Monday, 31 January 2011


Born and bred in the South West - that's where I got my bearings.

An affinity with South and West is something I've always taken for granted. Growing up in Cornwall, North and East were always 'away'. Therefore I felt totally aligned in that lower left quadrant of the compass. Used to knowing which way was which. Being able to orientate myself easily and quickly depending which body of water I was near (the distance between the North and South coast being only a few miles).

Going any further South or West wasn't really an option until I was older and had the means to do so. And even then my first independent forays away from home in my teens were to the similarly situated coastlines of South West France and South West Ireland.

Later in life I lived for ten years on the East coast of Australia. Although initially thrilled and often dazzled by the sun rising over the Pacific ocean in the mornings there was also something perplexing about being an East coaster. Sunset surfs just didn't feel the same with night already fallen out on the horizon while the sun slowly sank inland...

I no longer take being in the South West for granted as I strongly believe there is a form of calibration between our sense of belonging and the particular point on the compass to which we naturally feel aligned.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Day off work! However I'm ill in bed. The mind wants to go out and do stuff, try to make the most of this little window of opportunity - but the body just ain't up to it today...

Our old pal Johnny 'Gomez' Wright used to say that you should always make the effort to go to work when you're feeling rough and then pull a sickie when it's pumping and go surfing. Much better time management.

Unfortunately that hasn't quite worked out for me today.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


Every now and then our 10 year old daughter Tyde will produce a small white cube from her pocket and holding it up between her fingers announce "The CUBE of DESTINY!". Then slide it back into her pocket without another word of explanation.

It always tickles me...

Painting borrowed from Amanda Williams

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


Was good if you were in the right spot...

(Clicky piccy to go big)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Sam Bleakley is a multiple British and European surfing champion, has a Masters in Geography from Cambridge and competed on the Oxbow WLT for ten years. He is a regular contributor to magazines and publications all over the world and has recently published his first book, 'Surfing Brilliant Corners' - a jazz-inspired account of a decade of extreme global surf travel. He loves hanging out at home in Sennen, West Cornwall with his family and has created a lifestyle that allows him to combine his passion for surfing remote coastlines with freelance writing. He was kind enough to share some insights into what keeps him stoked...

When and where did you start surfing?

I started surfing aged 5 at Gwenver thanks to my Dad - Alan ‘Fuz’ Bleakley. He also grew up in Cornwall. There’s a classic story behind his first board - In the early ‘60s there was just a small crew of visiting lifeguards (from Australia) and local surfers. My granddad (Jock) was a fisherman and ran a hotel with a popular bar where the visiting lifeguards used to drink late into the night and play poker. ‘Phantom,’ one of the more colourful Australian lifeguards, was losing heavily to Jock. Phantom did not have the money to pay the debt. Instead, he offered Jock a 9’ 8” surfboard recently shaped by Bob Head (later forming Bilbo with Bill Bailey). Jock knew that his son (my dad) was keen to get into surfing, which had just established itself amongst a young crew locally. Jock hid the surfboard, and gave it to his son for his 15th birthday. My dad pooled resources with his schoolmate, who had a sleeveless diver’s wetsuit top with a beaver tail. They took turns surfing in frigid February conditions.

Dad eventually moved to west Penwith, and as I grew up many years later our family were always close to the beach. So it was only natural that I started surfing with my sisters in the very early 1980s, mostly at Gwenver in the summer and Perranuthnoe in the wintertime.

Can you remember your first green wave?

Yeah, I remember it clearly. It was actually in San Onofre, California. We spent 1987/88 in the USA because my dad did a University lecturing work exchange. We were based in Virginia on the east coast, but spent the summer visiting friends in California. I was eight years old and had only ever surfed with my dad pushing me into the waves. At San O, I went solo, paddling out beyond the whitewater. Fellow Cornishman and close family friend, Paul Holmes, had loaned me a 6’ 0” channel-bottomed five-finned board shaped by Hawaiian Brian Bulkley. To me, a gangly kid, it was perfectly crafted and totally ‘magic’. Paul was the then editor of Surfer magazine. He had an injured shoulder from a trip to Bali, and watched from the beach. Outback I remember the pungent smell of kelp and the local pelicans. I stroked into the first set wave alone. It turned green, peaked, and as it broke I took off, angled and found trim. I rode its entire length, locked in the pocket. That wave was a defining moment. Paul gave me the board and I took it home to Cornwall in ‘88. It set me up for life.

Right on!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Sunday, 9 January 2011


The Chapel
At the Chapel of Love.

One of my favourite places for evening worship, particularly on a Summer's Sunday night after all the weekenders have hit the A30 for the long drive back home. This morning felt light and mild and optimistic and reminded me that, although only just past mid-winter, we are heading towards Spring once more.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


A great finish to last year along with a good start to this one.

So twothousandandeleven is upon us. It seems a little late for New Year wishes now, so I'll just say 'let it flow'...