Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Extreme lego surf

Pretty smooth clip.

Post by Mpora.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quincy Symonds: surfer, skater, hero.

This is a great story, and this girl, Quincy Symonds, is one hell of a person. (Via the wonderful, spectacular, government-funded, nationally available, Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A small surfer makes big waves from ABC Open on Vimeo.

From the online article:
“It just doesn’t make sense to me, how she’s able to do what she does,” says Jake [her dad]. “I’m amazed by it. I’m really proud of it but, to be honest, I can’t comprehend how she does it.”
“She has no fear,” offers Quincy’s coach Anthony Pope. “And she just doesn’t fall off. She has incredible balance and her ability to judge the conditions and adjust is at a level I’ve never seen in someone her age.”
When the waves were too big for her to surf, Quincy took up skateboarding. As you’d expect, she took to a board on land just as deftly as in the surf. Looking over the edge of the 12-foot skate bowl as I filmed one of Quincy’s skating sessions, I felt immediately uneasy. But there was Quincy with her back foot planted on her board ready to drop in, with a smile from ear to ear.
She just loves it so, so much. She reminds me of my niece, who just can't ever get enough and who has no fear at all. It's awesome. The way Quincy's body moves that board around is so impressive. She totally knows what she's doing.

I like that her folks and her coach directly talked about whether or not they'll head towards competition - they seem to have clear thinking on that. And it's great that her coach knows that people can lose their stoke for it if pushed too hard, which he doesn't at all want for her. At the same time it's a bummer to know that's the first thing that comes to mind for us all.

But for now, she's stoked and she has all the encouragement and support possible so she can get in the surf and to go skating, which is so great to see.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Einstein was a surfer

Um, WHY have I never heard of this song before? Did it do the blog rounds last year when it was released and I wasn't paying attention? Having missed this song, I feel... inadequate. Not that the song is great, but conceptually... AMAZING!

And the photo Jimmy Buffet is talking about is real and here it is!

And here is a bonus Einstein sporting shorts and a devil may care attitude!

Now, LYRICS!! With the obviously winning lines being 'Cause the universe was his home break/And we’re still all paddlin’ out'.


There’s a photo of a genius
Standing by the ocean
In a pea coat and cool hat
In 1943

On a beach in Santa Barbara
He’s looking quite contented
His world is only matter
And energy

Past the Channel Islands
Out into the cosmos
There are worlds in motion
That only he can see

He’s smiling as he’s thinking
The harbor lights are blinking
He’s the smartest cookie
Ever was, ever will be

Einstein was a surfer
There really is no doubt
Cause the universe was his home break
And we’re still all paddlin’ out

On an iceberg off Newfoundland
A lyric sits half-frozen
Waiting for a comet
To crash into the sea

It’s drifting towards the tropics
And melting into topics
Fills the sea with answers
That have always worked for me

Bass notes from the chasm
At speeds that we can’t fathom
Music is the language
Of the near and distant stars

Black holes humming b-flat
Heard only by street cats
Astronauts in orbit
And singers in the bars

Einstein was a sailor
With a universal song
His sails were tight, his course was right
So let’s just all cruise along

Order to disorder
It’s the way we all fly
Light speed is all you need
To pass the future by

There’s a YouTube of a genius
Gliding over liquid
Sultan of the short board
In two thousand and ten

He looks like Valentino
Moving like neutrinos
To the oceans in the heavens
Where no wave rider’s been

Einstein was a surfer
Who found the perfect break
Where the strings of time
Meet the final chime
It’s the path all surfers take


And since we're talking about Jimmy Buffet (and since my unsuccessfully searching for it on iTunes was the catalyst for this post, and since I live alone and am about to play and dance about my house anyway), it would be remiss of me not to play this song:

Monday, August 11, 2014

When should a blanket just be a blanket?

I just wrote a really long post about the focus on the small-scale production of bespoke items in surfing culture at the moment. There's a pretty solid niche brand, handmade, homemade, up-cycling vibe in surfing culture at the moment, and it's great and I see lots of lovely things and I even purchase some of these things (especially swimwear). A lot of the time, this is about owning something unique or individualised or local, which is based on the use of small-run or second hand fabrics, many of which are sourced from jaunts to second hand stores. I wrote how great this is - financially, ethically and aesthetically. I was trying to set a tone for my point which would reflect that I like this DIY-esque approach, while allowing me to admit that I've got a bone to pick about one aspect of it. But instead of dancing around the issue, I've decided get straight to my point, which is this:

Can everyone please stop cutting up woollen blankets to make surfboard covers. 

Currently, down here in the southern hemisphere, it's winter, which means that even in the most temperate places it gets really cold at night. Cold, which can in part be staved off by owning woollen blankets, which are expensive to buy new, but much more affordable if you buy them second hand. So I'm suggesting that those blankets could be put to better use. I mean, do our surfboards really need to be covered in cut up woollen blankets? Aren't there a bunch of other options that are less... useful?

The reason for all this is thinking about low income earners and homelessness and winter and being cold. For example, I just looked up the stats for homelessness in Australia based on the 2011 census (the 2013 numbers aren't available yet). I want to clarify that homelessness is not just about sleeping on the street, or not having family. Women and children escaping domestic violence partners are often homeless for a while. People in between affordable accommodation and teenagers kicked out of home who find themselves couch surfing are homeless. I just don't want to you to think that I'm going all out with a street-life assumption of what homelessness is. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it's not. But often being homeless - despite how it manifests - can also mean relying on others for things like, for example, bedding. 

So, stats. Did you know that 1 in 200 people are homeless in Australia?
  • NSW 28,190 (40.8 people per 10,000) +20.4% since 2006
  • VIC 22,789 (42.6 people per 10,000) +20.7 since 2006
  • QLD 19,838 (48.5 people per 10,000) -5.1% since 2006
  • SA 5,985 (37.5 people per 10,000) +1.4% since 2006
  • WA 9,592 (42.8 people per 10,000) +1.1% since 2006
  • TAS 1,579 (31.9 people per 10,000) +32.9% since 2006
  • NT 15,479 (730.7 people per 10,000) -7.8% since 2006
  • ACT 1,785 (50 people per 10,000) +70.6% since 2006
And do you know what kind of accommodation they're living in? No, I didn't either.
  • Improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out 6%
  • Supported accommodation for the homeless 20%
  • Staying temporarily with other households 17%
  • Boarding houses 17%
  • Other temporary lodging 1%
  • “Severely” overcrowded dwellings 39%
You can check them out in more detail at Homelessness Australia

But my 'please-don't-use-blankets-to-make-boardbags-because-people-legitimately-need-them' point is not just based on homelessness. It's also about those who are on a low income. I mean, people who earn the least usually can't afford the best quality housing or heating, so access to cheaper, quality, second-hand, woollen blankets seems to me a cosy if imperfect thing to consider. It's what I would consider.

I'm not trying to have a go at anyone. I don't think that it's about anyone doing the wrong thing, and maybe all those blankets are coming from other places. But even if they are, if they're not needed by your friends and family, maybe donate them to someone, or a local organisation that will distribute them. Because when I see people using second-hand wool blankets up to make covers for expensive surfboards, I just think... no. It's not necessary. In fact, I think it's kind of insulting. Our surfboards are fine. Our surfboards aren't cold. 

In so many ways, up-cycling fabrics is a really great idea - please continue! - but maybe not everything needs to turned into something else. Maybe a blanket can just be... a blanket.