• On Sunday 8th December
• At Porthtowan beach and Blue Bar
• Fun surf comp 11am-1pm
• Shopping & festivities 1pm-5pm
• Free entry
• Stalls available for £10
(proceeds to DEC Philippines Appeal)
It’s a festive waveriding meet for all comers from hand plane ho ho hoe-downers to purveyors of the yule tide log and any surf craft in between!
The emphasis is on good vibes, good rides and good times with spot prizes and X-Mass presents awarded to those demonstrating appropriate levels of stoke, so see you in the line up between 11am and 1pm!
Hosted at the Blue Bar in Porthtowan, and lubricated by mulled wine, mince pies and music, the festivities continue 1pm – 5pm with P-Bay.
P-Bay is an exciting mix of artists, artisans, writers, doers, makers and surf board shapers.
Here you’ll discover the finest surf jumble plus pop ups including Finshack, Revolver Surf Shop, Seed Surf Company, Roo’s Beach, Whale Submarine, Traditional Surfing, Moo Hats, London Surf / Film Festival, Approaching Lines and more. This is the place to pick up something truely special for the favourite surfer in your life!
If you have a pre-loved board you’d like to trade or sell, feel free to bring it on the day!
Entry is free and stalls are £10 (proceeds to DEC Philippines Appeal)
Stall Enquiries E: firstname.lastname@example.org
With Nazaré getting scary for Halloween and Apple Computers calling their latest software ‘Mavericks’, I decided to hop on the big wave band wagon.
After paddling through the mush of bad quality videos and macho mumbo jumbo, I finally found these magical monster waves in motion. So get comfy, stay warm and get ready to go large:
Nazaré – Portugal
Shipsterns – Tasmania
Teahupoo – Tahiti
Dungeons – South Africa
Jaws – Hawaii
Mavericks – California
Any good surf car needs to be able to accommodate a surf board, or three, either inside or on top on the racks. It needs to look the part in terms of style, and be tough and eager enough to handle a bumpy beach track and some extreme hill starts.
Small wonder that the iconic Volkswagen is the vehicle that has become most connected with the surf tribe. Aside from their obvious panache and associations with non-establishment leanings, plus that whiff of 1960s surf nostalgia, VWs are practical and robustly designed.
The clue is in the name: this ‘people’s wagon’ was made for living, for using and enjoying, and that’s something surfers tend to appreciate. The other thing both surfers and VWs have in common is a thriving community scene.
As Damon Hill so eloquently suggests in this article: “Surfers are a little like motorcyclists. They are just outside the mainstream of society. No shirts and ties allowed. And you need to be able to go when the surf arrives. At the drop of a hat. Surfers’ cars and vans express this ‘free spirit.’”
But there is so much more to Volkswagens than camper vans. In association with VWHeritage I’ve put together a list of hip VWs that make fantastic alternative surfing vehicles:
An idea that began life in the mind of an evil man became the best selling vehicle of all time, with over 21 million units manufactured since 1938.
In 1999 the Beetle was listed by the Car of the Century poll as the fourth most influential car of the 21st century. This charismatic car has captivated the hearts of people everywhere and appears on the wish lists of as many young girl driver/surfers as it does boy driver/surfers.
There’s something about its form that looks good on a beach too, perhaps it’s the wave like curves and arcs in the body work?
Cool fact: The air cooled opposed four cylinder engines have been used for experimental aircraft since the 1960s.
Passat Mk2 and Mk3
The second generation VW Passat was launched in 1981, the Mk3 incarnation being offered from 1988 until 1996. With enough room in the back to carry your board, (plus another few on the roof), the kids, a bag of wet suits, your suitcase, your grandma and your best friend, this practical family car is a popular choice for active outdoorsy types.
It’s the kind of car the understated landed gentry own and keep for decades. Tough and practical enough to take you down the gnarliest beach tracks, and a ding or two only adds to its character. A beer too many at the beach barbeque and you could push down the seats, roll out a camping mat and sleep like a baby in the back.
The Mk3 or B3 (seen above with a harlequin paint job, replicating that offered by VW in the late 90’s on Polo and Golf models) are a little easier to get hold of than the Mk2 (B2).
Top tip: If you are fond of exploring hidden coasts, try and bag yourself the tough 4wd Syncro model.
VW Caddy Pick-up
The VW Caddy pick-up has always been a bit of a favourite among the surf fraternity, and is now a classic vehicle with a cult following. But fashion always comes at a price. A decent Mk 1 will set you back anything from between two and five thousand pounds, but you could pick-up one for under a couple of grand if you’re prepared to throw time and money at it.
You can put surf boards and your pooch in the open back, or sit out there with the elements, cradling a flask of hot brandy laced coffee and watch the waves.
Cool fact: The Caddy Mk1 was known as the Rabbit Pick-up in the States, in the UK VW offered a Caddy Sport, boasting GTI power and pick up practicality – these are rare and now extremely pricey.
This compact, eager little motor might not be the obvious choice for many surfers, but you’ll see a lot of them stacked with boards in some of Europe’s top surf spots. VW Golf, named after the German name for the Gulf stream, not the game, is the 3rd best selling car in the world, and for good reason. It is well built, light weight, with precise steering, power and superb road manners, and holds its value well.
It was this car that coined the term “Hot-Hatch”. Choose from the classic Mk1, or the more useable Mk2 model for helpings of reliable retro charm. If you don’t mind curves, the Mk3 Golf is an appreciating model – get in quick and bag a bargain!
Cool fact: You can get a 9’4” long board into a VW Golf!
VW brought sports car styling to the masses with the Karmann Ghia.
The ultimate dream car of many a soul surfer, the Karmann Ghia takes pride of place in any beach surf car line-up. Gorgeous curves penned by Italian styling house Ghia, built by VWs’ favourite coach builder Karmann, it still retains the solid reliability of the Beetle.
Launched on 14 July 1955, within the first two years of its production VW had to double production numbers to keep up with demand (from 10,000 to 18,000). Neither a family sedan nor a sports car, not a Grand Tourer or a Luxury Saloon. This smart classic resists easy pigeonholing but one thing’s for sure, it was, and still continues to be exceptionally beautiful, exuding nostalgic elegance and exquisite design aesthetics.
Cool fact: When the Karmann Ghia was finally replaced by the VW Scirocco on 31 July, 1974, Karmann workers decorated the last example with a sign that read: “Du liefst so gut, Du warst so sch*, Doch leider musst du von uns gehn.” (You ran so well, you were so beautiful, but alas, you must leave us now.)
Body surfing is pure surfing – it’s just you and the wave.
No boards, paddles, leashes and definitely no jet skies. Just strip off and dive in.
Only a body surfer knows the feeling, but these images give us an insight.
Art and surfing have long been close companions, but the London Surf Film Festival have announced the happy marriage of art and surfing.
The first round of social voting for the 2013 London Surf Film Festival Shorties contest came to a close last night, and two of the top 3 videos demonstrate art and surfing living in harmony – in Cornwall at least.
All votes will be combined to select the official shortlist of films at the end of the month. Until then here’s the top 3 surf film shorties as voted by the public.
#1 – Till The Luck Runs Dry
#2 – California
#3 Art of Surfing
To find out more about each of the films, and for the full list of shorties at the 2013 London Surf Film Festival click here.
A good surf blog is a rare thing, especially in the UK.
There’s a few surf magazines and surfwear brands with blogs, but they have advertisers to please and products to sell.
If you want fresh organic surfing, you can’t beat real surf blogs, by real surfers based in Blighty. So here’s a few of my favourite British surf blogs for all you hungry surfers:
Bound to Birmingham, Sophia seeks pleasure in a range of non-surfing activities from contemplating Buddhism On The 140 Bus to skateboarding in bikinis. But fear not The Landlocked Surfers whisk her away on quests for waves whenever possible.
An artist by trade, ‘A board, some wax and a leash’ contains fantastic and original local surf photos, accompanied by creatively crafted and honestly spoken words.
side of spending nearly half the year in 5mm neoprene.”
Kernowfornia is a surf blog ‘on the button’, but with a vintage feel. With news and reviews of all the coolest surf events from the Grenaway Pro to the Slyder Cup, dreamy beach photos and the odd water temperature tantrum, it’s one to add to your bookmarks.
This generous and vibrant community of city surfers share the same energy and desire to surf as the most dedicated beach bums. So visit For City Surfers, meet the gang, share a story or just check out the cool videos.
Surf Nation – the blog, is an eclectic mix of surfing, football, writing, and boxing. From apologies for Surfside Sex to the joy of getting punched at 47, Surf Nation allows us an insight to the life of a real surfer writer.
Author Alisdair Lindsay is a contemporary surf artist with five toes hanging in vintage surf culture. Many of the vintage surfboards and surf memorabilia shown are from Alisdair’s personal collection, some of which can be seen and touched at the Royal Cornwall Museum’s Endless Summer Exhibition until 7th March 2014.
Bored of pro surfers and the latest World Tour commercial hype? Wanna know more about local legends, qwerky contests, with a video of Maya Gabeira surfing Teahupoo thrown in for balance? Then Surfhog is for you.
The words are also worthy of your time – with musings on board shapes for beardy types, an appreciation for shoreline fresh board deliveries, and a healthy respect for local curry companies. As Chris Preston (the author) sagely says “Whatever your choice of trousers, corduroy lines never go out of fashion!!”
Whilst Sharpy occasionally recycles the best bits from his days spent at Wavelength or shares a sneak preview of a Carve article, it’s mercifully free from surf brands and advertorials. Surf Photo is like your favourite surf mag, where you can fast forward through the adverts.
Here you’ll find a group of Christian surfers from a variety of backgrounds but all with a common love – surfing. I’m not Christian, but there is something spiritual in surfing that The Soul Surfers capture better than most. So well worth a pensive perusal whatever your religion.
If you regularly read or write a UK surf blog I’ve overlooked, please let me know below.
Felicity Palmateer is a pro surfer, talented artist and marine conservationist. An impressive string of job titles for a 22 year old, born and raised on the Wild West Coast of Australia.
In today’s surf industry, it’s practically impossible to be a young blond attractive surfer without also being a ‘model’. So it’s a pleasant surprise to see Felicity Palmateer walk the path less travelled and exploit her other gifts – a creative talent and devotion to the ocean.
During her pro junior period Felicity won a truck load of high profile events. She now travels the world competing full time on the ASP Women’s Star Series. With the realistic hope of qualifying for the Women’s World Tour soon.
Currently ranked 19th, Felicity has frustratingly missed out on joining the Top 17 in the ASP world tour by just a couple of places – two years running!
Fortunately her sponsors Billabong, Vonzipper, Aido’s surfboards to name but a few continue to support her. Fingers crossed for next year.
Her father is a potter, art teacher and surfer, and has clearly had a big influence on Felicity’s life. Her artistic flair fills the gaps between surfs, and can be seen on her clothes, surfboards and her new website.
Felicity takes inspiration from the ocean, and prefers to work with watercolours and ink. Current favourites are whales and the colour blue. Mandalas, feathers, reds and yellows also feature heavily in her current body of artwork.
You can buy Felicity Palmateer’s Art on Etsy.
Marine ConservationistLike every surfer Felicity has a healthy respect for the ocean.
Unlike every surfer she gets invited on dive trips in the Galapagos Islands with Jack Cousteau’s granddaughter to promote marine conservation.
With her surfing and artistic talents, I’m sure Felicity will continue to be a great ambassador for marine conservation.
Here’s a few more images to illustrate Felicity Palmateer’s talents:
Libraries are not a surfer’s natural habitat, and good surfing books are on the endangered list.
Thanks to the dedicated work of a few intrepid surfers and eloquent wave enthusiasts, there are few rare surfing reads worth searching for.
Here’s my top ten surf book discoveries:
1. Breath by Tim WintonBreath is my favourite surf fiction book ever. It’s a coming of age story, in which Pikelet, a young boy on the West coast of Oz, discovers the thrill of surfing. As the title implies the book has a ‘breath’ theme throughout.
As a kid, Pikelet and his best mate ‘Loonie’ would scare onlookers by seeing who could hold their breath underwater the longest. As a teen, the thrill of big wave riding caused a few heavy hold downs. And asphyxiation, resuscitation and didgeridoos all played their part in Pikelet’s adult life.
With experience and emotion drawn from the West Oz ocean, Tim Winton has conjured mythical waves for all to enjoy in Breath. From the fun peelers at The Point to the mind-blowing gut-wrenching Nautilus, there’s something for every surfer to soak up.
2. Dogs of Winter by Kem NunnI’m currently reading this book for the third time. Kem Nunn’s Tijuana Straits and Tapping the Source, are also awesome surf books, far better than the usual surf fiction fodder. But Dogs of Winter is my personal favourite.
Kem Nunn writes surf fiction with a dark side, and Dogs of Winter is no exception. Terrible deaths, forbidden waves, local legends, crazed surfers and a washed up photographer, all stirred together in a remote Californian Indian reservation.
If you haven’t read a Kem Nunn book, do yourself a favour and order one. Now. Go on then.
3. The Dawn Patrol by Don WinslowThe Dawn Patrol is a little more light hearted, which comes as a welcome relief after the last two. But like most successful surf fiction, there is a sinister undercurrent.
Boone Daniels is a P.I. in boardshorts based in San Diego. He’s a talented sleuth by trade but a devoted surfer by nature. Just as a once-in-a-lifetime swell is predicted to hit, so does a complicated case that Boone is compelled to take.
Dead strippers, Hawaiian gangs and trafficked Mexican girls, cause the case to take a dark and unpredicted course. Boone gets sucked into an emotional whirlpool, from which only his Dawn Patrol buddies can rescue him.
Will Boone catch the baddies and ride the giant swell, or will the case and his life get sucked into an eternal darkness?
4. In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer’s Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road by Allan WeisbeckerIt’s hard to believe but In Search of Captain Zero is actually a memoir not a work of fiction. As Allan Weisbecker nostalgically recalls his drug smuggling mishaps, Mexican misadventure and a melancholy mission to find his old best buddy ‘Captain Zero’.
From the safe haven of his seaside home in New York to the lawless limits of Central America. Weisbecker’s journey is packed full of deep thoughts, remote waves, colourful characters, and travelling challenges.
His mission is to find long lost friend and fellow surfer Christopher Conner AKA Captain Zero. He fears Chris has ‘gone off the rails’. Considering the extraordinary lifestyles they lead together during the ‘good times’ this could be bad, possibly fatal. Hope is all Weisbecker has to go on.
A true tale, of true surfers living exotic surfing lifestyles, but all good stories come to an end.
5. God Clobbers Us All by Poe BallantineThanks to a recent suggestion from @SeatownRockerz, the most recent addition to my bookshelf is God Clobbers Us All.
Edgar Donahoe is an 18 yr old surfing fanatic and an orderly in a decrepit San Diego rest home during the 70s. Like every teenager, Edgar struggles with romance, death, friendship, and an ill-advised affair with the wife of a maladjusted war veteran.
But things start to get really interesting when Edgar and his best friend Pat, a Blackfoot Indian, are held responsible for the disappearance of their fellow worker, Beverley Fey, after an LSD party gone awry.
Ballantine delivers intelligently crafted prose, but his words are easily consumed and very moreish.
6. Amazing Surf Stories: Tales of Incredible Waves and Remarkable Riders by Alex WadeA collection of short but genuinely amazing surf stories, from a fellow Cornwall dweller.
Before I read this I thought Garrett McNamara surfing giant waves from crumbling glaciers was a hoax, and had no idea that ‘Kelly’ isn’t Slater’s real first name.
I was expecting more ‘story’ if I’m honest, as all of these little surf gems are told in Alex Wade’s concise columnist style. But what I first thought a fault later became a strength, as each tale is quickly read, easily remembered and joyfully recounted.
Amazing surf stories has given me more tales to tell with surfer friends than any other book.
7. The Wavewatchers’ Companion by Gavin Pretor-PinneyI discovered this one on a coffee table in Royal Cornwall Museum’s surfing exhibition (well worth a visit if you’re in Cornwall). Having read and enjoyed The Cloudspotter’s Guide, I walked over to Waterstones and bought a copy instantly.
Gavin Pretor-Pinney is like your favourite teacher, father and mad professor all rolled into one. The science of waves can be a tough read, especially when you talk about every type of wave, wet and otherwise.
However throw in hand picked quotes, heartfelt observations, simple diagrams and magical metaphors, and wave science becomes wave wonder.
This fascinating, funny book will not teach you how to ride waves, but it will show you how to tune into the shapes, colours and forms of life’s many undulations.
8. Fear Nothing by Dean KoontzChristopher Snow is a 28yr old surfer who lives in Moonlight Bay, California. His claim to fame is also his curse, he suffers from – xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) – a real but rare condition causing light-sensitivity so severe he cannot be exposed to daylight.
So Chris is a creature of the night – roaming freely through the town on his bike, surfing in the moonlight, exploring while most people sleep.
Already weird enough to capture most peoples attention but the next 24hrs get freaky with mutant monkeys, bodysnatchers, murders and his father’s dying words ‘fear nothing’.
Not so surf centered as the others, but enough to justify inclusion. If you like Dean Koontz thrillers and surfing, you can’t lose.
9. The Big Drop: Classic Big Wave Surfing Stories by John LongThis is no ordinary collection of tall tales told by egotistical surfers. The Big Drop contains 32 true stories of legendary big wave adventures, throughout the evolution of big wave surfing. From the early days of Greg Noll at Waimea to modern day Mavericks, there’s a story for every generation of wave rider.
The book’s focus on the early era of big wave riding during the 1950s and 1960s, demonstrate how times have changed, how far we’ve come in big wave surfing but also how brave and bold the first big wave surfers were.
The Big Drop is an intoxicating concoction of charismatic characters with great names and great legacies, including Jose Angel who shouted at sharks, Ken Bradshaw who rode legendary Log Cabins, and Mark Foo whose life and death will be remembered forever.
If you want to discover where big wave surfing began and what it’s all about, you can’t beat The Big Drop.
10. Surfers Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life by Shaun TomsonShaun Tomson should need no introduction, but in case you don’t know he’s a pioneering professional surfer from South Africa.
At his zenith Shaun Tomson had won a World Champion title, setup a multi-million dollar surf clothing brand (Insight) and was an inspirational speaker. But then his 15 year old son Mathew died in a tragic accident.
From his considerable experience of life’s ups and downs, Shaun has compiled ‘12 simple lessons for riding through life’ starting with ‘I will never turn my back on the ocean’. Shaun is not a modest man, and rarely misses an opportunity to recount his successes, but that makes his tales of loss more poignant.
His code and lessons will certainly ring true for surfers young and old and are well worth remembering. As he says in his introduction “if a young surfer or anyone for that matter can read Surfers Code, learn some useful information, and ultimately get more enjoyment in and out of the ocean… then it will be the best thing I have ever done”. He may well be right.
Other surfing books that have been highly recommended, but I’ve not yet had the pleasure of reading include:
• West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief by Steven Kotler
• Riding the Magic Carpet: A Surfer’s Odyssey to Find the Perfect Wave by Tom Anderson
• Saltwater Buddha: A Surfers Quest to Find Zen on the Sea by Jaimal Yogis
• Kook: What Surfing Taught Me about Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave by Peter Heller
And finally if you’re new to surfing or want to learn more about surf spots along the coast of California, Wave Riding by Neil Grunig is well worth a read.
I’m sure there are many more surfing novels to discover, so please send me your suggestions.
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