North Devon – Croyde, Saunton and Castrol Oil?

Yesterday’s new swell picked up over night and was looking punchy at dawn. As the sun rose so did the winds. They were predominantly offshore but slightly from the South, which put an uneasy wonk on the water’s surface. The howling offshore made it pretty much impossible to get in to anything, but still, a good days surf.

The winter sun was out in force, making it blinding to even look at the water’s surface. (Thank god for his invention of polarized sunnies ūüôā Is amazing to see how many people were in the water, even for January in the UK. As sea temps drop you would think the lineup would have thinned out slightly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing compared to summer, but still, a good turn out for a chilly January day. Surfing has boomed and is booming, and will continue to do so.

Low-tide, Croyde A-Frame coupled with 1000 Knot winds.

As I was power walking down the beach (trying to stretch the ankle out) I came across a dirty circular character littering the Devonshire coastline. An oil drum! Of all things it’s hardly what you want rolling past you in the surf. The owner had also wrote his name on it – Castrol.¬† It makes you wonder where it came from, was it at one time full of oil? ( I hope not) Oil companies are irresponsible, as are the majority of people with money to burn. They participate in a bit of ‘window dressing’ – making their company seem like it’s concerned about the environment, and then go and litter the globes most precious resource; the sea. I don’t care whether it contained oil or not, it’s the simple fact of you don’t want to be seeing a Castrol¬†oil drum on a beach. Shame on Castrol.

Anyway this is how a UK beach should appear; clean and basked in morning sunshine.

Baywatch Superfreak – Kelly Slater

Everyone knows there is¬†no surf in Florida. So why o’ why has this sunny, yet waveless state managed to produced the worlds best surfer.

It is not a matter of opinion whether Kelly Slater is the worlds best surfer ever to have existed, its fact!¬† The man is a machine, can you imagine dominating such a sport to such an extent that you can win 10 world titles. The scary thing is, he won his first when he was 18 and his last when he was 38. Let’s think about that for a second. Can you imagine being in your prime at 18 and then 20 years down the line still being at the top of your game.It’s not like surfing is an easy, effortless, lazy sport like golf. (Kelly is even incredible at golf) Surfing is physically demanding and with the progressive youth of today busting airs and flips, Kelly has done well to not to lag behind.

Many have described Kelly as ‘super competitive’ and I think that’s what keep’s him juiced. Kelly wants to prove year after year that he is still the best surfer out there, he wants to show that he can still win against anyone and will carry on doing so for many years to come. Just look at what he did at the US open at Huntington beach. Following criticism from fellow competitors for not showing at Jeffery’s Bay, Kelly smashed every person he was up against with ease and won the competition.

Kelly is just one of those people who¬†is good at anything he set’s his mind too. Whether it be surfing, body-surfing, golf, anything. He is good. Almost too good. Surfing doesn’t¬†get too much recognition as a major world sport, and maybe it shouldn’t. Yet it is important as members of the surfing community to understand what we have. We have possibly the greatest sportsman to have ever lived. It’s hard to¬†think of any other sport where someone has won a world title 20 years since their first. Also has anyone ever dominated a sport so much for so long? I sincerely doubt it.

The question is should Kelly stand down and let someone else have a go, or should he just keep on killing it?

 

Surf News – ASP claims another


http://www.aspworldtour.com/

“I feel best when I’m free-surfing” – Bobby Martinez

‘The dream tour’. On paper it seems exactly that. Travelling the globe competing in a sport you love, surfing the world’s best beachies, point break’s and heaving reefs. You wake up in the morning, hop down to the beach and surf a few rounds against your mates; if you loose you get paid anyway, if you win you get paid big bucks. All in all, its hardly a 9 to 5 at the office. So why does it seem to push so many away, leaving them with a bitter taste in their mouth and a feeling of recent against competitive surfing.

Goofy, lip-cracker Bobby Martinez is the next great surfer that has thrown down his competitive jersey in anger of the ASP. Bobby regularly vents his frustration on Twitter, and we all saw it at Bells when he lost to Taj and then basically told the judges they were idiots. In a in depth interview with his board producer, Channel Island’s, Bobby explains what it is about the tour that he dislikes and explains what his plans are for the future. Check it out here.

So why does it seem so many want to steer clear of the competitive arena. We constantly here people going ‘it’s a hard life on tour’. Really? I’m sure 99% of us would drop everything for a glimpse in to their world’s.

I beleive there is two different type’s of surfers. One one hand you have Kelly, Jordy, Kolohe, Mick, Adriano. On the other you have the likes of Machado, Rastovich, and Wade Goodall. Some are born to compete, regardless of their bank balances they want to win and stay with the world tour for as long as their bones will take it. Then there is those who are competent of making it on the world tour, yet opt to for a life of pursuing their own desires.

I believe this divide is due to the nature of surfing. Surfing being such a soulful experience that enriches your own life, is sometimes best kept just to yourself. It seems that many resent the whole competitive life of surfing, alongside the exploding corporate industry as it takes away the basic fundamentals of what surfing is.

Taj, A.I, Sunny and now Bobby Martinez have all grown frustrated by the ASP. Andy took time out and dropped off tour simply because he did’nt like it anymore. It seemsclearing the fog of competitive surfing from your mind allows the creative juices to begin flowing again. Bobby has finally recieve a much deserved sponsor from FTW. FTW is owned by Icer Brands that owns the likes of Rocawear and Sean John so its sure to give him the backing he needs.¬†Let’s not forget Bobby, lets follow that legendary backhand snap and that explosive attitude wherever he may go. Congradualtions Bobby.¬†Freedom is with you.

Surf News – Teahupoo ASP outlook

Chopes (the hot head) is renowned as one of the heaviest waves in the world. It undoubtably takes the crown for the most feared wave on the ASP world tour.

The Billabong¬†Pro kicks of this weekend and fingers, arms ands legs crossed, it looks as if there’s a swell on the horizon.

The late Andy Irons made a glorious comeback last year and raised the trophy in a much deserved¬†win. This year, who’s on the cards? For me Nike 6.0 star Michel Bourez¬†defiantly¬†has the potential to snag it from the pack. Firstly, he is a Tahitian. Returning to his homeland for the most breath-taking¬†event of the year must push him a little bit more. Secondly, he is not nicknamed ‘The Spartan’ for nothing. He thrives for heavy conditions. When no one¬†else will go Bourez¬†will for sure. In a recent interview with Waves magazine, Bourez¬†said¬†“Teahupoo is why I wanted to be on the tour,” he explained that ¬†“I just put my mind to surfing. Right now, when I get home I might train for a little bit because there‚Äôs going to be a long leg so it‚Äôs going to be hard. I need to be ready physically.”

You can catch-all the live action here courtesy of Billabong

Surf Stories – Perfect waves and broken bones

Surfing is an adventure. Adventures generally entail up’s and down’s that all contribute in¬†making it a memorable occasion. As surfers, we travel and explore, throwing outselves¬†in to nature’s vast unknown. We all have stories; travelling hundreds of miles for 1ft¬†mush, getting lost and finding empty perfection, snapping your new stick on your first wave, the list is endless. I believe its important¬†for us to share these experiences. We sit and watch the world tour via our rapid internet connections, dreaming of the life on the ‘dream tour’. Yet this comes to us as an almost scripted format, we know where there going, we know who’s surfing, we know who’s likely to win, we know that we are about to witness the best surfing in the world. That’s why, as free-surfers we owe it to each other to share our own experiences. Sure we might not all be busting big airs and doing our dream job, but we all embrace surfing in to our life’s, allowing it to offer us stories that are dying to be told. Let’s do just that, lets show how the average surfer is worthy of an exciting tale. Here’s mine.

The charts were looking good. The previous East Coast swell was plagued by variable winds, making a potentially¬†brilliant swell nothing more than frustrating, stormy mush. Anyway, summer swells in North East England, whats up with that? I’m not complaining but these are generally rarer than a bloody steak. Wednesday, August 10th was looking to show optimum conditions with a dying swell that would begin to organise itself and be greeted with stiff offshore’s.

I began exploring the East coast potential during University, when my studies took me closer to this rugged, ‘Jurassic’ coastline. Now¬†back at my parents house for the¬†summer, my feet were itchy and I was eager to get back ‘oop North’ and hopefully score some serious water time.

Setting off at the crack of dawn, the tiny little car was juiced up and the gear and boards in tow. As any travelling surfer knows, after a long car journey I was sprinting¬†to the cliff top’s all excited and eager to asses the situation. I didn’t¬†want 8 foot, gruelling drainers, I wanted lovely medium-sized¬†waves offering long rides, whackable sections and countless rides. For the first time in a while mother-nature had listened to my thought’s – 3-5 ft, offshore, enough said.

East Coast summer swell ? – Photo by Vandal-Gab

As I sprinted back to the car, I could hardly contain my excitement. Non surfers will never understand this feeling, you become anxious yet content, irate¬†yet calm, annoyed that you’re not¬†in there NOW yet ecstatic that your going to be in there soon. Your heart beats that little bit faster and your thoughts and imagination run wild. Problems become irrelevant and you realize how nothing else matters.

Cayton¬†Bay features a super steep path leading down to a sand/rock beach. After a good session, the path defiantly¬†finished you off with surfer’s dreaming about lift’s and board caddy’s. Anyway I dived in and managed to make it out to a good position after taking a few on the head.

There were only 4 other wave riders in this particular spot, so I sat on the edge and waited my turn. The majority of waves were reeling off left, with the odd swinger coming in offering fast little rights. Being a natural footer, I bagged a nice sized right which offered a quick, close out barrel. I paddled back out and sat right on the peak, watching the guy’s get long rippable¬†lefts which were staying open thanks to the wind. A good 3-4¬†wave set was approaching on the horizon, the first couple were snagged by the guys sat slightly inside. I paddled for the approaching¬†wave – glassy and head high. As I bottom turned, I was greeted with a long, walling shoulder which allowed me to get 4-5 lovely, cruising turn’s on. As the wave hit the rip, if began to fade, so I opted to pull out the back. As I dropped down the back of the wave, my left foot left the board and my body began to fall in to the water. For some reason,my right foot¬†stayed put. Whether it was due to the fresh wax job or the added traction from the booties, it did not move. That was until the rest of my body was in the water and pushed my right ankle up and off the board. The pain wasnt¬†instant and I considered paddling back out. As I was about to do so it became more severe and I decided it was probably best to paddle back in. Thankfully my girlfriend was on the cliff top, so I frantically waved her down to assist. After a couple of wave back’s she understood that there was a problem. On reaching the beach my ankle felt like jelly and I could not connect it to the ground.

The Left’s on the day – Photo by Vandal-Gab

My next problem, was the gruelling cliff path that seems to run at about a 45 degree angle, for a good 5-10 minute of walking. This was going to be much longer in my case. Using my girlfriend as a crutch, I began hopping towards the car park. As fatigue set in, pain increased and the soothing cold water left my boots, I could manage less and less hops between resting intervals. After a good half hour, I reached the vehicle. The next dilemma, was the removal of the boot’s and wetsuit. A soaking wet, cold suit is difficult to remove at the best of times, let alone when the final exit point is the area that you can’t touch. After some assistance the sickening ordeal was over, and the tennis ball sized lump was freed from support. It instantly ballooned and grew and grew in size and abnormal shaping. Next stop, Hospital.

After a horrendous taxi ride, a few X-Rays and a long wait, I was informed¬†that I had fractured my right Fibula. The break was peculiar, (most likely¬†due to a previous ankle injury) and required surgery in the coming days. It was getting late and unable to drive, I had to get my car and equipment¬†over one hundred and fifty miles south somehow. After a pleading call to my dad, he agreed to jump on a train and meet us at the hospital. Next followed a 3 hour car journey in a cramped, little car with¬† my ankle feeling every bump and hole in the road. I couldn’t¬†help but think about the session that could have been. That second wave felt perfect, the crowds were thin and the North Sea had most defiantly turned on.

A week after the accident, my ankle¬†is now feeling¬†worse than ever. I will be crutch and cast bound for the next 6 weeks, with physiotherapy¬†after this period for tendon damage. The pain of the injury, does not come close to my state of ‘cold turkey’ that seems to have already set in. It is likely to be over 3 months before I will be entering the water confidently.

As a surfer, it’s easy to start ‘clucking’ a little when you are surf deprived. The feeling of being land-locked for the foreseeable¬†future is a depressing feeling. It over comes the actual pain of injury. On the bright side I am happy to see that there is no approaching swells. Although I can’t help to think about the up coming Hurricane season, when England see’s it’s coastline alight with long-awaited Atlantic swells.

Someone else scoring during the same session.

Image from Grumpy Old Surfer. Check out his site for lots of pics from the other day and other great days from around the UK.

 

Surf News – Billabong Pre Jeffreys Bay LIVE now!!!!!

The comp which is supposed to be pumping for the duration has been less than adequate thus far. But ladies and gentlemen-now its pumping!!! 4-6ft light offshore and big and wackable.

Some Adriano De Souza-world number 1,  has been knocked out by fellow countryman Alejo Muniz.

The 3 man non-elimination rounds are on their way up so check it out.

CLICK ME ūüôā FOR BILLABONG PRO LIVE

Taj Burrow, Josh Kerr up next

Surf News – Kelly Slater = super freak?


Ask yourself a question. In any sport worldwide, can you name a single competitor that has won a world title 20 years on from his first world title? No? Because it’s never happened.

Kelly Slater is the youngest and oldest competitor on the World Tour to ever win a world title-and yes, another 8 in between them.

10 world titles and still going strong. There is no other sportsman/women who has achieved this amount of success in their career. He is a freak, a super freak!

There were big question marks over wherever Kelly would surf in the 2011 World Tour. To be honest, I like the sound of 10 better than 11 and would have probably called it a day and went free-surfing for the rest of my life. But I’m not Kelly, obviously. Maybe the fiercest competitor out there, he seems rattled that he’s currently sitting in a disappointing¬†3rd!! To most, 3rd would be enough, but only poll¬†position will satisfy the 38-year-old.

With Jeffreys¬†approaching, people are questioning wherever he will even show. I’m¬†guessing he will. I’m¬†guessing he will absolutely¬†smash¬†it and climb back to 1st or 2nd in the world ratings. If he doesn’t,if he goes out early and slips even more places, I believe South Africa will be the last stop on the world tour for Kelly.

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