Thursday, June 25, 2009

Perranboardriders Presents…


Friday, June 19, 2009

Just Another Day At The Beach?


This is the "dude from Bude" - a good sport who was happy to pose for the camera even when I warned him he might appear on a dodgy blogsite like this. I was mightily impressed with his keen sense of beach fashion that's been honed to the point where he can spot a pair of boardies that will match his tattoo. I'm sure Tony Plant,of Surftwisted fame, who I had the pleasure of bumping into on the same day could have done him justice - pictorially speaking - but he's a talented photographer, surfer & artist and I’m just not in his league.

Like Bude Dude and his family, me and mine gathered last Sunday at Praa Sands for the annual "Max Hocking" Nipper's Fun Day. For the uninitiated, this is where the junior members (Nippers) from our Cornish surf lifesaving clubs compete in various "fun" events - beach sprints, ocean wades, board races, relays and so forth. You could say this is the Early Learning Centre for future lifeguards.

The Aussies refer to these kind of events as "carnivals", and not without good reason. The gaudy assortment of beach tents staked out along the strand and the multi-coloured club caps that the shoals of kids sport makes for quite an eyeful reminiscent, as I’ve said before, of a medieval joust.

The competition was conceived years ago by Max Hocking, a long-time St Agnes club member (& Methodist minister?). Fierce inter-club rivalry is set aside for the day and competitors are divided into several teams irrespective of their club loyalty and ages. This makes for a rather relaxed event. Combine this much needed sunshine and a few basking sharks for another top day on the beach.


That there's a shadow side to a day like this is not always obvious, and in truth, it's generally better that way. I mean, who’s ever wanted to be part of a "serious" fun day?

As the BBQ’s were extinguished, the tents and wetsuits packed away, I took a moment to stand with Nigel, one of the key organisers behind the event, and watch the evening sunshine silver the waves. We reflected on how fortunate our kids were to grow up here and experience the "life of the beach".

I casually remarked that this was one spot I'd never had reason or opportunity to visit. After such a great day on the beach this was clearly a serious misdemeanour, I joked (even if Praa is the ancient Cornish word meaning "hag's" or "witch's cove" which might have been an excuse). It turned out Nigel and his family hadn't been to Praa Sands over the years much either.

Back on an August Bank Holiday in 1945 Nigel’s Father, Uncle & Aunt went in for a swim on a family day out at the very same beach. The Uncle had recently survived the battles through Italy and must have relished making it “back home” in one piece. If it was a day like our day had just been the sea would have proved irresistible. The three were dragged out by a flash rip and only Nigel’s father made it back to the same shoreline upon which we now stood.

People get involved in surf lifesaving for very different motives to do very different things. If there’s any consolation in a family tragedy like that, it’s the motivation that it has given my friend to educate, encourage and pass on the life saving skills that make the beach a safer place. Like I said, just another day at the beach.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Surfing Continues To Sell Every-ting...

...even tea bags - sorry - make that "tea temples" to the muddled middle class. I think I'll buy some of this, only so that the next time I'm round at my mate's building site, I can sit down with his hob carrying, bacon butty boyos and ask if anyone fancies a cup of tung ting oolong? Ram-alang-alang, alang-alang-a-ding-dong. Spotted in St.Ives - cheaper than their website.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Powers Of Three

It's been quiet on here - I know. Don’t care. Beach Bum & Co. have been doing what we do best – sunning ourselves on beaches, swimming in oceans and avoiding anything that looks remotely like work. Yes, we've just come back from two weeks on this beach off the Catalan coast and give or take a plague of jelly fish, a visit to casualty and our Nippers locking the keys in the boot of the hire car it was a seriously chilled break. And now the sun shines in Kernow and I’m back on the beach again tonight. Does it get any better?

I positively enjoy the time out from the keyboard, the Twittering and the relentless review of the in-box and the spam folder. Well, I’ve sifted through the dross and spotted some stuff that needs checking out.

And, like Alan Partridge straining for a link, and talking of Relentless … case in point the new Powers Of Three film that charts Tom Lowe (from just down the road in St.Ives), Fergal & Mickey Smith (no relation) sizing up some bestial waves off the Irish coast. Makes me homesick and scared simultaneously. The full monty here or the edited vibe below.

You’ll need a stiff drink after watching this. Powers for three anyone?

(This was a sponsored link – but that’s OK ‘cause the film rocks and unlike our MP’s, I really, really need the money – I need a new wetsuit)