October 2006 found Derek, Francisco and I far into the Atlantic in the Azores. The conditions weren’t the easiest. The main beach on the north coast had huge rollers preventing us from paddling out:
So we sought shelter, finding a secret spot along the coast. Probably not a secret, just a half-hour hike down the cliff (and a killer post-surf climb back up). Derek made the most of the seclusion:
Overall I found it a strange island, often misted up, and away from the towns very rustic. On one tour we ran into these fellows:
Five years ago, April 2006, we were regularly heading to Croyde Bay to surf. Francisco, Trevor and I had just bought identical sized mini mals from Tunnel Vision in Newquay. Doug had his new bodyboards. Things change and we haven’t been to Croyde in a long while, and none of us have these boards any more. Trevor is back in the UK having been in Australia a few years, Francisco is in California and Doug is probably moving on in the summer. I was surprised to hear you can surf in Italy. Croyde was never really good for us, usually huge walls of white. It was only when we headed round to Putsborough that our surfing picked up. There’s talk today of a reunion session next month…
While staying in California three of us took a weekend surf trip down to Mexico. The first night we stayed in the crappiest campsite, a car park basically, just somewhere to sleep before heading further south:
We drove all the next morning in the intrepid VW. The sign says ‘What have you got to risk?’
After a crazy bumpy track we arrived at the crazy bumpy Campo 4 Casas hostel, right on the cliff over the surf spot:
We surfed that afternoon and next morning we headed back north, looking for a sweet spot:
With armed checkpoints:
We piled back over the border late on Sunday all Mexico’d up
Back to the yoga with a delicious Sivananda session first thing. That routine really ticks all the boxes for me. This morning I was really feeling the sickness of the last couple of weeks and breathing with it. I felt energised and relaxed through the day, even though health hasn’t fully returned. Spending an hour or more on the mat is different from any other activity. Changes happen, things are learnt, just by gently watching and stretching.
Surfer’s Path magazine is full of wonderful images. Here are a few from the March/April edition that just arrived, as two surfer friends come to Europe for a visit from California:
So I am missing posting a daily photo already, so I’m going to select one from iPhoto most days.
The first random photo is my very first surfboard, a Custard Point Mini Mal bought in 2002. Back then, Custard Point boards were made by hand in Newquay, but now, like many, are Made In China. I really liked the colours of this board, and it was a great size and shape for my introduction to surfing. I sold it when I moved back to Hampshire and thought I was quitting surfing. I don’t think you can ever quit surfing once you have enjoyed the thrill of a wave. I rode this mainly at Widemouth Bay, my old local spot.
“I desire therefore I am” would be more accurate than “I think therefore I am.”
Read an article with highlighted quotes from a Pilger-Assange interview:
And despite the pressure the website has been under, reports of trouble at WikiLeaks are greatly exaggerated, he claims.
“There is no ‘fall’. We have never published as much as we are now. WikiLeaks is now mirrored on more than 2,000 websites. I can’t keep track of the spin-off sites – those who are doing their own WikiLeaks . . . If something happens to me or to WikiLeaks, ‘insurance’ files will be released.”
The contents of these files are unknown, but, according to Assange, “They speak more of the same truth to power.” It is not just government that should be worried about the content of these files, however. “There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp,” he says.
The attempts by Washington to indict him should worry the mainstream press, he adds.
“I think what’s emerging in the mainstream media is the awareness that if I can be indicted, other journalists can, too,” Assange says. “Even the New York Times is worried. This used not to be the case. If a whistleblower was prosecuted, publishers and reporters were protected by the First Amendment, which journalists took for granted. That’s being lost.”
Read an article about the late surfer Andy Irons’ hectic life:
Whatever treatment Andy received, John Irons says it helped. “Did it change his life? Yes. He was amped to get back on the tour. He was refocused and ready to go.”
Kelly Slater recalls a conversation with Irons from around 2007. “A couple of years ago, he had an awakening in his life about things,” says Slater. “We had one real deep talk. He said how excited he was to be feeling everything—to be feeling his emotions and understanding them. For him, that was a new lease on his life.”
BUT IF IRONS WAS ON an uptick in 2007, it didn’t last. His erratic behavior returned in September 2008, when he went missing during a World Tour contest in France. He surfed badly in one heat and then failed to show up for the next. He finished the year 13th overall but decided not to compete in 2009. “We encouraged Andy to take a year off,” says Billabong’s Naude, “because he had lost the desire to be on the tour.”
Irons told friends that he’d almost been dropped by Billabong. According to Mike Reola, a friend and co-founder of the clothing company Lost, Irons said that “everyone at Billabong wanted me gone when I was off tour” and that “Paul Naude was the only one who fought for me.” Irons also told friends that he took a substantial pay cut.
His wife has blocked the release of the toxicology report for six months.
Back to work after a week in the Lake District. Wading through a thick inbox this morning, and this afternoon finishing off the last of the K/Bohm dialogues from 1975. This final conversation is about desire being the root of the self, and how we desire to be free of desire once we see the relentless problems it causes.
The introduction of the shoulder stand on day 13 of the 28-day yoga course. Put a shoulder stand in a yoga sequence and it will change everything. A very subtle yet powerful effect. I look forward to practising more. I’m coming back to full health now.
C found a place to live in Alresford, looks like. It’s sharing, but with someone who is working in London weekdays. We enjoyed a snooping session on Google Maps, looking for the house numbers on dustbins, ahead of a real visit on Saturday.
The WordPress postaday2011 topic for today is: What are you looking forward to this year?
- a bit of surfing
- a lot of yoga
- some long walks
- reorganising the flat
- a new bathroom
- healthy health
- My brother’s wedding
Just a few days after the death of former rival Andy Irons. I’m not really big on the competitive aspect of surfing but ten world titles is really something. Emotional video from TV:
Peer deeply into the pristine ocean and you will see it is murky and grey. Waft aside the plastic bags floating past at Paradise Cove, wade into the ocean at Surfrider Beach, and you may glimpse traces of the matter that has gripped the coastal community: the effluent of the affluent.
At Broad Beach, whose beachfront homes have housed the likes of Redford, Spielberg, De Niro, DeVito and Stallone, workers struggle to erect a barrier to stop the might of the Pacific Ocean carrying off the contents of their septic tanks. For in the twin capital of detox and Botox, whose inhabitants are so removed from humanity’s grubby charm as to represent a distinct life form, one bodily function remains to be conquered: defecation.