Friday, 26 December 2008


Having arrived on the East coast we made our way to see friends near Byron. Andrew has one of the most impressive surfboard quivers and I managed to convince hime to get them out for the obligatory quiver shot. Great fun.


Australia is a land of huge contrast.Despite the fact that central Australia is mainly arid ,red and spreads almost all the way to the coast,especially in Western Oz,the coast offers visitors almost everything they might want to see.Mountains,lakes,desert,coral reef...I could go on for hours.
One of the biggest contrasts however is surprisingly summer and winter surf.
I'm not as stupid as I look and I'm fully aware that winter is the best time for waves in WA,but like any normal country,even our own blessed Cornwall has waves all year round.When asking a lady when the last swell was she replied ''Two months ago'' .Shocked,I asked whether there was any expected soon ,to which she replied ''Nah,probably April.'' Well blow me down!Had a just embarked on the least successful surf trip of all time!?
Fortunately while the surf resembled Drift reservoir,we managed to find one of the world most impressive coral reefs at Coral Bay,some two days drive North of Perth.

The second half of the trip proved to be slightly more successful when we bumped into Jamie Pardoe in Margaret River.Small world.By the way,Jamie and Alice say hi.
It felt more like home in Margaret River while we stayed with Gene and Sonni Hardy who many may know.
Token Cornish gestures litter their house like a christmas card on the fridge from Chris Ryan and 'Mickey's corner' (Mickey Smith) that Sonni hopes wont be vacant for too much longer.
The first morning there I was woken up at 6 am by Jamie,we were off to Ellensbrook.For those that don't know it's home to some of Australia's sharpest reef,and heaviest waves.We head straight for 'THE WOMB',a heavy reef breaks flanked by two other breaks called 'Umbilicles' and 'Fallopeans'It was a solid 4ft but great fun and helped redeem my surfing expectations of Australia.
Yallingup offered class waves and all in all WA was pretty magic.It's become home to many Cornish whom we somehow met along the way.Unlilke the East Coast where most people associate England with having no waves,rain and wind....come on its not that bad!People in WA have eitehr lived or visited Cornwall and can appreciate where we are from.
Seasons greetings from down under.Make sure you do the Sennen Christmas swim!

Surfing Tokyo Subway

Arriving at Tokyo airport was possibly a sign of things to come, but nothing could have prepared me for Japan.Recently Japan has become known for its surf culture with articles in several National newspapers and brief but never the less - intentional remarks made in films such as "lost in translation" to its ever growing surf culture. Having never been here before, all I could do was absorb the streams of advice from friends and books and hope for the best.Tokyo is by no means the best representation of Japan and with little experience of rural Japan I find myself still making sense of this outrageous but phenomenal country.As far as a race, the people of Japan do tend to be trend followers. It is evident with so many people dressed in similar fashion or hoards of people making their way to English lessons after work.
It was, however, my intention to write this article having spent a little time on the East coast of Japan and having sampled the waves that so many people have told me about.
Unfortunately the four hour train journey from Tokyo was made in vain as when I arrived I witnessed the first flat spell for some weeks according to a local surfer. "I could have told you that", I remarked with a somewhat disgruntled girlfriend having made the journey with me. The industrial look to the beach in the prefecture outside Tokyo called Chiba, was not enough to deter business men from Tokyo as literally hundreds of them make the trip daily to catch a few waves before the sun sets. One surfer said there can be as many as five hundred surfers in the water, the beach is not a lot bigger than Godrevy.
This area is not known for it's clean water and subtropical surf, but the powerful swell pushed up from the Pacific can produce some world class waves.
On my return to Tokyo and after some advice from a few locals, I visited a surf shop near where I was staying that sold the most ridiculous array of surf gear. Better than most Cornish surf shop I struggle to understand why this place needed a shop so well stocked. From the standard Surftech that appears to have taken Japan by storm to some incredible custom made boards by Japanese shapers. I had also been told about the brilliant quality of Japanese wetsuits but even these surpassed my expectations. The two old Japanese men repairing a board wearing hats saying "I love surf" told the whole story.
Anyway I head for the southern islands tomorrow where warm tropical waters await and I am informed that the swell is on it's way.

Surfing Japan

During my travels I have tried to identify different cultures and the aspects that set them apart. My current trip is no different but this time the onus is on surfing.
Now not every country I plan to visit is surf mad. This has proved to be the most interesting part.
My last article saw me trapsing through central Japan after waves that I had only heard about. With little media coverage, especially in the Uk, I was simply going on local knowledge.
A 12 hour train journey from the city of Kyoto took me to a part of Japan where westerners are watched with the least amount of discretion. As my girlfriend and I walk from the small train station on one of the last seaside towns/fishing village in mainland Japan we may as well be from out of space.
Kaifu in the Shikoku prefecture is renowned for its quality surf. Despite its nationwide fame, Japanese locals still hug the coast of Tokyo (Chiba) due to its convenience and close proximity.
Told my many locals that "not many westerners make it here" I feel a little more adventourous for my exploration.
Kaifu turned out to be one of the highlights of Japan for me. With some of the warmest water I have ever surfed in and a good 3-4ft barrelling wave, I wasnt suprised to find the locals as heavy as they were. Before you catch anywaves in this part of Japan you are subjected to some verbal bashing - obviously in Japanese not to offend the victim. I just smiled and in my terrible Japanese asked them if they were having a good day?
To my suprise around the 12.00pm mark people left the surf and headed back to the beach. I surf was getting better and I made the most of the empty waves.
Towards the end of my time in Japan we visited the coast of Chiba for one night and stayed with Eugene Teal, Japans premier longboarder. To prove how small the world of surfing is, he asked me if the knew the likes of Sam Bleakley and Ben Skinner. Very strange.
Here I managed to get a clearer understanding of Japanese surf culture.
I have never seen such organised surfers. With surfboard stands behind their "surf vans", portable showers connected to their cigarette lighters and fresh water to clean their boards and leash when they finish their surf Japanese van life makes me feel as if we are behind the times!
Brand new four hundred pound wetsuits are all the rage for surfers from Tokyo and surftechs line the waters edge.
The cultural difference is more apparent when at 12.00pm a horn sounds followed by gentle "plinky plonky" music informing the entire town that it's time for lunch. As if by magic, the waters empty and I am left sitting alone with 1-2tf perfection.
Eugene informs me that all towns have their own theme tune and the next towns is reminisant of John Denvers "Take me home Country roads".
With Hong Kong my next stop I was eager to see the waves of Big Wave Bay. Very small when I arrived I could see the potential with youngsters lining the beach in a far more Western scene. I would urge surfers to stop by and check out the surf during your next stop over.
Having spent a week in China, where surfing doesnt exist in the Chinese Language I am assured that further south youngsters are taking to it like duck to water. Soon we will be competing with them on an International scale.

Monday, 8 December 2008


Hey everyone. I have been far far away and just recently had internet connection or at least enough to send photos home of the amazing places I have been and the spots I have surfed. I will post some stuff soon to keep anyone who is intersted up to date.