Thursday, October 31, 2013

Buddah, books and upselling

Tip of the sanding planer to Torsten from the Wood Buddah blog. If you can spare ten minutes have a read of the amazing work he's doing in the middle of suburbia, taking a high tech approach to wooden surfboard building. 
I'm hoping to have another surf or three with you sometime, mate.
Speaking of suburbia, my book of the week is George Saunders' collection of short stories called Tenth of December about a fictional world resembling the bleak underside of the American Dream - folks just hanging in there from pay check to pay check, in dead end jobs while hoping, wanting and ashamed that they don't have More - meanwhile their cars break down, their kids are unhappy that they're they don't have jack and all manner of distopian dysfunctional disharmony besets the protagonists.

Why is such a bleak reverse-Disney milieu so entertaining you ask? Maybe it's cathartic. Maybe it's strangely satisfying that despite the wondrous, desirable reality presented in TV makeover shows; Fakebook "status" updates (even the taxonomy has an elitist air) and TV "reality" shows, our own humdrum existences and daily struggles don't seem so bad.
Maybe there's lots of other folks like us losers out there.
Maybe it's a reminder that we don't have to buy things we can't afford, with money that we don't have... to impress people that we don't like.

Maybe I'm overthinking it and it's just blues music for the eyes.

Saunders is just such a great writer - observing the bleak, post-Afghan War,  post-GFC landscape but with dry, cracking humour and after all, those with the Power can take a lot from us but they can't stop us from laughing despite it all. They can't stop us from making jokes about them.

It also reminds me of the futility of comparison or as Theodore Roosevelt said: "Comparison is the thief of joy". Have agreat weekend.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I have no idea how many goofy footer world champion surfers there have been. Apart from Tom Caroll, I can't think of many. Maybe that question and others from the crowd will be answered when TC talks about his biography next week on the Sunshine Coast at Annie's Books in Peregian. Their blurb for the event reads:

"The long-awaited autobiography of one of Australia's surfing legends.

On the surface he was Tom Carroll, dreamer, cheeky grommet, brilliant surfer, Australian sporting hero, fitness fanatic, businessman, family man, big wave charger. Inside turned the terrible wheel of drug addiction, part family curse, part legacy of the footloose surf culture he'd done so much to legitimise. Tom's family and friends struggled with him, kept his secrets, and looked on in anger and fear as the wheel began to grind him down. Then a window opened – but getting through it made charging Pipeline look like a piece of cake ...

This is the story of an unlikely moral education: of humility, family, damage, brotherhood, youth, stupidity, glory, single-mindedness and surrender, and about the feeling of water moving under a surfboard, how it can bind past to present and make sense of lives."

Santa, please add this book to my stocking.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

See That My Grave Is Kept Clean


Lou Reed

"Well, there's one kind of favor I'll ask of you
Well, there's one kind of favor I'll ask of you
There's just one kind of favor I'll ask of you
You can see that my grave is kept clean

And there's two white horses following me
And there's two white horses following me
I got two white horses following me
Waiting on my burying ground

Did you ever hear that coffin' sound
Have you ever heard that coffin' sound
Did you ever hear that coffin' sound
Means another poor boy is under ground

Did you ever hear them church bells tone
Have you ever hear'd them church bells tone
Did you ever hear them church bells tone
Means another poor boy is dead and gone

Well, my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
And, my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
Well, my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
Now I believe what the bible told

There's just one last favor I'll ask of you
And there's one last favor I'll ask of you
There's just one last favor I'll ask of you
See that my grave is kept clean"
See that my grave is kept clean by Blind Lemon Jefferson c 1928

Thanks for the trip, man

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Monochrome Monday (excuses)

We can all dig up a million of them.
Surf's too flat.
Too crowded.
Too choppy.
Too sharky.
Too hungover / ripped/ unfit.

And doing nothing gets easier.
And easier.
Until watching others becomes the norm.

Was a bit like that yesterday.
Bit shabby.
But we both made a BIG effort.
Got out and about.
Ended up shooting some keepers.
Eating some great food.
And running into old fiends.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Orange Alert

Today's music as the hot sun wobbles above the dry tree line is Sneaky Sound System's Orange Alert.
Today's post for all the folks enduring the orange craziness of Australia's bush fires.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I'm no linguistics guru, but I know a good neologism (aka homemade word or phrase) when I invent one.
The Loggerhood.
You read it here first.
No, it's not copyrighted, so feel free to repeat it in conversations post surf until it laps the world and I hear a stranger using it someday.
The Loggerhood is my freshly minted term to:
1 describe the great community of surfers of logs
2 describe the geographical hangout for said surfers and
3 also be used as a G rated  exclamation of shock eg like when I almost stepped on a venomous red bellied black snake last night while jogging. I could have said "what the logger hood!!!!".
I hadn't invented the term at that point so I cursed in a most politically-incorrect manner.
I also cursed the ungrateful cyclists coming towards me on that concrete path with their 30000000 kilowatt retina-destroying headlamps who not only didn't say "thanks" when I alerted them to another snake (taipan maybe) seen earlier further along the path, but failed to warn me of that pretty, yet venomous reptilian ahead of me. That's not how one behaves in The Loggerhood.
Today's relatively inane post is for polite, erudite surfers everywhere - one's like Phil, my Maldivian shipmate (above and below) and Bec who's part of the younger loggerhood that will drop in, turn off and tune in at Byron Surf Festival this weekend, where all manner of neologists, musicologists, surfologists, sociologists, scientists and scenesters will converge.
I hope somebody gawps "what the logger hood?".

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monochrome Monday (maiden voyage)

 Around the time of the first moon landing, a guy called Russell Morris sang on our little mono transistor radio about The Real Thing. Being a little kid, I had no idea what it was about, but still thought it was brilliant:

“There’s a meaning there,
 but the meaning there
doesn’t really mean a thing
Come and see the real thing,
come and see the real thing,
come and see
I am the real thing!”
The Real Thing written by Johnny Young 1969

 My oldest brother had already left home and hitch hiked across Australia a couple of times and was about to enter the life-and-death lottery that was potential conscription to a war in Vietnam. He had cut down a Malibu board and reglassed it under our old wooden house and regaled us with stories of this surf place Up North.
 Somehow he convinced our folks into taking all eight of us there. It would be our last holiday together as an entire family. But it would be the start of my infatuation with surfing, cameras and a certain national park.
I once thought that I’d get to an age where I would lose interest in surfing and photography, but I was wrong. These days, I use whatever suits the conditions – quad or log, digital or film, I don’t care so long as I’m wet and stoked. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Extract (Bus)

Some half thought out, quickly scribbled diary notes from this week's travels and travails. Have a bus-free weekend. (Unless your "bus" is a kombi)

"This is not my bus. 
No mine is missing in action, a phantom on some mythical schedule where transportation runs on time.
The electronic notice board said mine was 29 minutes away - enough time for me to almost walk home.
So I hop the first bus that comes along that will drop me near my home."

"But the passengers on this Other Bus are a different demographic from way out on the perimeter of the city where young people still get Southern Cross tattoos and sport Bad Girl and We're Full stickers on their cars with pride .

No this is not my normal ride, where everybody vaguely knows each others faces but doesn't talk, preferring to stay immersed in mobile phone apps. Or in my case mobile mantras.

No this is not my bus alright. It's more like some surrealistic Dylan ballad where cowboys, tarot readers and gypsy women mingle in the shared goal of Getting Home."

"The highlight was seeing something I've never seen in all my years of travelling here or overseas - a young bearded bloke making origami sculptures, oblivious to the eclectic mix of passengers swaying as the bus hits its stride. Origami is definitely a handy skill for a twenty something in today's depressed job market. One must have a point of differentiation ."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm excited

 I've covered the walls of many brine caves with numerous mags over the years - sadly most are no longer with us. Wonderful mags like Deep (for the thinking surfer) and Sunshine Fluid (from the Sunshine Coast). So I'm quite excited (and a bit surprised) that somebody would launch another surf mag in a"soft" economic climate, in an era where most surfers want instant gratification via compressed pixels on a phone which is hardly ever used for phoning (myself included).

So BIG THANKS for the crew at Great Ocean. May your brand new magazine (quarterly) fly in the face of economic adversity and bring inspiration to those of us who think that the sea is something more than a stage to pose in overpriced shorts. Good luck.

I'm also excited about this little festival (apart from the traffic, the parking meters and "the scene").

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Before I saved enough pocket money for my own second hand crate at age 10, we had one large men’s bike to share amongst the six of us kids.

We younger kids couldn't reach the peddles, so we became adept at "doublers" where one of us would sit side saddle on the main horizontal bar and the other would sit on the seat and steer.

It was a real trust exercise and luckily we never had any major accidents or "neckers".

Today's post is dedicated to my siblings. I still can't believe one of you used to ride over the rest of us Evil Knevil style!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Monochrome Monday (mush mush)

Back in winter there was a comp at a wicked beach break. My mates were surfing, but as I was not in The Comp, I wasn't allowed.
What's worse, I wonder - (insert sounds of dawn bird calls and HOT, mush-making northerlies tearing dried up leaves off the big tree outside my kitchen window) - finding good waves that you can't surf because there's comp on?


Finding rubbishy mush that you can't surf on?

I drove down to the Gold Coast on the weekend. There were no waves worth surfing. But I did drink 6 coffees and ate two cheesecakes. I saw a guy shaping a board and heard three bands. I wouldn't have had that great experience if the surf was cranking.

Here's a mono-mash of my sojourns to waves I couldn't surf.