A great weekend spent at an undisclosed location in the world (not Ireland) where I drank some beer in small glasses -
Undisclosed Beer Drinking Location
On another note met Matt (here/here/here and here) at Gloucester Road tube station for a quick beer on the way back from the airport as he was in town for the weekend. Which seems strange because Matt lives on Maroubra Beach in Sydney, Australia!? Well the good news is Matt took his piloting skills to the next level and now works for an international airline doing short little trips from Sydney – Singapore – London. So it was good to see my Australia surfing buddy in foggy London town for a couple of hours on a Monday night!! Made me miss Australia a lot, especially when he told me he was going to Seal Rocks with Rach and Mike next Saturday morning.. four days away!!! -
Matt Bass in Foggy London
Ahh memories… until the next time!!!!!
It’s the middle of September, the best time of the year to go surfing in the UK because the water is “warm” and the waves are “big”. I will definitely say the water feels warm but that is probably because the air temperature is less than the sea temp!!
Faiser Chief (Faisel) is working at various Pharmacies on the SW coast, so, as testing for my new website GlobalSurfari.com I got the latest data and started the six hour drive to the coast!
Just to remind you how much
of a rip off the UK is check this out -
$1.80 USD, $2.12 CAN, $2.35 AUD, €1.48, ¥200.66 Per Litre!
We also have to pay £3 for the privilege of parking near the beach here as well!!! So we headed for Croyde, which is Devon’s surf capital (its the Newquay/Bondi/Hossegor of Devon). It is a lovely little village in Devon (see map) which has a real nice beach break and also has some more serious reef breaks at either end of the beach. Something that the UK surf suffers/benefits from are large tides. The sea can go out and in over large distances, it dramatically changes the surf conditions and this definitely occurs at Croyde.
The sleeping arrangement, beautiful English countryside backdrop at Croyde -
So back to the surf. The GlobalSurfari.com surf report put the SW region of UK at 1ft with low winds and fairly good periods. The graph showed bigger swells on either side of the lull that was the weekend so I was thinking maybe if we weren’t going to get much waves what we would get might be ok. When we arrived it looked pretty small from the distance, but I am used to that now (in UK) that I was a bit excited because there was an opportunity to go surfing. Croyde beach has a main beach break area and two reef breaks at the North and South ends of the beach. The reef breaks only really get good when the surf is big so they were not really happening but they were giving more of an edge than the waves in the middle of the beach so I went as far South as I considered was safe without killing myself on the sharp jagged rocks that I could see and which were slowly disappearing under the water as the tide came in. I got a few nice rides and the waves really started to pick up a bit so it was getting good fun. I definitely could tell it was a good surf session as when I came out of the water I had the obligatory bleeding cut. Only got one picture on a good set and it’s of me coming off (looking midly concerned as I put my hand out hoping I’m not on the rocks) -
No I didn’t ‘recover’ this move
Faisel rocked up and we went for lunch at the local pub in Croyde, we had burgers and then I pulled out my GlobalSurfari UK – South West Print Page for Fizzer to check out -
Global Surfari Test Run
We headed back out afterwards and the sun was beginning to set. It was a beautifully clear day and the sun sets out to sea (as we are facing west rather than east as in ‘stralia). Which makes it a bit safer because you can see where you are going when you are flying down a wave towards some innocent other water goers in your path of destruction) but it also makes it harder to see the waves coming because the sun is sitting right where you are looking.
If however, you have the luxury of only being about 6 people out at that time and you have glassy 2ft conditions and left hand wave breaks then you are in paradise! Paddling out is an amazing experience. The sun is shining right infront of you and then disappears as swell rises up above the sunset and the wave has a beautiful green tint to it the swell then goes down and the sun shines again as you look out to the Isle of Lundy a few miles out to sea – dead ahead. I was in a perfect position to join a left hander, all I could see was a perfect little wave curling and getting ready to break as the green tint of the sun shone through the wave. It was an amazing experience and possibly the best surf session in terms of location and beauty I’ve ever been on!!
The next day and Fizzer was working at the Pharmacy so we drove over to visit him. On the way we passed Saunton, which is a really nice long boarders break that has less power than Croyde and much longer rides. You can see the swell coming in from miles out and it starts to build real early. Today was a especially nice day for the chilled out long boarder crew -
Saunton Long Boarder Crew
We bought some paracetomol and a tooth brush at Fizzer’s pharmacy then headed for a beach called Woolacombe. This had some waves breaking and occasionally some 2.5ft sets coming in. Annoyingly everytime a decent set came in I’d find myself too close to the break so I’d have to duck dive the first one, paddle out a bit more then turn around and begin the push for the next one. I need to visit the pool more often however as I was too tired from the day before to be able to push hard enough to get on! I did get a few nice ones, although most of the breaks were rights and my lack of experience recently is making it hard to hit those.
Woolacombe on Sunday, notice the insanely over deep duck dive being performed in the centre of the picture -
Now it was the drive back to London, my favourite surfing trip and best waves I think I’ve ever surfed in the UK!!! Rock on surf trip 6….
As for the GlobalSurfari information, it was pretty correct, it predicted low winds (there was hardly any) and 1ft swell (which there was) so I am pleased with that!
I was at an undisclosed location this weekend. Can you guess where it is?
Google Earth is amazing. Since Hurricane Katrina hit the USA many people around the world as well as people from Google and NOAA have been creating overlays to be used with Google Earth to show the devastation that the flooding and hurricane has caused. Here is a screenshot from my computer of an overlay of the superdome and surround areas post Katrina -
I doubt FEMA or any other organisation has satellite software this good and its available to the general public for free!
Have you ever had a dream where you wanted to start a band, write some good songs, become famous and ultimately become rich beyond your wildest dreams. These two guys did -
Bhang Lassi, McElhone Street, Woolloomooloo, Sydney, ‘stralia, July 1st 2004
Bhang Lassi are going strong and have a fully operational web site and are playing at open mic. nights near you (Sydney based people only) so watch out for them and visit their website to here some of their stuff (it is actually really good). The website is http://www.bhanglassi.com and listen to their track Geezers and Breezers.
One of my favourite tracks that was under development before I left the great country that is ‘stralia was Lost Alone in California. I hope that is going to be on their website soon.
An excuse to leave the country! Not like I need one, but this was special trip for the marriage of Karine and Mark who were nice enough to stop by when I was in ‘stralia. The party was in a location called Nice which isn’t pronounced ‘nice’ but more like niece, just in case you didn’t know and it is in the South East of France on the Mediterranean.
I was a bit late on hotel booking so when I arrived at 22h00 my hotel was located a good 1km away from the beach. I walked into town and met up with Mark and some of his buddies for a quick drink in an Irish bar. I headed straight home after two pints as I had nothing to drink or eat since the flight and felt drunk already. Ed was supposed to be sharing the hotel room with me but his passport had expired and he didn’t realise!! So he did not make it which sucks!! The next day I woke up and had a walk around Nice, I walked to the top of a hill and took this photo looking down at Nice -
Blue Skies, Blue Water and Hot Weather
I actually felt a little bit down when I first looked at the sea. From a distance when you can see the sea on the horizon it would seem crazy that waves would not exist, but as you can see, surfing is not going to happen here -
Good for swimming though
I sat on the beach for a long time and did a lot of swimming as well as met up with a few of Karine and Mark’s relatives and then some people from work. I then walked the 1km back to my hotel got my stuff and the laptop that was to play the photography video of Karine and Mark’s holidays that they had asked me to do based on some of the videos they had watched at this very website. I got changed into my suit at a hotel near Le Castel, the location of the wedding because wearing it in the 28 degree heat and carrying a bag 1km was not going to happen!!!
Security at the reception was tight, there was security guards on the entrance, a man on the beach with a big black dog and two men in a fishing boat pretending to fish (they were definetly secret service).
A work colleague/boss seemed to have somehow got dragged into sorting out the A/V for the wedding so it was funny to see Simon walking around holding phono/av leads, here he is checking the rig (not sure how much he was getting per hour for this) -
The reception was beautiful and the weather was fantastic, the best man’s speech by Kenji was excellent and very funny -
Best man’s speech with Nice backdrop
After Kenji and Arnould (Karine’s brother) speeches Karine and Mark exchanged rings and kissed to an applause and onlookers from above -
For dinner we all had to sit at tables that were named after locations of significance to Karine and Mark. The main tables were London, Sydney and Singapore and the other tables had different names. I was on table Exeter but some other tables were named Katoomba and Clovelly from Mark and Karine’s trip to Australia which was nice to see!! I was the only English person on my table so I had to hot up on my lingo fast. I only found this out at 16h00 the same day so time was not on my side. Fortunetly they all spoke English so I got to have some conversation with them!!
My french friends on the Exeter table
Later that night Karine and Mark cut their cake, which was the biggest wedding cake I’ve ever seen -
And so as the sun went down in Nice on Karine and Mark’s first day of marriage, I also headed back the 1km walk to my hotel and spent the next two days just laying in the sun and swimming in the waveless, ripless sea…..
The day comes to an end
What a cool Bank Holiday weekend, proof that you can have fun in this little country! I mean the bank holiday actually doesn’t make that much difference to me anyway as I don’t work Mondays anyway, but the weather was set to be perfect all weekend, and so it was. On the walk towards the tube I noticed the installation of the most complicated set of CCTV cameras over the road. It is a fact that the UK has more CCTV cameras than litter bins. These cameras look pretty scarey actually -
We headed towards Kensington to visit the London Science Museum. I had not been since the early days of high school. It had not changed that much, in fact it is a bit like a school inside. This time though I think I appreciated it a little bit more, especially the computer section which housed a modern day difference engine -
The difference engine was the first programmable computer, designed by British engineer Charles Babbage (who I learnt a lot about at University). What I did not expect to see in the science museum was a part of his actual brain -
After a hard day’s science we got something to eat and then went to a little bar which had an Egyptian/Turkish theme but more importantly did some great cocktails -
The next day we went for a walk down the river all the way to Parliament. It was a beautiful day for it and the southbank can be an entire days entertainment. Here is a nutter skater dude attempting some form of skateboard trick over the ledge, we watched him attempt it about 30 times and he didn’t make it on any of them, nice one for trying though..
The next day we headed down to Bournemouth as the sun was stilll shining. It was a good change to catch some rays. I met up with Marcus who is shortly moving to Australia to do some serious surfing. I didn’t take my surfboard to Bournemouth, just as well as nothing was going on but Marcus has a skim board which I’d never tried before. It was pretty scarey running and jumping on a moving object in a very shallow part of the water but I tried it anyway -
Marcus giving my directions for how to skim board
And here’s Marcus showing some expertise skim boarding skills…
We then ripped it up a bit more on skateboards …
Off to Nice this weekend for Karine et Mark’s wedding. I am looking forward to mingling with the French people again and using lines like “I believe it was Nicolas Chamfort that said “Vivre est une maladie dont le sommeil nous soulage toutes les 16 heures. C’est un palliatif. La mort est le remede.” It will get me kudos, I’m sure.