Monday, 27 May 2013


Skateboarding in Afghanistan - pic courtesy of Skateistan.

Freedom is a skateboard.

Freedom to roll, freedom to defy gravity, freedom to both create and destroy.

A few years ago I made the decision to ease off skating and replace it with surfing - I could foresee that slower reflexes and older bones would limit my ability to be free on a skateboard. During my last year of serious skateboarding I felt the balance between freedom and fear slipping too heavily towards the latter. So I now spend any spare time I get surfing. It's just not the same...

Surfing is reliant on way too many factors to be truly free in the way that skateboarding is. There has to be the right conditions; tide, swell, wind and even daylight must be considered.

Suddenly get the overwhelming urge to bomb some hills at midnight - no problem. Fancy going for a surf after dark - good luck with that.

Surfing doesn't even feel particularly free either - not where I live anyway. Carparks and kooks are just two elements that clutter up the experience. The only way to avoid them is by living right on the beach or getting up really damn early.

Skating is both singular and plural. If you wanna just cruise on your own, then grab your stick, walk out your door and go skate - simple. If you want to be social, that's fine too, skaters are incredibly friendly and inclusive. Surfing doesn't really give you the choice. Catching a solitary wave is wishful thinking mainly. Surfing by its nature is exclusive. Making friends in the line-up, sharing waves, taking turns, spreading the stoke - all fine in theory but in reality it's every man, woman and child for themselves.

I'm the same in all honesty, even though I try and be as mellow as possible in the line-up I can all too easily become a rabid wave-hunter seeing my fellow humans as obstacles rather than compadres. To me that doesn't feel like freedom, it feels too much like all the other shite that I tried to leave back in the carpark.

Freedom is a choice, freedom is a state of mind - I need to remember that.

Saturday, 25 May 2013


yelo 8'6
The Slide Projector 8'6 x 23".

I've loved this board since even before the day I got it.

Partly because it was conceived at least a year before the day I collected it from Jolly Roger. I spent hours sketching shapes and researching outlines and rockers and tail shapes before I finally bit the bullet and handed it over to Roger to bring to life. He did a great job and from the very first surf it felt good under my feet.

But I've realised it is very hard to have one board that can ever be an all-rounder. The broad, slightly hully lines are great in certain conditions yet not so much in others. So I mix it up with a very traditional 9'4 single-fin noserider (which I also then try and ride in anything, often when it really isn't suitable)...

I've had this board (which I call 'Yelo' although officially labelled 'The Slide Projector') for a few years now and it's served me really well, I've had some great waves on it. I wanted a wide, high-volume board with low rocker, which has worked a treat in getting me into waves early. And the sharp-railed diamond tail fitted with a 7" 4a Greenough flex tip fin gives surprisingly good manoeuvrability too.

Having said all that I'm considering heading back up to Bude to ask Roger to make v2.0. Get everything tweaked a bit. Take it down from 8'6 to 8'4 or maybe even 8'0, slim it down a bit too and increase nose rocker by an inch or so. Definitely won't make it an all-rounder (they don't exist) but it will make it a little slicker in the drop, a little quicker off the bottom and maybe push my surfing a little harder too.

It'll still be yellow though!

Friday, 10 May 2013


A true story.

Admittedly my phone pic is poor quality, but the colours in this garden are genuine HD!