Monday, 31 December 2012


October 1977 - Issue No 2, 20 pence.

This issue of Skateboard Special from 35 years ago just arrived on my doorstep...

Saturday, 29 December 2012


I fought the law...

...and the law won.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


MP 'The Cutback' by Albe Falzon

I'm finishing off this year of cutbacks (financial etc) by re-reading 'MP - the life of Michael Peterson' by Sean Doherty. Not many will ever be able to slice a cutback the way he did. Tom Curren comes to mind...

TC's Cutback by Tom Servais

Saturday, 8 December 2012


ripping tide
Now that's what I call a rip!

Saturday, 1 December 2012


Looks like Summer is over.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Man is 70% water, the planet is 70% water. 98% of the water on Earth is saltwater. Whichever way you look at it, that's a helluva lot of water.

Quite easy then, to understand why I'm so addicted to splashing about in the stuff. Not only am I in my element, but the H2O element is mostly in me as well.

One of my favourite breaks locally is a a particular high tide wave that under certain conditions offers up a beautiful little left that spins perfectly across a rivermouth. The swell rolls in, jacks up and then peels swiftly across the bank leaving the door open all the way for sweet slotted fun. Although it would be hard to prove, I'm convinced there's a special quality to the water here as the fresh river water merges with the saltwater. It is after all where the waters meet.

Funnily enough one of my watery pleasures is surfing in the rain. I've always loved it. The puttering of the rain drops, the freshwater drizzling down my face, the unique pockmarking texture of the surface as it seems to boil and then flatten beneath the drumming of the raindrops. Always one of my happy aquatical moments.

Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, the last thing the back cracker said to me as I left his surgery last week was, "Drink more water!"

Sunday, 11 November 2012



The boys went surfing today, marking the day one of their compadres reaches the teenage era - it was a big, chilly, onshore, blownout mess - they had a great time :)

Sunday, 21 October 2012


animal chin handplants
Bones Brigaders - Chin ramp.

Lately I've been vibing on handplants. What a manoeuvre. Upside down, balancing on one hand, on the edge of a ramp or pool, gripping an inverted skateboard and that's just the halfway point! Grosso has already turned in a worthy ode to the handplant in one of his loveletters, but I also wanted to throw up a few pics here. As it was the still image of a handplant frozen in time back in the 80s that first transfixed me as I tried to work out just how on earth anybody could ride a skateboard and get into that position.

In no particular order here are... The Handplants:

Bucky Lasek - Extreme Tuck-knee - also a Knee-on.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

NO KA OI - (Mo Bettah)

44inch deck' border=
Powell Peralta 44" No Ka Oi longboard.

This old sled has served me well.

When I lived in Harbord, NSW. I would pop over the hill and ride this daily along the beachfront from Queenscliff, past North Steyne, up and down Manly Corso and out to the Bower and then back again. It was an easygoing flat, smooth path with a surfcheck across the beach on one side and a lovely avenue of Norfolk Pines on the other.

Nowadays living in rural Cornwall I don't really get much opportunity to cruise the old longy. It just gets used when I feel the need to practise some dry land cross-stepping.

Sweet retro Hawaiian graphics.

Thunder trucks ground right down to the axles.

Red Kryps - turned inside out to minimise coning.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


My new wooden toy - a custom diamond tail handplane.

Just scored this top quality, custom wave catcher, hand shaped from tulip wood by Andy Garner of Against the Grain Handplanes.

I've watched Andy spend over two years developing his ideas and in my opinion these are the Rolls Royce of handplanes. In his rural workshop he has been experimenting with dozens of different types of wood, assessing their various strengths and weaknesses, balancing weight with flotation. Researching the effects of salt water on each type of wood over time. He's also spent countless hours personally testing and refining his designs in the surf. Continually adjusting outlines, dimensions and contours to produce the most efficient and effective shapes.

Concave bottom contoured with tapered rails.

Against-the-Grain-hand plane
Detail of diamond tail.

Just the handle alone is the result of many, many months of development. Andy realised very early in the design process that the handle is as important as the handplane shape itself. He decided to really concentrate on creating a handle that is secure, doesn't interfere with performance (in the way a cut-out or slot does), is adjustable and fits in with his aesthetic of producing the highest quality product possible. Andy designed a unique strap that is exclusively manufactured locally, the result intentionally looks simple but combined with an incredibly strong integral fastening provides one of the best handle systems available.

Designed to go fast!

I'm totally stoked with the custom diamond tail version he's made for me. How good do those natural woodgrain stripes look?

Against-the-Grain handplane
The deck has a subtle domed roll out to the rails.

Andy is finally satisfied with his handplanes and is now producing these beautiful boards for sale to the general public. If you're interested in Andy's handplanes you can get in touch with him here.

Friday, 14 September 2012


sims tshirt
Eff yeah!

This was my first skate t-shirt. I had it for years. Even took it with me to Australia when I emigrated in the early 90s. In Sydney somebody stole it from the washing line. I was deeply ticked off, but also grudgingly impressed that the thief had such good taste...

RIP Tom Sims.

Monday, 10 September 2012


Slow down - you're in Cornwall.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


sandymouth surf
Sandymouth Oct 2005

This shot was taken on a beautiful Autumn day in October 2005 from the clifftop high above Sandymouth near Bude. The surf was perfect and it was HUGE!

I was there with my friend Spex who was an entrant in the longboard division of the Roktober Surf Comp, conditions were challenging to say the least. At first glance this may look ideal, but believe me, when it's 10ft on the sets on an exposed beachbreak it's far from easy.

They did end up running the comp anyway - most were happy to just score a few inside waves. Paddling out the back was virtually impossible and the shorebreak and whitewater were relentless.

After Spex's heat we headed up to Hartland Quay where a headland offered some shelter. It looked do-able so we went for it. A rip running along the old wall provided an easy paddle out - but that sense of security quickly evaporated once out in the bay. The huge swell was causing massive water movement and even though the surf was relatively clean beneath the shelter of the cliffs, the currents were swirling through the bay like a rapid. It was a constant struggle to maintain position, any relaxation and the conveyor belt rip would carry me out and north into no mans land. At one point I was on the verge of panic when after 20 mins of concentrated paddling I was still drifting dangerously close to the exposed rocks of the north side.

Luckily I managed to catch my only wave of that session on the next set which took me back into the relative safety of the cove and I decided that maybe a pint and a pasty at the pub would be the better option.

Spex had to get back for the longboard finals at Sandymouth in the afternoon - which again were limited to battling the shorebreak for anything that resembled a wave (he got third). But we were both dissatisfied with our attempts at trying to get waves that day, so we made a dash back into Bude, hoping to maybe score something more reasonable at Summerleaze.

We got there at dusk and although it was still big, there were rideable waves. So we paddled out again, me for my second surf, Spex for the 4th time that day! We did manage to get a few finally, but the constant paddling was starting to take its toll. I noticed that Spex was getting sucked out and around the seapool by the rip. Then lo and behold I also got caught in the same rip and ended up being dragged around to Crooklets. As darkness fell and we stumbled back up the beach, thoroughly exhausted but equally stoked, we knew it was finally time to call it a day.

Friday, 17 August 2012


Vans switchback suede
Hi-tops for a change...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012



Picked up a new slider from Gavin of Traditional Surfing Co last night - looking forward to her maiden voyage - should be fun!



Friday, 10 August 2012


old snugg wetsuit

It's hot, finally it's Summer sizzlin' hot at last.

A good excuse to pull the ancient SNUGG out of retirement. It's ripped and it's ragged - only about 1mm thick nowadays, virtually useless as an incubator. More holes than a Swiss cheese. Just perfect for some summer fun.


Can I get another year out of it before it finally just falls apart..?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


This offer has now ended.
Kernowkalling has teamed up with Gav from Finshack to bring you an exclusive offer of 15% off any fin!

finshack offer

I do love a bargain and Finshack have kindly agreed to give a discount to friends of kernowkalling for all orders made during the month of August. Finshack is a small Cornish business providing top quality longboard fins and accessories and a really great, friendly service. So if you are thinking of buying a new fin, and you want to save money, why not visit Finshack and check out their range, if you see something you like just type in the code 'seasick' (lower case) at the checkout and you'll automatically get your kernowkalling discount.

Note: kernowkalling will NOT benefit financially in any way at all from this promotion, it is a straightforward offer to visitors to the blog. Put simply; I give a local business a shout out - you get a deal.

Offer applies to product only, P&P is standard. Can be used more than once but orders must be made before Aug 31st 2012 when offer expires.

Monday, 6 August 2012


Steve Croft in the shaping bay.

Steve Croft grew up surfing in the North East of England and started shaping as a teenager. Together with Mark Dickinson he founded Fluid Concept in Scarborough. A number of years ago he made the move to Cornwall and continued to develop as a surfboard shaper and designer. He is currently producing beautifully crafted and unique boards under his own Empire label. Here he shares some of his thoughts on the design process and how it is affected by creativity both in the waves and in the shaping room.

Where did you grow up?
In Scarborough. In terms of surfing it still feels like home.

When did you start surfing and what got you interested in it?

I started surfing as a young teenager but growing up by the sea it was always a part of my life.

So what prompted you to start shaping surfboards?

Because I couldn't get the shapes that I wanted off the rack and couldn't afford to pay someone else to shape them for me. Most surfers where riding narrow, high rockered tri fin short boards and that style of surfing just didn't interest me.

Did you learn or apprentice with anyone as a shaper?

I was self taught. I bought a blank, some glass and some resin and built a board. My first board I shaped in a fisherman’s net loft and glassed in my grandparents garage. It was rideable, not great but rideable. The second one I shaped and glassed in a tent in my parents garden. From there I teamed up with a friend (Mark Dickinson) and built boards in his basement. We eventually got set up with a workshop. That was over 15 years ago. Since then I've been very lucky to work with many experienced shapers and have learnt something from each of them.

Can you tell us a bit about the origins of Empire Surfboards? 

Empire started as a way of getting back to the reasons that I started shaping, the style of boards I love to ride and the connection with the surfers that I shape for. At the time I was a joint owner of Laminations, one of the UK's largest factories and production shaping for several labels including Beach Beat. I was shaping boards for surfers that I never met or worse, shaping stock boards for an imagined, generic, average surfer. I'd also been riding standard tri fin shortboards for a couple of years and was becoming frustrated with my surfing. On too many days there just wasn't the power in the waves to get the most out of the boards that I was riding.

I was also increasingly dissatisfied with the detachment between shaper and surfer. I wanted to get back to building the alternative boards that I had started out shaping. Shapes that I strongly believe are more enjoyable to ride for your average surfer in everyday conditions. I had the basics of a collection of shapes, outlines and rockers that I had been working on since I first started shaping and the Empire brand was set up to bring these designs together along with everything that I had learnt since and re-establish that connection between shaper and surfer. It allowed me to experiment with designs in a way that I felt unable to do under someone else’s brand.

Steve, coming off the top with speed and style.

Sunday, 29 July 2012


The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell.

Very shortly after I met Roisin she gave me a copy of this book to read. First published almost 100 years ago, it remains as relevant today as it was then...

Robert Tressell was the nom de plume of Robert Noonan, a painter and decorator born in Dublin. This was his only novel published in 1914 four years after the author died of TB.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Vans ad - circa late 70s.

Jerry Valdez - the clothing, the 'safety' gear, the board, the colours, the body positioning and of course the Vans… Just beautiful.

B&G [fridaypoem]

Friday, 20 July 2012


G&S fibreflex
G&S Fibreflex - Steve Cathey Model

I can remember every single skateboard I've ever had.

My first was a cut-off plank nailed to some rollerskate wheels - didn't really turn. Then I saved up and bought a Pacer deck with ACS 500 trucks and Gecko Wheels, that set-up evolved slightly via a home-made wooden deck which was really heavy - it didn't last long. Then I got a G&S Fibreflex exactly like the one above, rigged up with some second-hand Bennett trucks and Road Rider wheels.

I really loved that board...

G&S Fibreflex logo
G&S Fibreflex logo

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Come Hell or High Water DVD
~ ~ ~

I find the majority of modern surf films very boring. The music, the footage, the direction and even the personalities tend to follow the same old formulas. So it was a real breath of fresh air when a friend lent me Come Hell Or High Water recently. Along with some beautiful water photography and fantastic bodysurfing this film portrays a really interesting cast of characters and it is this as much as anything that sets the film apart. All sorts of different people having pure fun in the water without any fuss or fanfare and with very little equipment. As one particular segment highlights - it is so far under the radar (along with bellyboards, paipos, handplanes etc) that even surfers and boogers don’t pay it much attention. Keith Malloy has done a good job of focusing on the essence of what makes body surfing so simple and yet so special.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


The Party's Over - 1982

It's My Life - 1984

The Colour of Spring - 1986

Spirit of Eden - 1988

Laughing Stock - 1991

What a journey, from early synth pop to works of genre defying genius, Mark Hollis steered Talk Talk along a path of purist musical abstraction.

There's a great article from The Quietus about the making of Laughing Stock.

You can hear Mark Hollis himself talking about Laughing Stock here:

Mark Hollis talks about Laughing Stock (1991).

Friday, 6 July 2012


Paul Schutzer captures the view from a bus window during a Freedom Ride from Montgomery, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1961.

Monday, 2 July 2012


airstream reflected

OK I'll admit it - I was dancing the other night, well when I say 'dancing' I really mean shuffling about on the spot in a vaguely rhythmic manner. Still, it's very rare that you'll see me busting my moves in public. Admittedly when I say 'in public' I really mean ‘at a festival’ which isn’t at all like being in public.

We were at Hop Farm Festival in Kent - kindly given free passes by my friend Blue who earns his living at such events. He and I first went a-festival-ing a long time ago, and when I say ‘a long time ago’ I really do mean decades ago. We watched Roy Harper & Ginger Baker having a punch-up on stage at Glastonbury in 1981. (You may never have heard of Roy Harper or Ginger Baker - ironically they were a couple of old hippies who should have known better than to start brawling at a CND concert.) I can still remember the intensely vibrant sense of excitement and discovery as we stumbled into a variety of marquees where all manner of musicians, actors and comedians were sharing their talents, often in intimate surroundings. Since then I’ve whiled away many pleasant days at all sorts of festivals over the years, and always relish the rekindling of those first magical experiences.

Anyway, where was I? That’s right - doing some ‘dad dancing’ in the early hours under a Moroccan style awning along with a few hundred equally ‘relaxed’ revellers. If you really want to experience a tiny glimpse of our long lost personal freedom, then I suggest that there aren’t many better places to do so than at a festy in the middle of the night.

Of course I’m under no illusion that today’s festivals are incredibly mainstream and more devoted to the spirit of making money than the spirit of the counter-culture revolution. They tend to be much tamer affairs these days too - it would be unlikely to see a naked guy, tripping on acid sitting cross-legged IN the speaker cabinet whilst Gong thrash out some sonic psychedelia. But I believe there are still a few strands of the original DNA remaining in even the most commercial modern festival that allows people to tune out for a couple of days and disregard normality. Hey, if you fancy cracking open a couple of beers before breakfast - go for it, why not? What’s the worst that can happen? You may feel the need to have a lie down later on - well that’s fine, in fact that’s probably a good idea anyway. Preparation for the inevitably long night ahead! Likewise, if you want to spend the whole weekend wandering around in nothing but a loincloth, I guarantee nobody will be bothered by that either.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make here is that personally I enjoy individual pursuits. I’ve never been into team sports or clubs. I get my kicks from surfing, which in essence is a solitary activity. But I was reminded again last weekend that sometimes freedom can still be found amongst a crowd of thousands.

Sunday, 17 June 2012


blackbird on surfboard
I quite fancy a little blackbird to keep me company on my next board.

I used to have a sticker of a dog on the nose of one of my early surfboards, just always liked seeing him there - and if things ever got a bit hairy out in the surf it was always reassuring having 'Ken' there. Made me feel safer somehow...

Lately I've been fascinated by a blackbird that lives in our garden - seems like a plucky little guy. So I might get him on my next board.

While I'm at it I might break with my usual tradition of custard yellow and go for a pale avocado instead.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Dearly beloved...

For us, any Saturday could be the best day or it could also be the worst!

The best; because it’s the day when we’re in the spotlight, the centre of attention, when everybody wants to see us, when we might get a new partner, the start of a new life.

The worst; because anyone and everyone wants a feel, sliding their clumsy hands all over us, squeezing a bit too hard, even knocking us about sometimes. It can also be the worst day because although we may meet a new partner - there are no guarantees we’ll get along. Very much like an arranged marriage it could very easily go pear-shaped!