Look a little closer…

in-a-droplet

…and you may be surprised what you see.

You can read as many namby-pamby spiritualistic Dao-esque publications as you like, telling you to ‘live in the moment’ or ‘become one with you inner self’ but you’ll never reach enlightenment. You can ‘Om’ yourself into a state of nausea or stick crystals up your Chakras till the holy cows are mooing at the door and the path to Nirvana will still have a ‘sorry – we’re closed’ sign on it.

The answer is simple: A drop of summer rain on a plum leaf. Go on – look closer…

Click here and look at it really big. If you find this place the universe will unfold and light and life will combine to create sheer perfection.

If this doesn’t work then get really drunk on cheap lager and eat a large Doner Kebab with extra chillies.

I didn’t surf today.

(Maybe I bunked off and went for a sneaky one the other day. Then again – maybe I didn’t…)

The Mentalist…

baleal midday gazing

I can count the days I’ve spent surfing this year using the contents of my pants. This is not a good statistic.

Life has been bowling me along for months in a dusty cloud of cement and sawdust and surfing has been slipping deeper into my mind. So deep that somedays it becomes a strange daydream about a life I thought about once.

Luckily I have a friend who is a mentalist. Not a total nutter who is prone to bouts of certifiable insanity that teeters on the brink of social disorder (although on reflection he has the capability of all of this) but a controller of minds using nothing but his intellect and wisdom…

Phone rings…

DB: Hey Sharky (his pet name for me)

Me: Hey Dolphin Boy (likewise)

DB: Did you know that I’m clairvoyant and that I know what you’re doing tomorrow morning…

…enigmatic pause…

Me: Tiling the bathroom?

DB: Nope.

Me: Sanding the study ceiling?

DB: Nah.

Me: I give up.

DB: Going surfing with me at Cabadelo…

The spooky thing was… he was completely right. I did. And it was gooood….

I surfed today. Thank you kindly DB – I muchly needed that.

Better than real life…

the gecko

I’ve been looking at a lot of skateboards recently – the gorgeous Tango gave me the fantastic Whirling Dervish to stretch my learning curve on but I also wanted a board with a tail to replace my battered old shortboard – something a bit longer and wider (and slower to lower my skin graft to ride ratio). The ideal board looked like the Loaded Ceviche but at over £275 for a complete set up it seemed a tad on the dear side.

So I rummaged around in the loft, pulled out a few old floorboards, a pair of old disco skates and some slightly used chewing gum and threw ‘the Gekko’ together. It rolls. It turns. It does everything it’s supposed to. Very happy with it indeed…

So in my effort to overturn the current economic crisis I have decided to make more. It’s the obvious solution to a malaise that is sweeping the globe. Why sit indoors watching Susan Boyle on Youtube when you can charge down the nearest hill on a longboard and throw yourself into some tarmac?

In addition to the surfy/snowboardy emulator pictured above I shall be making a meranti/epoxy laminated flex carver and a downhill deck (website and prototypes available soonish).

Building skateboards might not make me a millionaire but it’s better than real life…

I didn’t surf today but I will be whirling my Dervish.

A tough choice…

penfold cantinho

It’s been a somewhat disheartening week in Surfugal. Five months out of the sea has left me very unfit – not so much physically (as the building site fun keeps my body parts vaguely functional) but more spiritually flaccid. When you are surfing you need to be bright and alert as large volumes of water are falling towards you but something has gone astray. My mojo has been slightly dented.

Four days went by. Paddling furiously at nothing or taking closeouts on the head. Being overwhelmed by the people jostling on the main peak rather than just getting stuck in and having my turn. Endless waves either passed me by or shoved me into the sand…

On wednesday evening, Tim (on a much earned break from Paddle4relief) dragged me out to the reef at Lagide. There were just a few people sitting out back with small head high sets coming through…

Again my mojo seemed to be absent, a few fumbled take offs and a couple on the head then eventually a wave lifted up off the reef and my board locked into it. The fear and trepidation of the last few days washed out of my body as my feet hit the deck and I raced down the face. A deep bottom turn and up up over the lip – as the sun dipped below the Peniche skyline and I paddled in there was finally a small smile on my face.

I was due back on Wednesday night – meetings with my solicitor and accountant were scheduled for the morning but the weather and swell were brewing for a perfect day of surf so I made the only sensible choice available for a man of my discerning years and went straight to the bar.

A wise choice was made – on thursday morning Tim and myself paddled out at Secrets on our own. Any surfer who has had a ‘classic’ session will know what happened that day. Beautiful sets of clean, peeling waves held open by a light offshore lifted perfectly again and again over the small reef strips. I relished in watching Tim slot his 9’2″ into several loverly barrels in between washing away the demons of the last few months on my own gorgeous waves…

I surfed on Thursday. Smiling yesterday. Still smiling today…

(more pics at flickr)

In the mist…

in the mist (molho leste)

…it’s been several weeks since I made it into the sea. My last visit to the Peniche peninsula was somewhat hampered by cranial mucous infestations so I was relegated to photographer on this obscenely offshore day at Molho Leste.

I miss surfing when I’m landlocked. I miss the connection with the sea. I miss the water on my body. I miss that magical moment when your board sweeps perfectly to the lip of the wave just as it’s pitching over and the power drives up through your legs and body and gets transferred into speed, movement and adrenalin. I even miss that moment when you push a rail too hard, your fins lose their grip  and the sea claims another wipeout victory…

I didn’t surf today – but I did think about it when the brain weevils weren’t eating my head too loudly…

Surf report Portugal…

baleal midday glare

…the first thing to report is the continued need for factor 50 on my (ever so slightly) follicle-free cranium, the water still only requires 3 millimetres of neoprene and most of the German plastic longboarders have vacated the line up.

Friday – the surf however has not been so pleasant – a howling north wind has left a lumpy, uneven swell pummelling the coast. Shelter has been available in Baleal bay but the small wave count has been somewhat of a bunfight – a high numpty to surfer ratio evened out the odds of catching some good waves but made for an interesting ride avoiding the swarm of flailing bodies and discarded boards…

Saturday – the gale is dying leaving a choppy windblown swell. We take refuge from the crowds and opt for rubbish waves at Bocaxica instead. Some large sets made it around the corner and made my day – big drops and lumpy faces. Skaty, uneven fun that took me to the beach several times…

Sunday  – a hangover the size of Birmingham procluded any type of surfing activity. I’m glad AD has only one birthday a year.

Monday – sunday’s hangover (now the size of a small family car) still looms. I’m getting too old for this shit…

I didn’t surf today.

Apparently Jesus was a surfer…

…the evidence is out there – you just have to look for it.

The long flowing locks and irreverant attitude…

The love of seafood and a drop of vinho tinto or two…

I’m thinking the whole Joseph/carpentry thing was slightly misleading – dovetails shmovetails – he was shaping custom longboards for the Galilee massive.

Don’t even get me started on the whole walking on water nonsense – he was quite obviously a noseriding genius.

I didn’t surf today. I was too busy building a lightning rod…