May 31st, 2007

This morning Marcus and I went to Google Develper Day Sydney (although we made it into Google Developer Morning due to work) for Google’s first ever developer conference, which is taking place all around the world with Sydney being the first (for timezone reasons).

The presenters we saw were Aaron Boodman (inventor of GreaseMonkey) and James Macgill talking about Google Gears and Mapplets respectively. This was really interesting as they were both new offerings.

The highlight for me was James Macgill talking about Google Maps and then bringing up a slide with Global Surfari in it! I am sure a royalty cheque is in the post –


GlobalSurfari.com Slide at Google Developer Day 07 Sydney



Slide with James talking

That was nice as they were talking about the lack of Australian content for maps and gadgets etc…

Would have liked to stay for the rest of the day but too busy right now :(

January 16th, 2007

Yami and Andres have arrived from Buenos Aires the other day and they have been very lucky to be blessed with beautiful sunny trip. To celebrate their arrival we had a true blue ‘stralian BBQ –


BBQ!!

They gave Amy a lovely Mate pot a bombilla and some Mate herbs to drink out of it. Andres designed me a GlobalSurfari t-shirt which I can wear around town and hopefully grew my Australian hits! Thanks!!


Amy taking a photo of the GlobalSurfari.Com T-shirt

We went down to the beach at the weekend which was probably the best conditions I’ve ever seen on Manly beach ever. There was no wind and very small waves, making for a very enjoyable beach day.

We went back again a bit later so I could have a quick surf (as small waves are my favourite at the moment), Andres took some great photos –


Amy and Yami on Manly Beach

I had a very quick surf as the water was so clear that you could see the bottom very easily I saw a sting ray go past me in the water which was a bit freaky.


Back on it!

We headed to the Bavarian cafe in the evening which was a nice end to the weekend and the arrival of the Argentinian contingency!


Andres and Yami at the Bavarian

Thanks to Andres for all the photos which he has taken with his cool new camera!

June 27th, 2006

Still only half way to saving up to buy a digital camera, so I am relying on others to supply me pictures or take them with my big camera whenever I take it out. So it’s with thanks to Nancy and Marcus that half of these pictures are on here (they are also reflected on Marcus’ site).

I took my big camera up to Brisbane weekend before last as we went up to see Amy’s sisters little baby, Cooper. A smaller version of Mr. Felix. However, when I got there I must have left it switched on in its case as the battery was flat! Which was a shame as I got no pictures of Coops and I also went on a ride down the Brisbane river in Amy’s other sisters fiancee Wade-o’s boat which was good fun.

Last week was a bit mental with fog coming in over the harbour to prevent the ferry for leaving. A the same time a car had not puts its hand brake on properly and was left half way across the road after rolling down a side street –


Nice Parking

At the weekend Global Surfari was putting the surf report at around 2ft and sunny (as it has a new weather feed) with low winds, so it was a good chance to get out there! Although it has been more than three months since I did my injury my shoulder has only recently gone back to feeling how it used to before I dislocated it. Last surf was a bit of a right off because it was hurting too much. This surf I felt much better but now I think I have more of a psychological battle to get over than an injury one as I was afraid to really catch anything, even though I’ve been thrown around by big waves before. Next session (which will hopefully be this weekend) I am going out on my trusty dahlberg as I am more confident with that although my arm power for wave catching has dropped loads I’ll hopefully work that back in before the summer. Jon from work also came down for a little surf which was great.


Marcus, Jon and myself at Manly Beach

That night we went to Greater Union cinemas to see Da Vinci Code in “Gold Class” – a special cinema with about 30 seats and luxury recliners which have electric buttons to make them into beds. We all wore standard day time clothes to the cinema, but when we got there people were dressed in their best clothes and drank sparkling wine from champagne glasses, we felt like commoners! As for the movie, it is ok if you’ve read the book, good to see all the places mentioned in the book and the merging of times when they were in London was brilliant (which you’d understand if you have seen the film).


Amy, Simone, Nancy, Stu, Marcus and myself at Bondi Junction

Honolulu Hawaii, USA born actress Nicole Kidman and Whangarei, New Zealand born country singer Keith Urban got married in our home town Manly, Australia on Saturday. Amy has had an illness for the past four days which meant she couldn’t really leave home, so it was a surprise to see her running around the flat in excitement when five helicopters starting circling near to our flat for the start of the wedding. After I told her we could not go out in the car and drive up there because she was in her pyjamas she did this –


Amy having a tantrum

After the tantrum was over I finally conceded and drove up to St. Patricks Estate, a 2 minute drive from us. We got out the car and walked to the entrance of the estate where a crowd had gathered. One minute later and Nicole was driving past, Amy, still in pyjamas ran up to the side of the car and took a photo. I did not take my camera as I didn’t want to look like paparazzi but I hope Amy’s picture comes out well. She has one of those old fashioned cameras which you have to take to a shop to get developed, so I’ll put that on the blog when the time comes around or Amy might even put it on hers as she is yet to make an entry!


St. Patricks – Nicole’s Wedding Venue – Manly

The picture above was taken by Nancy from their balcony, a great place to spy on the wedding. Well that is it for now except for a quick Happy Birthday to Andres who is the grand old age of 25!

January 3rd, 2006

Happy New Year! Thanks for all the emails, Matt D. your one was especially good, very detailed!!

It feels like this is the first time I’ve sat down at home for about three weeks but I think that is actually the case! Just before Christmas kicked off we went down to Tower of London ice rink for a little ice skate around! I’m not very good at ice skating but it was still good fun and I did not fall over once! I even managed to get off the edge of the rink and go around in the middle, sometimes at speeds. My skates were the standard ones you get from the hire place so I blame them for not being as agile as I could be (like you would).


Tower Skate

I worked over the Christmas period to make up for holiday days needed for the trip to ‘stralia so I made a trip up to my parents house for Christmas where we had a night out with the boys down town, it was good to see them all as usual and a good night out, especially with Gin having to juggle time between all of his disparate group of friends that he hangs out with!


Kim, Ian, Anders in One Elm, S-U-A

Christmas was great and I got all the presents I could ever have wanted, including, money to spend on events, subscription to Carve magazine, Sniper game for the XBOX, Surf Mug, Surf DVD, Surfing Towel you name it! It even snowed a couple of days after Christmas day –


A light covering of Snow at Christmas

New Year’s Eve was spent in London and was fairly quiet, mostly because the next day was ‘big sunday’ or so it seemed. We went out to Tower Bridge at midnight but were not able to see the fantastic firework display that was going off just around the meander of the river! The tube strikes on NYE meant we had to walk from Waterloo to my flat which is no short distance! I managed to snap some nice Thames shots on the way though –


St. Pauls NYE

The next day we took the drive down to the SE Coast, Boscombe to be precise at the surf forecast was “3ft glassy conditions” – the three magic words for winter surfing for me. It’s a good 1.5 hours drive to Boscombe on a good day (New Years Day has no traffic in London) so unfortunately it appeared I had missed the best of the morning incoming tide. However I did get out there and attempt some of the waves, but it is amazing how quick the cold gets to you and the weight of the 5.3mm wetsuit really takes the energy out of you, so not much surfed, however, a good reason to get a new board!! Wooo!!


A good day!

Every now and then a great wave would come through that would break left right by the shed in the distance, however, these were very few and far between and the English channel doesn’t seem to have any understanding of the phrase ‘set’ as a good wave would come and that would be it for 10 minutes!!!

December 14th, 2005

Moustache Magnus was in town from Sweden (here, here, here, here, here, here, here and finally here) pretty much a year to the day that I last saw him on a nice sunny day in Sydney airport as he flew back to Sweden via Thailand.

Magnus arrived late on Friday night and I was pretty much still in tired phase from the work Christmas party the night before, so no partying that night just a little chat in the flat and off to sleep for an early start the next night to go and visit Vic and Mica, our friends from Australia who were currently living in Brighton!

Vic didn’t finish work until 16h00 so we had the morning to kill looking around the shops. Brighton has small pretty cool little back street shops which have pretty good shopping. Up there with some of the London shopping, Magnus particularly liked it for its cheap retro clothes that must be all the fashion in Sweden.

We finally met up with Vic and Mica in a random Brighton bar for a couple of drinks, we then continued onto a Chinese “all you can eat” place which included ice cream, it was superb! (Apart from the long drive back to London on a full stomach straight after!!)


Vic, Mica, Magnus, Me

You might not of heard but London was nearly under a big black cloud for most of the weekend ‘toxic cloud to reach London by Saturday’ read some of the papers. It was pretty scarey as you can see from this picture –


Foggy London for real

We didn’t let it stop us. The next day we did a shopping tour of London, starting off in Camden and then making our way down to Neal Street in Covent Garden and then finally ending up on Regent Street to see the Christmas lights this year. They are the best I think I’ve seen and the corporate sponsorship was to a minimum –


Guess the sponsor

In Woolloomooloo, the locals there are always banging on about this ale called ‘Coopers’. Day in day out, Coopers, Coopers, Coopers, that is all you would hear. They drank so much of it you couldn’t go into a room without seeing an empty long neck or some bottle caps with the logo on. One of Woolloomooloo’s oldest tales was Coopers was not available in UK, as it was a ‘stralian ale and so was meant to stay in ‘stralia. Here is Magnus happily purchasing as much Coopers as he could buy to take back on the plane to Sweden from my local Quickie Mart, here in London, England –


Coopers! In London!! In a corner shop!! Not possible!!

That night we headed up to Shoreditch and had a few beers (pretty dead but it was Sunday) and also had some food at Macondo after a huge luncheon meal at All Bar One, so the night drew to a close and we were ready for the final full day in London for some tourist stuff.

We actually went inside the City Hall here in London, which I did not think you were allowed to do. You can only go to the second floor but it was still pretty cool to have a look around at the insane spiral walkway that run through the centre of the building, we then headed to Tate Modern to see some messed up art, including this giant sugarcube maze –


Sugar Cube Maze @ Tate Modern

We then headed to the National Gallery and saw some cool photographs in an exhibition called ‘Living in Hell and Other Stories‘ which was basically modern photographs inspired by old masters.

What would be a weekend in London without finishing up in a Knightsbridge Jazz Club? After pulling some strings with some Jazz contacts we managed to get tickets for Curtis Stigers at Pizza on the Park. I liked the music, I almost went into a Jazz trance a few times whilst listening to the times Curtis was banging out. They were all instrumental legends –


Curtis Jazz Trance

Sadly Magnus had to go back to Sweden, but a trip to Sweden myself has been pencilled in for next summer, providing Magnus passes his driving test! A great weekend and sad to have to wave goodbye to my surfing buddy again! The End.

An ancedote. I am forever reminded by ‘old’ people when you are young to ‘enjoy it whilst it last because life goes fast when you get older’ or something along those lines.

The reality is that time goes pretty much constant for everyone (apart from Matt the Pilot – see Twin Paradox).

However, it does not explain why when I was young I seem to remember having to wait what seemed like an eternity for the next morning to come along so I could eat another one of the advent calendar chocolates. Now, I find myself having to catch up with my chocolate advent calendar by a few days everytime I go to open another one of the doors! So it must be true, time does go faster when you get a bit older.

And finally, on a technical note, fans of Google Personal Homepage who also like to go surfing will be pleased to know they can now have Global Surfari World Forecasts DIRECT to their personalised page via Google’s new Google Homepage API!! Click ‘add content’, ‘custom section’ and then paste in http://globalsurfari.com/gs.xml to get the Global Surfari Module on the personalised page. It will look something like this –

I am in the process of making a video of the weekend, but I currently have the worse cold ever (that or some form of swimming pool disease from swimming in 30 degree water then walking home in 6 degree British winter).

December 5th, 2005

Matts words not mine. Matt was here again on a stop off from Bangkok and about to fly back over to Sydney via Singapore. It was also his birthday so we all headed up to Shoreditch for a couple of drinks in Hoxton square and something to eat at Macondo. I had a strawberry cheesecake shooter to start off the night with which was a mistake and I knew we were going for a hardcore winter surf session on the SE coast the next day!

I woke up with a hangover as expected, tapas really doesn’t soak up alcohol. Matt came round and we headed on the 100 mile drive to Boscombe, which is a pier very close to Bournemouth ‘a carbon copy with no crowds’ (Storm Rider Guide).

I was very suspicious that we would find a wave, but Matt was talking airplane speak and said the pressure was down to 990mbar so there was a possibility of a wave. To my surprise when we got there, there was something rideable and only about 3 people out (all aged around 11) so it was on, all we had to do was get the wetsuits on, which is no easy task when the temperature outside is 0 to 6C. Fizzer was nice enough to lend us his board and wetsuit so we had all the equipment. His board is 7’2 shortboard style shape and was perfect for the conditions. Mine is a bit too short for 1.5ft waves plus the strength snap from the freezing cold waters and weight and moveability of the wetsuits makes it a problem! Although I did get a few the rides were rubbish compared to Fizzer’s board. I am going to get one.


Ready to go in!

I didn’t wear my hood as the wind was not blowing, I duck dived a wave on the way out and when the water hit me it was like putting your head into a bucket of ice! Woo!! Hangover gone!! You got a bit of a headache for a few seconds when the water hits you from the dilation of blood vessels in the brain but after that it’s fine. The waves were all right handers which I am not as strong on as I am goofy footed but it was still a cool session, we were out for about three hours I estimate.


Matt ‘better than maroubra’ Happy

So this was my first SE Coast surf trip and it was pretty cool (and cold)!! We got some fast food afterwards as we were starving and began the 100 mile journey back to London!! A nice trip and some positive feedback from one of Maroubra’s finest surfers.

You can see fullscreen unedited pictures from the trip here.

Can’t wait for the next trip, need more fitness though, working makes you weak!!

October 25th, 2005

And it will only get colder from here on in. The Global Surfari Surf Report was putting out 3ft waves with hardly any wind but short periods for the weekend. So it was with a 50/50 decision that we headed to the Welsh capital of Cardiff for an extended surf weekend where Davey was kind enough to put us up at his house.

As it is the end of October, the water is now beginning to cool down to a lovely 13.5C so I also got to buy a new wetsuit! I got the same one as Fizzer (but in a different colour) the Ripcurl Ultimate Fireskin 5mm, some booties, billabong gloves and a hoodie which I can choose to wear and not to wear depending upon my bravado.

We drove to Rhossili Bay late in the afternoon to hit the waves in my new wetsuit, didn’t really catch much because it was getting too dark and I was getting used to my new wetsuit, managed to get some cool photos though –


Fizzer (right), me (left) Heading Out (late)

Surfing isn’t all fast paced and about getting smashed around by a violent angry ocean in sometimes freezing cold seas. You only have to look at the amazing scenery in this picture to see that. I am pretty sure it is more than just a sport, looking around at the ocean, sky and coastline from the sanctity of the line is very peaceful and meditating and maybe explains why closing my eyes after a surf session I can still see the waves on the insides of my eyelids. There’s a thousand surf DVDs you can buy that will tell you the same!

We stayed in for as long as the sun would allow us. I could tell it was time to come out when I got hit in the face by a wave that I could not actually see because it was too dark! We then had to find our way back to the cars without any lights whatsoever, but it was so nice and snug in the new suit that I didn’t mind.


Another cool shot

And to get a sense of temperature difference between England and Australia surfing I give you this comparison –


13.5 degree C water – South Wales, United Kingdom

vs.


24 degree C water – New South Wales, Australia

I know which one I prefer! Can you guess which?

The next day I decided the water was still far too warm for a 5mm so I went back to my trusty 3/2 and wore the hoodie for good measure. This was a big mistake, I got some real nice waves at the beginning of the session but then ended up just sitting out back trying to get the strength and heat back inside me to attempt to ride some more waves. Eventually I realised that I was too tired and too cold to catch any more waves and should have gone with the 5mm! Nevermind! Here is a picture of all of us with ‘Big Blue’ the special board –


Davey, Andy, Big Blue, me and Faiser Chief

We retired to the excellent Kings Head Hotel in Llangenith for drinks and then headed back to Davey’s house for an excellent spag bowl and watched surf DVDs and films before passing out after what was a fantastic but cold surf weekend on the Gower, Wales!

On the way book I took a little de-tour to check out Stonehenge, somewhere I had not seem before (that I can remember). It is funny because from the pictures it looks like it is in the middle of nowhere. When it is actually no more than 20 metres from a major road, which probably isn’t very kind to the site considering the stones were put there approximately 5000 years ago –


Cold, Windy and Wet Stonehenge

If you use Windows XP, click here for a much more summery version, courtesy of Microsoft.

Well that’s it! Off to North Yorkshire next weekend, there might be some surf in Cayton or Whitby, lets wait and see!!

September 19th, 2005

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 –


Duck!

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!