Friday, August 31, 2007

Quackers: 30,000 Ducks Jump Ship

I'm sure by now you've all heard about the plastic ducks that are taking an extended cruise around the world's oceans since going AWOL off a ship that was heading from Hong Kong to the US. There seems to be a reward out for these "Friendly Floatees", as they are known, the scallywags.

I note also that "for the past 15 years Curtis Ebbesmeyer has been tracking nearly 30,000 plastic bath toys that were released into the Pacific Ocean when a container was washed off a cargo ship".

Curtis, you really need to get out more. This one's for you.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ultimate Wild Water & Facing Fear

It was actually the Snugg logo on the wetsuits that had me pause my channel hopping the other night. As regular readers will know, for this Beach Bum, when you absolutely, positively have to be in the waves, only a Snugg westusit will do.

A rather tearful girl was being helped out of some well blown but not particularly wild surf by a strong jawed comforting type. What was it all about? Well the BBC have a clip up here from their "Ultimate Wild Water" show that will explain all.

I was musing on some of the vitriolic comments that accompanied the clip and the relativity of facing fear, a concept that may have passed over the helium heads of some of those spouting off. For example, I know of one superb triathlete who had to overcome a fear of cycling before he could go on to do his thing. Now spiders possibly, small spaces definitely - but riding a bike? But the point, of course, is that fear feeds on the irrational. And by overcoming what we are afraid of, no matter how trifling it may appear to others, defines at least in part what being brave is all about.

Now, talking of fear, I've my eye on this "Ironman" suit. If Sea Nymph finds out I'm getting measured up, I'm tatey-bread.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Beach Logs Can Kill

This has nothing to do with sewage on the beach (fnarr, fnarr). I used to laugh at philatelists - "ha, ha" - just like that. But I've been smitten with a severe dose of philatelitis and now I'm fighting off the urge to collect things too. Specifically beach signage. I know, it's sad - but when you come across a sign like this, it must be worth recording?

If you think I'm joking - and please turn away if you are of a squeamish nature - take a look at this.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Back to School with Operation Beach Clean...

As school holidays race on, my Nippers are in danger of reverting into something feral and unwashed. Sea Nymph pointed this out to me in gentle but accusatory tones the other night as we dragged them off the beach. I prefer to think of it as "getting back to nature" but even I can accept that my alternative perspective can have a limit. Perhaps this point is reached when little boys - never overly-concerned with aiming at, or flushing toilets in the first place - respond to remonstration with the mantra, "But Dad! If it's yellow let it mellow, it it's brown flush it down!".

And on that lavatorial link, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are encouraging schoolkids to be more aware of the quality of their water by releasing a free online educational resource featuring two "Ecogroms" called Sandy Bottom and Crystal Clear (pictured above). Whilst aimed at people working in the UK education younger groms anywhere might like to click through the cartoons and storyboards - my lot did!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Harry Daily, Newquay Nights

If the young Dylan had journeyed out of California instead of the minelands of the bleak Midwest, with a surfboard under his arm instead of a harmonica in his back pocket, I fancied he might have looked something like the fellow I bumped into in Newquay the other night.

Here's an artist to watch out for with as many nicknames as he has hats. Underneath the splendiferous forest of face fuzz, you'll find the fine painter that is Harry Daily, a.k.a "Harry The Hat" or "Sketch Holiday".

In Newquay for a few days, I spotted him outside a whiffy chippy with an expression on his face that suggested Scotty had punched in the wrong coordinates on the transporter. Understandable perhaps, as the Incredible Hulk, Batman, and a dozen men in identical red berets strolled past, wolf-whistling at the bevy of long legged young things in their cloned micro skirts and cleavage competing for the Queen of Tarts.

Amongst all this stag(gering) and hen-night high jinks, he looked strikingly out of time and place - so much so in fact, that I was tempted to snap a pic before I'd figured who he was.

Well, obviously I got the shot, but after I bumped into the same bloke in the Driftwood Gallery signing copies of the new Switch-foot book (for which he's produced the cover art). A publication out of Australia, it's a veritable arts-fest of surf-related goodness. "Written for a more mature ‘gentleman of the surf,’ Switch-foot also encourages young surfers/artists who are interested in more than competitive surfing."

Now I have a penchant for pseudonyms myself, but Harry Daily can surf, dance, skate and most importantly of all, draws up a beach or surf-scape with the gift that all great artists have - the ability to see life from an angle most of us will never reach. Go buy before you can't afford.

The Search For The Surf Coasters

After mentioning here that I wanted to check out the Surf Coasters, getting hold of their music (legitimately) has been harder than surfing the Dead Sea. This is a shame so I'll have to make do with trawling through You Tube for the time being. Here they are in all their twanging magnificence re-hashing Misirlou, the track re-popularised by Pulp Fiction. If anyone can let me know where I can get a hold of their CD's in the UK (I'm allergic to EBay) I'll be mighty grateful.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rocking With Surfer Bob

As earlier evidenced, I have a predilection for kitsch - the tackier the better. So when I spotted old Surfer Bob here on hols, I was fumbling for the coins faster than a sucker for the slot machines in Vegas. Maybe deep down I figured that if he was "surfing the dashboard with realistic rocking motion" he'd act as a kind of wave gathering totem. It was not to be. Perhaps I hadn't chanted Bob's theme song (helpfully printed on the packaging) with quite the dignity the wave Gods demanded.

"If there's a wave he can ride it, If there's a beach he can find it Surfer Bob, Surfer Bob.
He can hang ten and then he'll do it again, Surfer Bob, Surfer Bob. He's a cool dude with a good attitude, Surfer Bob, Surfer Bob.
Bob's on the job! (repeat)"

Surfer Bob is made in China. Perhaps I shouldn't have licked the paint.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beach Bum Back To Base

I'm still unpacking from the trip to Ireland - both from the car and from the beaten up old trunk that is my head. No doubt bits and pieces will tumble out onto the blog over the next few weeks. It was good to be back on the 'oul turf spending time on uncrowded beaches framed by mountains under big sky. Chill zone central.

As for surf, well, as Blackadder might have said to Baldric, "It was as flat as the flattest foot of the most flat footed platypus this side of the fens". But some good spots were recce'd for next time, and we had scenery like this to soak in.

Did it mean less water time or craic? Not one jot. That's what snorkel and fins are for. There was body-boarding wavelets with Nippers aplenty, fossil fish hewn from huge rocks on the shore, jelly fish, dolphins and sea monsters - all before Guinness, crab sandwiches and whiskey in the jar-o.

OK, the sea monster bit is an exaggeration - more of a wriggly swimming worm (see the clip). I'm sure someone out there has a name for it. Do tell.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bilbo, Bushmills and Gone...

With seven wetsuits, six rash vests, several blocks of SEX WAX, two bodyboards, one surf board, some fins, a beach tent, two masks and one snorkel on the roof of the Land Rover, I'd like to think that tomorrow's journey up through Wales and across to Ireland qualifies as a Surfari.

I was accused of taking coals to Newcastle, when found secreting several cans of Guinness and a half bottle of Bushmills single malt into the back of the Land Rover. Sea Nymph she did gape and gasp. But you have to be prepared. It wouldn't do to arrive in the far South West of Kerry and find the shops shut or the pub too far away to walk to.

My mate Bilbo is coming along for the ride. At nearly thirty, I doubt he's ever crossed the Tamar. There's a story there but that's for another day - I gotta finish packing - I really shouldn't be here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

National Nippers Championships 2007

Summer came back to Cornwall and the youngest members of Surf Lifesaving Clubs from all around GB gathered with their tribes, tents and pennants on Portreath Beach. As usual, the squad from Perran did us proud!

As a backdrop to all of this, Surf Lifesaving in the UK is bidding for Rescue 2010 - the chance to host the World Lifesaving Championships in Cornwall in 2010. This is, simply put, a "big deal" for all the reasons you can read about here. One of the big-wigs on the selection panel was at the Nippers Champs at the weekend checking out the scene. If he has eyes in his head, then the effort, skills and enthusiasm of all of the participants can only have enhanced our chances of bagging the bid!

I've loaded up a stack of pics that any club members or folks involved can access by emailing me.

Last year there was a prize (well, an honourable mention) for the headgear of the weekend. This year, there was one for the "hair of the event" and it goes to this blond Billy Connolly dude from (I think) Croyde - check out those shades, man!

The wonderful beach front tuck shop that has been miraculously and spectacularly preserved in some sort of time warp from 1952 made some wonderful sugary tea that after 4 hours of water cover went down a treat. Handsome!