Thursday, February 28, 2013

A day at the Fry.

Another year, and another Currumbin Alley Fish Fry. With the tumultuous weather conditions experienced for over a week on the Gold Coast and surrounding areas, all fingers were crossed for some relief sunshine on Saturday. The day dawned with brilliant sunshine and held throughout the day, very rough, unstable surf conditions saw only the experienced tackle the difficult waves. The recent bad weather had an effect on those travelling from afar, with numbers decreased, in doubt if the day would go ahead, but to those who attended another inspiring meet ensued.

If you had had asked me 7 years ago whether or not this event had any longevity, I would have been dubious but now I’m convinced that this thing has legs. Starting out as a small home grown event dedicated to the origins of the humble fish and attracting local aficionados, the Fish Fry has become a global event with variations on the theme being organised in beaches across the world. Organiser and fish fanatic Grant Newby has carefully groomed the event year after year, tailoring the day to keep it fresh and revitalised. This years incarnation included all foam sliders from our little twin fin friends to logs, quads, asymmetrical, paipos, alaias and hand planes, a veritable line up of equipment which at a grass roots level is changing the face of surfing as we know it.

We are in an interesting time with surfing right now where people are open to alternatives, about the experimentation, about challenging convention and having a go themselves. There is definitely a simmering undercurrent. Small pockets of individuals on a journey of rediscovery - rebuilding surfing from the garage upwards, backyard innovators forming a ground swell of enthusiasm, revitalising the stoke and re-evoking the soul. At its core this is what the Fish Fry is about, has become! A forum for like-minded individuals, a gathering of surfing’s true core shapers, glassers, artists and visionaries. The future is looking very bright indeed, thanks to the craftsmanship in Eden Saul's Dead Kooks fabric inlaid hull entry pintails, in Sam Yoon’s Flying Soul heavy rake finned logs, in Shoji Mujo's geometric Fantastic Plastic Machine hex-nosed flyer pintails, Grant Newby's foam core paulownia timber vacuum-bagged, lanolin rubbed, snub nose simmons. It is with the support of master shapers like Rich Pavel from California who has attended every Fish Fry on the Gold Coast, who takes the time to talk, encourage and support young shapers who turn up with their home grown creations. These young shapers work in other fields but love the challenge of crafting something for themselves and close friends in their garage, under the house, just like it used to be. This is where the next generation is born. It is where fresh ideas come to mind, free of the worries of running a business and trying to makes ends meet in a competitive industry with small margins.
Along with this came an eccentric mix of beautifully hand crafted wooden hand planes, a travelling Japanese soul surfer and musician, families enjoying surf culture together and in the many strange and wonderful saltwater sleds that saw the light of day at the heart of what the Fish Fry means to people. The phoenix had risen and the forefathers of surfing are smiling once again.

 A nice little wood simmons with a timber stain paint job
 Eden Saul the Dead Kooks man with inlaid log.
 Grant Newby's Alley Slider.
 Fully raked fin on Grant Newby's Salty Sled.
 Grant Newby's Paulownia vacuum bagged Simmon's fleet with Papa Nui's Quad in green.
 Eden Saul's Kooky logo.
 The Alley Tee.
 Papa Nui's Simmon's Fish hybrid Quad with Japanesesque fin setup.
Shoji Muto's stringerless quiver.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Papa and the Salty Merchant.

                                           Papa Nui meets Salty's Short Supply.
For the first time in decades there's an excitement back at the beach. All along the coast small entrepreneurs are doing interesting things. building businesses or supplying select customers with goods that the major surf industry in its complacent ignorance could never have imagined. Walk into any large surf retailer and the concept is so obviously stagnant, dead and dated. Venture into the world of the Internet, blog pages or the revitalised back streets of the beach where rent is affordable and you'll find an air of excitement, a buzz, a thrill, a renewed cultural explosion of the beach lifestyle in all its alternative magic, a million miles removed from glossy posters and pro events.
One of the hundreds of young individuals thumbing their noses at the surfing Kremlin is Byron shire local Brent Wayling. Brent is owner of Salty's Short Supply. He's just a regular guy with an idea about beach togs. Salty's shorts encapsulate Summer, pure and simple. They're lightweight, bright and fun. There's no tech here in cut or fabric, but there's life! There's the breath of the ocean and a warm glow on your skin, there's cool drinks in hot climes and a knowing wink from fellow beach-goers that also know where its at.
Salty's are available online at or at any of the weekend markets along New South Wales north coast, Byron Bay/ Lennox Head or in Queensland at Burleigh Heads or Like Salty's on facebook

Papa's rationale of absence.

When I first began blogging nearly 4 years ago I felt there was so much to say and to talk about. There was my observations, my experiences, my hopes dreams and aspirations and of course my unique point of view on things. Somewhere in the last six months however my enthusiasm waned and I've been conscious ever since to try and make the effort to find my rhythm again. This hasn't been easy because I felt that there was so much noise and traffic out there in the bloggersphere, Tumbler and Instagram that the things I most wanted to say were being drowned out. However with the encouragement of my friends my readers and my followers on Facebook I'm feeling the time might be right to participate again. In saying this my blog is not for the popularist, nor is it meant to be, if anything its an expression of self. Its the world as viewed through the Papa's eyes, sometimes fragile, sometimes fiercely opinionated but all the same it's my view through and through. You wont find any reposting of fashion media hype here, if I like something I'll tell you why, I'll have an opinion and I'll plant my style banner firmly in the sand. The Papa is back!