Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Surfdome - Heaven or Hell?


“This is heaven, this is hell, who cares, who can tell?” Christy Moore may have been singing about Lisdoonvarna but these words kept recycling round in the black hole that is my head as I caught up on news about the new “Surfdome” that’s being built way up in London town.

“Imagine a place where you could surf quality waves anytime of the day, 365 days a year. The waves of your choice with rides over 200ft long and up to 8ft high – left breaking, right breaking, barrelling or peeling – all available at the push of a button.”

That seductive first sentence would have any wave rider sit up & take notice but the promise of surfing nirvana is quickly followed by the offer of “...a place where the water is warm, lifestyle is relaxed and the shopping, restaurants and bars will supply non-stop entertainment alongside unbelievable surf sessions…”

Somebody’s reflection that hell is just ceaseless pleasure endlessly “enjoyed” has some resonance here, me thinks. That heady mix of chlorinated water, thumping overdubbed muzack, retail outlets at every turn and having to pay £20 - £30 for the “experience” is not for this Beach Bum – but each to their own.
The Kiwi company, ASR Ltd (the very necessary abbreviation for Amalgamates, Solutions & Research) in cahoots with Surfdome are leading proponents of artificial surfing reefs. Now that’s another story! There’s an eloquent discussion of the pros and cons of artificial reefs here. Disneyland by the sea, here we come! Anyone for the last few choc ices, now?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Party On Perranporth!

There's going to be some partying at the Ponsmere Hotel this weekend as Perranporth Surf Life Saving Club celebrates its 5oth anniversary. This gives me an excuse to post this little vid from Lock & Load productions. Finest rescue boards courtesy of Gaisford Surf Equipment - when only the best will do. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's about as useful as knickers on a kipper!

For once, the mirthful moniker isn't mine but one from a big moneyed suit called Theo Paphitis (not a communicable disease). He's a bloke on the Dragon's Den - a TV show where punters line up, pitch their next great thing and look for investment from a bunch of millionaires. Something like that.

Anyway, this Cornish bloke called Olly Daglish goes on with his "Ollypop" a surf training towel (I know, that needs explaining) and gets the verbal equivalent of a keelhauling under a well barnacled galleon. "It's about as useful as as knickers on a kipper" he's told.

Well you can judge for yourself by checking out the Ollypop - " the trusty beach towel that doubles up as a surf aid to help you perfect those pesky pop-ups! Regular practice on the Ollypop will enable beginner, improver, intermediate and even advanced surfers to develop one fast, smooth pop... an absolute must when you're on the crest of a breaking wave and it has to be done in a split second."

Irrespective of the merits, this may be a cult classic in the making. Olly has some new products in the pipeline (no pun intended) - I, for one, can't wait.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Suits On - Surfing Not For Beach Bums

Sitting here nibbling on my chicken drumstick I was getting vaguely discomfited by the fact that most of the other blogs I read are regularly updated, almost religiously so. But the feeling passed - just after the celery stick got chewed. I must get back to that To Do list ...

... after the Sunday papers and an article by some author called Henry Shukman headlining the "Escape" section of the Observer with an article on "The Birth Of Surf". In it he talks about San Clemente, California and the old time surfing scene. He contrasts that with the $6 billion surf industry in the US, high schools with surf teams practicing at 7 in the morning and the efforts made to make the scene "respectable".

And then - get ready with your sick bucket - this article where " Todd Juneau, a real estate consultant in San Diego and a longtime surfer, trolls for business in local lineups. “I’ll sit in the water and listen to conversations, and if someone says something about real estate, I’ll find a way to interject,” he said. “And it pays off."

Clearly, Todd the troll needs a tracker fitted that alerts the nearest Great White onto his tedious ass. That will see to his "interjections".

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Cornish Culinary Corners

What goes around comes around - so we're back to the Windswept Cafe (Newquay, South Fistral Beach). I'll even stick in another photo of the aforementioned premises just to satisfy all you Googlers out there.

When I scribbled a piece on the Windswept Cafe back last summer, little did I know just how many poor punters were drawn to Beach Bum's blog after trawling the www for more info on this eatery. The Windswept doesn't have its own website yet so they get washed up here.

The reservation number is 01637 850793 since you asked. Those with a sweet tooth (assuming your sugar rush addiction has left you some) might also like to know they have a monthly "pudding club" where, it seems, the starter is dessert - and probably the main course too. It sounds to me like an antenatal class but I'm the kind of Beach Bum that has oysters for dessert so why quibble?

Over the winter months the Windswept Cafe have gamely laid on all manner of attractions to entice the peoploids in. Art shows, special offers, music and the lady with the python (OK, I made the last one up). I wonder if you still need to be a midget to work in the kitchen though? I said it before and I'll say it again, focus on the grub and the customers will follow. Of course, that's a foodie's perspective. The music gigs are going down well. Martin Harley of the Martin Harley Band did a solo spot at the end of January and it sold out in a flash. I've never heard of MHB, but then I'm still playing The Sweet.

Today, however, our stroll along the beach had us hankering after log fires, pints and cosy pubness. For Beach Bum and family, this generally means that sea-views are sacrificed, and we motor inland to the Plume Of Feathers at Mitchell. The pub food here reflects the high standards that the Plume's restaurant strives for and gets thumbs up and lips smacking from all of Beach Bum's crew.

Today, I didn't go for my usual Caesar salad (with anchovies) but tucked in to the succulent angus beef burger served with sweet onion relish. Sea Nymph wasn't as enamoured of the leek and potato soup as on previous outings but this a minor blip on an otherwise fine excursion for the taste buds.
Service is always courteous, if a little slow, but I reckon that's down to the care the chef takes cooking and presenting the food. I recommend just ordering the Guinness extra chilled. That way, when your food arrives, the black stuff will have just reached quaff point perfection. When the food is finally served, the courses come in order, a minor miracle in many eateries. And no waiting for this side portion or that while the rest of your main course stares back at you.
The portions are almost over-generous, the kid's menu offers a selection that's of a standard equitable with the adult's - and they get to colour in their menus. A big plus point is a lunch menu available to 5pm. I wish more pubs could manage this arrangement.
Mental note: extra lengths in the pool on Monday otherwise, at this rate, Beach Bum may morph into Blubber Bum.