Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Great Stoke From Little Acorns Grow

Whilst "eco-friendly" surfboards (I'm referring to the variants that use alternative foam and resin formulations) have been on the radar here for many moons, they haven't really gotten close to being mainstream - yet. Perceived price, cheap pop-outs from Chinatown and performance issues may have stalled acceptance but actually finding board shops that will sell you something greener is rather hit and miss.

lab_image_mark_piran So hats, socks and anything else you fancy taking off to Mark Thorn and the boys from Piran Surf in Perranporth who've been working hard to showcase their "Piran Acorn EcoBoards." Using soya-based foams and resin made from linseed oil - all sourced locally from Cornish suppliers - it's a step in the right direction. Judging by the number of these boards I've spotted - encouragingly in the paws of fresh faced groms -they're selling well. To reinforce the environmental message, each board comes with an acorn to plant, nurture and grow into a tree all ready for some hugging - sweet.

For a different take on this - there's always recycling. Quick cut to last night. Beach Bum's sitting in a Surf Lifesaving Club meeting with a rack of dinged and damp Rescue Boards behind him drying out, awaiting repairs. Your Rescue Board's a bit of a beastie - there's a lot of foam in there - there needs to be, of course. Where do old Rescue Boards go when they're past repair, I wondered? They go to Burt, of course. Seriously, this clip is one to file under "L" for legendary.

"With the help of an eco-warrior and a legendary surfboard shaper, professional surfer Jake Boex will attempt to recycle a battered old 'surf rescue board' into a modern high performance surfboard using only only ecologically sound materials, resulting in the world's first ever environmentally friendly surfboard, 'The Recycler'"

When Burt tells us that "styrene actually kills brain cells so it's like serious alcohol abuse" I couldn't help but wonder if he was talking from experience. No matter, Burt is the dude of dudes!

If you watched all that, you'll have caught the bit about using nettles, smoked turmeric and paprika as natural colourants for the spray job. Sounds good enough to eat. One curried surfboard please. That would be the ultimate recycling, eh? Maybe next time Laird Hamilton bites into a surfboard he can swallow and shit it out later. If that sounds far-fetched ... read this and wonder.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How To Keep Your Dog Safe While Surfing

I thought this was going to be a series of tips about leaving a bowl of water out for the mutt or keeping the windows down on a sunny day or some such guff but no, they're talking about dogs that surf. An obviously bonkers bloke called Bruce Hooker (fnarr, fnarr) takes us through a series of tips and handy hints picked up after months of subjecting his doggie dude to "sessions". The poor little terrier appears to have dodged death from hypothermia, drowning and "manic shortboarders". And I thought it was cats that had nine lives. I expect calls to the RSPCA to peak sometime tomorrow. Enjoy the canine capers - it's a mad, mad world.

Not convinced? Check out the Loews Coronado Surf Dog contest if further proof were needed. No more doggie videos (that involve dogs) after this one - promise.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Astral Weekend

Here's one for my beautiful, long suffering, sweet thing of a Sea Nymph who deserved the last few days in the chill zone so much more than me.

And I will stroll the merry way
And jump the hedges first
And I will drink the clear
Clean water for to quench my thirst
And I shall watch the ferry-boats
And they'll get high
On a bluer ocean
Against tomorrow's sky
And I will never grow so old again
And I will walk and talk
In gardens all wet with rain
Oh sweet thing, sweet thing
My, my, my, my, my sweet thing

(Thanks, Van)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ice Cold With Alex & Heating Steamers

Photo: William Healy Strömgren
I confess to some satisfaction in reading of Alex Wade 's suffering as he ventured into the cold, cruel Cornish sea for a session that left him with nothing but an ice head and regrets that he hadn't pulled on his hoodie/twat/baby cap before paddling out. I'm not a masochist - but I am a cold water woose who wears his Snugg winter wetsuit well into the summer months - so there's something warming about someone else shivering - if that make sense.

Still, let's count our blessings - we could could be possessed of the wave lust and live where (hard though it might be to fathom) the seas are even colder. Take this chap above. It's a subject for another day but the Swedish surfing scene hammers out some die hard dudes like this who put our whingeing into perspective... I was wondering about that
Rip Curl H-Bomb heated wetsuit that was touted as the "next great thing "some months ago. We had the hype, we had the talk, we had the YouTube viral video below. To date, however, it seems as the though the Rip Off Curly Wurly boffins have got their battery-powered fiber-optic heating coils and wires in a bit of a tangle. Perhaps hiring a test surfer called Adam Wickwire was a mistake?

Of course, there's other companies out there pushing warmer ways to reach your neoprene nirvana. Take the Hotsuit honchos from Australia. They've a strap-around-the-waist utility belt that holds re-usable, chemical heat packs. Watch out for schpeil on kidneys, boiling bags which had me drifting off to cookery class which I'm sure was unintended. Any of you Aussie / Kiwi readers ever heard of this?

Ah well, I'm sure one of these days it'll all work out and we won't have to worry about chilly willies, involuntary testicle retraction or numb nipples. Until then, you can always just pee in your wetsuit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

For Body Surfing Shredheads

The people over at VBS TV cobble together a regular series of "High Shredability" vignettes that focus on US surf related wave riders. Today's offering is a feature on Mike Stewart who seems like an "all round nice guy" (why craft a description when a cliche will do?). There's better footage of him sponging than body surfing but his mates think he's the man. Enjoy the end comments by one of them who muses in a slightly stoned fashion that had me thinking "Hansel & Zoolander". As honorary Beach Bum Hansel would say, "you is talking loco and I like it!"

If you're over here in Yurp (as mad dog Bush would say) the body surfing cognoscenti gravitate to Hossegor each year for the Trophée Willy Côte that's organised by our friends at the Hossegor Sauvetage Côtier Surf Lifesaving Club. Competition posters almost as eye catching as the action.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Surf Severn Surftwisted - It's A Bore

Who says rivers are for canoes? When you start out looking for one thing on the interweeb you often end up finding another...

Actually, I was looking for cheap T shirts that I could use to wipe the condensation from the windows of my passion wagon and somebody whispered Surftwisted. I like my T's slim and fitted so if they squeeze my torso the way this man's head's been shrink wrapped in neoprene - I'll be satisfied.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Riding With Your Heart In Your Mouth

The picture on the left is of a Blue MEANIE - cartoon character from Yellow Submarine. The picture on the right is of a Mr. Al MENNIE - big-wave surfer.

"His genuine love of, and performances in, big-wave surfing has seen his acceptance as a contender into the 2007/2008 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, and as a nominee for selection into the Quiksilver Big Wave In Memory of Eddie Aikau event at Waimea Bay, Hawaii. He is one of only two European surfers to have ever achieved these prestigious accolades."

I think it's only fair then that we get the bloke's name right. I've lost count of the number of blogs and websites reporting on last December's
big wave madness off the Irish coast that managed to foist a new, albeit subtly corrupted surname on "big Al". As is his modest way, when I pointed this out to Al the other day, he merely chuckled - then swore revenge. I'm kidding of course.

In any case, I'll wager that we'll be hearing more about his exploits and they'll get the name right soon. Keep up to date with Norn Irn's ballsiest waverider at his spanking new website

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Coming To A Beach Near You...

...just add chemicals and oil, a medley of sea life carcass - preferably flesh that's had a chance to rot in some discarded fishing nets, throw in a good on-shore breeze and you too could be having this much fun.

A bit late to refer to New Year resolutions perhaps, but if you're going to be spending time in the sea in 2008 - for whatever reason - then why not head over to
Surfers Against Sewage and sign up?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

REEF = Surf Sexploitation?

It was the video above that did it for me. It had me wondering if Kevin Flanagan, the VP of marketing for REEF would want his daughter's thong-strapped ass up there promoting all their tacky products. Now I've no idea if Kev has a daughter, wife or girlfriend - presumably he's had a mother unless he's been hatched from sort of weird corporate cloning factory (less unlikely as the years roll by) - but you get my drift.

Excuse me if I get my conker out (translation - "it's an old chestnut") - but sex sells and boy does REEF exploit this fact. Take a look at their site and check out the REEF girls, why don't ya? Why they bother to name the girls is beyond me. Whether it's Karissa, Vanessa or Eva each girl (all white I notice) is posed so she faces away from the camera and we are "forced" to focus on their backsides. OK, so it's not really a struggle to look at those shapely behinds. In fact this Beach Bum appreciates a derrière extrodinaire as much as the next bloke - if not more so. But why give them names at all? Surely Ass 1, Ass 2, Ass 3 would work just as well. And there's the rub.

Personally, I've given up trying to delineate the exact point where my moral compass switches from N for "naughty but nice" to S for sexploitation but REEF's antics are firmly pointing S for sucks.

Karina "Keeping It Sexy"

Then on to Karina Petroni, the ASP surfer that sounds like an Italian beer. I'll quote the Observer review of "Why you'll love sport in 2008". They write of Karina - "another month, another blonde surfer chick. But 5ft 11in Karina Petroni has more going for her than her looks." Oh yes? Then Karen is purportedly quoted as saying, " I've never had a boyfriend - why have one when you can have 10 in every country?" I chuckled then on reading her top heavy photofied website where the biography section reassures us that "Karina sets a high standard and fine example for other young hopefuls who want to surf competitively. With her strong convictions, Karina is devoted to her family and Christian upbringing."

But picking holes in Karina's site is not the point. In fact, she's not only an accomplished surfer but she's obviously a caring, loving daughter who took time out from surfing to look after her Dad when he suffered a life-threatening aneurysm. What struck me is the way that she's been roped, sold and branded like a top shelf bimbo. I'm sure she doesn't see it that way. But she's out there promoting VANS - another brand owned by, you guessed it, VF Corporation who also own our ass fixated friends at REEF. Still, at least we get to see her face ... progress of a sort, eh?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Pro Surfing Prozac .. Or The Big Sleep

I've had trouble sleeping for the last few nights - something of a first for this Beach Bum. Personally, I put this this down to lack of alcohol - either that or a guilty conscience. Anyway, this temporary insomnia is getting on my goat so I've resorted to some of those tricks that are supposed to help you slip off to slumberland without the need for medication. You know the sort of thing - counting three-legged sheep jumping over hedges, counting up to a thousand backwards and so forth. The trick, I'm told, is to focus on something really boring. I think I'll sleep like the proverbial log tonight then. I stumbled across the World Professional Surfers site. Here you can chart Kelly Slater's competitions stats and note his win statistics to two decimal places. Positively riveting - but only in the sense of having had a rivet gun pop something hard into your head. If only pro surfing was more like this...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy Nude Year & New Year Revolutions

A gentleman who calls himself "BlowUp" took the time this New Year's Eve to pen a comment defending surf mats on a post I'd made way back last year. He was responding to a jibe from someone who seemed to think that the only way to ride waves was on a rigid surfboard. "BlowUp's" defence was both eloquent and impassioned. Not only that, but he topped of his steam blowing retort with a quote from Dylan which I'll get to in a minute.

"BlowUp's" comments made me realise that I didn't want to let the first day of a New Year pass without acknowledging the people that drop by this blog from time to time. Now sure, there's some that end up here 'cause they've Googled Nude Dudes. They're welcome of course - come one, come all - but there's a growing band of regulars that check in often enough to suggest they're getting something from the content here. What exactly, I really can't begin to fathom - but you know who you are and I'm raising a glass as I type. I doubt I'd spend the time here if I didn't have a readership. Back to "BlowUp" and his quote:

"Each of us has his own special gifts
And you know this was meant to be true,
But please don't underestimate me
and I won't underestimate you."

That'll do for my resolution this year.