon. I had only ever really seen ships one at a time off in the horizon, and had never before visited an city where industry is such a part of the fabric of the landscape itself rather than hidden away from view, like a dirty little secret. But here, as you walk along the coast, you can see the hulking silhouettes of these enormous ships lined up in the distance, waiting their turn to be ushered just inside the harbour to be filled with coal.

As you can imagine, this industry brings protest and activism, and understandably so. The coal industry is problematic on a number of levels, and for some the continuing connection of newcastle to the mining and export of coal is something to be lamented. I understand this position, and from the position of ecology and sustainability, I support it wholeheartedly.

And yet, what I never expected, were the feelings of affection and excit…

When the north wind blows from the east

Where I’m from, the mere mention of northerly winds brings much shaking of heads and looks of disappointment and frustration. Our beaches face north and east, so the strong north winds blow out every break except one. When northerlies blow for several days, people start to get a bit batty, the effects of the wind working their way through their hair, skin, minds and levels of tolerance. ‘Fucking northerlies is a common refrain.

Here the word means something else. Something less definitive. Something potential and possible. Here it’s the east wind that terrorises surfers, blowing through their world and destroying waves. Here it is the east wind that sends crew inside with a pile of DVDs. Fucking easterlies.

Nick Gabaldon: history, race, and surfing at Malibu

I just watched this over at The Surfer's Path. You should watch it too...

More than a lovely story of an interesting person and life, it's thoughtful in the ways it touches on a lot of interesting stuff that is only just emerging in discussion of surfing and surfing culture, including risk, place, race, myth and human rights. These are great conversations and I am enjoying learning from them as they emerge and develop and grow.

What is also interesting, is that Nike made this, which does lead to it being a slightly odd hybrid between documentary and promotional clip. I'm not quite sure what to say about that though other than, Yeah, I noticed the product placement and the use of your sponsored "family", Nike. Oh, and the inspiration talk is particularly irritating. Anyway, I'm not sure if I should be, but I'm confused that Nike is able to take a person from the past, someone who had nothing to do with the industry as it exists today in any tangible sense,…

Surf check

This afternoon, I thought I would go for a drive along the coast and check out the beaches to the south of the city. I took off from Hunter street and headed south, tracing a line along the coast, cliffs and sand. I only made it as far as Bar Beach surf club before I saw a park and thought I’d pull over and check out what the banks were doing along there. I jumped out of my car and walked up to the white fence that lines the top of the dunes. The surf looked, well, whompy. There was swell, but the banks were shit, so it was coming straight in and the lines were closing out in one solid wall of white-wash. I was uninspired. 

Two guys were next to me, sat on the fence checking the surf. I couldn’t help but notice their tattoos, hats and all-round general style had a ring of home – not a Billabong or Quiksilver logo to be seen. But they had the skin tones and physicality of surfers. Longboarders? Loggers? I wanted to know. Approaching a couple of guys who are surf checking in the middle o…


Many thanks to Maia for the surf check and coffee hang. 

Locked Up

Underpass mural by Trevor Dickinson
Late last year, I was lucky enough to have my application accepted as part of the 2012 Artist in Residence program at The Lock-Up Cultural Centre. The Lock-Up is an old gaol that has been turned into a museum and gallery space, and which also houses the Hunter Writers Centre. As it turns out, they had a place available for me right at the beginning of this year, and so I find myself living and writing here in Newcastle for the next couple of weeks or so. I'm pretty stoked.

My plan while I'm here is to spend time on the beach and in the water, and to think about what belonging to a sub-culture like surfing means when you are out-of-place. As a child of the sub-topical, wetsuit-free, busy, warm water, point breaks of northern NSW - where longboards and women are the norm - surfing and hanging out in Newcastle will prove to be, I think, a very different surfing world. While I like to imagine that sharing a love of surfing can help people conne…

I think I would fit in here perfectly

I've read and seen a lot about the World Bellyboard Championships at Chapel Porth in Cornwall, but after watching this clip over at wheelsontoast and seeing just how much fun it is, it's now firmly on my 'things to do/places to go' list!

To quote John Isaacs: "It's not as radical. It's possibly not as cool [as standup surfing], but in its own way, in its pure simplicity, it's as much fun as you can get."

Wish you were here? Hell, yes!

Misplaced? Or a mirror?

I found this genius bit of cataloguing at Brisbane airport quite amusing. It was very early in the morning though.. 

'Surfari' by Tim Baker - a review

One of the conversations I increasingly hear amongst surfers - in the surf, in magazines, online - is how to continue to include regular (ie. daily) surfing into lives that include family, work and the inescapable aging process. For many years, it has been surfing women who have sacrificed waves in order to have and raise a family, to keep house, to look after others, and often to build a career. While many men-folk of past days shared (most especially) the questions regarding work, they did not always have the same level of household demands and expectations as women - cleaning, laundry, planning and preparing meals, childcare, organising family events. Certainly, some men did take these roles on, but most were not expected to. But now men moving into their 30s and 40s are shouldering these responsibilities more than ever and so are wondering how they are going to continue a version of the lifestyle of their youth into middle-age. While men today do not necessarily begrudge their in…


Congratulations to Aleksi Raik and crew. whose film Finnsurf, just won the Yallingup Surf Film Festival (Jan 20-22).

Surfing in Finland does, indeed, looking 'fuckin' cold, mate'!

Finnsurf Trailer from PABLO FILMS on Vimeo.