The legendary beachbreaks of Hossegor have finally come to life for the Quik Pro. Tubes a plenty in the autumnal Landes sunshine… Here’s the results, highlights reel and stuff…
Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro France, Stop No. 9 of 11 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, was completed today in clean six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre waves) at Culs Nus.
Offshore winds groomed the solid swell on offer, creating a tube riding feast for the world’s best surfers, who proceeded to put on a high-performance surfing spectacle for the thousands on the beach and many more watching online and via broadcasts around the world.
John John Florence (HAW), 22, defending event champion, picked up where he left off last season with his unparalleled comfort in conditions of consequence, pulling into a sizable forehand barrel and topping it off with a massive layback snap to collect a near-perfect 9.93 out of 10.
“There’s a lot of water moving, but it’s really fun and clean,” Florence said. “I love coming back here. It’s been flat the whole time we’ve been here so I was a little worried but when I woke up this morning and saw this bank with the righthand barrels I thought this would be fun.”
Mick Fanning (AUS), 34, three-time WSL Champion and four-time event champion, is in the Jeep frontrunner position again and overcame a treacherous Round 1 matchup against Tahitian powerhouse Michel Bourez (PYF) and local event wildcard Maxime Huscenot (FRA). Fanning threaded through a heavy Hossegor barrel to belt an incredible 9.73 and advance straight into the third round.
“It can be heaven or hell out there, if you get the waves it’s great and there are some amazing ones, but you can also easily get lost real quick,” Fanning said. “You’ve got to pick your spot and hopefully they come so there’s a little bit of luck involved today. All my wins here were really different, I think in 2010 it was somewhere around here, out the back and pretty massive, very similar conditions to this and it was never about scores and results but just about getting barreled with only one other person out, so probably the funnest year.”
Julian Wilson (AUS), 26, current WSL No. 5, put on a deep barrel-riding clinic at Cul Nus, to collect the day’s highest combined heat total, an impressive 18.80 out of 20. A former runner-up in France (2011), Wilson found two brilliant right-handers back-to-back and surfed the fast, throaty barrels flawlessly to advance into the third round.
“I got into a really good rhythm with the sets and got two waves back to back, it was really fun out there,” Wilson explained. “I want to have a really consistent year, two 13th obviously never feels good but there’s a lot left to go in the year.”
Dane Reynolds (USA), 30, followed in Wilson’s path and dominated his opening round matchup to relegate WSL No. 4 Owen Wright (AUS) to the second round. Reynolds proved lethal as a wildcard in Fiji earlier this season and will look to advance through a few more heats in the pumping French surf he adores.
“I’m definitely inspired to surf good and do my best, good waves make it exciting and I think the performance excites me,” Reynolds reflected. “A lot of time you’re at the contest area and you know the good ones are straight out or to the left or right, but we were down the beach so I had no idea what to expect. That first one came right to me and you just got to pick them when they come in, they’re good barrels.”
When confirmed as the event wildcard, Reynolds announced he would give away his entire prize-money to the NGO ‘Surfers, Not Street Children’ association in South Africa.
“They take street children in Durban (South Africa) and they provide mentorship and education all through surfing,” Reynolds continued. “I had a friend who visited them this year and suggested it. I just wanted to come here and surf on somebody’s behalf, and that kind of felt like it would be a good motivation. I have great sponsorship money and I just felt like somebody else could need it more and benefit from it.”
Brett Simpson (USA), 30, current WSL No. 35, took an important win in the opening heat of competition over 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and last year’s runner-up in France Jadson Andre (BRA). Simpson, currently sitting outside the requalification Top 22, will need big results in the last three events of the WSL CT season to remain amongst the world’s best in 2016.
“First heats are always hard, it was a bit foggy this morning and I didn’t really have a freesurf,” Simpson said. “It’s really fun, there’s peaks everywhere and I was able to get two good waves. I almost made a mistake at the end, I had priority and Kelly got a wave, I made the decision not to go and he almost got the score. I haven’t had much success as of late and it feels great to get a win. It’s nice when the waves are like this and you’re excited and you get good barrels.”
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8am to assess conditions.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France is webcast LIVE on worldsurfleague.com and via the WSL app.
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Brett Simpson (USA) 14.84, Kelly Slater (USA) 14.84, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.90
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.80, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.83, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 5.66
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.00, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.90, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.94
Heat 4: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.57, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.97, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 9.93
Heat 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.00, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 6.37, Keanu Asing (HAW) 4.97
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.73, Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.73, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 8.87
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.33, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 6.76, Dusty Payne (HAW) 4.33
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) 18.60, Alejo Muniz (BRA), 10.93, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 2.83
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.40, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.84, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 9.50
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.70, Glenn Hall (IRL) 6.43, Nat Young (USA) 4.67
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.40, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.10, Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.90
Heat 12: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.43, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 10.73, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.50
UPCOMING QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 6: Nat Young (USA) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 8: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 12: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
After what has been called the worst summers ever in Eire, and well ‘moist’ to say the least in the UK, September eventually lit up. Here are a few highlights from our readers and followers. Feel free to add you own in comments on Insta… #carvemag #septembersessions
As far as British surfboard manufacturers and surf shops go it would be hard to argue that Tris Surfboards was perhaps the most legendary. Certainly in the west country. Shapers like Tris Cokes, Mooney MaCallum, Chops, Mark Hills all worked there and some of the most iconic sprays produced by Neil Wernham and Teeps decorated their boards. At the heart of it all over all these years has been Johnny Manneta one of the best glassers and finishers of a surfboard the country has seen.
Johnny was a London Mod who got caught up in surfing via a family connection, a sense of adventure and a friendship with one very enigmatic waterman, one of the best surfers in the country at the time, classic anti establishment lover of life Tris Coates. Johnny met Tris on one of his visits to Porthtowan in the sixties and they have been best friends ever since. Through their youth and the sixties to the eighties these two were pretty much at the heart of everything that went on in Porthtowan and St Agnes. From shaping on the beach, then in the back room of a rented chalet on the cliffs of Porthtowan they took Tris surfboards from an idea to iconic surf brand. They set up one of Europe’s first surf shops and were some of the first surfers in Newcastle and Saltburn, all the while focusing on the two most important things in their lives: surfing and partying.
When you look back at this age they are the halcyon days of surfing in my mind. So much so that many of today’s brands and hipsters spend most of their lives and a lot of money trying to recreate the ‘look’. Note I say the ‘look’ because the actual subculture of surfing, when most the participants were underground bohemian explorers is long gone. You can grow your hair and beard, you can ride old boards but that certain spark, a mix of carefree abandon, naivety, open mindfulness and I guess hippy outlook was overrun a long time ago. But the ‘stoke’ is still there. I know some people hate this term, but I’m afraid I still don’t know a better phrase for it.
Johnny is quietly spoken, assured, intelligent and his book reflects his journey from his early days in London hanging out with mods and mobsters to his transformation into a surfer, the setting up of Tris and his subsequent adventures. He has a great outlook on life and there are many funny little moments as well as interesting views peppered through the books pages. It is a great accomplishment to even remember half the adventure given the amount of spliffs that were smoked, but as Johnny points out early on even the weed has changed over the years, from a mild class B hippy drug after being genetically modified by unscrupulous drug dealers for profit.
I have to add a disclaimer here because as a Porthtowan grom Johnny was, a major influence on mine and many others, surfing life. The boards in his shop, the stories, the Tris surfboards and surf shop crew were all held in high esteem. I actually found the surfboard factory before I started surfing wandering around the countryside. Small old farm buildings with some sort of dust and chemicals strewn outside, dark windows, rows of surfboards inside it was down the road from a campsite I was staying on. I was intrigued by the boards, the strange hairy fellas who turned up one afternoon, not so much. They looked pretty scary. A year later I was stood in Tris surf shop and it soon became the centre of my grom universe. It was small but rammed with shiny sticks which us groms would salivate over. If a new one hit the rack all the groms would all go down and check it out. The Tris logo was so revered it was considered bad luck to put wax over it. Behind the counter was Johnny who was patient, would talk you through rocker and rails shapes and if there was a quiet five minutes between relieving holiday makers of their spending money, tales of mystical waves around the country and beyond.
With a view of the sea, the only skate friendly area in the village and handy seating the shop forecourt was a hangout for locals and anyone who hit the village. Men with sleek boards and foreign accents would turn up and everyone would check out their rides with design theories from overseas, stories and girlfriends. Sometimes they stayed and got dragged into the village scene, sometimes they moved on. In short it was a portal to the world more than a simple shop and Johnny was its keeper. More than anything there was a certain intelligence, wit, healthy disregard for politics and overlords, and inquisitivy bred on the forecourt. In the nineties it led to the formation of Surfers Against Sewage, now based in St Agnes, a movement started in the main by surfing residents of Porthtowan, Johnny being one of them, even though he knew exposing sewage on his beach may harm his own business.
I could go on but I will leave that to the book, suffice to say the boards which were adorned by the iconic art of Neil can now attract prices in their thousands, other boards from the seventies and eighties are now sought after collectors items and the shop is still the centre of the village surf scene. “Who’d have thought?” said Johnny when I asked him what he made of it all. He genuinely means it. He built himself a huge eco-friendly house out of logs and recycled timber washed up on the beaches around Porthtowan, teaching himself carpentry on the way, with an ethos of focusing on what he could do and doing it well rather than listening to nay sayers and being brought down by the things he couldn’t do. It is so big and cool random people stop on their way past and wander in to have look at it. “I needed a house, didn’t have much money so I just thought I’d build one,” he says. No big deal.
Johnny’s life has been a life well spent living life well and “Looking For Something To Find” to find is a great book for lovers of surfboards, surfing culture and history. I fired Johnny a few questions about how it came about…
What was the inspiration to sit down and write a book? Have you ever tried writing a f**king book standing up? Sorry, Steve. I will try and be serious…
The inspiration came from my partner Pip. She said, ‘I notice when you tell a story people always listen. You tell a damn good story, why don’t you write them down? They love your recordings for the First Wave project. Tell it like it was and is.’ Which, after a lot of editing, turned into Looking For Something To Find. I didn’t sit down to write this book. I was laying in a hammock!
What was your favourite decade in surf culture to date and why do you consider it so rich?
Love them all! And still loving them. Look at what I have been blessed with. The sixties: Mods, music and motorbikes. The seventies: love and peace. Make love not war. Yep – up for that. Along with the hippie headbands, LSD and flares, experimenting with life. The eighties: easy living, easy travelling and no boundaries. The nineties: saving the planet and the oceans, building my dream, including building my home. And the here and now, the 21st century, still living the dream. So, as you can see, a hard one to call, eh?
I guess normally this would usually be the cue for me to say, ‘Had to be the early days, man.’ Well, actually, this is a tricky question to answer. The early days were fantastic but recently, surfing in the tropics in Central America, have been phenomenal for me. The seventies surfing scene was so rich, because of the attitude back then and the lack of crowds. Now it’s all changed but the scene when I get down to Costa Rica harks back to those good old days.
Was the surf culture the same around the country or do you think Cornwall being the end of the line was different?
Oh, yeah, Cornwall was one of the last frontiers. You were kind of left to your own devices. I think the stoke was the same for all surfers, everywhere, in the early days but, even with Newquay being the centre of the surfing culture, there were some real out there soul surfers, myself included, tucked away in their vans, hiding in the deepest depths of Kernow.
Right now there are a lot of surfers trying to rediscover an era and look that you actually set: retro boards, beards. Did you realise you were highly fashionable at the time and what do you think of the resurgence?
Of course we did, Steve. We were dedicated leaders of underground fashion. Mind you, Tris had a hard time growing a beard! And, hey, if it makes you happy to ride a retro board and get your beard wet, so be it.
Who was the best surfer you have seen surf and why did you rate them so highly? On the world scene, no contest, Lopez. Mr Cool for his technique and style. On the European or British scene, Tigger Newling, he had the attributes of Lopez. I rate these guys so highly because of their ability to be so in tune with the waves, whether watching Tigger out at Porthleven on the monster double overhead days, or Lopez in Biarritz, both just embraced the waves. Super cool. Their technical ability was second to none.
What is the most you have been offered for one of your collectors item boards, what was your reaction and what do you make of this occurrence?
I have had offers into the thousands for one of the early Tris boards. But the collector who offered me this huge wodge of dosh kind of knew what my reaction was going to be: ‘Sorry, no thanks, it ain’t for sale.’ But there it is, hanging up for all to see in Tris Surf Shop and that’s where it will stay.
How did the iconic Tris logo come about, who designed it, what does it signify? Tris and I put a few ideas together with inspiration from Rick Griffin and asked a brilliant artist from Aggie, named Keith Flack, to come up with a logo for the boards. After a few months and a lot of weed the iconic logo began its legendary journey with Tris Surf Boards and Tris Surf Shop. The logo is timeless and signifies all that is true about surfing: the sun, the waves and the lone surfer. A rarity these days but it’s out there. You just have to try a little harder to find it.
Tris Coates in three words..?
Haha, Steve you gotta be joking haven’t you! Well I guess it would have to be … Stark raving mad! Or as Tris once said of himself, ‘Self serving bastard.’
I think it is fair it say he has been a major influencer on your life with ups, downs and a fair bit of sideways. Why did you hit it off and what is the funniest thing you have ever seen him do/get involved with that we can’t be sued for?
Well we didn’t really have much choice; there was nobody else around at the time, so we were stuck together! We both thought “work” was a dirty word and neither of us really liked the idea of working for somebody else. As for the funniest thing I have seen him do? Try and shape a surfboard! But hey, he got the hang of it and to this day his boards are still sought after classics.
What was Porthtowan like when you first arrived? Pumping.
Has it changed much? Yeah. Like all good surf spots change will come, for better or for worse. Obviously, the early days when Tris, a few others, and myself, were hanging out, were absolutely magic and I will always think myself lucky for living through that era. But, of course, change has to come. Running a business on the beach means I have seen the village grow over the years, not so much in size as in reputation. After the hazy days of the seventies, Porthtowan actually turned into a pretty hardcore place, it never lost its charm but thanks to a variety of factors it wasn’t exactly on the list of family friendly beach holidays. This was not always great for business but it did mean the waves stayed quiet and the local crew had the place to themselves. It was wilder than it is now, it epitomised the Badlands vibe and, for guys like yourself, Minzy, the Hendy brothers and the rest of the posse, it was a good stomping ground. Nowadays it’s much more user friendly, the shops are busier and, guess what, it’s bloody crowded.
Being in the midst of the sixties and seventies there is mention of a fair amount weed in the book, but I noticed the specific paragraphs that seem to warn readers on the dangers of skunk and the drugs. Why is this?
Well, Steve, I am not about to start preaching but I do feel that drug use in the early days and the modern situation has changed somewhat. The difference between the taking of drugs to get high in the old days and the use and abuse of drugs in modern society, is pretty obvious to me. In the early days, I am thinking of surfers, but I am sure it was similar in all walks of life; like-minded people smoked a little weed and dabbled to get high. Now the drug culture has evolved and things are more business orientated. In a way it’s become more normalised and less of a counter-culture. This leads to massive problems on a global scale, unscrupulous dealers cutting the drugs for big bucks, and the resulting patterns of abuse and, ultimately, tragedy. Just look at some of the legends of surfing, the needle and the damage done.
What life advice would you give to any younger surfer reading this. Never tire of chasing your dreams. Try saying ‘Hi’ to a stranger in the line up, don’t worry about the ‘I am Best’ T-shirt. Try soul surfing one day. It is good for you. Don’t be a twat in the ocean and last, but not least, respect your environment.
Are there any ambitions to produce a Tris heritage range? It is happening! Tris is shaping and Neil Wernham is spraying. Click here to find out more
What’s next in your life of adventure? The Film!
“Looking for something to find” is available on Amazon or here www.toadhallpress.co.uk
The world’s best surfers battled dangerous conditions at Teahupo’o as competition ran through Rounds 3 and 4 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, stop No. 7 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). Four surfers earned a direct advance to the Quarterfinals and the stage is set for a thrilling Finals Day tomorrow, beginning with Round 5.
Round 4 started with a bang, as Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS) and Owen Wright (AUS) fought for a place in the Quarterfinals. The trio quickly got to work and kept busy, but it was Wright that locked in the only excellent score of the heat, an 8.17, to take the win.
“I heard Jeremy (Flores) say this morning that these conditions are really dangerous and I’d have to agree with him,” said Wright. “It’s so shallow and every time you take off you can just see the reef. It’s pretty crucial to make those waves now and that really played into that heat. I’m stoked to win because it’s the first time I’ve really utilized the three man heats this year.”
Wildcard Bruno Santos (BRA) posted an excellent nine-point ride to open Round 4 Heat 2 and put the pressure on reigning WSL Champion and defending event winner Gabriel Medina (BRA). Medina answered by finding one of the biggest barrels of the day and a near-perfect 9.97, backing it up with a 7.67 for a place in the Quarterfinals. Rookie Italo Ferreira (BRA) was left trailing behind his more experienced competitors and will surf again in Round 5 alongside Santos.
“I knew that would be a tough one, against Bruno (Santos) especially,” Medina said. “The 9.97 felt really good but then Bruno almost got me at the end. I’m really happy for the win and excited for the next Round. It would mean a lot to win here again because I love this wave. It feels good to be out there and getting a lot of waves and it would be so special.”
Josh Kerr (AUS) claimed his second victory of the day in Round 4 Heat 3 and earned a place in the Quarterfinals. Kerr battled injury wildcard Aritz Aranburu (ESP) and rookie Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) in the day’s penultimate match-up after eliminating 2013 event winner Adrian Buchan (AUS) in Round 3.
“I think we all forgot how shallow this wave actually is,” said Kerr. “Now, when the good ones come it’s very shallow. I bumped the reef and I saw Ace (Buchan) do the same on his last wave. It’s been great to hang in such a beautiful place while we’ve been waiting for our next heats.”
The final heat of the day saw 11-time WSL Champion and four-time event winner Kelly Slater (USA) take on Jeremy Flores (FRA) and C.J. Hobgood (USA). After a slow start Flores was first to earn a score of significance with a 7.83. Slater answered with a 6.83 to take the lead but Flores quickly came back. Last-minute heroics from Slater netted him an excellent 9.77 and a pass to the Quarterfinals.
“Those first waves out there you don’t really want to catch them because they’re so bumpy and frothy,” said Slater. “I was doubting that 9.77 but I just went on the wave anyway. The first foam ball bounced me and slowed me down and then the next one slowed me down even more but then I made it out. I’m stoked to make it through to tomorrow and make it to the final day and I think we’re going to have even better waves.”
Hobgood, who will surf again in Round 5, claimed the first Perfect 10 of the competition in Round 3 to upset current no. 3 on the Jeep Leaderboard Julian Wilson (AUS). The 2004 event winner found his way out of an impossible barrel after the foam ball to send Wilson home in equal 13th place.
“The lineup was that tough for some reason,” said Hobgood. “Even when a wave came you didn’t know how good it was going to be. The swell is coming up, there’s so much water so it’s hard, and you have to take off deep. I didn’t care if I lost in Round 3 because I would have gone out with a 10 on my last wave at Teahupo’o.”
Flores will join Hobgood in elimination Round 5 and previously dispatched Joel Parkinson (AUS) in Round 3 with the highest heat total of the day, an 18.87, for his show of commitment and technical barrel riding.
“The wave was really hollow and gnarly and I those were conditions where you can really get hurt,” Flores said. “I’ve surfed this wave a million times so I didn’t freesurf this morning and take the risk. I’m still feeling a bit sketchy with my head injury and every time I fall it’s the first thing I think about. It’s hard because I’m definitely scared but I just have to find the right balance. On my best day I feel like I can beat anyone but every single surfer on this tour is so so good. I’m hoping and I’m training hard and if I can win an event then I’m sure I can win another one.”
First to compete tomorrow will be Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) in Heat 1 of Round 5.
Event organizers will reconvene at 7 a.m. tomorrow to assess conditions and make a call for competition.
A very long time ago one of the earliest Northern Europeans had an idea. His idea was simple: I’ve had enough of this cave dwelling. I want to go and sleep somewhere else…
It’s understandable. The same cave day in, day out, would get a bit boring. Having to walk everywhere, or perhaps riding a pet wooly mammoth, would limit your excursions to how far you could explore before turning for home and the safety of the cave. What with sabre tooth tigers and what not running around sleeping in the open was akin to being a human shaped all you can eat buffet. Not to mention potentially being an icicle come morning seeing as Ice Ages tended to pop up with alarming and rapid frequency.
The frustration of wondering what was over the far hills, what herds of easily stoned to death bison lay out of sight must have been hard to bear. Thankfully the human mind was evolving and problem solving was, and is, what sets us apart from other species. So it’s not hard to imagine the scenario: Our neolithic chum would invite everyone out from lounging around the cave discussing whether dinosaurs were really real or not to show them his creation. They troop out into the autumnal sunshine squinting.Before them lays a dome shape. It looks like a weird boob made of leather skins.
“What is?” they say perplexed.
(Forgive the invention of early neolithic language, no one has any idea what language they spoke, lets assume it’s a stunted comedy caveman version of English).
“Not weird leather boob?”
‘No. Tent. It portable shelter. For thing I call camping.’
“Camping? Sound shit.”
And so they turn, unimpressed, not realising the momentous moment they’ve just witnessed and tramp back into the easy comfort and warmth of the cave to nibble on a few more barbecued dodo wings.
They didn’t even notice that our friend and his weird leather boob were gone come night fall. They did notice two days later when he was nowhere to be seen and got worried. After a week they assumed his remains were somewhere either in the digestive system of a sabre tooth tiger or marinating as sabre tooth tiger dung on a hillside somewhere. Then they picked out a star that was him in the heavens forever more and got on with being cave people.
Then one afternoon our man with the big idea came strolling over the hill with his roll of skins and sticks called ‘tent’ on one shoulder and a brace of fresh game birds called ‘pheasant’ on the other. Which made him extremely popular as pulled pheasant was soon to be a bearded hipster caveman favourite.
Since then the tent has been a staple for mankind. The portable, lightweight dwelling in all its forms has sheltered cultures as they spread across continents. So much easier to take down and move than a log cabin. It’s been through wars, crusades, refugee camps, polar expeditions and more and thousands of years since that first stab at tent we still love them today.
Sure they’re more fancy. More tech. More carbon. They smell less of animals and are far more vegetarian friendly but the concept is the same. Portable short term dwelling. Erectable anywhere the ground is vaguely flat.
The perfect thing for surf trips in autumn.
‘Woah!’ I hear you say. ‘Camping is a summer thing yo!’
And much as your street lingo is impressive you’re wrong. Camping in summer sucks ass. Being woken at 4:30 a.m. by the sun lighting up the tent and then being slowly broiled to an impossibly uncomfortable heat by 7:00 a.m. is total balls. No, friends, summer camping is for mugs. Autumn, when the weather is more exciting, is when camping is character building. Camping that makes you feel alive. Camping that tests the fabric and build quality of your tent and your mettle. You’ve not lived until you’ve spent a night in a tent in a Scottish gale. It’s truly invigorating. Sure. It’s a bit terrifying as well. But it’s living.
Of course there are downsides to camping, even now that getting eaten by wildlife or squashed by rapidly advancing ice sheets is not an issue.
The modern tent maybe the easiest thing to erect in the known universe. Literally undo one strap. Let it go. And ‘BOOM’ you have an erection. It might not be the right way up initially but that’s an easy fix. The flip side. Putting them away is a whole different story. You need a PhD in Physics to put a 2-Second tent away. No messing. You have to able to bend space and time and manipulate carbon poles in to the shape of a Möbius strip to go back in the bag it came in. It’s next to impossible and anyone that can do first go without looking at the instructions is a bona fide genius.
Putting most other tents up, again, without looking at the instructions, is also pretty bloody hard. But once your tent is up and pegged and guyed you are ready to roll. The plus side of this is watching people put up tents they’ve never erected before is all kinds of hilarious. Like watching dudes build a 3D jigsaw on the Krypton Factor with no real idea what it’s meant to look like until they’ve done it half right with the poles in wrong. Of course the tent is half the equation. Humans require shelter. This is one of our main priorities. The others are water, food and somewhere to poop.
Camping brings out the survivalist in all of us. Especially wild camping on a cliff top overlooking the majesty of the Atlantic. No shower blocks and nice shitters here. Just a cliff and a view that money can’t buy. Water becomes precious. Metered out for tea, the odd sip of water and the tiniest splash for teeth cleaning. If people remember that we are civilised humans not stone age dwellers that do actually clean our teeth when living on a cliff edge. Food can’t be chilled. The concept of ‘fridge’ goes right out the window. Of course one of the benefits of autumn camping is milk for the essential morning tea/coffee doesn’t turn to cheese in three minutes like it does when left in a tent in the summer. Crisps and biscuits become the staple diet. How our ancestors would chuckle over their spit roasted fresh catch of the day at our modern inability to hunt and fend for ourselves. As for the bathroom. Well. Wet wipes are the friend of all campers. Surfers are blessed by being able to dunk in the sea all day and not be too grimy … apart from wetsuit wee stench. As for number twos. Well. Digging a little hole and then making sure you burn the bog roll to leave no evidence of your doings does make you yearn for the modern fabulousness of a porcelain throne. But. Again it’s character building to have a poo in a ditch overlooking the majesty of the Atlantic.
The whole point of tents is having somewhere to shelter under the stars. It’s also, if you’re on the north coast of Scotland like we were on this trip, the best way to see the stars. Getting away from the cave. From the streetlights and haze of 21st century man and out to where the air is so clear you can see the wonder of the Milky Way spiralling away into the infinite inky black isn’t something a night in a hotel will give you. Sure hotels have free biscuits and a toilet experience that doesn’t leave you worrying about brown shrapnel hitting your trousers. But it’s not a night you’ll remember. Being under the stars with the northern lights dancing on the far horizon as you drink a hot brew or a cold beer and talk story with friends by your humble tent is one of those things that sticks with you. Hell. It might even make you write an essay on how fricking magical camping in the autumn can be.
Sure tents blow down. People trip over guy ropes when they’ve had a few too many ciders. And inevitably someone called Ben will somehow puncture your airbed just by sitting on it but this is what makes tent life so brill. It’s living raw. It’s exciting. Yes. It’s tiring. It can be cold. It can be damp. But when the waves are firing it also means you are right there at dawn ready to hit it. And with no cosy duvet or partner to spoon and lie in with you’re on it. Steaming brew on the go as you suit up then hit the brine. The cold sting of autumnal Atlantic hitting your face is the best alarm clock in the world.
It’s not too late. Modern sleeping bags are good to crazy temps. If the surf’s good and the weather’s not too apocalyptic go camp. Get tent. Or. If you have a really good tent go camp no matter what. For shits and giggles if nothing else.
You won’t regret it. It’s in our genes see. Being outside under the stars next to a fire chewing on a burnt bit of meat is so deeply coded in our DNA that you’re seeing the stars through the same eyes our ancestors did. We’re the same. Just the modern version. Except they only got to marvel at the sea. Not revel in riding it…
The Boardmasters surf comps are reaching the sharp end. The Men’s Open presented by Carve, yes, that’s us, finished the quarter finals early this morning so the stage is set for an epic show down on Sunday between local heroes Harry DR, Jayce Robinson, Oli Adams and Luke Dillon versus the international brigade of Hodei Collazo, Edouard Delpero, Angelo Bonomelli and Will Davey (British but lives in Lanza so half n half).
The groms and teens are finishing up today and the WSL longboard events go tomorrow. Sunday’s looking like the swell is pulsing for the afternoon so it should finish with a bang. Aside from the surfing the music kicks off at Watergate right about now. So gird your loins. Put on your drinking trousers and get involved…
Here’s a gallery of shots mainly from this morning (apart from the Hodei and Emily shots, they from yesterday). All pics by Sharpy.
Stan Norman. Mini ripper unloading this morning.
Stoker just missed out a semi berth by nought point something.
Luke Dillon. Looking tack sharp and into the semis.
Rhys Barfield’s run ended in the qtrs.
The ‘Gor and SLamiroy on their paddle out.
Reubyn Ash, another narrow defeat…
Jobe Harriss also on his way back to Bude today.
Jayce Robinson, first turn.
Jayce, second turn same wave.
JR, third turn. Same wave. Done deal. Through to the semis.
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