Photo by Mr Robert Tibbles

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The big one...

When I first heard about it, I really wanted to do it. Then I didn't finish high enough at the Saltrock Open so I was just outside the qualifiers. Then 4 days before the event I get an email from Dave Reed saying i'm in! What am I going on about???... The Nike 6.0 Nightsurf - thats what! This event was billed as the biggest domestic UK Pro Tour Event ever held and it was easilly that.

So, it all started for me Friday morning, I packed up the car, set of in good time and hit the road in good weather. As I was coming out of Barnstaple I thought 'the only thing that can go wrong now, is if I break down'. Normally when you pre empt things like that, they don't happen, only this time, jut as I got to Wadebridge, my car died! Not proper died, just teased me died, like 'i'm thinking about breaking down, what do you reckon?' Luckilly it held out and i trundled into Fistral at about 4mph just in time for check-in.

Surfing glamour? Staying at the Headland Hotel this is not! My bed for the night.

The waves were absolutely bolt standard for a UK comp, 3ft and onshore. The only thing different to all other comps ever, was the sun was out! I thought only WBSC were lucky enough to get this but I guess Nike must be paying someone of somewhere because it pretty much stayed sunny the whole time.

86 out of the 88 comps i've ever done have been held in surf like this.

Once I'd got my bearings and taken in the comp site (including VIP area with complimentory competitor massause no less!) I bumped into a few Croydeites. The wildcard surf off's were in the water so I watched those heats with Matt, Suzzane and Taz Knight (a nicer, more welcoming, more surf crazy family you are unlikely to meet!). The standard was already off the chart - watching WQS surfers Charly Martin and Romain Laulhe was already making me think about no-showing my heat. Then, it came, heat one, round 3, Oli Adams, Mark Harris, Luke Dillon and me! I was pretty calm getting changed, just like any other heat I thought. It then dawned on me, walking down the beach that I knew absolutely fuck all about Fistral so I tagged along with Oli pretending I knew what I was doing when really i was just following him to see where he paddled out and sat. Heat on and 2 minutes in I get an ok wave, a good starter anyway and a 5.67 score. It relaxed me and made me think 'at least i'm not going to embarrass myself. So all I had to do was sit and wait for another similar one. Sounds easy doesn't it, sitting and waiting for a wave? Its actually probably the hardest thing to do in surfing so I did exactly the opposite and panic paddled into 3 shit waves and a close out, highest score of them a 4. 20 minutes gone, heat over and i'm out. I was pleased that I was in with a chance in the heat but also annoyed with myself for panicing - thats contests for you I guess.

15 mins of fame you say? Fuck you, I got 20!

Fistral lit up like a bloody christmas tree.

So it appears now i am inadvertantly doing the UK tour, its somewhat addictive all this sitting around, waiting, surfing for 20 minutes losing and then wanting to do it all over again. Why? Who cares why, Scarborough, here we come!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A new direction..

Sometimes you just gotta go, even if it is flat! Rare, longview photo of me on a log. Trev reckons one day I could be World Champion and i'm inclined to agree with him, I mean how hard can it be, all you've got to do is stand there isn't it ;)??

Although having thought about it, maybe not. I use one about 3 times a year, i won't take one out if its over a foot and there is a fair bit more to it than just standing there! He He...

Monday, 18 April 2011

Charley v Wooly Round 2.

So, if you read this (!!) regularly then you will know i'm partial to the odd surf contest or 2. Having said that I had been umming and rr-ing about doing the Wooly comps this year, I did them last year and won the league so felt with that I'd kind of done them. Plus there's more Croyde comps this year so I would be busier this side of the hill. Anyway Sunday came round, the 1st league event of this year, it was 2ft and blisteringly sunny. The competitor inside got the better of me and i ventured over the hill and signed in.

The comp was fun as always in Wooly - they really seem to luck in with the waves and nice weather thing. My 1st heat was really slow, few waves ridden but i got through. Had a blinder of a semi - go the highest scoring wave of the day and felt good for the final. Then things seemed to conspire against me, my car key broke so i couldnt lock the thing so i had to leg it over to main beach to collect marie and the kids and leg it back with my 2 year old on my shoulders. Not the ideal preparation for a senior citizen such as myself! But I found a bit of energy from somewhere and rode a few waves ok to take the win. Stoked.

Will I be at the next one?? As long as my car key works... i'm all over it!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Wass on??

So Summers here and the time is right... well almost, hopefully!

Anyway contest season has kicked off, starting with the Al Rann Memorial. I've entered this comp for about 5/6 years in a row and every year without fail the surf is big, heavy and blown out. This year was no exception, in fact the only thing stopping it from being a groundhog day of the previous 5 was that it was actually sunny... and warm! First of they sent the groms out on the beach, looked about as much fun as paddling in mud but somehow (don't think i could've) a few of the brave made it out back and even got some good rides. Well done guys.

Now the Open event at Croyde is a funny catergory at the best of times, its more like a masters event as 80% of the entrants are over 30 year olds desperately trying to cling on to the little bit of youth we've got left! Being of this frail age we looked at the beach and politely (there was kids around) said 'f*ck that, we're moving to the point' so at least we might be able to get out the back. We did and had a 45 minute expression session type final. Didnt do particually well but it was fun none the less and good to get the old contest shoulders moving again.

The night time presentation was a bit of a blur from about 8 onwards and unfortunately ruled out any chance of me re-deeming myself at the Tony Renyard in Woolacombe as i didn't even make it out of bed the next morning til about 10!

Loads of comps this year at Croyde so should be a fun year of doing badly and getting smashed.

Onwards and upwards!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Winter... the new summer/antartic/lake everything!

Winter, its been a funny old game so far hasn't it? It started off all the way back in November with a couple of fun swells and i thought 'i like winter.. this one could be fun'. Then we had the lake Geneva affair that was the end of November and all of December, don't think i can remember a flat spell like it. Pretty much gave up all hope of ever surfing again. Then Boxing Day, the waves suddenly poked their heads back into the equation and we were off again - only snag, it was minus 8!! Since then we've had a steady stream of good swells, lighting up most spots on the North Coast at one time or another, some days even came with temperatures in double figures. This week has been especially nice, considering the time of year.. almost warm!

Now we're back to millpondville, whats to come? Who knows but some more of the sun/waves scenario wouldn't go a miss.

Happy days :)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Top 5's... this week...

Rather predictably its top 5 surfers of 2010. I'm thinking of doing other top 5's as well so if you have a topic you want 'top 5'ing' let me have it and i'll give it a go.


5. Matt Wilkinson/Shaun Candsdell. Ok so i've cheated already but I really wanted to have a goofy foot in here and couldn't pick between these two. Their both completely different surfers, I love the way Wilkinson has gone about the tour this year, bit Dane'esc but with a bit more party and a bit less air. Shaun Candsdell is a weird one eh? Well maybe but i loved him on tour a few years ago and then he disappeared. He has since got a new sponsor, had a kid and developed his contest prowess without loosing that Parko like smoothness in his surfing. Loved it that he won the 50 g's for the Cold Water Classic series, lookout CT this boys coming back!

4. Adam Robertson. This fella first came to my attention a few years back when he went from the trials to the final of Bells, only loosing a close one to Parko in that. At the time he was sponsorless and not really operating. Now backed by Billabong he's on the QS and i just love the way he surfs, again super smooth, almost effortless turns. plus he has (probably from living at Bells) the smoothest roundhouse this side of Taylor Knox. Check the boy out.

3. Jay Quinn. I love this guy mainly from the QS Highland Open where he surfed the whole event in a 3/2mm and at howling, snow blown, 5ft thurso knocked himself out trying a massive reverse. Legend. Also super smooth, super aggresive and not shy of taking to the air if the situation warrants it. Great blog as well - check out for an honest inside view of life on the road.

Obvious but unavoidable top 2.

2. Dane Reynolds. I want to go out with Dane, he is easily the best surfer on tour, the funniest surfer on tour and doesn't give a shit. Drives a clapped out Volvo 240 and looks like a charity shop window model. I don't need to write anything about this fella other than he surfed my favorite wave this year at pipe. Took off late, pulled in, got proper barrelled then came out and where most people pull off, he put in 2 pumps and launched a good 6ft straight air which he put down but just behind the wave. Had he stuck it - it would've had to have been an 11!

1. Kelly. 10 - that is all that needs to be said here.

Stay tuned, next time top 5 darts players ;)

Monday, 8 November 2010

The new force in pro surfing!

If anyone watches as much pro surfing online as me then you may have seen a fair few WQS events from around europe this summer. Its been all over from newquay to the azores and is now finishing up in the canaries. I kept noticing a name in the 1st round results - Alexander El Naib. Let me tell you a bit about this fella. Al El Naib is 49 year old german guy who has been doing the QS all through europe. He enters every event, always shows up for his heat but never gets through round one. Why is this I here you ask... Its because he's fucking shit! When i say shit, i don't mean horrible brazillian style shit or not quite good enough shit. I mean really shit, like can just about stand up shit. Why does he do the QS was my question and it appears from a bit of internet research a lot of other peoples too. The guy is becoming a bit of a legend - he has never scored over 2 points for a heat total yet he keeps coming back for more. At $250 - $400 dollars a comp, travel costs, accomodation and hire car costs it must be costing him an absolute fortune to show up and surf for 20 mins. So why does he do it... well turns out he's just as much of a pro surf fanatic as me, yet infinatly richer (rumour is he's a trust fund kid) so what better way to spend your summer than travelling round europe and not only surfing with but gettng to know some of the best surfers in the world! True dedication I say. Here's a photo that encapsulates it for me - here he is shaking hands with Tom Curren who he's just surfed a heat with in the Azores... yes TOM CURREN!! Got to be worth the airfare eh?