Thursday, February 28, 2008

Surf Nazi? Not This Beach Bum...

The Nazis. What can you say about those boyos that hasn't been said before? Sure I liked the uniforms too - that heady mix of black and skulls and eagles. Symbols coveted by empires, corporations, governments and heavy metal heads everywhere. Many a night I'd hunker under the covers as a child, torch in hand, leafing through von Senger und Etterlin's definitive "German Tanks of World War II: The Complete Illustrated History of German Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1926-1945." In hardcover - sad, but true.

But relax readers, I'd have made a terrible Nazi. A nebbische Nazi - there's a curious juxtapoisition for you. Forget the obvious objections to the marching, murderous madness of National Socialism. It's just that when a joke starts with an Irishman, a Scotsman and an Englishman in a room, I'll gravitate to the one that's Jewish. At the risk of sounding like I'm advocating positive discrimination (or worse) I've never met a boring Jew.

lab_image_surfrabbi Mind you. I've never met a surfing Rabbi but - as if to prove a point - I found myself at Rabbi Nachum "Shifty" Shifren's site this evening. "A rebellious teen who barely acknowledged his spiritual roots...he finds God not in the synagogue, but in the majesty of Jewish mysticism and the vast power of the ocean."

Well, "blah, blah, blah" I hear you say - but I was struck by one of the dudes on the video below talking about the program that the Rabbi runs for "Inner City" youth. "If you're out on the waves, you're not worried about shooting somebody." If the fabulously bearded Rabbi is passing on his stoke to guys like this, then as Dave Allen used to say, "may your God go with you".

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sunlight Strumming Waves


The title of this post I plundered from a poem of war. The verses took me back to days of fitful sleep on foreign beaches as helicopters choppered dead and wounded overhead.

Here's a post-surf shot from Sunday last - a very different beach in time and place. It was cold but it was lovely. The Nipper's toes turned blue, then red. They squawked and shivered like plucked fowl. I caught a few and threw away a lot more. Isn't it great to batter a sword into a ploughshare once in a while?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yakuza Bums Threaten Free Surfer

lab_image_yakuza_bums

Here's three Yakuza bums - (UK and US meanings of the word "bum" applying simultaneously in this instance). They go in for tattoos apparently. If reports earlier this month were to be believed, they were also going out to nobble Dave (Rasta) Rastovich, the free-surfing, anti-whaling, dolphin defending and all-round hyperactive activist behind Surfers for Cetaceans (great cause - crap name).

lab_image_rasta Along with organisations like Sea Shepherd and Save Japan's Dolphins Campaign, Rasta and his crew have thrown a spotlight on some of Japan's traditional barbaric fishing practices. Whilst this has undoubtedly aggravated some in the Japanese fishing villages concerned, the Japanese government and those who like a bit of whale or dolphin in their Bento Box, I was surprised to hear that the "Japanese Mafia" were getting agitated about the issue too. Still, coming from a mob who spend their time in prison "pearling" - inserting a pearl under the skin of the penis for every year in the clanger - there's no telling what could get under their (fore)skin.

Fast forward a few days and the headlines change. Now our man Rasta is complaining about being "misquoted". He was talking about fishing industry "thugs" - not the dudes in shades and black suits with a samurai sword down the leg of their trousers. Which only goes to prove that you should never let the facts get in the way of a good headline.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

More Tacky Surferabilia

lab_image_achooTo paraphrase the late, great Marvin Gaye, "there ain't no mountain high enough, no river wide enough" - in fact, there's no natural or unnatural obstacle that you can put in the way of this Beach Bum that will prevent him from bringing you the choice cuts of kitsch. (See also here and here).

Having suffered from my own share of coughs and sneezes this winter, I was mightily relieved to come across this big wave tissue dispenser on one of my regular trawls down the back alleys of the interweeb. Hmm - might have worded that last sentence differently...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

DIY Surfboard Kits From Grain & Magicseaweed

lab_image_grainboard

No, it's not the wing of an outsized model aircraft - it's a Grain Surfboard in assembly. Produced in Maine from a company with a background in boat-building, you can now buy these wooden boards in kit form from Magicseaweed - their new (and exclusive?) European distributor.

lab_image_grainkit_300 Using white & red Cedar from sustainable suppliers you buy a kit that includes: "board frame, cedar planks and rail strips, fin box, leash plug, glue, epoxy, fiberglass (sic), rubber gloves and more. Every step of this process has been thought through and is detailed in our 40 page instruction manual. Each board takes approximately 60 hours to build, but will be around for a lifetime of waves."

This will, no doubt, appeal to the AIRFIX and Meccano heads amongst us. If, like me, you've struggled to put a shelf up straight you may be daunted at the prospect. In the USA you can buy completed boards, albeit at a hefty surcharge, but it's not clear from the Magicseaweed site that this is an option yet in Yurp.

lab_image_grain_rootThese are beautiful looking boards and any company pushing greener, cleaner options deserves some stoke. Shame though that the price policy for Europe makes for uncomfortable reading.

Take the "Root" Longboard (pictured left) kit retailing for $670 in the USA. Once you've added shipment costs & taxes, distributor's margins and so forth you'll have to pay £530 in the UK for the same board - which at the current exchange rate works out at a whopping $1032. There are additional shipping charges ranging from £30 - £100 depending on where you live in Europe. Perhaps as the folks from Grain find suitable wood sources here the price differential will fall. Anybody reading this ridden one? Do let us know.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Would You Ban This Ad?

I love censorship. Apparently, this was one of New Zealand's favourite ads until (or maybe because) - it was pulled from the air by the NZ Advertising Standards Authority. They felt that it gave out the "wrong message" to underage drivers. Having lived in a town where two nine year olds were caught joyriding - one pumping the pedals, the other driving using a monkey wrench on a wheel-less steering column - I don't think it was ads like this that put the idea in their heads. Mind you, I wouldn't swap my Land Rover for a fleet of Hyundai's. And these days,girlies aren't content to sit on the beach watching their dudes shred, right? What do you call a grom in Pampers anyway?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Atomic Surf Wax - It's A Bomb?

lab_image_atomic_waxThe DayGlo colours of the new Atomic Surf Wax from Australia certainly caught my eye."With the surf industry making advances in technology at such a rapid pace, and the demographic of surfers now encompassing such a diverse spectrum of races, ages and genders, it seemed timely to release the product to a savvy and informed market" . Such sweet talk, eh? Their site lists stockists in Australia but nowhere else to date.

We have been warned - we must "prepare to see the Atomic brand wherever surfers surf around the world" (except possibly Japan). If this means "coming to a shop near you" it had me wonder.

It's de rigueur to suffer constipation when your carbon conscience prevents you from eating the prunes you would have bought - but for the fact that they've been shipped to you twice round the world on a jumbo jet, packaged, re-packaged, de-frosted and individually canned by 3 year olds in Nepal that were videoed simultaneously whittling toothpicks from used matches. And quite right too.

So do we really need another surf wax? I've emailed the Atomic Surf Wax boyos to ask them more about their formulation - I didn't spot any green credentials on their site - but as most waxes are paraffin derived - in other words by-products from oil refineries - shouldn't we get more excited about products that are greener than your average block of wax? I confess to being on a slippery not sticky learning curve here since I've only ever used synthetic waxes but I'd love to hear good things about beeswax and traction from more enlightened dudes.

I've given myself a guilt trip now - there's no excuse - you don't have to try hard to find alternatives. In Cornwall alone I tracked down Hills Organic Surf Wax and Timeless Organic Wax. In the USA Matunas is one of the bigger brands and there's Kiwi folks that swear by Northern Lights. Time for a change I guess - though I'll be sticking with s-e-x-wax the blog, if not the block.

lab_image_hillssurfwax

Friday, February 01, 2008

S-E-X-WAX Unsuitable For Minors

That's young people I'm referring to - not the pasty munching, tin mining variation we used to have in Kernow. It's Friday and I like to put less than zero brain power into posts after 8pm - especially with a glass of vino in my hand and Sea Nymph slaving at the cooker. I'm also recovering from a swim training session where our new coach (a great scowling, brute of a man referred to as "Bones" - presumably because he wears his victim's flesh down to them) had us do the butterfly in one of the tortures exercises he prescribes.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I have never attempted this unnatural stroke before. And talking of strokes, I thought I'd had one today when my brain said "reach up to that shelf and grab that glass" - and my arm barely moved. "Oh the pain, the pain!", as Dr Zachary Smith used to say. Anyway, I inserted the url of s-e-x-wax.com into this on-line Blog Rater and was relieved to see that it came back rated thus:

Apparently, the word ass appears 5 times, sex 4 times, hell thrice, sexy twice and cocaine once. Feck, girls, arse, drink - I'm on a roll.