Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Is Brighton ready to rock?

Well or more generally the south coast in general. But it looks like the swell might be tempted to force its way up the English Channel and smash it's way on to Sussex shores and at a weekend too.. What are the odds?! Well 2 in 7. But you know what I mean.

So the period doesn't look to good on magicseaweed but all it needs is a little faith... Come on swell you can do it. Offshore wind blow sweet and not too strong. I need to get back in the surf.

I drove for 3 hours last night to pick up my board and grab the winter wetsuit (which I always look ridiculous in) so I can be ready for a dawn patrol on Saturday morning! God help you if you don't deliver nature... You will feel my wrath!

Here's hoping.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Surfing Sandy

Its hurricane season again. That time of year when cyclones hit the Americas and solid swell travels all over the Atlantic. It looks like a few lucky yanks on the East Coast have not only avoided Sandy but have got some pretty epic and sketchy as hell (I mean would you surf in front of a flooded electricity substation?) swell that tropical storm has brought in.

It looked worth it. That last Barrel was an 11 at least. Lets hope some of that lovely hurricane swell reaches Blighty's shores soon.

Thoughts go out to everyone taking the full front of the storm.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

London Surf Report

Pretty flat today. Offshore breeze on the south bank though. No one really out. Let's hope for a big swell soon.

Friday, 26 October 2012

At One With Nature.

As surfers we are renowned for our green credentials, apart from the emissions from our clapped out vans, and the stuff used to make the majority of surfboards, and driving and flying all over the world in search of perfect waves... But you know other than that.. I picked up litter on a beach once and I'm a member of Surfers Against Sewage. BoYeah!

Now you may feel like you are green and at one at with nature but I'm not sure how many of us will have the balls to try this this weekend...

Have fun if you are out in the waves this weekend. The East Coast looks like its going to fire!


Plastic... Fantastic!

Fake gets a bad rap these days. Hong Kong knock off watches,  TOWIE tan's and Katie Price's chest, fake seems to attract nothing but criticism. Now I could chat on about boobs as long as the next man (unless the next man was Peter Stringfellow). However, lets keep on topic. I want to stand up for fake. Fake is Great!

There is one key ingredient missing as a surfer in London and that is mother natures waves rolling on to a sun kissed beached with topless ladies wandering up and down the... I'm talking about boobs again aren't I.. anyway you get the idea. Now apart from removing half of Southern England or relocating London a couple of hundred miles west you may not think there is much we can do to get waves here in London 2012. A trip with my bro down to Newquay this summer for this years Boardmasters Festival opened my eyes.
Brothers drinking Brothers down by the main stage above Watergate Bay.
It was one of those hot summer weekends (yes it did happen this year) when everyone is at the beach but the swell isn't playing ball. We took the boards down with us, more in hope than expectation as the swell predicted for the weekend of the UKs premier surf festival was an epic 0-1ft (thankfully they managed to finish the comp on the Thursday). Even so, when we got down there the first thing we did was hit the waves as when you live in London you 'aint picky. 
Hungover and not having washed for 3 days.. Stokesy was still a great laugh.
On Sunday, after the madness of partying and drinking until the early hours for the last 2 days (I still don't remember seeing DJ Fresh or most of #Gingerlizard Ed Sheeran) was a session with Pro Surfer and all round Mr nice guy Alan Stokes thanks to a comp I'd won with Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport. With a solid 0.5ft wave rolling in to Fistral we decided it probably wouldn't be on but we scoffed down a bacon baguette and a red ambulance and sauntered over to Fistral ready to be told 'really sorry your session wouldn't be happening because of the lack of swell... nice to meet you... now fuck off.' 

But instead Stokesy and the Animal team took us on this little beauty of a fake wave...      

Despite looking like a complete hungover tit (I compared Stokesy to an invented a new surfer called Russ Swift *Facepalm*) as well as fat next to the pro surfers and skaters it was the most fun I think I've ever had and all I did was fall over. It was anarchy. There were bodyboard battles, tricks, swan dives and injuries. They even had to completely shut down the system after we all jumped down it at once and blocked the filter system. Sod a pool. I want this in my back Garden. And London... the city with everything...doesn't have one?!

What's that?... There's one in Bedford... Right I'm off!

So stop looking down on Katie Price, the inhabitants of Essex and knock off goods down the market. Fake is officially great. Happy Friday.

P.S. If you like this you can subscribe by typing your email address in to the box at the top.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Santa Cruz (No You're Not That Far).

So next week sees the start, or at least the start of the waiting period, for the O'Neil Cold Water Classic in Santa Cruz and after the drama of the Portuguese leg of the Tour it has a lot to live up to.  Indestructible Jedi overlord Ke11y Slater heading out in the 3rd round, Julian Wilson winning with the last wave of the tournament and what most of us will remember... the attack of the Sardines:

Now growing up in the leafy (and very landlocked) home counties I didn't attend many surf competitions as a youngster. Or indeed as an adult. In fact it was only in the last 2 years that the ASP has even entered my consciousness; so its fair to say that my knowledge of how competitive surfing is judged is completely beyond me. My knowledge of surfing judging is about as complete as my gymnastics judging. Sure we all had a punt during the Olympics giving a score based on whether or not they stuck the landing (which as far as I can see is the only way they distinguish between routines) but when it comes down to it really, I don't have a clue. And so far as I can tell the ASP scoring system is as follows:

Barrel - 7-10 points depending on how deep and long you can penetrate the wave (snigger).
Air - 5-7 points no matter how freaking awesome it was.
Claim - +2 points to whatever your score was.
Small barrel and 3 snaps - 8.43 and the comp win.

Controversial? Maybe. However I'm sure Julian couldn't care less... He took home the all important Big W, 3 points (or however many you get in surfing, I'm yet to figure that out) and the silly Portuguese hat. Don't worry that remark isn't racist as: 1. I lived with a Portuguese man for 3 years and even he would admit that hat was moronic 2. Hats aren't a race 3. It is a stupid hat.

Julian Wilson's stupid hat.
But when it comes down to it we all love a dramatic ending don't we. And this one was out of the top draw. The Rip Curl Pro was excellent. Great waves, great surfing and crowds of over 30,000 (which incidentally is more people than go to watch Wigan Athletic play each week). It just shows how popular surfing has become and how well it can be done as a spectator sport. At least its better than watching Wigan. Or come to that being in Wigan. And incredibly its free. We can all watch it for free, or go to the beach and watch the event for free. Compare that to the cost of an Arsenal ticket (£40 for 90 mins probably against Wigan) and you are laughing.

However the best part of all (apart from the sardine incident) is just how much I enjoyed it. The whole event felt like a Test Match: there were delays because of mother nature, Australian's bantering with each other, long periods of waiting for something of any significance to happen followed by replays of it from every conceivable angle for the next 5 mins, a large drunk crowd and appeals. However, the best bit was that unlike in Cricket, or Football, or Rugby, or Tennis, or Athletics... was that for once, just for once, England couldn't lose...

Roll on Santa Cruz.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Injury time

Its always difficult being injured. Especially when the injury is so lame that you can hardly justify being out of the water yourself without thinking in your head that you sound like a whining 6 year old (I had my toenail removed and have to wait 6 weeks for it to heal properly).

Without surfing, rugby, football and running I am feeling a bit at sea, well not at sea, that would mean I was surfing rather than sitting around scratching my arse in the evenings and weekends. And its especially hard when in a fool hardy move I decided to join the London Surf Club at the moment I knew I couldn't surf for 6 weeks... The London Surf Club?! I hear you ask.. yes it does exist. We meet monthly in, as you would expect, a bar near Warren Street. So now I have emails filling up my inbox every morning about trips to just about every corner of the UK happening, what seems like, every single waking second. Throw in to the mix the epic 6ft @ 15 sec swell that hit the South West this weekend, a newly acquired driving licence and a free weekend and you can see why I am curled up in the corner holding my knees rocking back and forwards sobbing hysterically.... You can see why right... Right?!

My brother Robsy and I entering the water at Putsborough. June 2011.
However, it hasn't all been doom and envy clouded gloom. The London Surf Film Festival hit town last weekend. Now I'm not a big movie goer. In Empire's 100 Greatest films of all time list I've seen under 20. But the lure of a surf film festival 80 miles in land (at least they held it close to the River) couldn't be resisted. I bought 2 tickets immediately to North of the Sun only to realise that I had no one to go with. My brother, the only surfer I know for 80miles was back at Uni in Cardiff and even my long suffering Girlfriend couldn't be coerced with the promise of Pizza Express and wine as she was away for the weekend. I got in contact with an American (I know but times were tough) that I met at the London Surf Club and asked, in what I hoped wasn't too desperate a tone, if he fancied coming along. Thankfully he agreed.  After having to explain to him who this Ed Sheeran (#Gingerlizard) was and why we had to fight our way through hundreds of teenage girls to get to the cinema we sat down pint in hand and saw this little beaut of a film about 2 crazy Norwegians spending the winter surfing in the Arctic Circle before getting drunk back in good old Finsbury Park.    

North of the Sun went on to win best documentary which was thoroughly deserved (although I saw none of the other films). In the Q&A session afterwards Inge (one of the stars of the documentary) described how one of the challenges in spending the winter in a home made shack on a beach in the arctic circle was keeping entertained during their 9 month stay of mostly darkness. Apparently the way they overcame the boredom of defrosting wetsuits and chopping wood was by reading aloud chapters of a book to each other which they called 'watching TV'. They would then discussed it after treating it as a TV soap which was probably far more fun than trying to sit through an episode of Eastenders.

In the spirit of the LSFF I have myself been busy editing together a holiday video from an epic week long surf/drinking trip to Newquay back in July of this year, which has probably added to my sea sickness! Nothing as mad as North of the Sun but still a solid trip. I have found myself replaying and replaying this one wave from the trip as the combination of perfectly clean 4ft waves and the setting sun have become hypnotic; currently acting as my methadone.

If you were out there this weekend enjoy the stoke you lucky bastards. I'm off to battle with a very different tube!


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Oi Oi!

Welcome to Tube Riding. A diary about surfing life in London. Living a mere 80 miles from the nearest surf spot, and that is the flow house in Bedford may seem like a disadvantage but being a surfer in London has its advantages.

Condom Head. Preparing for a winter session. East Wittering Feb 2012.

Admittedly there isn't much chance of a pre/post work session unless the Thames starts to fire for the first time since the introduction of the Thames Barrier, however with the south coast a couple of hours away, South Wales 3 hours, The east cost a couple of hours away away and Devon 4 1/2 hours away the options are certainly numerous. Throw in to the equation that with London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Luton (not in London) and London Stanstead (Not even near London) around getting to quality surf from London isn't difficult, if a little expensive.  

Maroc and Roll. Riding a Moroccan Wave, Taghazout Sept 2011. 

So this blog will be all about  the adventures, trips, piss ups and the general trials and tribulations of life trying to swap one tube for another.



Pride and Joy. Picking up my custom made Mellowwave 9ft 2in log in Bude, Cornwall June 2012.