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Carve Magazine Issue 178

Carve Magazine Issue 178

New issue is in stores this week and available on the app now for you iPad folk. For next time how about letting the postie take the strain and subscribe?!

why you should surf all year

Are you a fair weather surfer? Winter a bit too wintry for your delicate sensibilities?

At time of writing, mid-spring, in old money late April, the ocean temp out front of Orca Towers is all of 12C. Which is not what you’d call balmy. On the east coast it’s 10C. It’s what you’d call, sans twat cap, ‘Ooh sh@t my head feels like it’s imploding’.

Conversely in Barbados, where I got dragged kicking and screaming for a piece this issue, the wet bit is currently 27C. Now that is pleasurable. Even with the attendant sunburn and urchin risk.

I often wonder how different the surf culture would be in the isles of the Atlantic we call home if the temperature was that notch higher year round. Would we have world champions? Would the European surf industry have clustered here instead of Hossegor? Would it be impossibly busy? Or would we just be a more tan race of weather-obsessed, island dwellers?

There’s no question that putting on some boardshorts, or a bikini, and grabbing your board and jumping in the brine is easier, quicker and cheaper, than our rubber besuited version. But it’s the commitment to the cause that makes us different. Struggling into a winter suit is comical. Dancing out of a spring suit without filling it with sand is a ninth dan surfer skill.

Wetsuits are a double-edged sword: no one looks good in a wetsuit, but conversely they’re a pretty good all-body girdle, so if you’re a bit soft around the edges don’t be put off. They are, in fact, slimming. Hell they even make me look like I’ve got a six-pack.

Forgive the ramble, there’s been a vicious spring flat spell on the left side of the land recently, and I’m coming back off a winter long shoulder injury that’s kept me out the salt. It’s easy to take surfing for granted when everything is going well.

When you definitely can’t do it because:

a) your physio expressly forbids it, unless you really want your shoulder to turn to angry inflamed dust

b) you’re stuck inland

c) there’s been no waves forever

d) life just gets in the way

The frustration is hard to take. Which loops me neatly to the start of this tumble of words. Winter isn’t that much colder than summer. Spring can be just as cold as winter. It’s snowing in Scotland right now just to reinforce my point. You might as well surf all year. It’s better for your surfing, it’s better for you, and any time spent in the brine is a joyous escape from the stresses of being a land-based mammal in the twenty-first century. Take every opportunity you can to be in the sea. Whatever the weather. Trust me. You won’t regret it…

Sharpy

Editor

Carve Magazine Issue 177

Carve Magazine Issue 177

New issue is in stores this week and available on the app now for you iPad folk. For next time how about letting the postie take the strain and subscribe?!

Mully on my mind

Somewhere around the turn of the century I was on my annual autumnal Irish mission. The surf was big, the weather evil and apart from a few brave souls that took on the slightly sheltered big rights at the Peak the ocean was empty. It was a day to hide in the Bridge Bar and rack up the pints of black gold. In an effort to stave off alcoholism we went for an exploratory drive in local shop owner Richie Fitzgerald’s big old red van. Searching along the coast to see what the big swell was doing. We huddled against it from the fierce offshores and rain squalls to look at peaks unloading on various reefs.

This was before the advent of tow surfing in Europe. Bradshaw’s ’98 El Nino fuelled beast at Outer Logs and Laird’s Teahupo’o ‘millennium wave’ had legitimised the concept. Aileens wasn’t on the radar and the scale of Irish waves was only known internationally from Jon Frank’s hectic late ’90s Litmus footage of Joel Fitzgerald charging at an unnamed Irish reef. Sure the local crew knew it got large but the big, world class barrel thing, that was still behind a green curtain. We ended up on the wind ravaged headland at Mullaghmore, a spot a few US pros had paddled on a windy day for a Jack Johnson film, it was big but not epic for their session. More a novelty to add colour, or more correctly, grainy black and white, to the film. It was one of those joints that got looked at in awe.

Especially on this day when the gale force offshores were holding up six to seven times overhead freight train bombs. It looked perfectly terrifying. It also looked surfable. If you were a mad man with no regard for your own safety. The conversation crystallised there: it’s doable. For whoever has got the balls and skill to do it. That and very good medical insurance. The advent of motorised assistance made the first steps into big Mully that much easier. Gabe Davies and Richie, then Cotty and Al, Duncan Scott and others broke new ground. As later did Fergal, Lowey and Sancho.

The recent sessions have moved the goalposts that much closer. A wave that was regarded twenty years ago as unsurfable became unpaddleable ten years ago. Now it’s being paddled at size. Sure it’s insanely tricky to paddle and along with Nazare and Teahupoo lives in the elite group of big waves that actually are too psycho to paddle when really big, humbling any big name international pro that scoffs that it is. It’s crazy to think that fifteen years ago no one had heard of the big wave spots Nazare and Mullaghmore. Now the former is where the biggest waves in the world are ridden and the latter where the most outrageous barrels in Europe are going down.

Hats off to the pioneers and the current crew pushing the boundaries and keeping it safe every session. There’s some insane imagery this issue from a special winter. Enjoy.

Sharpy, Editor

Carve Magazine Issue 176

Carve Magazine Issue 176

New issue is in stores this week and available on the app now for you iPad folk. For next time how about letting the postie take the strain and subscribe?!

ALWAYS LOOK AROUND THE NEXT CORNER

The surf world is all mapped out right? There’s no more exploring left to do… Well pard best serve yourself a big cup of ‘nope’. The location of the wave you see on the cover, and in all its glory on this spread, is known to all of four people. Yep. Four. Loose lips ain’t sank no ships. We’ve no idea where it is, but assume it might be Africa. But it could be anywhere that’s got a sandy coast and is toasty warm. Namibia’s Skeleton Bay*, and further up the potential in Angola as evidenced by Kepa and some of the Saffas, are all recent additions to the surf consciousness. Long, thigh-burning, mind-blowing waves all and definitely worth the adventure to go find them.

Which gives you hope if you’re jaded by the same old same old and crowds at your local. And it’s not just far flung exotic places. There are plenty of places in the British Isles that are rarely surfed. You just need to put in the effort to get past the easy option of spots with a car park and a cafe right out front. A decent pair of hiking boots and an OS map and you’ll be surfing by yourself before long. Even well trodden spots like Portugal, we didn’t score that hard as it was a bit of a ghost swell, but even near Lisbon and Peniche we surfed super fun waves without another soul in the water. Like anything the more you put in to something the more you get out of it. Surfing is an addiction, and once you’re hooked there’s no escape. But the addiction is easy to sate. Explore, look around the next corner, new horizons, fresh experiences, make the most of your surfing life. At home and abroad there’s so much to do and see. Go find it… Sharpy Editor

* Word from the Namib locals is the longshore drift that created the sandbar of infinite GoPro barrel dreams is digging holes in the bar. So the points not connecting all the way down. But even in sections it’s still stupendous.


Ain’t No Wave Pool – Mick Fanning on #TheSearch by Rip Curl

Carve Surfing Magazine

 

Carve Magazine Issue 175

Carve Magazine Issue 175

New issue is in stores and available on the app for you iPad folk. Get it while it’s hot!  For next issue how about letting the postie take the strain and subscribe!

The people in this issue have all chosen life. From Mick Fanning who tasted the steel of life’s double-edged sword and decided he had to escape to see the world and trace his roots to his father’s land. Dan Ross and Al Mackinnon who travelled off the beaten path on a whim and scored solo perfection. William Aliotti who flew to Sao Tome and found kids making skateboards from the lumps of wood off packing pallets and surfboards from plywood. Then there’s legends like Rabbit Bartholomew and Simon Anderson who dreamt of and invented a new way of life in the face of doubters and haters so they could surf all day, every day, and still rip to this day.

You have one life but as a surfer you have infinite choices. The wave riders of the past turned their backs on a society that didn’t understand. They went out to explore the world, meet new people and see new places. They broke down barriers and climbed over walls ignoring cultural stereotypes, skin colours, race and religion. They recognised that diversity just made life more exciting. As a result the surfers themselves became interesting, and eventually influential, right to the point where everyone wanted the T-Shirt.

Right now there is a whole lot of ridiculous stuff happening in the world. So it is a time of choices. You can accept what haters and the power hungry tell you or you can make your own mind up and do your own thing. We hope you can do what everyone in the mag did: make the right choice and try to live your dream.

 

Carve Magazine Issue 174

Carve Magazine Issue 174

New issue is in stores and available on the app for you iPad folk. Get it while it’s hot!  For next issue how about letting the postie take the strain and subscribe!

From the Editor… 

Life throws you curve balls and whatever the opposite of that is with equal measure. Got to take the rough with the smooth and other such tired cliches.
For all the good times there comes bad. It’s the rollercoaster of life which hopefully ends up with you somewhere in the positive.
Autumn has been delivering in spades at home and in Europe. A brace of great days in our isles and from Bundoran to Coxos the kind of red letter days that make anyone from those parts that isn’t at home green with envy and longing. Yes, Gearoid, I’m talking about you. But seeing Donegal all over the Insty off it’s face good while you stare out of a French window at ten foot onshore closeouts is understandably going to make you eat another pain au chocolate in glum resignation.
These are the swings and roundabouts of being a surfer. You go one place hoping to score and Mama Nature turns around and unleashes the good gravy on your home turf.
On those days where pretty much all of Europe is as good as it gets it’s amazing to see the shots scroll past. Instant gratification lets you know how good places are but it also lets you know what you’re missing.
So. Two sided coin that.
This slightly rambling editorial is in part inspired by extreme tiredness from running around after said waves and also by the down times that some of our crew here at Orca are going through. Good people hitting unavoidable rough patches in their own lives whom we can only support and be there for, no matter what.
It’s been a tricky issue to bring together with key folk missing but curveballs are just that. You take a swipe at it and hope for the best.
Sharpy, Editor

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