Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First Ever Cornish International Nude Surfing Festival

Beach Bum is proud to announce the first ever Cornish International Nude Surfing Championships to be held at Perranporth beach on Saturday July 7th.. This will be held just after I’ve downed eight pints of Guinness at the Watering Hole, and conveniently after the Perran Surf Lifesaving Club’s Summer Beach Ball. Fortunately for spectators, there will be no beach based illumination as per the Fat Face Night Surf Event.

I’m afraid you will have to pay more than the going rate to enter as sponsorship from the usual surf clothing companies has been proving hard to secure. Don’t get stressed by all that bad news about Kelly Slater bombing out of the Rip Off Curly Wurly or whatever its called way down in Chileo. I’ve been sent a smoke signal by a friend of a friend who assures me that Kelly’s heading our way, keen to get his kit off and back to nature. With such stiff competition (fnarr, fnarr) me and some mates have been getting in some practice, as you can see. I’m the one with the hairy arse.

Naturalists, nudists and naked people from all corners of our United Kingdom converged on Cornwall last week as part of the Nudefest 2007 event. The climax of the event was a great gathering of the nude and the good at, appropriately enough, the Eden Project. I think all this nakedness has gone to my head. I’d better re-phrase that.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Surfpods In Newquay

Sounding like the progeny from a sci-fi flick where a surfboard has mated with a Triffid, I'm not referring to anything quite so alien here, just an example of a property developer jumping on the woody and using surfdom's marketing potential to sell flats.

Tagged as "funky micro homes for the urban surfer", you have the opportunity to pay between £141,000 - £200,000 for a one bedroom apartment - sorry, surf pod. I can't quite fathom from the blurb exactly what design features have been incorporated that differentiates these flats from any other squeezebox - apart from a reference to a locker where, presumably, you can rack your board and wetsuit. You have to share washers and drying machines though - hopefully more sand resistant than the three I've gone through in as many years. Lots of glass and steel feature in the design - how funky is that?

Most folks I know who are into the ocean are also concerned enough about the environment that when the opportunity arises, they'll increasingly look for designs that utilise local materials and have green credentials. Surfers are developing their adventurous tastes and demanding more when it comes to the layout, design and functions of their pads.

This is a subject close to my heart. Beach Bum's shack is scheduled for a major re-vamp and in choosing an architect, it was important for me to deal with people genuinely interested in eco-friendly design and sustainability. As well as a company that's got these credentials, I've hired an architect that surfs.

Now, it's true these flats are close to Newquay's beaches, bars and restaurants. They'll also be in earshot of the stag nights and hen parties for which the town is infamous. I wonder just how many surfers will be holed up in these pods in a year's time ?

When I read that the “we are aiming at the guy in Canary Wharf who wears a suit all week, sees on the net that the surf is up on a Thursday, books his flight and comes down for the weekend” I'm sure they will have no problem selling them.

Despite the upbeat Times report on the development, I'll be thinking of the local first time buyer still searching for a home long after the suit has moved on.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Lifeguard Bummer

We've all met one like this though. Warning, strong bladder control needed.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Lifeguard's Summer

So much for the myth about blokes not being able to multi-task. One of our Lifeguards at Perranporth manages to juggle a teaching career around his work for the RNLI and has a right old flair for making movie shorts to boot. With his penchant for girls and guns it's fair to say there's a touch of the Tarantinos about him. While he was out on his rescue board, I raided his locker and got my paws on one of his clips.

And talking of kit and raiding lockers, some wacko ran a smash and grab operation on the lockup where the Patrol vehicle is garaged, nabbed it and drove off. Fortunately, it turned up yesterday in Marazion. What was that all about?

More on Lifeguard kit here. Saving lives costs money. You know where this link is going...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

There Be Pirates!

I’ll wager that the spirit in a surfer’s body would be something less without a shot of pirate blood. That the word for pirate is derived from the ancient Greek phrase that implies “finding luck on the water” is proof, if proof were needed, of the bond.

A bit of swash and buckle always ticks the boxes when a company or venture wants to sell that edgy, dangerous feel. In Kernow we’ve got Pirate FM on the radio and Cornish Pirates on the rugby field.

And rather bizarrely, the stereotypical pirate speak, owes much to the accents of the West Country. It was the Dorset born actor, Robert Newton, who put the “arr!” in pirate when he stole the show as Long John Silver in the screen adaptation of Treasure Island, thereby framing the template for Pirate performances ever since.

There’s even, matey, a "Talk Like A Pirate Day” . I found myself mugging along to the “they’re so bad they’re good” chat up lines in Pirate speak that include such gems as “that’s some treasure chest you’ve got there" and “they don’t call me Long John because my head is so big”.

Now a sense of humour is unlikely to have been a job requisite for your actual Pirates of the plundering and pillaging variety. The infamous Barbary Pirates were responsible, it has been claimed, for the capture and subsequent slavery of over a million Europeans.

Take the story of how the villagers of Baltimore in Co.Cork were rounded up like cattle by Algerian Pirates. Some ended up as galley slaves, some in the harem. I'm guessing the colleens ended up in the harem and the men in the galleys.

And of course, the popular image of a Pirate has become so familiar that the eye patch could be classed as a fashion accessory. About the only upside to losing an eye is the opportunity it would give to wear one. I mean take a look at these hombres. There’s Jack O’Neill who’s built a global surf brand with the panache that any Pirate would be proud of.

And Moshe Dayan, with his womanising and rapacious military tactics suggests that Pirate blood was flowing in his veins.

Any discussion of Pirates wouldn’t be complete without a reference to one Mr. Depp who's taken the pirate and turned him into an object of desire for many young (and older, ahem) women. I noted that the “hot date” under profiles for two of our local lifeguards would involve a bit of cut and thrust with Johnny D. OK, so what’s he got that I haven’t – apart from charm, hair, wit, intelligence and a sack full of doubloons?

Now I’ve had some comments that suggest my occasional use of photos focusing on the more curvaceous elements of the female form has raised some eyebrows. By way of balance, here’s one for the ladies. He is sporting my swim trunks. It’s not Beach Bum himself, you understand. I, of course, am much better looking.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Those who can, do ...

I've had some quality water time this weekend. A stack of stuff - blog material aplenty. I could go on forever. I'm stoked. But you know what? Later, dude.

Cartoon by Dave Hobrecht

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Shinfin Frolics

Try saying that with a few pints downed! I've been around and I've seen some things ... but there's always more to dredge up that keeps the eyebrow raised. So, for your delectation and delight, let me point your browsers in the direction of "Shinfins".

Invented by Marc Lee, a Pommie who's decamped to Oz, they're designed to improve a host of swim skills and seem to have garnered pretty positive feedback from users so far. Despite the fact that fins and "regular" surfing might seem as natural a fit as a bodybuilder in a tutu, it was the very claim of Shinfins as a surf aid that caught my eagle eye.
Designed so they don't encase the foot, and hugging the shin, you can still stand up on your board - apparently. There's a rack of benefits touted for swim training, too. The bit about less strain on the Achilles tendon rang some bells as one of the Club's stalwarts is limping round with a torn tendon. Maybe an aid for sports injury treatment as training resumes?

I like a bit of bodyboarding but when you have Sasquatch feet like mine any normal fins I've tried are just so crampy. These shin fins might have more to offer spongers. Maybe Marc will send us off a trial pair that we can evaluate at the Club?

I couldn't help but think that Shinfins and the Realwiiings that I reviewed earlier should really get together. Anyone who can get me a picture of someone surfing with a set of Shinfins and Realwiiings on will get a dinner for two on me at a Newquay hotel.

Anyway, I've been working on my own fintastic design. It works a treat - honest.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sunglasses & shades for Beach Bums

Every Beach Bum needs his - or her - shades. I mean, forget all that stuff about UV protection and eyestrain, how else can you hide those bloodshot eyes from the night before, or stare longer at the thong than would otherwise be decent?

Some words of advice - buy cheap & buy polarized. I long ago gave up shelling out buckets of cash for Oakley's and other trendy brands that scratch if you breathe on them. I've been happy with my Panama Jack's from the pharmacy in Perranporth at a fraction of the cost. Don't waste the dosh on anything that isn't polarized though. And if it's in a cabinet that's locked - beware. This is style over substance with a price tag to match.

I bought a pair of bug-eyed shades on Saturday. Twenty five quid or thereabouts. I was very fussy about the polarized lenses. The guy at the checkout looked at me and asked "Are you a Lifeguard or something ... ?" Credibility rising here, I thought - then the sucker punch "...or a used care salesman - you can see the scratches with these mate, right?"

(PS: OK, for those of you determined to spend more than you need to, Wavelength magazine have an Eyewear guide here)