Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Black Stars&White Water: Surfing and travelling in Ghana

A year ago today I left London for 5 months to travel, volunteer and surf in Ghana and finally I have got around to editing some of the footage. Here's the first 5 minute cut of Black Stars&White Water.

Monday, 14 July 2014


A lesson on always being prepared.
My girlfriend’s parents have a beautiful house in Folkestone by the sea. It's a beautiful spot but as there are so rarely waves I have stopped bothering to look at the charts before we head down for a weekend.

One weekend earlier in the year we were down there. Everyone was out so I went for a Sunday morning run down the beach and was horrified to see clean 3ft-ers rolling in the bay with only 4 guys out. I instantly tried to beg, borrow, hire, steal or make a board and wetty but to no avail. I just had to stand and watch. 

On the sombre jog home the below formed in my head. So I wrote it down.

A lucky *@!#$* charging down the line


"Roll up! roll up!
Catch a wave.
Walk on water,
dance with waves.
That's my gift from me to you
for just ten pounds,
it is true.
Grab a stick.
Run on down.
Hop on nature's merry-go-round!"

"Oh I say!
What fun!
This wave riding could become.
To swim out into the deepest blue
and catch a wave or two with you.
For the sun is out
and it's not too breezy
doesn't it look oh so easy.
To get pushed along by the ocean
stand atop and feel the motion.
I say good sir I'll take you up!
Darling give me a kiss good luck
I'm off to conquer the deep blue sea
and all that it can throw at me."

"Oh love of mine,
the day surely is one that’s fine
I’d love to come...
I’d rather cheer you on from the beach,
you know water makes me screech.
I'm even scared of rubber ducks,
I can only take showers once a month.
Go! Go! In to the blue.
I'll be here to wait for you."

And off he went in to the deep,
to find the feeling we all seek.
To rise and fall with the lumps of brine,
until in a couple of months time...

"Roll up! roll up!
Catch a wave,
stand up tall
and slide away.
It’s a gift from me to you,
for Just ten English pounds
it is true.
Grab a stick.
Run on down.
Go hop on nature's merry-go-round!"

"Good morning, my good man,
I'm back again.
I've been dreaming of hanging ten,
getting deep within the barrel
and throwing spray higher than a moody camel.
I've got ten of the finest English pounds.
Give me something I can throw around."

"Welcome back my friend.
It’s nice to see you back again
What, Sir, can I do?
To make your dreams all come true?
If you want to go out to hack and shred
you’re going to need a better sled,
to get the kick you are after,
may I suggest something.. Harder?
For the softy is for first timers,
amateurs and wimpy minors.
Get the hit you really need
Hand over a twenty.
To me."

"Of course fine sir,
I must agree.
You surely know what's best for me.
To get a hit out in the waves.
Here take my 20 sheets.
The waves are almost 6ft.
Here! Here! Take my money,
and take it quick.
I'm heading in,
on my new Bic"

"Oh love of mine,
I'll just wait behind.
Oh you're gone
Never mind"

And as the weeks and months did pass,
our hero was progressing fast.
Bottom turns.
Floaters and occasional cut backs,
wafts and almost lethal hacks.
Until the sunshine left our shores
The rain fell
and the gale’s roared.
His fair maiden froze threw it all,
as she watched him loyally from the shore.
Every wipeout.
Every peach.
She stood there still upon the beach.

"Roll up! roll up!
Catch a wave
Stand up tall
and slide away
It’s my gift….”

“My good man, never mind that shit!
All I need is one good hit.
The waves have been mush for a good 2 weeks.
I want a spot with perfect peaks,
offshore winds, a huge groundswell,
away from the crowds as well
Give it me!
Give it quick!
Its been so long I'm feeling sick!

“Of course Sir.
Right Away,
there’s no reason to delay.
What you need is something epic
something perfect,
something sic.
A wave so exotic,
it will leave you feeling quite erotic.
Perfect waves that look quite gnarly,
and are bigger than the biggest tsunami.

“Yes! Yes! I quite agree.
Now quick, quick give it to me!”

“Ok. Ok. Calm down sir.
You are causing quite the stir.
There are several options I can offer,
but I need you to listen good and proper.
All you to do is pick,
the one that really grabs your dick:
There’s all the usual destinations
Bali, Oz or New Zealand?
Or anywhere Indonesian?
Fiji, Samoa or Sumatra?
But I know what you’re really after.
You want something no ones ever seen.
Something of which you can barely dream...
There’s slab in deepest, darkest North Korea.
In water riddled with gonorrhea.
They say that it’s so radioactive it glows in the dark,
and is home to a dozen angry mutant sharks.
But the wave is surely worth the peril
A 10 mile long.
100ft high..
It’s a wave known locally as Kim Jong Fun.
But it's known to the rest of us as Armageddon.
Roll up! Go on! Go and go get some.”

“Oh love of mine,
I'm begging. Please.
See I'm down here on my knees.
Let it go. It’s just not worth it.
We’re broke and you've sold all our shit.
We’re living underneath the pier!
Don’t you think it awfully queer
That we haven’t eaten all this week
so you can buy magazines on surfing technique.
Please. Can we just go in land,
just a mile or two
To settle down just like we planned,
just me and you.
I can’t take this anymore!
All you care about is where next to score.
I don’t even like the sea.
All you think is Me Me Me!”

“A perfect 100ft, 10 mile barrel you say.
Well huzzah! and hip hip hooray!
Get me a flight right now.
I’ll sneak over the border somehow
I’ll scale the cliffs and fight the sharks.
Oh it will be such laughs.
You watch. You see. I’ll tame the best
It’ll be a YouTube feast!”

And with that our hero left at pace
and an almighty slap across the face.
To surf the world’s gnarliest wave
hoping to come out unscathed.
While the ‘good man’ counted his money
thinking it was very funny,
how easy it was to rake it in,
from the long haired hippies in the swim.
Our maiden she was not so pleased.
She vowed to herself her life would be one of ease.
Far far away from the sea.
A life of boredom and consistency.
Where everyone is old,
and nothing changes,
so she moved to Milton Keynes and golfed for ever and ages!”

What about our hero I pretend you ask.
Did the sharks take him to task?
Did he fall from the cliffs?
And end up impaled on spikes all stiff?
Because there is no way that we could have made it:
snuck over the border,
dodged the sharks,
and got barreled off his nut for an hour and a half.
Surrounded by green glowing water
he surely was a lamb to slaughter.
There’s no way he could have won,
against the might of Kim Jong Fun,
and returned back down to the pier,
where to this day you can hear...

"Roll up! roll up!
Catch a wave
Walk on water,
dance with waves.
That's my gift from me to you
For just ten pounds
It is true.
Grab a stick.
Run on down.
Hop on nature's merry-go-round!"

Next time... Next time.