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Showing posts from January, 2014

Atkins family ties

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I didn't grow up in a family of surfers. My dad surfed when he was a teenager. Apparently he surfed quite well, but he gave it up. Now I think about it, I've never asked him why he gave it up, so that should be a conversation I aim to have in the near future. My mum spent loads of time on the beach throughout her life, but never really took to the waves.  My sisters and I grew up next to the beach but none of us took it up when we were young either. My youngest sister did for a while, but she never really committed. And this was despite spending hours of our lives out at the Maddog surf factory, where my mum worked in the office! We were around the beach and surfing all my childhood, but for some reason, it never caught any of us in its grasp. Too much ballet I suppose.

It took me until my mid-20s before I felt any interest in taking to the waves, which I then did with enthusiastic gusto! But surfing has remained my own, and it has never been an experience I've shared with…

Surfing. I love it.

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This summer I have surfed more than I have surfed in a really long time. And I've basically only surfed one break! Seriously, I haven't even checked anywhere else the entire time. Isn't that terrible? Well, it would be except the waves have been so incredible that it's hard to feel bad about it. The sand and swell and winds have been lining up to create long, clean, clear waves that break from the point all the way into the beach. And for some reason, things have been lining up for me, so that I catch a wave, paddle back out and then catch another and another and another. It feels as though something has lifted - a weight, a fog, a sadness, a darkness - that has opened me back up to this place and to surfing in a way that I have not felt for longer than I wish to admit. It has allowed things to come together in ways that I can't really explain here. I wish I had the words and the courage to explain it - maybe I'll try to find them sometime soon.

But for now, wa…

Carissa Moore is awesome.

One of the things that frustrates me about a number of the women on the World Championship Tour is that they promote themselves as female surfers without engaging in the politics of their choices beyond things like, 'We're beautiful women and we should be able to celebrate that' or 'We're promoting the sport and it's good for women's surfing'. What I mean is that while the women are happy to defend their choice to pose in a bikini, and to speak up about what they should be able to do, what they should be able to expect, and how we should celebrate their beauty, they avoid talking about the implication of their decisions for the image of women's surfing, as well as for other women who surf. Of course, there are some women on the Tour and in the qualifying series that speak about this stuff, and do so regularly. One excellent example is when 'Curl' magazine ran a great feature in 2012 called, 'Over Exposed', where they asked a number o…

'Kelly Says' (Episode 3)

These two women crack me up!

Here in Byron, going surfing no matter what is made simple by the warm water, soft waves, and easy access.

However, for Dannie MacClainne and Hannah Bristow, following the advice of Kelly Slater who says you should surf no matter what is made a bit more difficult when the setting is snowy, wintry, freezing cold Scotland. Their attitude that 'it's never too shite to paddle out!' is admirable and committed and fun to watch.

Memory etchings

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Yesterday was one of those memorable surfs. One that you know will stick in your mind, etched in your memory, warming your heart. The kind of surf that you feel coming, in the unexpected swell you find blown out by an on-shore wind in the morning, but which you know will be great if the speculated wind change actually happens. The kind of surf preceded by a flurry of texts between friends with the same sense of anticipation.

And so I spent the day with my fingers crossed, periodically driving the trip into town to see if I could catch that window before everyone else figured it out too.
In the end it came late in the afternoon. I got a message: