Cornwall surf film festival

THE Cornish Surf Film Festival

The 1st Annual Approaching Lines Festival: The Cinematic Surf Sessions presented by Reef, has announced the official line up.

The Approaching Lines Festival is a three-night extravaganza showcasing the cream of UK and International surf filmmaking.

24th April 2014 – Lighthouse Cinema, Newquay, Cornwall.
25th April 2014 – The Poly, Falmouth, Cornwall
24th April 2014 – Lighthouse Cinema, Newquay, Cornwall.

Excited words from Chris Nelson, Festival Director:
“We’ve worked with filmmakers around the world to bring to the South West a hand-picked selection of the year’s most exciting surf films including a European Premiere, 3 UK Premieres and a host of award-winning movies,”

“The programme showcases the very best in waveriding, from cutting edge performance in films like Se7en Signs and Groove Move to thought provoking documentaries like The Salt Trail and mind-blowing travel epics like the Arctic-tripping The Cradle of Storms. Across the board, the cinematography is stunning, the sound tracks are epic and the surfing pushes things to a whole new level. I can’t wait to see the films played out in the way they were designed to be seen – on the big screen, in surround sound, amongst a stoked crew”

Tickets: Only £5
Available from: Lighthouse Cinema
Call: 01637 878650


Available from: The Poly
Call: 01326 319461

Exclusive evening passes available in limited numbers for just £8. Evening passes include entry to all the movies, plus a complimentary beer courtesy of our friends at Rebel Brewing Company.

For full line up details head to:



UK PREMIERE: CRADLE OF STORMS, Dir: Ben Weiland, Bryce Lowe-White USA






CORNWALL PREMIERE: RUSSIA Dir. Chris Burkard, Ben Weiland USA


if in doubt - surfer girl paddling

Quote source: Surf quotes and wisdom
Image source: Fine Art America


There’s no emotional video appeals to pull at your purse and heart strings here.

Just 3 good causes asking you to help them, you’ll even get some goodies in return.

Instead of spending your cash online with a faceless retailer, get your surf goods from these guys and help a fellow surfer in the process.

The general idea is you ‘pledge’ some cash, which will help one of the surf projects below. In return you’ll get anything from a signed ‘thank you’ to a holiday in South Africa.

If the project does not raise enough money, then no money changes hands. The sad surfers will just have to try and raise money another way. But we want to make our fellow surfers happy don’t we? So see how and who you can help below:

The Wave Project appeal

The Wave Project is a not for profit company that helps disabled and disadvantaged children feel more positive and overcome challenges through surfing.

They need some special kit to help them deliver more free surf lessons to young people in need, in the South West.

With your help, The Wave Project will buy:
• New surf boards that are adapted for disabled children to hold
• 2 beach wheelchairs
• Some new winter wetsuits so they don’t get cold!
• A van to put it all in!

Here are some of the surf goodies you can get for your cash pledge:
• A private surf lesson with TV star Andy Jordan
• 3 x private surf lessons with two of the UK’s most successful pros, Russell Winter and Hannah Harding
• Adventure experiences for 4 doing your choice of sea-kayaking, mountain biking or coasteering
• Private 1:1 surf lessons at a beach or your choice
• T-shirts, hoodies, stickers, gifts and goodies!

Pledge your support for The Wave Project here.

Support Team GB Junior surfers

For the GB Junior Surf Team, boys and girls aged 14 to 17, their dream of competing at the very highest level is about to come true.

But to fulfil their dreams, the team must raise £25,000 to represent Great Britain at the International Surfing Association’s World Junior Surfing Championships, in Ecuador. They receive no government funding whatsoever and they are asking for your help to raise £10,000 towards our £25,000 target.

This group of young surfers are fantastic role models for their generation. So let’s help them compete in the Olympic games of surfing.

If we don’t support these junior surfers, we’ll never have a British surfer on the ASP tour in our generation.

Surf goodies include:
• lucky surf wax
• Cornish cream teas
• t-shirts, hoodies, and signed thank you cards
• 2 nights B&B in Hout Bay, South Africa
• Custom surfboard
• 5 nights in Bali

Pledge your support for the GB Junior Team here.

Johnny on the spot

Ben Martin is a Cornish surfer who needs help getting his surf diary phone app from prototype to product.

So why should you help someone trying to make money from a phone app? Well glad you asked:
• Ben’s not asking for a hand out, there’s lots of good stuff on offer for your pounds
• Ben is a fellow surfer trying to help other surfers
• It looks like a great app, and you’ll love it when it’s finished

The app: it’s simple really – a surfer takes a picture of the waves and all the live swell, tide, and wind information is stamped onto the image. The images can then be used to compare your favourite surf spots with forecast conditions, allowing a surfer to choose the best spot.

Surf goodies include:
• stickers & t-shirts
• premium surf app
• surf lesson
• week holiday in Cornwall with surf guide

Pledge your support for Johnny on the spot here.

There are only a few days left to raise funds for these worthy causes, so PLEASE HELP NOW.

The original surfer dad

The original Surfer Dad

I never knew I had a Surfer Dad. I was born in Margate, a place known for cockles and made famous by Chas & Dave, not rideable waves.

As a young train driver in London, my Dad read dogeared imports of Surfer, rather than Playboy. He let loose to The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones, not the Beatles.

During the ‘summer of love’ my Dad went on surf trips, instead of acid trips. Back then it was a 10 hour drive from London to Cornwall along narrow country lanes, so it was always an adventure.

However, my Dad never mastered the surfer/father balancing act. To be fair, we did live in Kent (my Dad still does), he had 2 sons and he got battered by the winter of discontent.

It wasn’t until I became a serious surfer that my Dad told me he was a surfer too. At first I didn’t believe him, but then he showed me these:

Wetsuits are for wimps

Wetsuits are for wimps!

seventies surfboard quiver

Classic 70s surf quiver and haircuts

Watergate Bay convertible MG

Watergate Bay, my Dad and his beloved MG

surfing uk 1960s

My Dad surfing 60s style

small waves vintage surfing

After a ten hour drive you’d surf anything

seventies wipeout

A pre leash wipeout


Chris Jones is a surfer, mountain biker, skier, husband, father and an ex-soldier who was injured in service. The injury left Chris with 45% loss of mobility in his legs, PTSD and a life threatening brain condition.

And yet Chris’s Twitter profile states a jaw dropping list of adrenaline kicks and achievements. Personally I struggle to go surfing on a regular basis, so how does a fellow surfer dad do so much?

Let’s find out…

Chris Jones surf kayak

Chris Jones getting wet

• A surfer since childhood and surf kayaker following your injury, ‘surfing has been your life’. What prompted you to broaden your adrenaline horizons?

I’ve always done lots of other stuff, just that being in the water was always my passion. I remember coming home on leave and riding one of the early mountain bikes (no suspension, crappy brakes etc) on 25 mile round trips from the beach up onto Dartmoor, using as many off-road trails as I could. Recently though, it’s simply come from medical necessity.

When I was diagnosed with my brain problems I was told to stay off the water. Having already suffered an enforced 2 year dry spell after my legs got messed up, I ignored the advice completely and carried on doing what I do!

It worked for about 8 months until one day my brain shut down while I was out on the water. The only way I can liken it is to when your computer freezes, and the only way round it is to reboot. For me it meant my body shut down, including all but my core circulatory system. I totally lost the ability to hold my paddle, and just had to try and use my hips to keep the boat balanced while the waves washed me into the beach.

If I had gone over I’d have drowned, because I’d have had no way to pop my spray deck and exit the boat. I was just very lucky there was someone on the beach to call the emergency services, as I like to surf in fairly quite, unknown spots where I can.

• Do you still get in the water?

Yes, but nowhere near as much as I would like. I have to be SO careful now about when I go out, and if I’m feeling anything less than 100% I have to be strong and say no.

Anyone who surfs in the UK knows you need a lot of things to come together to get good waves, and if you have to try and make that coincide with a medical problem it means very few surfable days. Last year I got out just 13 times, but that’s a lot better than I managed in the two previous years. Having said that I’ve only been out once this year!

chris jones gorse table top jump

Chris Jones out of the water

• So you surf, MTB, skate and ski, are there any ‘extreme’ sports you want to add to the list?

The one I’d really like to do is skydiving, but I would not be able to jump with my wheelchair here in the UK, meaning I can’t go solo so there’s no point.

Other than that my ambitions are more in pushing the sports I already do, rather than finding new stuff, but I was recently approached by a TV company who wanted to make a programme where I go and try and find new ways to get my adrenaline fix, so we’ll see if anything comes of that…

• How do you make time for all these sports AND overcome your extraordinary obstacles?

I have to. I’m medically not allowed to work more than a maximum of half a week, and that’s purposefully so that I can exercise. To be fair, I don’t think my versions of exercise were exactly what the therapists and doctors had in mind, but they got used to it in the end!

There are times though where I’d like to get out and can’t, even because of my brain needing some down time or my legs being too painful, or just being fatigued from living with this many things to deal with!

I can get REALLY down when I know that the trails are dry, or the surf is pumping while the sun’s shining, and I’m stuck at home because of my medical problems. That can be really tough on me and my Wife.

• What’s your favourite adrenaline fix and why?

Right now it’s mountain biking, simply because it’s the easiest one for me to access.

When I go for a surf it requires a massive logistic effort to get me, my paddle and my boat into the water, but especially back to the car afterwards. It can be REALLY difficult, and I have to factor that in to whether or not I can go. It also means that now I have to pick my surf spots on ease of access, which means I often end up surfing with a lot more people than I would ordinarily like.

With mountain biking I can get the bike out of the car and ride, it’s that simple, and it means it’s a much easier logistical operation for me. I would love to ski more, but the nearest indoor slope to me is a 430 mile round trip away, and skating involves getting to purpose built facilities, so mountain biking is just the easiest one for me to do. It helps that we have some exceptional trails down here too!

CJ corkscrew

Chris killing the corkscrew at Tavi Woods

• What do you do for a day job?

I’m employed as a teacher, and work with the kids that no one else wants to. I really enjoy it because I love the way they respond to my disabilities. For example, When I’m taking them somewhere within the school, they don’t run away from me because they know I can’t follow them everywhere in my wheelchair, but they will run away from other people. Bless ‘em!

I’m also spending a lot of time trying to develop my not-for-profit Community Interest Company, Merici Sports. We are working with Plymouth University to develop a new adaptive mountain bike for riders with lower limb dysfunctions. These bikes currently start at prices from £3,500 going upwards of £5,500 if you want things like suspension and disk brakes. Our bike will retail around £2,000 or lower, if we can get it down more.

If you want to know more you can find us on Facebook and Twitter by just searching for Merici Sports.

• You say the ‘biggest disability is a bad attitude’, how do you keep a positive attitude?

I don’t always, because sometimes that bad attitude is other people’s, not mine. That’s really tough to deal with, because most often there’s nothing I can do to immediately change that person’s outlook.

For me personally it’s usually quite straight-forward; not long after my discharge I was sent to a college for disabled people, and all I found there were middle-aged men who had a dodgy thumb, or had tweaked their back, and hated the world for it. I spent a year in that hole, and swore I’d NEVER end up like them.

• Having said that what REALLY winds you up?

I have found that surfers are very intolerant of anyone else, and have regularly been verbally abused and even threatened in the lineup, yet in most cases I surf better than the moron(s) dishing out the abuse! Mountain bikers, skiers and skaters are utterly STOKED to see me turn up and ride their slopes/trails/pipes, but surfers can be real assholes.

I know almost every surfer reading this will, truthfully or otherwise, tell you how they saw 50 of their mates almost killed by some twat in a kayak, but take a bloody good look at yourselves! I’ve had surfers try and hit me with their boards, tip me over, drop in I don’t know how many times, and all because I dare have the cheek to keep paddling out with 45% less use of my legs than a ‘normal’ person.

Ask any surfer what they’d do to keep surfing if they lost the use of their legs and they’ll tell you they’d do anything. Really? Prove it by being more tolerant of other water users, you have no idea why that guy 10 feet away from you is in a kayak, on a sponge, or paddling a SUP.

cj surf kayak cutback

CJ with a classic kayak cutback

• You’ve done the Dartmoor Marathon and competed in a downhill race, what’s the next adventure?

I actually created my own marathon across Dartmoor, and almost all off-road, when I was told I couldn’t do the London Marathon. Long story short, the organisers were total a••holes, and tried to tell me they weren’t discriminating against me, yet, unlike able bodied people, I would have to buy a certified £3,500 wheelchair to compete in!

So I did a longer, tougher marathon than theirs could ever hope to be, and raised £4,500 for The Royal British Legion in the process! Three weeks after that I became the first person in the UK (and we think maybe Europe and possibly the World) to race against able-bodied riders on a dedicated downhill mountain biking course, using a hand cranked bike.

I’m racing again in April this year, but have upped my sights to aim for a race called the Megavalanche in France in 2015, which is a mass-start race down a mountain over a 30km course. I want to be the first disabled person to ride in that race.

I’m also hoping to paddle a sea kayak from Seaton, Devon, to Plymouth in April, to raise money for the RNLI and British Legion. It should take me around 5 days, though I may have to take time out between the paddling days. We’ll just have to see how that goes…

• You’ve said “More extreme sports films should have Kate Bush in the soundtracks”. What would be the soundtrack to your extreme sports vid?

I have a very eclectic musical taste, and listen to everything from traditional celtic music to old school heavy metal, to drum’n'bass and Kate!

Two songs that really resonate with me though are Chicane Featuring Bryan Adams, Don’t Give Up, and Etherwood’s Begin By Letting Go. I’d also have to include Public Enemy’s Harder Than You Think, for the memories it brings back of the euphoria around the 2012 Paralympics!

You can read more about Chris’s adventures on his blog ‘I just want to go mountain biking’ and follow his thoughts on Twitter.

Here’s Chris’s MTB story (and crash!) on the BBC:

smile and wave sunset

Smile & Wave


I was obviously a very good boy in 2013, as Santa delivered me a very cool yellow Nokia Lumia 1020 for Christmas.

I’ve been using my trusty iPhone 3 up until now, but decided I needed to confront my Apple Mac habit and try something new.

The camera is magnificent! However I’m a poor photographer. So this post is designed to save you time in finding Surf apps for your Windows phone.

Magic Seaweed

msw app imageMagic Seaweed is my favourite iPhone app, but it’s not as good on the Windows phone. Looking at the reviews on the app store, it fails to work at all for many people.

Anyway it does work for me using Windows 8 on my Nokia Lumia 1020, and it does the job with detailed surf forecasts and playable swell charts, period charts, wind charts and pressure charts.


Surfline app imageDespite being a U.S. based surf forecast, I’ve found the U.K. wave predictions ‘bang on’ so far.

The surf reports consist of charts for:
• surf height and wind
• air and sea temperature
• sunrise and sunset times,

Along with the best swell, wind and tide conditions for each spot.

If you surf in the U.S. and have a Windows phone, you need the Surfline app.


Tide app imageTide is powered by Magic Seaweed, but the interface is very different. Tide is simple to use and attractive to look at.

That doesn’t mean Tide is designed just for ‘blond’ surfers. I think everyone can enjoy a bit of well designed software, that gives you all the surf info you need in 1-2 clicks.

I think Tide is set to become my surf forecast tool of choice.

Surf Gallery

surf gallery app imageThe Surf Gallery app is perfect for a hungry surfer like me. If I could surf 24/7 I would, but I can’t – nobody can. So when the waves are unrideable, it’s dark and cold outside and your body is aching – tap into some online surf action.

Obviously, check in on the Surfer Dad blog first. But with the Surf Gallery app you have all the latest surf videos and surf news in one place, from a range of quality sources and social networks.

How to surf

how to surf app imageIf you’re a learner or planning to book a surf lesson soon, then get ahead with the How to Surf app.

With easy to understand advice on paddling, duck diving, catching a wave, standing up, riding a wave and tips for choosing the right equipment – this app is a complete beginners guide to surfing.

When you’ve built up a bit of confidence, check out the ‘big wave’ section.

Nokia App Social

nokia app social imageIf you’re into sharing, and I am, then Nokia App Social helps you share and find other great Windows apps from like minded people.

Much like other social networks you can like, comment and follow other members, and their favourite app lists. Unlike other social networks, you can get competitive by liking, following and listing yourself to the top of the Leaderboard.

To find the other Windows surf apps I like and use, just open App Social and search for ‘surferdad’.

If you know of any other great surfing apps for Windows phones, please share your discoveries in the comments below. Thanks.

This post was written as part of a partnership with Nokia, however all thoughts and opinions are mine.


Leonardo Da Vinci said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.

For ultimate surfing sophistication go handboarding.

Longboard or shortboard? Twin fin or thruster? Fish or Egg? Surfing can get complicated, but not handboarding.

All you need is your hand plane, maybe a wetsuit and ideally some fins – and you’re in there like swimwear. Whilst you’re getting kegged, your surfing buddies are still in the car park deciding what board to wax up.

Still not convinced? Check out this handboarding 101 for all you need to know, or even simpler – check out the smiles on these faces:

happy handboarding

Slyde handboarding tube

Slyde city body surfing

Slyde heavy barrel handboard

Slyde dark and deep

Slyde bodysurfing deep tube

Slyde bodysurfing barrel

Slyde handboarding shaka

Slyde handboarding barrel

Slyde hidden handboarder

All images courtesy of Slyde Handboards.


Raglan on a good day

Raglan on a good day
Source: Patagonia blog

As promised, here’s the full update of surf spots visited and lessons learned on our long haul family surf trip to New Zealand.

Hopefully you can grab a tip or two for your next surf tour to Kiwi land.

Surf spots visited

With 3 weeks in New Zealand, we decided to stick to the North Island.

We stopped at the thermally thrilling Rotorua and found Killer Whales in the Bay of Islands, but below is the low-down on the surf spots we visited:

Piha, near Auckland


Piha, New Zealand

Summary: beautiful beach break that works at all tides.
Surfboard hire cost: $20 for 2hrs or $30 for half day, from Lion Rock surf shop

Lion Rock surf shop is attached to the general stores, next to the campsite a row back from the beach front. It offers surfboards rental, wetsuit hire, surf lessons and the usual surf accessories.

I was amazed when the chap in the shop knew of my home town Bodmin. Apparently he hung out in Newquay for a while. This became a recurring theme of shop assistants.

Piha is very rippy! It’s so dangerous they have a permanent video camera in the lifeguard shack to film a rescue show for TV. Eddie Vedder nearly drowned whilst surfing at nearby Karekare.

It was onshore when I surfed it, but there were still head high good waves to be had out back. The shifting peaks changed constantly with the tide.

The black sand is like molten when the sun shines. Impossible to walk on without sandals (or jandals as they’re called in NZ).


Raglan rough waves

A rough day at Raglan

Summary: legendary point break, produces some of the best lefts in the world.
Surfboard hire cost: $30 half day from Raglan surf emporium

Raglan is actually the name of the town nearby, where there’s lots of surf shops and cafes. There’s also a couple of surf shops that hire boards located on the road to Manu Bay. Manu Bay is the main break, with Whale Bay a bit further out around the corner.

It took us about 3 hours to get to Raglan from Auckland in the campervan. Camping and accomodation options are limited, so it’s best to book ahead during peak season.

We didn’t book ahead, so ended up stayed at Kevs, an eco campsite! Meaning no electricity and drop toilets, but it did have good views out over Raglan estuary.


Napier mural

Waves on the wall in Napier

Summary: variety of beach breaks and reefs to explore but fickle in the summer
Surfboard hire cost: $25 half day from Pandora Kayaks

In Napier there’s a choice of surf spots including Awatoto, City Reef and Westshore – but there was only a ripple whilst I was there.

I did consider driving 45 minutes south out of town to Ocean Beach or Cray Bay, but the 0 – 1 ft surf forecast convinced me to take a tour of the wineries instead.

Stayed at Kennedy Park resort, 20 minutes walk in to town centre. Loads to do for the kids, swimming pool and great facilities.

World class red wine is grown here on the ‘Gimblett Gravels’, a unique volcanic area deemed perfect for certain grape varieties. So make sure you allow time to visit a few wineries. I enjoyed a tasting and bought a few bottles from Esk Valley Wine Estate, to ease my wave withdrawals.

Hahei and Hot Water Beach

Hahei beach

Hahei beach – beautiful but flat

Summary: unverified right hand reef break
Surfboard hire cost: unknown but available from the Top 10 Hot Water Beach holiday park
Allegedly there’s a decent right hand reef break at Hahei, but alas not when I visited.

The beach break at Hot Water Beach 15 minutes drive south didn’t yield any waves either.

However both spots are well worth a visit.

Hahei is the gateway to the infamous Cathedral Cove, which is promoted in all the tourist gumf and has featured in one of the Narnia movies (can’t remember which one).

There is a campsite next to the beach but it was full. It’s also quite expensive, but you can get sea views and it’s a hop and skip to the beach.

Hot Water Beach is named after the fact that at low tide you can dig a hole in the sand, and you have your own thermal spa bath. This is due to the beach being directly on top of a fault line. I’m guessing you can surf here in boardies all year round?

Lessons learned

sherpa surf app

Check the forecast
Source: Sherpa surf guide

1. Before you go, banish all misconceptions of your family holiday being a surf trip
My better half and daughter don’t surf (yet). They both like the beach, but only if the sand is cool enough to walk on, the sea warm enough to swim in and the weather hot enough to burn in.

Even if all of those conditions are met, we are talking about 2-3 days entertainment max. So I advise having plenty of options near by, including playgrounds, swimming pools, ice cream vendors, shops, family tourist attractions.

2. Leave the surfboard at home
The cost of transporting and repairs will often outweigh the cost of hiring a board. Even if hiring is a bit more expensive, it’s worth it to save the hassle of carrying it around everywhere whilst trying to deal with all the usual frustrations of travelling with tired children and partners.

Surfboard hire is no problem at all the surf locations I visited. Reasonable rates and a decent choice of surfboards were the norm. So embrace the chance to try new board shapes and sizes. Chances are they’re more suited to the local waves than your board back home.

3. Pack the wetsuit
New Zealand water is cold all year round. Not as cold as the UK, but you won’t look silly in a full 3mm steamer in summer. A shorty will do the job in the warmer months and you can surf in your shorts for the novelty, but you’ll get cold quickly.

4. If there’s a wave, get in there
This rule applies at home, but even more so on holiday. Don’t wait for better conditions or a more convenient time. If there’s a wave grab a board and get wet straight away, you may not get another chance.

5. Go West
During my time in NZ (Dec/Jan) the West coast waves were far more consistent. The beaches near Auckland nearly always had a wave, and the surf forecast for Raglan always showed a bump. However onshores were a constant threat.

The New Plymouth / Taranaki region appears the most fruitful option for surfers, with a wide range of consistent breaks. Unfortunately it was a bit out of the way for us and appeared to offer little in the way of entertainment for the kid. Maybe next time.

The east coast areas I visited are more setup for tourism and have more to offer families, but the swell is much more fickle.

The Gisborne region also has a lot to offer for surfers (and wine lovers) but it’s a good days drive from anywhere of significance and sadly we didn’t have enough time on this trip.

6. Check the surf forecast
New Zealand has a lot more breaks and surf options than I thought. From the wild west coast points to east coast artificial reefs, but before you travel days in search of waves – check the forecast. If you know the surf is going to be flat, do a bit of sightseeing instead and cash in on quality time with the family.

I found the free Sherpa surf guide app really useful, unfortunately I discovered it two weeks into my trip. It could have saved me a few disappointments and settled a few ‘beach or sightseeing?’ debates.

If you’ve got any good family surf trip tips to share, please add them in the comments below.


Happy New Year, One and All.

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, but Christmas and New Year were busy and now I’m in New Zealand!

I’m planning a full update of surf spots visited and lessons learned on a long haul family surf trip, but for now here’s a pic of Piha.

It’s just 30 minutes away from the centre of Auckland!


I surfed here today – Piha, New Zealand