The year of the microadventure

I read quite a few blogs on all sorts of topics and they’re all inspiring in their own way. Whilst blog hopping one day I came across this chap. Now he seems to live the dream, endlessly adventuring and expeditioning, but one of his articles in particular captured me and it was this idea of the microadventure. For those of us not quite ready / willing / able to jack it all in and trot around the globe he puts forward an alternative. And I like it.
Here are some words of his...
  • This is the year of the microadventure: a whole year when, instead of exotic foreign adventures, I am committed to trying to encourage people to get outside, get out of their comfort zone, go somewhere they’ve never been, go on a microadventure. An adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective. You do not need to fly to the other side of the planet to do an expedition. You do not need to be an elite athlete, expertly trained, or rich to have an adventure. Adventure is only a state of mind.....Go somewhere you have never been before. Ride hard. Get wet, cold and muddy. Laugh with your mates. Then relax, aching and exhausted, having earned your beer. Use Your Weekend.

Ultimately he's just labelled something we try to do anyway, but I like having a word for it. I like pondering and planning the next microadventure. As much as I’d like to be a lady of leisure I have a typical 9-5 job, so I’m all for making the most out of non-work time, squeezing in before or after work surfs now we have the light, going away for long weekends or even day trips.
Which brings me to our own microadventure we had a couple of weeks ago. I can be accused of getting into a bit of a surf spot rut, I have my favourites and I‘d happily visit them every time we’re graced with some good surf. However, my mister has other ideas and loves to get me out of my comfort zone and into new waters.
 For that I thank him.

A couple of weeks ago we packed up the van and headed east. With a stop en route to what is now possibly my favourite café in Cornwall for a quick bite of breakfast we ended up on a beach that I’ve only visited once before. Surf looked nice and the sun was blazing, in we got. It was a bit of a challenge safely navigating the log through a punchy shoredump, but once out there were some nice new waves to be had. We followed a surf up with fish and chips AND ice cream, felt like a proper little getaway and all in less than 12 hours.


Money can't buy happiness...

.... but it can buy a new board and that’s pretty damn close.
For a long time I’ve lusted after a proper traditional Californian log but felt I could never quite justify the cost, so a couple of years ago I opted for the next best thing and got a great  local shaper to make me a board. It was a process I loved, researching all the detail of shape, width, volume, rail design and adjusting his templates he’d had since the 60s to suit. It was even more fun to get in the shaping room with him and get involved, marking up and cutting out the blank, planing, sanding etc, learning the whole process. The board was an absolute beauty, but for me it just didn’t quite surf right. I think the indicator was that every other surf I’d revert to my battered old 90s pintail, unimaginatively named sharky for the dodgy spray job on the underside. (It probably now would fit into that category of hipster ironic chic, but I’m no hipster).
So now that things have calmed down in other areas of my life and I find myself with a bit more time on my hands and summer round the corner I decided to take the plunge. Actually I hadn’t even really decided, I just started looking. I spent a long time weighing up which model but getting to my local surf shop and being able to get the boards out, see the shapes, get a good feel for them it became clear to me pretty quickly which was ‘the one’. I was a little nervous when I parted with the cash that again it wouldn’t quite surf how I anticipated, obviously there’s no try before you buy and with no friends surfing anything similar I didn’t have the option of borrowing one first. Fortunately having my husband’s little used Al Merrick to trade in softened the blow. But hey my thinking was the sooner I buy it the sooner I start enjoying. Job done, convinced myself in no time.

I was desperate to try it out. The Gods were smiling down on us, the next morning three of us had 2ft long clean empty waves to ourselves and the sun was shining. I was happy to try it for the first time in smaller waves to get a good feel for it. It absolutely exceeded my expectations, I was surprised and pleased at how much speed it could get up just zipping down the line. Nice and stable for cross stepping but not too heavy for getting turns in. Absolutely stoked, a little love affair has begun.

Bring on summer.

The hundred year winter

It’s been a funny old winter to say the least. Not cold (yet) but still one of weather extremes. The repeated storms that have battered the country have been disastrous for many and I really do feel for everyone affected. Yet in the midst of howling winds, huge swells and spring tides there’s something so raw and untamed I can’t help but get a little bit excited, just to see how savage it really can get. 
I’m not alone. 
I can see by the throngs of cars pouring into coastal villages during these lashings, the rows of people lined up along the sea fronts and the one or two inevitable nutty wave dodgers, that it captivates all sorts of people.
I’ve seen waves breaking where I never thought possible, peeling right the way across the bay off Gul Rock, breaking not just on the stones by the lighthouse but even further out on some previously unknown reef.

The coast has changed, some say the beaches will never be quite the same again. Once sandy beaches have turned into pebble beaches, sea walls and harbours have not just been damaged but obliterated, cliffs stand where once there were sand dunes, petrified forests covered for the last 5000 years have been exposed and so it goes on. 

When the sun is shining and the sea is calm, it's hard to imagine the sea generating the power to move hefty blocks of granite, but the damage is very much in evidence.

It really has been an exciting, wet, windy, unforgettable winter but hopefully one not to be repeated any time soon.

Time for a change

Anyone looking for a new toy, this beaut is up for sale. Time to bid a fond farewell, she just doesn't get the use she deserves.

Leave a comment with your email address if you're interested.
Daughter The Movie Official Trailer from Nothingwillchange on Vimeo.

Featuring a couple of my favourites, still carving their own distinct path.

The crappest surf trip

For our big epic summer surf trip we filled a van with every water toy imaginable, longboards, shortboards, hand planes, fins, body boards, a beater, surf skis, paddleboard and headed to South West France.
The trip happened to coincide with the longest flat spell of the summer. Sod's law. Cue lots of sea swims. Still, lots of fun.
Never have I been so excited to see a foot of crumble as I was when we landed in Zarautz. A great little surf town in the Basque Region which I can imagine buzzes when there's a good swell running.
Til next year...

Could this be the end of the hiatus?

I wouldn't like to say. But I've had a preview of life as it was before the old schoolhouse took over. I've washed the plaster dust from my hair and paint from under my nails (mostly metaphorical, I was all about remote project management and hut-based internet procurement), but we're in, done and taking a short moment's respite. I never thought it'd be the best part of a year til I was back posting on here.
That early sniff of summer, that on days like today feel like they were imagined, got me all afroth for letting the good times roll again.
Highlights so far:

Seaton Huts

Post surf G & T with the Perran girlies

A paddle and a picnic up the coast

The Scarlet - mmm

A rare empty Fistral

I can NOT wait

I love British Sea Power, I love Port Eliot, I love summer, I love you all, I love everything (except may Wales and West Utilities for putting my gas pipe in the wrong place).

It's going to be a great Port Eliot this year. I can feel it.

Best shop

My attention has been directed to all things house related. Far from the point at which I should be buying household goodies but I just couldn't help myself. Spotted these a while back but they'd sold out, after a protracted wait for the remake and almost daily website checks, I got me one, yeah, woo.
Had to be the SF one, it'll bring back fond memories of the trip of a lifetime. Check out Best Made's eclectic mix of cool stuff here.

Just before the howling northerlies took hold

Time is a rather precious commodity at the moment. What with juggling a mental house build / renovation project and WCA waking up for the season (which means a 7-day work week for mon lucky mari), we don't get much quality time. Which is not to say I've not been making the most of last week's superb swell.  Just mostly with whatever stragglers I can get my hands on.  Happy to say boots and thermal rashie are a thing of the past.  I managed a solid two hours in stiff SErlys with just 3mm (albeit snuggly merino lined). Yay. But nothing beats a wave or two with Mr Green.

Anyway, a rare gap in a busy schedule spotted, we sped up to North Cornwall for the day. Got in just before the wind got up. Long lefts, it was splendid. Followed by breakfast baps, a spot of shopping, ice cream tucked in a sheltered spot on the beach, sat in my pants making the most of the sunshine like an emmit, nice cuppa on the headland, a stroll along the cliffs to notorious posh hangout and dinner with a cracking bunch of North Cornwall's finest.

I think, partly for their rarity, I treasure these days. It was one to remember.

I'm no skater...

but I like this.
Crazy Shit.  Thanks bro.

Radio Silence

My poor blog, feeling all ignored and unloved. Just dropping in to say hi, I haven't forgotten you.
Life has been manic.
Never one for an easy ride, just as the house gets sorted, we sell it and buy 'a project'.  As of last weekend I find myself living in a hut. No internet, no telly, no cooker, no shower, no fridge. Just me, my man and the aged family pet. The first night, swathed in my adult babygrow, under 13 tog goose down and numerous blankets I wake in the night to find I'm in a giant fridge. I've become a walking thermometer, I can tell without even opening my eyes in the morning if there's cloud cover or not, I can see my breath indoors. Life is chilly. 
It's glorified camping, not even that glorified really apart from a queen size French sleigh bed.  
Thank GOD summer is on it's way.
It's not as bad as it sounds, well actually it is, but in the long term will be worth the blood sweat and tears of what is an enormous renovation project. I feel like a bit of a vagabond, cooking on a camping stove, scrounging hot meals and showers as I go.
On the plus side, I'm at least seven minutes closer to my favourite beach, I now have somewhere safe to leave my car so boards can be left on the roof for minimal pre-dawnie faffing and one day I'm going to have a rad house to live in.  
I'm ashamed to say I haven't been in the water in over a month, so nothing exciting to report on that front,  endeavouring to get the rest of the cali trip on here soooon.

*Please note, picture is not of actual hut and is for illustrative purposes only, it's far grander than ours

Tell your friends.....

......tell your friend's friends.

Tomorrow 11am at Poldhu Cove, Mullion.

SAS have organised Motivocean, a beach clean with activity rewards. Free surf lesson afterwards for those that take part with West Cornwall Adventure. I know it's chilly but yes that's supposed to be an incentive, we have thick wetsuits!!

*Note to self, pack a thermos of hot chocolate for after.

It's gone cold again

After two weeks of milder weather but nearly non stop rain the clear skies were back.  I quickly forgot it's still January and how frosty the clear nights get.

Vintage Views

So after a manic 3 weeks to plan a wedding I had a further 3 weeks to sort the wedding party.  Easy.  It's been a busy time!
Rather than have a wedding book for guests to write messages in, I thought it'd be fun to gather a whole bunch of vintage seaside postcards for people to leave their messages on. Some were sweet, some were funny, so were wonderfully rude, but these two have to be my favourites... 

Only a few lateral thinkers opted for the front rather than the back.

The Grafter

Love this picture. The sander at Michel's factory has been a busy chap.

Bon oeuf

So, obviously a new board goes hand in hand with a trip to Cali! 
Top of my list would've been a nice traditional log but what with baggage allowances and travelling around, plus my new longboard at the start of the summer, for once I decided to be a bit practical. I've been after a shorter fun-board type thing since having a go on my friend's Nineplus Magic Carpet a few times. 
However, getting a new board on the west coast is a full kid in a candy store kind of thing, there's just sooo much good stuff out there. 
Where to start? 
I had to consider Geography, I wanted to be picking up my board early on, no point not having it for the whole trip.  So, with a bit of advice from fellow blog buddies, I gave Michel Junod a shout. Tucked away in that funky little town and with a reputation that preceeds him, he was an easy choice.
Michel was great to deal with, really friendly guy. He took some time to chin wag, gave us a tour of his workshops and seemed entertained by our vocabulary. Top chap.
It's a 6'10" single fin egg and stripey, of course.

Santa Cruzin'

Next stop of the trip, via a Half Moon Bay that was so foggy you couldn't see your hand in front of your face - let alone the possibility of the sea, was Santa Cruz.

A brilliant place, it's got that shabby, slightly neglected sea-side town feel, so reminiscent of many places back here, that just gives it a certain character rather than the twee cuteness of towns like Santa Barbara. I loved it.
So first day, we check out Steamer Lane, it was looking nice in the morning, glassy, shoulder-high, but with no boards, again we could only watch.
My bro, soon to be heading back to Canada was insistent he get in for a surf with us. The wind had got up a bit and there wasn't a chance I was going to attempt to ingratiate myself with the locals on a ten foot turd of epoxy at the lane, so the Bics at Cowells it was to be. This place, at the time mere knee high, was party wave central. Drop ins and straight-handers were order of the day, with no hard feelings and plenty of smiles. If you were lucky enough to score one to yourself though, unbelievably long rides. I imagine on a bigger day it'd be log heaven.

My boy, he married me in tweed.

True English gent.
26º blazing sunshine in thick wool. Mmm. Toastie.

Wedding in SF was nearly as exciting as what came next...

If you're going to....

Deco tram
Painted ladies
Small wave coming in at Fort Point, bit slack but good to see a few old boys out having fun. We had no boards at this point so we could only watch

Music to my ears

Off to Falmouth to enjoy some beautiful melodies by this lovely duo...take three.

Can't wait. Anyone else coming for a spot of musica and stogs?

Remember me Eddie?

Hello....anyone out there?!
Oh dear neglected blog, I've missed you some.
I did think about you now and again, look what I found...

Just returned from three weeks in California and a rather fun time was had by all. I'm now chubby, poor and married. Chubby, a result of ridiculously good but hideously bad American food, not wedded contentment, not quite yet! Poor as I'm the proud owner of a beautiful little egg crafted by top chap Michel Junod and married, well, cos Greener asked me!

So, back to reality with a resounding bump and into the thick of winter. I swear Autumn had only just kicked off when we left. Snow in November? Whatever next?!
Ho hum, the novelty hasn't worn off yet....but then I've not been in the water yet.
I'm going to spend the next few entries recounting our travels. We didn't get the best run of swell by any means (no surprise there), so these entries won't be all surf related I'm afraid.

Going broke for stoke

Dearest blog buddies, I have some business to attend to stateside, concerning one Mr Green, SF city hall, an RV, an egg of sorts, a cruise down the coast, some nutters in Santa Barbara, a night in the Bellagio and a helicopter, amongst other things.

I'm signing off for three weeks.

Miss y'all already.

From the girl they call Wheardo.


There's something about...

                                                                                  ......Nautical charts.
Ever since I was taught to navigate properly on a course up at Lifeboat College I've had a bit of a thing for them.  The detail is fascinating, especially how the coastline has changed between older and recent editions in urban areas. I've been letting the creative juices flow making some invites over the past couple of weeks and couldn't resist incorporating them somehow. 
You never know they might even come in handy for discovering potential surf spots.

This looks cool...

I miss it by 1 day.

The golden years

Now and again I get a bit nostalgic.
Nostalgia for times that are long gone, they could never be revisited or recreated and feel the same. I don't do insightful posts, this is about as close as it's going to get.
Life's all about balance, doing the things you love but also taking responsibilty for yourself and family. Getting on a bit I sometimes I wonder if I tried to be sensible too fast...'proper job', house etc, not that I regret any of these things, but they do force you to be a little bit more grown up, maybe I should've prolonged it for just a few more years!  Gone are the times of  half the year in Aus, summers in the red and yellows working on the beach with friends, surfing at work all in the name of 'training' and generally not having a care in the world. Stress was the odd exam at uni, steady on now.
In reality I'm really not that far removed from it all, (I thank God I'm not holed up in London slaving it out for the man), it's just now and again, today for example, I long to be shipping out carefree for the winter.  It must be that shitty grey day, howling wind and the looming end of BST that's got me mulling. That and the fact that some of my little flock of friends are readying themselves for the winter migration south.

Gonna wash my bones in the Atlantic shores

Sometimes, especially when I haven't surfed for a week or two, and I arrive at the beach to be presented with absolute glassy perfection, I literally shake with anticipation. With limited light left in the evenings, it's a mad scrabble to get changed and into the water, heart pounding away wildly at the thought of those long clean rides.
Is that just me being a little strange?

Vans, but not as you know them

I wrote a little while ago on a collaboration Vans had done with Stussy on an exclusive limited edition  girl's shoe 'the Bailie'. 
Now for those of you that know me, it comes as no surprise I became a little frothy on getting me a pair.
I kept my eye out for what seemed liked weeks and weeks. By the time I twigged they were on sale most places were sold out and the one shop that had them was charging $80 for international shipping, that's $20 more that the cost of the shoe. Sod that.
It seemed that they were only available in the states and with only 2000 pairs made they weren't hanging around. 
However, perseverance paid off.  
Hollered at my good buddy in sunny SB who happily hooked me up, and hey presto!
Now I'm more of a Vans Classic kind of girl but there was something quite appealing about these broguesque leather beauties with subtle Stussy logos in the puncture work. Sweet.

White Shires

The swell forecast had me frothing at my desk all day.  As the day wore on reports were rolling in of building swell, some epic waves, bigger and better than expected. Southwesterly winds meant sheltered spots were the best bet, but the wind was light anyway.  By 5.00pm reports of over 50 in on the world's best known secret spot meant I was having reservations about the potential shit fight in the line up.  We headed a a bit further up the line.
As I looked down from the top of the dunes I could not believe my eyes, beautiful clean waves and only one guy in. 
Then a set rolled through, hmmm. 
Now I like a challenge but this required some gentle persuasion from Greenstick. Ok, fine. But I must admit I had butterflies as I was getting changed.
Paddling out, even the little ones had punch, waited a few out on the inside and during a lull paddled out to the middle bank. The side sweep was like a conveyor heading north.  Several rolls later and I was past the middle bank. Only the monster sets on the outer bank to navigate. From up top this looked achievable as the lulls looked long enough. 
A set reared up, oh fuck. I was so nearly there, my mantra kicked in 'don'tbreakdon'tbreakdon'tbreak.'
It broke.
Mega deep breath AND roll. Board instantly ripped out of my hands, got it back just in time to take the next one, even bigger, on the head, and washed back to the middle bank. Bollocks. Tugged back far enough that by the time that set had passed and I've paddled back to the furthest bank the next set has arrived. After several more roll, scrabble, paddle efforts and 20 minutes of solid paddling, I'm fucked. The final straw was climbing my leash back to the surface, water on the lung. So, tail between my legs, I make my way back to shore. Even copped a pounding trying to get a broken wave in on my belly it was just so damn big.
So lesson learnt...when it looks huge and there's no one in there's a reason for that.
Got to shore just in time to see my man take off on a bomb, looked like he wasn't going to make the drop, he was right at the top as it began feathering, next thing he's shooting across the face, it's double overhead+. 
Hoots from the beach, yeeewww! (with only a touch of envy).
So, not a productive surf session, wave count 0, but glad I tried.The third guy in couldn't get out back either, that made me feel better.  Success would've meant epic massive waves shared only with two others. 
Next time.
This does not do it justice - shitty iphone pic!

Some inspiration...

This will either inspire me or depress me.
I'm not hugely interested in surf competitions. Don't get me wrong, I love watching good surfing. I just prefer it when it's some impromptu dude in the lineup doing his own thing, but I think I'll make an exception this weekend. First time the European Longboard Tour has come to Cornwall and it promises some great talent.  Forecast is showing a fair bit of swell and favourable winds, should be a cracker.

Father ol' Man

The old man used to be a bit of a dude in his day.  Having a dig around in Gran's attic a while ago I came across these pics of dad, probably 1973ish, substantially skinnier and longer haired, building a surfboard for an A-level CDT project.  
I'm no surfboard historian but he was clearly influenced by board design of that era, narrow tail, the width in the front end of the board and altogether a lot more foam than modern shortboards, looks fun.