Wednesday, February 23, 2011

After the Gold Rush

My father, his father and his father were all born on different islands in different countries and it's merely a warp in history (World War I) that has me typing today from Australia and not New Zealand, where some of my relatives still live. Today's post is for them and the folk suffering following yesterday's devasting quake in Christchurch. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
The Welcome Stranger was a dirty big nugget found in the 1800's - about 160 pounds or 72 kgs. It was the largest single piece of alluvial gold ever found on this island or anywhere, ever. Men like my father's grandfather came from all over the world to seek their fortune, as part of the gold rushes of the 1800's. But it was a slow trip in those days - six months on a leaky boat - as one NZ bard would put it.
By the time my great grandfather got to Melbourne, the gold rush was alomost over but there were stories of gold being found around Otago on another island not so far away (and greener and cooler, like his homeland). So off he went and stayed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What would Nelson say?

Nelson don't surf so he's well placed to cast an experienced, objective eye over this thing called free surfing. What has it become, when grown men start clobbering each other? What would Nelson say? Is it an avenue for people to vent their own personal demons or compensate for their personal issues in as competitive and aggro manner as possible? If I wanted more stress and aggro in my life, I would become an aircraft traffic controller at Heathrow or I'd go to a third world country and stand on a street corner telling the locals my god was better than their god. I surf to have FUN.
I shake my head and say to the sponsors of any pro surfer, "Your profit is derived from we the uncordinated and less athleltic masses. We buy your product. Show us some respect. In free surfing we are all in same boat. Teach your pro surfers how to behave when they are free surfing, to share the surf, not to drop in, not to snake and to respect the locals." Aloha

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life Goes by Too Quickly

Farewell Leroy Grannis (1917 - 2011) a legend of the lens and documenter of the early analogue surfing era 1959 to 1977. Inspired by the pioneer surf photogs, Tom Blake and "Doc" Ball, "Grannie" took up the surf camera to battle a stress related ulcer at the age of 42. He would go on to shoot iconic surfing images of Hawaii and California, such as the one below in 1961. Photo above of Grannie with early vintage Nikonos aged 52.  Slide on waterman.
Surfing images from the Taschen bio

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thunder on the Mountain

rain over water
and thunder on the mountain
sticky wax on board

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fresh Flesh Cabaret

The flyer at Glen's Espresso exclaims that there will be a Fresh Flesh Cabaret on Friday 25 February 2011 at Level 2 of the old Ice Cream Factory at 35 Mollison Street West End in Brisbane. This part of the city is still getting back on its feet after the financial and emotional blows of the recent floods. For $15 you can support independent artists and performers like: Day Ja Vu, Neon Crow, Psycho Babble, Jim Jones (he's alive!). for tix
You may even see the Brazilian Barista Mr Sergio performing, seen recently modelling a tee shirt featuring his boss Glen after making me yet another perfect mocha - thanks guys.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Countdown to Easter

Boys, it's been too long since we all had a surf together. I'm reserving a spot for you in the lineup at Easter. The Nikonos is loaded and this time I have a helmet.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Early Morning Fog

My mind is foggy this morning after a night of insomnia and losing my camera when I eventually started dreaming. I did manage to ride a few nice waves at Kirra in another dream, so that almost compensated for the tossing and turning. A very strong coffee, water, muesli, banana, dates and I'm almost ready to face the city.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"R" is for Reo

"R" is for reo
Radio Birdman
Ramblin Jack Elliott
Rolling Stones
Reed, Lou
RL Burnside
Robert Johnson
Ry Cooder
Roxy Music
Russell Morris
Ray Charles
Roseanne Cash
Roberta Flack
have a great weekend
(kudos to the legendary Mike Moir 
for the retro layout below)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"B" is for Backhand

is for bloated, buggered blogger
(slowly getting it together)
is for Blinded by the Light
by Bruce Springsteen
(the brassy Live in Dublin version)
is for Blood
(those minstrels of North Queensland)
is for Bohemian Like You
by the Dandy Warhols

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Caffein, Cameras and Commuting"

The daily commute is an 18th century trading anachronism, but even though we've grown from little villages and country towns to mega-million soul cities, we still partake. It's a mass madness in denial of communication technology, wasted time and unnecessary pollution. Me included.
My commute is usually on a bus shaded by sunglasses and a battered little ipod pretending to be somewhere else - parties last decade, waves last week, the Noosa Festival of Surf next month, the book I'll write when I get off the bus for good ("Caffein, Cameras and Commuting") - anywhere but in a sardine can on wheels squashed beside somebody talking loud on a mobile phone telling their mate about their day. ("I'm on the bus, yeah you too? How hot is it aye? Hang on we're goin through a tunnel.") Forget frequent flier points. I want frequent commuter points. When you get to a certain score, you score a free holiday away from the well heeled heels in the sardine can on wheels.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beach Closed

Time to bust out the bike or the banjo.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Old Mate

I have never lived in Noosa for more than three weeks but I've gazed at it's beaches and bays probably a couple of thousand times since first camping there in 1970. The place is like an old mate who's known me since I was a kid and has been there through many of my adventures. It's seen my transition from single fins to twin fins to thrusters; from fins that were glassed to fins that were removable; from snapped rubbery looking leg ropes to polyurethane ding savers. My old mate has seen me log slide on small days I wouldn't have touched in my youth.
Film cameras. Digital cameras. Super 8, video, HDV. Homemade underwater housings and "real" pro ones too. Learning to handle a sailing boat on my own in the river.

Sitting out the back at Tea Tree or Granite, I look around and it seems to be much the same as I always remember - no houses or skyscrapers, just a vista of bush and sand hills and sky.
And even if the surf is tiny or flat and empty or bigger and mega-crowded, it's always nice to reconnect with old mates, like Noosa.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Messy x Mercy

175000 properties have lost power so far in the first of the towns hit by Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Early reports indicate that there is extensive damage but no loss of life. Mercy! Still too early to tell for sure as the storm rages towards the middle of the Australian bush and communications are sketchy. Inland towns that have never had a cyclone EVER are about to be battered. Latest updates here.
From a surfing point of view, Yasi has not produced the goods. 1600 kms to the south, it's wet alright, but the wind is north east and the water choppy and messy. But we aren't complaining. We're happy to have Mercy today, after all the flooding, death and destruction we have had this mad summer.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gimme Shelter

"Oh, a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away"
"The floods is threat'ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away"
from Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones 1969 
28000 people evacuated. I can't begin to imagine what it's like up North right now as folks prepare to be battered by the biggest and meanest cyclones in generations. Waiting. Waiting. Knowing that this monster is creeping their way, bringing wind gusts in excess of 280 kms per hour, tidal surges 7 meters above normal and rain in deluge proportions. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
And by some perverse twist of nature, we will receive some beautiful, long interval swell 1600 kms from all this destruction.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You Gotta Move, Child

Another month, another cyclone. In fact the second one this week, but way meaner and way bigger. This one is Yasi, born in Fiji but rumbling towards Australia's borders - no visa, no papers and nobody's gonna stop him/her, a swirling dervish generating winds up to 280 kmph.
"You may be high
You may be low
You may be rich, child
You may be poor
But when the Lord gets ready
You gotta move."
from You Gotta Move by Mississippi Fred McDowell