I’m a father, surfer and writer.
Online and in life each role competes for my attention, and I can’t please all the roles all the time.
Fortunately, I’ve been writing for two fantastic sites that have allowed me to focus on surfing and fatherhood separately:
1. For Fathers ProjectFor FATHERS project is based in Brooklyn, New York and it’s on a mission to make fathers take the initiative to be better parents.
It celebrates the importance of fatherhood through photography, film, and other creative artistic mediums. The project attracts active fathers, young professionals, stay at home dads and all men around the world looking for daily inspiration.
I was lucky enough to be interviewed for this inspirational project, and you can read my words here.
2. MporaMPORA are the company behind action sports magazines including Surf Europe, Cooler, Whitelines, Moto, Sidewalk and many more. If you’re into surfing, skating, snowboarding, BMX or MTB then they have a little something of what you fancy.
And if you fancy reading some of my more wordy articles from the philosophical ‘Could surfing be a religion?’ to the mostly factual ‘4 filthy surf infections’ then get stuck in here.
I’ve enjoyed the challenge of writing for new audiences, and I hope you enjoy these articles too.
I’ve got some fresh ideas to brighten the dark winter evenings ahead, including mermaids, charity Xmas gifts and shark whisperers. So watch this space.
If you’ve got any interesting surf news to share or want me to write about anything specific, please get in touch.
Most UK surfers have exploited the French and Spanish beaches that soak up waves from the Bay of Biscay. Some may even have ventured down into Portugal around Ericeira, but did you know it goes off down in Southern Portugal?
The coasts of South Portugal, better known as the Algarve, have become increasingly popular with adventurous surfers. With cheap flights, warm weather and uncrowded waves it’s a more obvious choice than you first think.
Mother nature has equipped the Algarve with two different coasts, west and south, which expands the clean-wave opportunities. Whether you’re looking for big, small, long or short waves – the Algarve and its long list of surf beaches offer waves for all levels. There’s also a tempting array of secret spots waiting to be discovered by intrepid surf explorers.
Throughout the year this southern region of Portugal is blessed with summertime temperatures. That means when it’s getting cold and the leaves are falling in the UK, it rarely drops below 20 °C in the Algarve.
Still not convinced? Check out these visual treats:
So here’s 3 of my favourite family surf videos to inspire you:
Raised on waves
Nolan and Tyler
The Flying Squirrel
In today’s world kids don’t get enough exercise. This is a fact.
There are far too many distractions for them. With a combination of video games and fast food fads we have an epidemic of low activity, and because of that, childhood obesity.
Naturally many parents are extremely concerned about their children, and want to keep them as active as possible. A great way to do that, as well as keep it fun for the kids, is watersports. There’s a huge range of watersports available for your children to try, wind surfing, water-skiing and kayaking to name but a few.
There are many reasons why getting your kids into water sports is a great idea, here are just three of them.
1. Health benefits
As we’ve mentioned above, there is an obesity crisis that is about to explode. More and more kids do nothing but look at a computer screen all day. No-one wants their child to become one of the statistics, so you need to keep them active.
Watersports are a great choice if you want to keep your kids active. They won’t even notice they are exercising because they will be having too much fun. If it is a sport they develop a genuine enthusiasm for, like many kids do with watersports, then they are much more likely to want to do it all the time, which will lead to them staying fit and healthy long into the future.
Staying fit and healthy while they are young will help prevent heart disease and other conditions as they get older.
2. It can teach them discipline and hard work
Another common complaint about ‘the youth of today’ is that they are lazy and have no discipline. While this is probably an exaggeration, it is certainly true that learning discipline and hard work at a young age can help them later in life. The world depends on hardworking people, and hardworking people tend to be more successful, so anything that can teach them hard work and discipline at a young age is of great benefit.
Watersports are ideal for this, because they aren’t easy, and they take a lot of time and effort to master. This means that kids who want to master them (and most kids do), have to work hard, and develop a certain level of discipline.
This will help them significantly, as they will now have the skills to work hard during school, university, and beyond.
3. It is fun and they will meet new friends
Of course, it is difficult to instil the ideas of hard work, discipline, and keeping fit into kids. That is why they need something fun to ensure that they take on board the ideas that you are trying to teach them.
This is where watersports come in. From the first moment they get into a wetsuit they are going to have fun. They won’t even notice they’re staying fit and learning vital new life skills. They will also thank you for giving them the opportunity, which will help improve your relationship with your child.
Finally, socialisation is vital for kids. They need to gain friends from a large variety of different backgrounds. So, allowing your child to do watersports, especially in a group, will enable them to make friends with similar interests and improve their social skills.
To get geared up for your watersports adventure visit www.h2o-sports.co.uk for kids wetsuits and more. Get your little ones off of the couch and into the water today.
My daughter loves books. So in my continued quest to nurture a little surfer daughter, I’ve been introducing her to kids books with a surfing theme.
Here’s some of the books I’ve enjoyed. I hope they help you inspire the next generation of surfers.
Pigs might surfWe all know pigs can’t fly, but did you know they can surf?
Bailie the piglet lived by the sea
in a pig hut made of wood.
He dreamed of the waves and the surfer he’d be,
Not the mud (like a good pig should)!
Bailie is a Cornish pig in search of adventure. With a spectacular view of the waves from his humble pig hut, Bailie dreams of jumping in the sea and surfing the beautiful blue waves.
But how will he escape and what will he surf on?
Meet the characters and download fun activities at http://www.pigsmightsurf.com
Cabo and Coral series
Cabo and Coral are two children living and learning the Aloha way. Educational and inspiring, this series is perfect for drenching those spongy little minds with salt water wonderment.
From Cabo and Coral’s Secret Surf Spot to Cabo and Coral Reef Explorers, your children will be mesmerised by the illustrations, taught by the text and inspired by the stories of ocean adventures.
Endorsed by surfing legends, parents and children from around the world, these wonderful books are available in traditional paper books or digital downloads.
For the full range of Cabo and Coral books got to http://www.caboandcoral.com
Sadly, I can only find this book as an ‘app’, but if you have a smart phone then download this one for your kids.
The book describes an A-Z of sea creatures from anemones to the Zambezi shark. Vividly illustrated with witty prose, this app will capture the imaginations of all inquisitive children.
Either read it yourself, record your voice or have the surf legend and author Shaun Tomson enchant you with his smooth South African tones.
My daughter regularly reads and listens to Surf Creatures and asks questions every father wants to hear like “Daddy, what’s a Man O War”.
For previews, reviews and download go to http://www.surf-creatures.com
Andee the aqua naught
This fast action trilogy is about a young boy called Andee. He lives on an island with his parents, who are marine biologists in search of new sea-life that could cure illnesses.
In the first book, Andee makes friends with two young dolphins, Tingo and Tango. In a storm at sea his parents get swept away, and Andee is saved by his dolphin friends.
Special powers are given to him, allowing him to be one of the great and legendary Aquanauts of the Marine Kingdom. Can Andee fight off the evil that lurks in the depths of the oceans, and save all marine life? And will he ever get home to find his parents?
Whilst this trilogy isn’t strictly surf themed, it’s all about protecting the oceans. And the author is a surfer, so that’s good enough for me.
For more information on Andee and the marine charities supported visit http://andeetheaquanaut.com
Lisa Glass has written her cracking surf romance for young adults.
Iris is a sixteen year old, set for an amazing summer of love, friendship, loss and adventure. When the ultra-talented Zeke walks into Iris’s life, surfing soon becomes her passion.
But is Zeke all he seems? What hides beneath his glamorous and mysterious past? When Iris decides to try for her own surfing success, just as her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life, she will test her talent, and her feelings for Zeke, to the limit.
If you’re trying to tempt your moody teenager into the surf, this could help.
If you and your child have a favourite book about surfing that’s not been mentioned, please let us know in the comments below.
The International Ocean Film Festival is coming to a theatre near you.
The festival, which originates in Australia, will feature a selection of the world’s most captivating ocean-themed short films and will be shown in 17 towns and cities across the UK.
Designed to mesmerize, educate and enthrall; the International Ocean Film Festival showcases more than two hours of sensational footage taken above and below the water’s surface.
Each of the festival’s films conveys a deep respect and appreciation for the world’s oceans and the creatures that call them home. A selection of 2014 highlights include:
Duct tape surfing
Eighteen years ago, a car accident left Pascale Honore paralysed from the waist down. Fascinated by the ocean, Pascale dreamed of being able to surf. With the help of a roll of duct tape and with the support of her sons’ friend Tyron Swan, a big wave surfer and professional diver, Pascale’s dream eventually became a reality. Share in her joy.
And Then We Swam
In May 2010, two British friends set off to row across the Indian Ocean in a second hand boat. Having zero rowing experience, they signed up for an organised race – only to find that a lack of entrants meant that there would be no support boat. After 116 grueling days at sea, the duo was within 8km of the finishing line when disaster struck. An incredible story of adventure, foolhardiness and survival.
Sportlife Saga: Water
Follow world champion free-diver Guillaume Néry deep below the water’s surface as he transforms the sport of free-diving into an art. Now a world-record holder, Guillaume reaches depths of more than 100m and can stay below the surface for more than seven minutes at a time. His forays into the big blue will leave you breathless.
2014 UK Tour Dates
4 September – Truro, Hall for Cornwall
6 September – Porthcawl, Grand Pavilion
13 September – Whitley Bay, Playhouse
16 September – London, Conway Hall
17 September – London, Conway Hall
19 September – Brighton, Brighton Dome (Corn Exchange)
20 September – Llandudno, Venue Cymru (The Hall)
23 September – Portsmouth, Kings Theatre
24 September – Leeds, The Carriageworks
25 September – Edinburgh, The Queen’s Hall
27 September – Inverness, Eden Court (Empire Theatre)
01 October – Exeter, Corn Exchange
02 October – Bath, The Komedia
03 October – Poole, The Lighthouse
11 October – Bristol, Victoria Rooms (Bristol University)
17 October – Cambridge, Lady Mitchell Hall (Cambridge University)
28 October – Malvern, Forum Theatre
30 October – Birmingham, Crescent Theatre
For tickets and information, go to www.oceanfilmfestival.co.uk
Sharks and surfers are more likely to be foe than friend, but learn a little more about them and you might like them.
Shark Week aims to raise awareness and respect for sharks. In part this is done with a shark film-a-thon on the Discovery Channel, but here’s 10 interesting shark facts to whet your appetite:
The Sunset Sons are both surf fanatics and talented musicians, who’ve been rocking Europe’s surf community.
Now they’re hoping to make friends with more surfers and music lovers, on a new UK tour starting at the Boardmasters in Newquay, this weekend.
Refreshingly for a surf rock band, these guys actually surf. The band are based in Hossegor, they consist of 3 Brits and an Aussie, and get paid in surfboards (not 100% confirmed).
Sunset Sons have already tasted success:
• Signed to Polydor Records
• Le Surfing EP reached #6 in UK iTunes chart
• Zane Lowe branded them the ‘Next Hype’
• Played sold out gigs on the mountains and beaches of Europe
• Get regularly barreled on the beach breaks of Aquitaine
Their raw rock riffs and vocals, combined with fun surfer vibes, ensure you’ll be stomping your sandals to every track. Live sessions are essential if you enjoy a bit of crowd surfing; use of real surfboards are actively encouraged.
So catch them while you can at cosy venues across the UK, because soon they’ll only be playing giant stadiums and bonkers big festivals.
UK tour dates
07 AUG – BOARDMASTERS BEACH SESSIONS, FISTRAL BEACH, NEWQUAY
10 AUG – BOARDMASTERS, WATERGATE BAY, NEWQUAY
11 AUG – THE GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON
12 AUG – THE WINCHESTER, BOURNEMOUTH
14 AUG – RAMSGATE MUSIC HALL, RAMSGATE
16 AUG – GLASS BUTTER BEACH, LLANBEDROG
18 AUG – SURF CAFE, TYNEMOUTH
19 AUG – THE ARCH INN, ULLAPOOL
20 AUG – THE OLD BRIDGE INN, AVIEMORE
If you can’t make any of the gigs, here’s a taste of their fine tunes:
Or buy the Sunset Sons EP on iTunes.
There is no official surfing law, but there is a good and a bad way to behave when out in the water.
If you take care of yourself, your equipment, your fellow surfers and the environment, I promise karma will reward you with good waves.
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