Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hossegor + Surfboats = Extreme Action

Certain living legends from Perran's Surf Lifesaving Club are already in Hossegor, France getting ready to rumble at the first European Surfboat Championship which runs from the 1st – 4th November. Given that in Cornwall, the ground is sodden, the sky is grey and I'm going to have the light the fire tonight, some time spent on Hossegor is as tempting proposition as I can imagine - even if it means having to inject yourself with crazy potion (see video) and climb into one of those surfboats. Good luck you "boaties"!

(Looks like this Surfboat shenanigans is catching on - so here's more surfboat stuff from earlier
here and here.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is This The Best Beach In America?

This self styled Beach Bum is hardly in the position to take the mickey out of someone called "Dr. Beach", but anyone with a website that pictures themselves holding up a stethoscope to a conch must have a sense of humour and consequently constitutes a valid target. The Mel Brooks look-a-like is one Dr.Stephen Leatherman who conducts an "exhaustive annual study of America's beaches" that involves analysing fifty criteria such as sand colour, water condition and lifeguard cover that so he can come up with a "Top 10" rating. Not a bad way to make a few bob, I suppose.

This year, according to the good Doctor, Ocracoke Island Beach came in at number one - the first time the accolade has gone to a beach outside of Florida or Hawaii. This caught my beady eye for several reasons. The island is the furthest flung member of a string of barrier islands that make up the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina. I'll just say "Queen of The Surf Pirates" and leave it like that. Secondly, I've waxed on about my appreciation of piratical tendencies before, so to discover that Ocracoke was the stomping ground of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard was positively riveting. Add the fact that back in Blackbeard's day the locals spoke with a Cornish patois which - perhaps somewhat dubiously -is claimed to resonate in the local accent today, and I was Google Earthing the place and working out if it was feasible to get there for half term.

Rating a beach is a bit like giving a woman marks out of ten for her looks but I'll cut Dr. Leatherman some slack since I suspect his Dr.Beach schtick is more about promoting the "Healthy Beaches" campaign than awarding prizes. Anyway, everyone knows the best beach is actually...well, that'd be telling - but feel free to share.
(PS Sea Nymph scores a 10)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beach Bum Bookworm

If I raved on here about all the other stuff, it wouldn't be a Beach Bum's blog, it would be...well, messy. So with discipline and devotion, I have focused on the way of the beach, never deviating from the sandy path or the waves. This is good but in truth I struggle from time to time.

Was it sushi and
sashimi that led me to his door? Like I said way back, I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so. My fascination with Nippon had me soaking up the work of Haruki Murakami back when asking for his books had store hands stare like slates. I mention this so you too can veer off the Booker bores and get your paws on literature that reads like a trip.

"Surfing's a more profound kind of sport than it looks. When you surf you learn not to fight the power of nature, even if it gets violent"; Sada -
Kafka on the Shore. That was easy. Now here's what's on the bookshelf at the shack right now...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nude Dudes Surfer Calendar

I was gonna say "here's one for the chicks" - but then I'd be accused of sexual stereotyping. The Surfs Up Surf school just up the road at Polzeath are getting ever more creative in their ploys to raise funds for their Boardriders Club - a non-profit making initiative that's designed to help local kids enjoy the ocean. All in a worthy cause then - so head on over to the Orca Surf shop and make your purchase.

If you can't wait until the postman delivers (fnarr, fnarr) the calendar to see the other buffed bodies on display, then check out the snapshots here. In the meantime, here's Mr. January. The frontispiece on the calendar announces "Let the mind unshackle, set it free". Looks like Mr.Jan hasn't quite unshackled yet - phew!

WARNING! Google "Nude Dudes" at your peril - as I discovered to my cost

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ROXY Parfums - Scent For A Woman?

This Beach Bum likes to think that the combination of my natural pheromones and male musk are all the olfactory adornment needed. Sea Nymph does not entirely subscribe to this view so I have been known to splash on the Old Spice, or a spritz of the Blue Stratos for special occasions.

As you can tell, I'm pretty sophisticated when it comes to the subtleties of scent - comes from all that time on the beach surrounded by beautiful women. No surprise then that when ROXY - the brand that "likes to provide the sporty woman with fresh styles for her inspired lifestyle" -launched their first fragrance last month they selected this Beach Bum to receive a sampling of their pretty-in-pink perfumed products to pass on to Sea Nymph and some female friends.

According to the French perfumer that worked on the fragrance, when you marry Frangipani and Ylang it delivers "salted amber harmony" that's evocative of the sea. The
ROXY fragrance blog will tell you more than you'll ever need to know about Ylang. I'm still struggling to pronounce it.

The eau de toilette went straight to Sea Nymph for evaluation - well, straight to her wrist for that curious ritual that women do with perfumes that's honed from year's of sniff tests. The verdict? "Breezy, floral, fun" - straight into the handbag. Job done, ROXY.

Next up and pictured left, Emma, a former Miss Cornwall, musician and hypnotherapist who volunteered to try the shower gel. Loved the packaging, loved the look but thought the smell took her to "Barbie's beach house" rather than some exotic palm fringed isle as hoped. Still, it did get her clean.

Caitlin, the last and youngest of the volunteers had only to be shown the box of body lotion for a paroxysm of pleasure to pass across her face. Forget about the pearl extract -there's ROXY power for you!

The ROXY brand sponsors the "
Keep A Breast" operation fighting against breast cancer which is one of the reasons this post is here. No animals were tested in the production of this piece though I did eat some salt beef sandwiches the other day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"Clubbie Classic" Surf Contest

From a few weeks ago, as Summer finally slipped away and Autumn rustled in. Perranporth Surf Lifesaving Club members make the best of the surf for the annual "Clubbie Classic" - everyone's a winner! They came, they saw and they surfed.

Beach Fashion

As seen on xxxxxxxxxxx beach (you can fill in the x's).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cornwall Air Ambulance - It's A Scandal

There must be scores of surfers, bodyboarders, swimmers and other ocean users who owe their life to the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust. Be it longboard meeting head, cramp out the back in heavy surf, asthma attack, rip currents - there's as many opportunities for a day's surf to go badly wrong as right.

Assuming you do get back to shore and urgent medical treatment is required, anyone fading fast might as well bow out early if they were to struggle in a conventional ambulance to the nearest A&E unit along the fatty arteries that are the minor roads in Kernow. And that's assuming you're near a road to start with - the beaches, clifftops and moorlands of this county are often inaccessible by road. Clearly the service that the Air Ambulance provides is both invaluable and essential.

So, guess what? In this United Kwangdom where the current lot in No.10 like to boast about all that investment in the NHS - this service that has saved the lives of thousands depends on charity not governmental funding. To ensure that the aircraft can fly ten hours a day, every day this year will cost £1,250,000. What a canny lot we have who run a country where they can hive off tax for wars that no-one wants and have the plebs stump up for services that keeps them happy.

So whether Flash Gordon calls an election sooner or later, it won't be long before the politicians come a-crawling, creeping for your vote. Make your views known so that maybe next time, when someone up in Westminster asks what's up with funding air ambulance services, the Secretary of Health comment that "there are no plans to review the funding..." will be less likely to stay as a
footnote in Hansard and more likely to make the news.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rescue 2010 Lifesaving World Championships Coming To Cornwall

I haven't posted anything here for a few days - mainly because I temporarily lost the power to move my arms and legs and all associated appendages without groaning. This was the result of a moment of madness that had me signing up for our Surf Lifesaving Club's winter swim training sessions. I found myself floundering up and down the lanes of Waterworld in the company of men and women that I'm beginning to suspect are some hybrid aquatic spawn with gills cleverly disguised to look like ears.

I digress... the big news for those interested or involved in Surf Lifesaving was the announcement at the beginning of the week that the UK secured the bid to host the Rescue 2010 Lifesaving World Championships. This will be held in Cornwall and will involve building an Olympic sized outdoor swimming pool adjacent to Fistral beach.

Local businesses are rubbing their hands together like Scrooge on speed, politicians who wouldn't know a Rescue Tube from a tyre inner have been congratulating everybody - mainly themselves - on bagging the bid. Meanwhile somebody is going to have to figure out the logistics of hosting an event that will involve more than 6000 competitors from 55 countries competing in events ranging from flags, ski paddle races, Iron man to surf boat races. It is easy to be glib, as is my way, but "Hosting Rescue 2010 really matters – here the sea, safety and service matter more than gold medals and we want the opportunity to prove that."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

God, sharks and one armed wonders.

A couple of posts back - it won't take much figuring out - I was sorely tempted to mention "Bethany Hamilton" and "unlikely to endorse" in the same paragraph. This would have been both tasteless and infra dignitatum. If you don't know who Bethany is, you can read all about this remarkable surfer from Hawaii at her own super slick website.

Now, if a Tiger shark had snacked on my arm, I'd be looking to track the bugger down and mount it on a wall. This would involve having to drink a lot of cheap whisky and giving up shaving and finding a clapped out boat and a harpoon and cylinders of gas and a crew of disgruntled shipmates and a really good soundtrack and... I could go on. Not in the Christian spirit, perhaps.

Bethany is a Christian, however, and her faith has helped her to make some sense of the events following the shark attack. She continues to surf competitively and is involved with World Vision "a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty."

Surfing has undergone a bit of religious revival in Hawaii it would seem since the days when...the first of the Calvinistic Christian missionaries arrived from England and began to convert the Hawaiians from polytheism to the one True God, whose son was Jesus Christ. The Hawaiian chiefs resisted this new God for a time, but within a decade this new strict, moral Christian code was replacing the kapu system and the Hawaiian's sensual way of life. The Calvinists insisted that the Hawaiians wear more clothes, learn to read and write, work more and play less. Restrictions on play included surfing. People who knew Hawaii before and after accused the missionaries of ruining much of what was unique and good about Hawaii, and that included discouraging Hawaiians from surfing.*

Is that irony or enlightenment? Who cares? Hallelujah!