Tuesday, 4 September 2018

RIP GINCHY - Saturday 21st July 2018


I met Milky that morning as I was going out for a surf at Godrevy. He told me Paul had died in the early hours. It was a hammer blow. I was shocked, stunned and instantly conflicted - I really didn't feel like surfing but after to-ing and fro-ing on the shoreline for five minutes, I decided to paddle out anyway..

It was the worst surf I've ever had.

The worst because I was upset and distracted and overcome by grief. My mind was spinning with thoughts of Ginch. I swore, I sobbed, I shouted in frustration that he'd drawn his last breath while the rest of us could carry on living life. I was sad for Jenny and his daughters, all his family.

Maybe being in the surf was the best place for me to process this. On dry land I'd be a mess, pacing up and down, agitated and confused, not knowing what to do with myself. Being in the sea at Godrevy, on my board, was probably the best place I could have been. Every wave, every ride, every splash, every paddle-stroke was with Paul by my side.

I certainly couldn't call it a good session but it was the best I could do that day.

Monday, 30 July 2018


I need some positivity.

It feels like there are too many people happily losing the plot. Too many people gleefully embracing fear and hatred.

It's official - ignorance is bliss.

And personally, there's way too much pain & sadness happening... Friends losing their minds, friends ending their relationships, friends sinking into depression, friends dying! Friends of mine actually fucking dying!

Light and shade, good and bad, up and down. Can't have one without the other, as simple as night and day.

I know that.

I also know it's facile to draw an analogy between the harsh realities of life & death with something as pointless and selfish as surfing. But it helps me process this stuff.

At the moment I'm fed up with being caught inside, continually hammered by the sets, tumbled in the whitewater, not knowing which way is up or down. I can't wait to be out the back again, catching the wave of the day, gliding and sliding with a big smile on my face.

And getting through all this shit is just another mid-tide crisis.

Sunday, 20 May 2018


Having ridden the same 9" squirrel tail fin in my longboard for over 10 years I felt it was about time for a change.

Lately I've been surfing a lot with my 17yr old son, who has a very clear idea of the kind of surfing he wants to do. He is all about the trad style with a mix of old school colouring and a layer of youthful flair.

Watching him surf has inspired me to start thinking again about what I do on a wave. The squirrel tail is a very good allrounder - quick to turn, decent drive and enough rudder to hold a noseride if you're nimble and the wave is 'just right'. But it felt like my surfing was a little stagnant and this in turn pushed me to pop out the old squirrel tail and slot in a 10" Josh Farberow Flex by Trueames.

Wow, everything changed instantly. It feels like my 13 year old log is brand new. It rides so differently. Grippy and solid for cross-steps, yet still enough flex to squirt some drive when the wave jacks up and a quick redirect is required.

It's all about the fin!

Sunday, 4 March 2018


I started skating in '76, surfing in '79. And even though the two were supposed to be closely related, it was crystal clear to me where the real style was...

80s surfers Japan (Don't ever call me a surfer.)
80s pro surfers, Niijima island, Japan. Pic: Tom Carroll

Click pic for way too much detail...

Monday, 8 January 2018


Buzzing with ideas this year..

penhale - chapel porth
Retro-ish typography for your local spot - why not?

porthtowan to the bluff

You can see some similar stuff here.

Monday, 1 January 2018


Gonna be revealing some nice stuff this year..

Coming soon...

Sunday, 3 December 2017


A bluey-green theme with this batch..

Cealan in the Blue Room - ready to start shaping...

Number 81 (but that '8' looks upsidedown to me ...)

Early-morning Chip Shop mist

Clifton Lido
The amazing Clifton Lido

Northcliffs cornwall
Beloved North Cliffs

Modernist Stepset

New blue Treads

Sunday, 1 October 2017


How can we tell what is true? - According to information theorists if there is more than one person involved in an event then certainty can no longer be guaranteed. That's right, anything that involves two or more humans can be interpreted, remembered and recorded in totally different ways. There truly are two sides to every story. But what happens when one person persists in re-telling every story with themselves cast as the central character, maintaining that only their viewpoint can be the truth?

Easy to be a fool - choose either to believe what isn't true or refuse to believe what is true. (Kierkegaard)

It is the peculiar quality of a fool - to perceive the faults of others and forget his own. (Cicero)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017



no bugles!
No bugling!

steel pines
Piney stars

road sign

Rusty junk door

mountain path
Mountain path

long way down
Long way down

tiny trees
Tiny piney trees

mountain meadow
Mountain meadow

woody envy
Woodpile envy

plaza local
La Plaza

blue green mountain lake
Mountain lake

Thursday, 3 August 2017


Nasty taste in the mouth after tonight's surf - It had nothing to do with the water quality but a lot to do with self-entitlement and arrogance. Lately I'm noticing an ugly increase in obnoxious attitudes at certain beaches here in Cornwall. And it's always the more affluent locations that display this shitty, self-congratulatory, exclusive, smug behaviour. It really sucks.

Kook - a state of mind, nothing to do with ability (see above).

Kindness - “My religion is very simple. This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. My religion is kindness” - Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Sunday, 25 June 2017


Hope I die before I get old - Nobody likes getting older. It's a slow fade and the length of the dissolve is relative to how brightly you burn before you turn 33 (the age Jesus died).

Music - After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. Aldous Huxley

Words - Give thanks for the dreamers and writers, without books life would be so, so different.

New wave - Every wave I've ever ridden has been different, yet my surfboard has remained unchanged for about 10 years. Might be time ...

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


I am TOTALLY down with this - every couple of weeks I stop by, and do some literary swapping..

local book exchange in phone box

local telephone/book exchange
Local neighbourhood library

Tuesday, 28 March 2017



Local library


Something old..

Something new...

Hidden hut

Tanked up


Thursday, 9 February 2017


Teenagers - I love hearing my kids laugh. They're sixteen, and they do a lot of laughing and having fun, that's what teenagers are really good at; having fun.

Bendy - Started doing some yoga - Like anything worth doing, it ain't easy, but God it feels so good! It's how I imagine getting into Jazz must be - the more you listen the more you realise there's a hell of a lot more going on...

Turning Japanese - I've got a deep, deep hankering to visit Japan. A good friend lives on Okinawa, so I'm putting pennies in a jar with the aim of getting over there someday.

Swimming upstream - It feels vital to follow the advice of Bernice King (Daughter of Martin Luther King) which can be summed up as "Don't engage in hate - be positive; anger and fear is the soil from which darkness will grow"

Friday, 14 October 2016


Good friend Johnny Stingray has lent us a Fender Telecaster for the darkening nights.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


Been thinking about family lines a bit lately...

My paternal Grandfather - Always wore a suit, nearly always with a bow-tie (unless he was just staying indoors for the afternoon, in which case he'd forgo the bow). He didn't like shaving so carried a modified bulldog clip and would pluck out his whiskers at spare moments throughout the day.

My paternal Grandmother - She would swear at us kids in Swahili when we got on her nerves.

My paternal Grandfather - He used to write to me in Morse Code - long hand-written pages of dots and dashes. It takes dozens of pages to write a letter in Morse. -... . .-.. .. . ...- . / -- .

My maternal Grandmother - She would always correct my pronunciation.
"Not 'Yeah"... the word is pronounced 'YESsss!".
But she still had baked beans in her cupboard from about 1950 so I didn't take her that seriously.

My maternal Grandfather - A brown Rover 3500 was his pride and joy - if we were good he'd let us sit in the front, at all other times we were strictly backseat citizens.

Thursday, 15 September 2016



wet hangs
Family hang

Kynance sparkle


Big sky

Saturday, 3 September 2016

GOIN' LEFT - the story of a wave

..go very left.

Me and Stu went for an early one - it was a decent sized swell, coupled with very strong southerly winds. Which left us with only a couple of sheltered options. We scoped a spot and decided to go for it.

The paddle out was the usual Cornish-beachy-at-size slog, and there was a sweeping rip to the north, so any loitering in the line-up resulted in a drift up the beach requiring another head-down, salty-eyed paddle against the wind to get back in position.

The waves were overhead, but it soon became apparent that only one or two waves in each set were actually peaking & peeling while the rest of the them were top-to-bottom closeouts.

We both snagged a couple of good ones and then as the tide dropped out and the waves got even steeper we noticed a particular bank start firing - the wave was jacking up in exactly the same spot each time and doing as good an impression of a left-hand reef break as you'll see on our local beaches. The shoulder lurching up, spitting out a crest of whitewater and then scooping out into a rapid, peeling left across the sandbank.

The wind was a challenge though, because unless you were right under the lip and right on the peak, it would gust up the wave face so hard that it lifted the nose of the board, stalling you in the lip - frustrating...

The only option was to sit deeper and have faith that the offshore would hold up the wave and allow enough time to get in.

A set rolled through, the lip already feathering as I decided to go for it. Luck was on my side as this one stayed open, and I stroked down the face feeling the momentum shift as the wave folded over and knew I was in.

Then it got interesting. It was really steep, and as I looked down the line all I could see was a near vertical wall of dark green water ahead of my left shoulder with no sign of any tapering wall beyond it. (Note: I'm a regular foot) But it didn't feel like a close-out somehow, and I certainly didn't have time to straighten out. So the only option was to drive on.

I'm definitely not confident on my backhand when it gets steep, so I dropped the back knee, grabbed my outside rail and leaned down on the nose to try and accelerate around the corner before that thing dumped on my head. But the wave was still lifting itself up on the bank and I had a long way to go before I was anywhere near a bottom turn. So I just held fast and hoped for a good outcome.

Because I'd thrown my weight forward and the wave face was now going beyond vertical I felt the fins break free and the tail started slipping and skipping about... This was where a facet of board design that I've always believed to be absolutely key really came into play - it was the rail that was now doing the bulk of the work keeping me and the board going across the face. If you need visual proof, watch Ben Thouard's beautiful underwater footage here. Clearly shows how important your rails are.

Luckily, despite the fins slipping out, the rail bit in and I managed to hold on until the wave caught up with itself and I made it out onto the face.

Beginning to really enjoy goin' left these days.

Friday, 2 September 2016


end of summer
Bye bye, see y'all next year. Safe trip home...

Friday, 12 August 2016


These clouds caught my eye - made me think there might be something going on with the waves right now.

So I took a look, but nothing doing...

Crazy clouds pretending to be swell lines.

Sunday, 31 July 2016


I really like summer - I get an evil little thrill out of seeing all those terrible tattoos that spend the majority of the year hidden from view.

The good doctor - Hunter S Thompson was the undisputed King of Gonzo - but above and beyond all the madness he was an excellent journalist. Read 'Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt' for some of his brilliant essays and articles from the 60s & 70s. I can only begin to imagine what he would have to say about the state of world politics today.

The yin & yang of surfdom - Had another pleasant dawny with Stu and Cealan yesterday. Summer surfing is just so easy (apart from the damn parking - hence doing the dawnys). Warm water, light wetsuits & fun waves all lull me into a sense of well-being. But summer also increases the kook count - part of why I started surfing in the first place was to get away from these people. Now they're clogging up the waves. Light and shade, good and bad, the yin and yang... continuing to seek balance.

Sunday, 24 July 2016


The kids have always been beach babies - riding their first waves at the age of 4.

4yr old Cealan surfing
C 2004 ....

4yr old Tyde surfing
T 2004 ....

And we've all done maximum beach-time every summer since.

But despite [or maybe because of] me kind of pushing them both to paddle out the back they were only ever really interested in playing in the surf on their own terms; ie for fun!

Which, of-course is the way it should always be & ultimately I was totally happy with that. But a small part of me wondered if they would ever get 'into' surfing..

Over the next few years we all continued to hit the beach regularly; swimming, surfing, boogie-boarding etc and always having great fun. And T & C both found their own buzz - playing all kinds of sports and enjoying tons of activities with Tyde becoming a top 4X & MTB rider and Cealan playing rugby at County level.

Tyde 4x
T 2014 ....

Then at the beginning of this year as we kicked off with a run of perfect S Coast swell for a week over Xmas & New Year, Cealan suddenly found his groove in the water.

Cealan surfing Swanpool
C 2016 .... (Photo - Rob P)

Now he's totally up for it - if there's any hint of a wave, he's there.

No need to rush, what will be will be.

Sunday, 3 July 2016


Sometimes (most of the time) I don't have much to say, but just feel like saying something anyway...

Got in for a nice dawny this morning - after about a week of onshore slop. Had a few smooth lefts. I think I've finally overcome my mental stutter on steep backside drops. 'Crouching tiger' style seems to work for me - probably looks like shit but at least I'm making 'em.

I think I'm numerically dyslexic - I just can't get my head around exchange rates. Every time I try and figure it out my little brain goes cloudy. In reality I never leave my locale anyway so it doesn't come up that often.

I know it's not good for me but I really like toast - eat way too much of it. And as soon as I'm done with the condiments (most popular being Marmite, followed by Peanut Butter then Jam - never Marmalade) they go immediately back in the cupboard. Immediately. I'm quite tidy in the kitchen.

Are rabbits vermin? For the first time ever we have rabbits in the garden. They look harmless enough nibbling the grass at dusk, but I know for a fact they'll soon start making little bunny hops towards my lettuce and then it'll be all out war. So I'm trialling some scent repellents for now, but I'm seriously considering getting an owl.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

REMEMBERING CONCRETE... a personal list

Playing Place
Plymouth Zoo
St Newlyn East
Dean Lane
St George
OG Meanwhile Gardens
OG Meanwhile II
Skate City, Tooley St
Mad Dog Bowl, Old Kent Road
Rolling Thunder
Spandrel, Uxbridge

Sunday, 29 May 2016



It was a dream come true when Skane asked me if I wanted to be Art Director for Skateboard! magazine in 1989. I packed up my Renault 5 with all my possessions and moved up to London to join Skane (editor), Meany (deputy editor) and Steve (ad sales) at Advanced Publishing, an independent magazine publisher founded by journalist Mark Williams.

On my very first deadline, only 3 weeks into the job, the printers were hassling for the finished layouts and I had to go back into the office over the weekend to finish the cover. So I was the only one in the building, frantically working away on a Saturday morning, when a bloke came striding through the front door.

"Ere mate, where is everybody?" he asked, scanning the empty offices beyond my desk.
"Only me today" I chirped.
"Well, I've come to collect your old fax - new one coming Monday innit." He said moving towards the big, sturdy fax machine in the hall.
So I hopped off my stool and crawled under the desk it was on to pull out the plug and help him lift it. It was after all quite a lump.
"D'ya want a hand out with that?" I offered.
"Nah, you're alright mate - I can manage." And off he went.

I went back to my drawing board and spent the rest of the day on my own finalising the magazine and getting it all ready for the printers.

On Monday morning I strolled into the office, feeling upbeat about having got ahead of the deadline with the intention of delivering the artwork to the repro guys within the hour.

But I was greeted by the sight of a crowd of editors and production managers alongside the boss all standing by the empty space where the fax machine usually was. I quickly gathered that there was some confusion and concern - after all this was pre-internet, pre-computer and the fax machine was at the very heart of communications in those days. And here was a busy publishing company producing a handful of different magazines who all relied on that fax for virtually every word that came into the building.

"Oh, if you're wondering about the old fax machine," I helpfully piped up, "the bloke took it away on Saturday."

Everybody stopped talking and all heads swivelled to face me.

I started to explain about being here on my own and helping to hand over the fax. But before I got any further with my little speech everybody suddenly started talking again. Only this time they were using lots of swear words accompanied by furious glares in my direction.

Luckily Mark Williams ushered me into his office and away from the wrath of a company full of people suddenly facing a shitload of extra hassle first thing on a Monday morning. "Which 'bloke' took it on Saturday, Sqeez?" he asked.

Somehow as I began to repeat the story of the random man wandering into an empty office on a Saturday morning and then waltzing out with an expensive piece of technology, it became clearer to me that perhaps I had been a touch naive..

"Oh shit! - Mark I'm really sorry, I'll pay for a new one, you can take it out of my wages." I blurted.

Luckily for me he was a very cool cat and just said that I should perhaps be a tad less trusting in future as he called out to his secretary to firstly organise a new fax machine and then get the insurers on the line.

For the next few days there would be repeated calls to me from the hallway outside the studio..

"Fax coming in for Sqeez!"

Saturday, 9 April 2016


meat puppets - bucket and a mop
... but a bucket and a mop

Many a hand has scaled the grand old face of the plateau
Some belong to strangers and some to folks you know
Holy ghosts and talk show hosts are planted in the sand
To beautify the foothills and shake the many hands

There's nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop
And an illustrated book about birds
You see a lot up there but don't be scared
Who needs action when you got words

When you've finished with the mop then you can stop
And look at what you've done
The plateau is clean, no dirt to be seen
And the work it took was fun

There's nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop
And an illustrated book about birds
You see a lot up there but don't be scared
Who needs action when you got words

Well the many hands began to scan around for the next plateau
Some said it was Greenland and some said Mexico
Others decided it was nowhere except for where they stood
But those were all just guesses, wouldn't help you if they could

(Followed by the most amazing outro... click here to listen)

© Curt Kirkwood

Saturday, 26 March 2016


sound of the shining
The Sound of the Shining

I once worked in a small graphic studio in Falmouth, run by a guy called Norman. Not only was Norman a great creative thinker, he was also a muso and a tech wizard. He'd installed a really good quadrophonic sound system in the studio and we'd take turns choosing what to play during the day.

One day we had a big project to finalise on a tight deadline - Norm went over to the sound system and loaded up a high quality recording he'd made the night before and cranked it up really loud.

It was the complete soundtrack to 'The Shining'. From start to finish, everything... The dialogue, the sound effects, the atmospherics as well as all the music.

Holy shit! It was intense. The film had already become a classic by this time so we were all familiar with it, but actually listening to it without the visuals added a whole new layer.

You could easily watch the film with the sound muted and it would quite possibly be amusing and maybe even a little silly in places, but I dare you to 'listen' to the film with the pictures only in your mind's eye and not be impressed by Kubrick's skill in creating a vivid sonic horror story. Kubrick himself, created a working edit for the soundtrack before engaging various composers to produce the final score.

the shining vinyl LP
The Sound of the Shining

Apparently there was a soundtrack LP produced in 1980, but was subject to legal wranglings when the composers complained of Kubrick's editing of their material and is very hard to find. It also only has the main musical pieces and is by no means the complete soundtrack that Norman created for our studio pleasure.

ps: Needless to say, we got the job done on time.