Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Darwin Surf Report

We've always looking in two or three different places to get a good picture about how the surf is going to be because it's not the kind of place that is ever going to get featured on something like Magic Seaweed or Surfline.

After a bit of tweaking I managed to pull down the virtual buoy reports and the latest tide guides onto a single page which will be known as the Darwin Surf Report.

If it proves to be useful I will mash up a few more surf spots from around the place, but don't be alarmed there won't be directions to any of your secret spots, just an idea as to how the surrounding conditions are at any point in time.

Let me know if it needs anything else.......

Monday, December 15, 2008

Taking forever to review Europe summer footage

I've been really lazy when it comes to reviewing my footage from the 3 month mid year trip.

It took me 4/5 nights to go through and capture all the footage on to an external hard drive, and since then I haven't been bothered to go through and start labeling footage.

After 6 weeks of non-stop afternoon beers at the pub with workmates, and an extra 8kg put on since the trip abroad, I'm going to forego the pub and instead hit the world of video production again to get sorted.

Of course, I need a bit of a plan to make this all come together so I know exactly how I'm going to tackle the footage, work out the sound track, and get the general flow of the short movie.

Alright then.

Tonight I will go to the pub with the boys for a bit of a brain storming session to find out how I'm going to tackle this project before I launch into the no drinking.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Waiting for the surf to come

When you live in Darwin you do a lot of waiting for surf, and this year it seems like we're going to be waiting a lot longer then normal.

The storms are beginning to come in a little more frequently, but we are still waiting for the low pressure system to move through the north west waters and get the swell hight a little higher.

As time drags on before the first session I'm finding myself surfing the net a LOT more, and spending more time writing some other more pointless blogs (yes, even more so then this one).

Today I came across a great t-shirt design from hereitself.com titled Strange Aquatic.

And if you want to learn some pointless information each day you can head on over to the Nugget of Knowledge, and if you find that you've learnt something that is worthy of going up feel free to send me an email or post it on the comments.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Storms hit Darwin

It's that time of year when the wet season storms begin to hit Darwin shores a little more frequently.

As time goes on there will be more and more low pressure systems sitting just to the top left of Darwin and swirling the ocean in just the right direction to produce some swell.

Who would have thought that after traveling for so long my first surf in a little over a year is going to be in one of the most infrequent surf spots in all of the world!

Watch this space as it develops, plenty of pictures and a few short clips to follow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stack the memory

It has been a long time since I saw a nerdy office clip as good as this one.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wave Finder

Wave Finder Australia
Earlier last year I set out down the East Coast of Australia in a Wicked Van in search of surfing adventure, and after 2 weeks of driving around I had certainly had that adventure.

The trip was unlike the last two van trips through Europe but a little more like the trip around Ireland we did for St Patrick's Day.

On both of the European van trips we had a sat nav that pointed us in the right direction, turn left in 400 meters, keep left for 249 kilometers, do a u-turn where possible....... and while it saved a lot of issues with having to rely on navigators it did on occasion lack a sense of discovery.

Rewind back to last years East Coast trip and there was no sat nav, in fact there wasn't even a map.  

A month before I left for the trip I bought Wave Finder Australia, a small pocket sized book detailing the most popular surf breaks in Australia, and in the lead up to the trip I browsed the pages making notes of where I wanted to visit.

The day before I flew to Ireland for the biggest swell ever to hit it's shores I bought two items, a wind/water proof jacket and the Wave Finder UK & Ireland which landed me smack bang on the cliffs at Mullaghmore and scored some big wave footage.

Wave Finder Uk & Ireland
On both of those trips I used only the Wave Finder books to navigate me around the country and had some great adventures, great surfs, and scored some epic footage during that time.

The book doesn't give away any secrets, all of the breaks listed in here are well known so as not to give away any of the secret spots that surfers hold so dear.  It provides information on best wind/swell direction, tides, time of year, water temperature, and it even mentions a few surf shops to pick up supplies and a few places that your can crash for a few days.

In my opinion the book is a must have and provides the only map you'll ever need for a surfing adventure.

Wave Finder Central America
Wave Finder Mexico

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Roma Bar Cafe

The Roma bar is one of my new favourite places.

Not just for the good coffee and free wireless internet access point, but also for the range of people that dine here.

It's funny how different locations ensure a gathering of stereo typical people.  The Cavenagh across the road stays busy with a younger 'party' crowd that gather for debaucherous Sunday Sessions, while the Roma Bar seems to attract a group of people with extraordinarily strong opinions of politics, religion, world events.

It's not my favorite place because I'm opinionated in these topics.......... I'm just generally opinionated across the board, but because I can sit back and listed to how a group of people are going to change the world for the better.

Across from me on this occasion are a table of four, two couples, who are in the throws of conversation regarding the Bush's term in office.  While they are making a few good points, it appears that the only action one couple has taken is to refuse to shower or use deodorant and seem to have boycotted the use of a comb and shampoo.

It's a damn good thing Obama has come along now, because with eight years worth of talking about it I'm sure they were on the verge of actually doing something...... oh yes Bush you should count yourself lucky you couldn't serve another term.

Well I'd best be off, I'm going across to the Cav to meet a few mates for a couple of beers and discuss what can be done about the Australian Cricket team

Monday, November 10, 2008

Justin on wiki

I've recently flown back to my home town of Darwin and resumed at my old job working with nerdy IT stuff.  

One of the new things we're pushing are wiki's in the work place.  

Before you start..... yes I know wiki's aren't new, but when you enter a workplace that has become very particular in the way the work with paper it is difficult to push new technologies, even if they're many years old.

We set up Media Wiki on my computer which is running Xammp to show how beneficial a wiki could be to potential clients within the organisation.

Fortunately my mate at work decided to put up a post to show the ease at which you're able to update and share information.  UNfortunately he decided to post a wiki article about me that went along the lines of this.............

The Justin is a recently discovered species found to hibernate in dark corners of seedy pubs. First discovered in Australia, poor quarantine procedures allowed for the accidental migration of this species to several other countries, where it has become a evironmental pest. If not properly controlled, the Justin is known to take down anywhere up to 15 German Backpackers in a single month. It also has a significant ecological footprint on disposable resources such as doritos and midstrength beer.

While generally weedy and rather unassuming to look at, the Justin can often be mistaken for the Jesus christ, which, is of course, a totally different species. In fact, morally, it can be said the Justin and the Jesus Christ could not be any more different.

Although the Justin is not a naturally agressive species, it does have several defensive traits that are known to protect it from predators. Firstly, with its supporting diet of processed food and carbonated liquids of 'most' varieties, the Justin can produce a defensive odor that will literally burn your nostrils off. Victims of the Justin can often be heard sreaming, "For the love of god, I can't feel my legs..." Another defense mechanism the Justin has been known to employ has simply been coined, "the webmonster", but to date, those who have experienced this have been unwilling to discuss it, rather, they just curl up into the fetal postion and rock in a corner of the room. It can only be assumed it must be quite devestating.

The Justin is renound for it's amazing sense of sound, with large protruding ears capable of hearing what the Chinese are thinking. Although it is not known for what reason this enhanced sensory ability is for, it is suspected it could be used when preying on Swedish barmaids.

While it is not entirely true, it is pretty damn funny and one of the best digs I've seen in a while..... at least until the wiki post on Paul becomes available.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Surfing in Darwin

As I went through my morning ritual of checking my email accounts I came across something other then the usual Facebook updates, mailing list news and spam.

The email was from someone that wanted to know about Surfing in Darwin.

I just found your "surfspotmap" for Darwin, could you recommend it as a spot in april-may? I am struggeling to find any information about the surfing in darwin.It would be great if you could give me some good advice as I am looking for an hospital (close to some good waves) for my clinical elective!yeay. Thanks a lot!

Surfing in Darwin? Something tells me that I've somewhat mislead the readers with my post on Surfing Spots in Darwin, so I will revisit the topic and try and set the record straight.

Surfing in Darwin is for kamikaze's only. Not for the reasons that you would usually rate a break as kamikaze, shallow reef, big waves, thick lips, bad rips. It's not for what you're surfing in, but what you're surfing with.


I know, I know. Every break in the world is plagued by sharks. Some more so then others, like South Africa and southern Australia with the Great White Sharks, others with Bull Sharks and Darwin with their Tiger Sharks.

Box Jellyfish

These are no portugese man of wars or sea wasps. They sting, and they sting really bad. The box jellyfish, or Chironex fleckeri, are difficult to spot in crystal clear water and nearly impossible to spot in the dirty waters of Darwin. There sting releases a venom known to be the most painful of any species, and it attacks the central nervous system.

A sting on the legs or arms will be extremely painful and leave scarring, where a sting on the upper torso or face could be fatal.

Saltwater Crocodiles

That's right, as if two deadly animals in the ocean wasn't enough you've also got crocodiles to deal with when surfing in Darwin. These prehistoric beasts will make short work of your board and even shorter work of your limbs if it manages to clamp it's jaws around you.

So that's what you have to deal with when surfing in Darwin.

What's that you say? World class surfers deal with the dangers of big waves, shallow reefs and sharks just to ride that perfect wave, so what makes Darwin so much more dangerous?

Well the truth is that it's no more dangerous then any of those places, but there is one very obvious difference between surfing in Darwin and surfing anywhere else in the world.

There is no surf in Darwin.

Now that's a very simple reason, but I think it's worth mentioning twice.

There is no surf in Darwin.

That might be worth mentioning three times....... but I won't.

To be fair, we do get surf evey now and then, but it's only when huge low pressure systems sit about 100km NNW from Darwin, or cyclones such as Thelma or Tracey track near our shores.

The wind swell that is generated from these huge storms produce a washing machine type effect, which then makes its way to the shore and forms something that resembles a wave. This also brings storm surge and horrendous rips, but no worse then what you get anywhere else in the world.

Oh and you also need spring tides (0.5 - 5.9 meters at the very least) for any of the surf spots to work.

With all of these circumstances, the nasties in the water, the storms and the tides, it's very tough to get a surf in Darwin. You would probably be looking at 8-10 sessions a year, with only 1 of those being a nice glassy day, and even then you've still got the water based animals to deal with.

However as the sun sets at mindil beach, the water is warm, and it is that one day a year that glassy sets are rolling in, there are few places more beautiful to be sitting on the board with your mates around you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting to heathrow terminal 4

I've finally come to the realisation that I'm not a light traveler. In fact I'd go so far as to say i travel fairly heavy.

It's not just a matter of leaving out the extra shirt or shorts you'll never wear, i haven't even packed those things this time.

It's got to the point now that i've got the laptop, camera, video camera and tripod, but now i travel with 2 external hard drives as well. And of course its not just one camera, theses the xl1s for land shots and the hv20 for water shots....which means the water housing is in there as well. Now with two vastly different sized cameras brings two bags, and because of the additional lens i have for each one is kept in a silver hard case, and don't forget the two tripods that go along as well.

So what powers these things, countless power adapters and plugs of course, not to mention the cables to link them all together.

On this trip it isn't just holiday and travel, it's 3 months of work as well and therefore work clothes are added to the mix.

At a rough guess its about 25 kg of stuff strapped around my body which then walks 400 meters to stockwell to catch the victoria line up to green park before changing trains to the piccadily line and heading towards heathrow terminal 4.... All up taking about an hour.

It is a sad day though leaving my girls behind, which is why the next post will be dedicated to them, the adventures we've had and the things they've taught me,and of course the silly things they've done.

After my first rough guess it ended up being 20.9 Kg for the back pack and 13kg for the Camera box alone. Had

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pint after work

The mood is set.

You've had a long long day at work.

In fact, you've had four long day's at work.

You know that tomorrow is Friday and you can unwind then, but that's my time! Why should work frustrations encroach on my time. It's okay though, the bad day is over and you're on the way to the pub..... albeit after the sun has long since gone down.

You pass a few windows with the lights still on and laugh to yourself, "ha, that was me yesterday".

You reach your local and, even though you've missed happy hour by 3 hours, you're ready to enjoy the beer you've been looking forward to since brushing your teeth yesterday morning.

You find a seat at the bar, get served first, and it's by the cute barmaid that hasn't been there in a month! Could life get any better!!!!

As you pick up your pint to take that long awaited and well deserved first sip, the song changes. You hadn't even noticed there was any music playing up to that point.....

It's one of those songs from your earlier years, during your hay day. The one that reminds you of good times and great friends. The one that you love to sit back, listen, and reminince about the good ol' days of 8 years ago.

You close your eyes, put the pint to you lips and let your mind cast back to that time when you were........

**click** **click** **click**

Wait a minute. That's not my song any more.

The now much less cute barmaid has skipped your song. Your song!

Your opportunity to sit back and reminisce has now been skipped along to "Man Eater". And not the Hall & Oats version. I could deal with the Hall and Oats version. She's skipped it for the Nelly Furtado version! If that isn't bad enough it's followed up with ABBA's "Waterloo".

There's nothing left to do except put your pint down and think about how lucky those people still at work really are.........

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You Tube comic causes audio preview for comments

While I was wandering around the great expansive web I came across a comic depicting a typical user of you tube.

To show what a great sense of humour the good people at google have it has now been made a feature of the commenting tool on you tube.

You need to be signed in to leave a comment, and if you're not already a member I can tell you it's worth the registration process for just a few minutes of immature giggles.

If you're struggling to find a you tube video to try this out on, check out the latest ads from the Natural Confectionary Company with the "Bring on the Trumpets" and "I'm sorry but I don't speak pinnaple"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Google Map Surf Spots

I'm thinking about adding a Surf Spots section to my film and other blog site. What it would effectively do is show the surf spots that I have found during my travels through Europe, Bali, East Coast of Australia, Mexico etc etc.

I would also plot places to sleep, sources of water, nice views, and interesting places.

It's basically a guide to where I've been and how I've done it, so someone doesn't have to spend the 30 minutes extra driving around trying to find a free parking area at 10pm when they've been driving for 12 hours on a hangover........... not that I ever had to do that ;)

My main concern is that occasionally people have been upset about my directions to certain spots, even after they've been searching for the spot, found it, and then are upset that they've found it..........

Here's an example of what I mean from google maps and tiny url of the surf spots in Baleal, Portugal.
Does anyone have any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Summer Films pick up Ireland Big Wave footage

I received an email this morning confirming that Summer Films are going to use one of the waves I filmed of Al Mennie surfing in last years huge swell that hit Mullaghmore in Ireland in their upcoming episode of Gethin Jones Danger Hunters.

The show is set to air on Wednesday 29th October at 9pm on Virgin 1, but apparently they're having a few problems securing the spot so keep your eyes out.

It's always the way though, you get some footage wave published on television and I'll be sitting in cattle class on the way back to Australia while it airs..........

One of the coolest bits is I'll get recongnition in the credits for the footage!  Hooray!  Only my name though so I can't blatently try and push my website link.  Spewing.

If you do happen to come across the website and are in the market for a water videographer just leave and comment............

In fact, I've managed to build up a very small but growing list of events that I've filmed and footage that has been used further on.

Events include Fot Sun Festival, 28 Days gig, The Beautiful Girls gig, Nightclub Dancers promotion, Leo and Yam Acrobatic displays, Margaret River Pro WQS Surfing Competition, Mullaghmore Ireland, Pamplona Running of the Bulls, Peurto Escondido (coming soon...)...... and more

...of which the footage was used in Billabong XXL Awards, Gethin Jones Danger Hunters, BBC regional news, Wicked Campers (Edinburgh, Ireland & Pamplona), Oneil Europe Marketing, Surfline Locals Video..... and more.

It might be time that I started to keep a list of these over on the other site........... something to do when I get home tonight.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Big Wave Surfing - Gethin Jones Danger Hunters

Today is the first nice day of weather we've had in London for the past week, and thankfully it has fallen onto a weekend.

As usual though my head was a little cloudy in the morning thanks for a few after work drinks and then a few more catching up with Michelle.

I couldn't do a day on the couch today though as I had to prepare my footage and head off to Oxford Circus to drop it into a post production office.

What footage, what for? Well I'm glad you asked or this would be an even more pointless post.

A company called Summer Films have been doing an episode of Gethin Jones' Danger Hunters with Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton for their big wave surfing in Ireland. We've been talking over the past few months about getting together the next time they were out filming so that I could get into the water and do some filming with my HV20 SPL water housing, but every time they were ready to film I was either in Australia, filming the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona or sunning during the summer in Europe.

They have reached post production now and have asked to review the waves that Al surfed back in December last year in Mullaghmore, Ireland.

Fingers crossed that some of my clips get in as not only will I pick up a small fee for the footage, but I'll also get a mention in the credits for doing the filming. Hey, it's a shameless plug for myself but it's a pretty good way to start to get my name out in the field.

As for the rest of today, I've gone back to the first days of London when I would sit in at Apostrophe cafe and look out of St Paul's while catching up on my blog......... but as with everywhere times are tough and the cafe is starting to get stingey with their coffees.............. for god's sake I asked for a medium!

Now that I've finished that coffee I'm noticing that everyone seems to be walking around in slow motion like that episode of Futurama........ it's really starting to worry me. It involves one of the best quotes I've ever heard, and is one of the best moments in cartoon history.

Bender: You seem a tad wound up, buddy. And your face is greasy. Real greasy. You been up all night?
Fry: Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee! I need a nap. (He falls asleep, then wakes up) Coffee time!
Bender: (Gets out Le Grand Cigar) Ah, mighty fine smokable.
Fry: Fancy cigar, why don't you smoke it already? Puff, puff, gogogogogo!

I guess I better head back to the counter and get another coffee to calm my nerves.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Leaving London for Sydney

It's been a hectic week and a bit since I finished my summer adventure driving through Europe.

After I left Hossegor, and suffering one of the worse hangovers I've ever had after an afternoon catch up with Chook and Marty, I headed up towards Saint Malo to catch the Ferry back to Portsmouth and then back to London.

When I pulled up to my first round about after the ferry ride I had to sit there for a few minutes and work out just which way I was supposed to be driving on it.  Was it left? Was it right? It felt like it should be left, but was that because it was the right way or because I was used to going that way after 2 months on the other side of the road.

I was sat there for about 5 seconds, which for the people blaring their horns behind me obviously seemed like a lot longer, before I took the plunge around the left of the roundabout.

After a sunny weekend back at Borough Markets and Clapham Common I went back to work to find out that there were some issues with me changing my Visas over...... and hence the title of this post.

So there's a good chance that I'm going to be leaving wintery London and heading to summery Sydney for the next few months and start work with original Squiz - Mysource Matrix Open Source CMS company.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quicksilver Pro France 2008 Video

After spending a day wandering around San Sebastian I was in touch with Duncan in South Africa and he was asking why I wasn't up in Hossegor for the Quicksilver Pro....

Good bloody question.

I'm ashamed to admit, but I thought the title had been surfed and won already and Mundaka was the next one to go.

I got back to the car park and chatted with some of my neighbours, two Austrian's and two Germans.  We talked about the waves and the weather, they were all sleeping in their cars as well and I was very close to just kicking back for the night with them and some beers and the guitar.

But no!  There was a surf competition on and I had to see it.  

I passed on my number in case they were heading back up there and set off on the road to Hossegor and the Quicksilver Pro France 2008.

On arriving I could see loads of cars, campers and drunks, but continued further up the road to where I assumed the competition was to be held.

The car park was deserted, well nearly, with only three cars.  I pulled up and went out to the beach.  Sure enough, tents, judging platform, big screen tv........ I had found my Mecca.

But what was everyone doing in town?  I decided to head back and check it out and then return.

When I got back I realised that the same exact set up I just saw was back in the town!  Surely that's why all the cars were here.  I pulled up and got some shut eye very excited about the next day.

When the day rolled around I strolled out to the beach, at 7am, to find there were no waves.  I was bloody cold as well so I headed back to bed for a few hours.  When I awoke I realised that most of the cars had pulled out and left........... which probably meant that the competition was on at the other beach.

Sure enough the car park was packed, and for a few km's back as well.  Fortunately I found a camper to park behind (they weren't going anywhere anyway) and I was off to the beach just in time to see Mick Campbell's heat, Pancho Sullivan's heat, Kelly Slater's heat (last two waves got him through) and then Taj Burrows heat.  

About that time the battery was low, the tape was near the end and my mates from Darwin, Chook and Marty, were on the beach in search of me.  Enough for today, it's off to the bar to have a few beers with some old friends.

I've just cut together a small bit of footage for the day highlighting Kelly's waves........ it's uploading to http://www.surfthedream.com.au at the moment but I'm having trouble with the uploads on the free internet service here at St Malo's closed information centre.  


The video is there now, you can get to it from the surf the dream homepage.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Surfing Sopelana in Spain

Yesterday we went down to the beach at Sopelana. It's a beautiful place which "looks" like it would be a great place to surf if the swell would just pick up a little.

Ibon was chatting to the guy that runs the bar and this weekend has an International Surfing competition on. We're off to check it out this morning so fingers crossed the swell picks up a bit.

Photo's to come.........

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is simply amazing.

A single piece of work that has taken over 100 years to build, and it is not due to be finished any time soon.  Estimates are that, should the funding and work be maintained at the current rate, it will be finished by 2030........... some 100 years after the death of the buildings architect, Antoni Gaudi.

On my first visit to Barcelona I saw the work from the top of the tourist bus, and this time I covered every inch of the place that the public could step and took over 200 photographs.

For now time is short so I won't go into detail just yet, but there will be more pictures along with an explanation on those and the one's already uploaded here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Surfing Portugal

Well it´s been a while but I´m back in front of a computer again.

When the Alyce, Glen & Meagan clan left the trip they accidently collected my electricity converter which has left me without power for the laptop, which means no blogging.

I have been writing a bit, taking lots of notes about the places I´ve been (especially the great surfing venues in Portugal) and since Sintra I´ve even been able to start taking some photo´s again. That´s right, another Canon Ixus has joined the party (I´ve gone back to the Ixus 70 seeing as I´ve now spent about $900.00 on the camara´s just to wind up with the same camera I started with).

From Sintra I headed up north towards Peniche, which to be fair to the town isn´t the best place I´ve been on the trip so far. It is a must stop though, as just down the road is Baleal which is an awesome little spot for waves for all levels of surfer.

The main break, from memory is Ajeed but I´ll confirm in a post just for that, is a great left hander that breaks over rock. Most surfers were getting 2-3 turns on the crappy waves, more on the good set waves.

To the left of that is Baleal beach which offers some great beginner waves, and as you go further down the beach they begin to pitch a little earlier and on a big day I imagine would offer some small barrelling sections.

I´ll be posting a few photo´s soon (charging the camera battery at the internet place at the moment) and a video of the Baleal break.

I´m in figura de foz at the moment and staying in a car park at Buarcos which seems to have some nice waves just outside of a fairly shallow and rocky paddle out. Again, I´ll be back with some pictures and hopefully some water footage in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

La Tomatina - Tomato Festival in Spain

La Tomatina........

What a crazy, crazy time today has been!

I spent another night down in the El Salver with the Smashed Travel crew and was up at 7am to head in to Valencia to pick up Glen, Meagan and Alyce.

Everyone was a bit slow in the morning, 7am starts will do that to you, but once we stopped off for some treats at the servo, push started a big blue van, and pulled in to the Lidl shopping centre in Bunol we were excited to get into some tomatoes.

We walked into the town and stopped off for a beer (mainly just to use the toilet) at one of the cafes along the way before reaching the main street where it all happens.

There were thousands of people pushed way down the street, and not before long we were cast down a side ally with the force of the relentlessly moving crowd.

As you could probably guess, La Tomatina gets a little wet........... it gets a little messy, so I came up with the idea to put my camera and card into some water proof pouches to save them.

Smart Me.

The girls, however, took it one step further and had their pouches tied around their necks, while I kept mine in the boardies pocket under the safety of a velcro strip.

Sure enough, 5 minutes into the crowd I went to grab the camera for a shot and it was gone, along with it the cash I brought and the debit card I had.

Luckily I had the key on the key rope (as you would when surfing) so we could get back to the van without any hassles.

Of course, that means that all the photos are on other peoples cameras so I can't put up the awesome photo's from the day....... but they'll come.

I'll be surprised if at least one person didn't get broken ribs out of the sheer force of the crowd, it makes a trip on the london tube during rush hour seem like a solitary confinement.

It begins and ends very abruptly, but while it's on it's non stop action which keeps your heart racing and, when your not being crushed, a smile on your face.

I recommend La Tomatina for anyones around the world trip.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sleeping on the beach in Valencia Spain

Unfortunately I don´t have the camera handy to upload these priceless shots, but they´ll be along soon enough.

We arrived in Valencia yesterday and hit the water right away. After a quick swim Glen and myself ventured into a game of hacky sack on the beach, and the girls quickly followed suit.

I´ve now identified at least 17 leg muscles that I didn´t actually know I had, but at least it did some work towards using up the 1500 calories we each consumed at macca´s earlier that day.

Sarah took us to a roof top bar which was awesome, and while all the girls (now traveling with 3 hotties) were being chatted up by the other guys Glen and I sat at the bar and looked on with a smile.

Unbeknown to us, the F1 is on this weekend so the beach is a buzz with people, and the Fasion TV cruise boat is parked in the harbour. They keep sending super models over to get us to come on board, but I kind of like sleeping on the beach so I´ve denied their many attemps.

Meeting up with the Smashed Travel group again tomorrow and we lose Sarah back to London, but we gain Lauren and Gary for the festival!

Photo´s of Valencia and crazy nigths out to follow........

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

West Europe Road Trip - Marseilles, Montpellier, Collioure

Before the car went by the wayside, we stopped in to Marseilles, Montpellier and Collioure to round off our south coast of France trip.

We met a great guy at a pub in Marseilles, Chris from England, who told us many a story about the world and his travels.

It's late though, so I think the pictures will do this part of the journey more justice then my tired stories will.

A view from below the Notre Dame Cathedral, Marseilles

Inside Norte Dame Basilica, Marseilles

Outside Norte Dame Basilica, Marseilles

Montepellier, land of many dentist surgeries and no dentists

The view from our last nights sleep in Dr Who in Collioure

Sarah and Alyce showering in Collioure...... on the beach

Me showering in Collioure...... on the beach

Nearly a Year to the Day

Lately I've been getting on to the laptop and having a look through my iPhoto or onto the ipod and checking out the last 12 months.

It's great because I get a chance to see, though the photo's, exactly what I was doing this time 12 months ago to the day.

I've had lots of fun looking back as it stirs up not just the memory associated with the photo, but the stories, thoughts, feelings and smiles that are associated with each of the pictures.

I'm actually a little surprised after today, because I was sure that I would open the pictures back up and find that a year ago today was the Chrissy van accident on the way to Campeche. It turns out that it was about 3 days before that particular incident, but close none the less.

The wicked van had a bit of a clunk when changing between Reverse and Drive, but apart from that everything was sweet.... until yesterday. There was still a bit of a clunk when changing between reverse and drive, but also when you put the accelerator down to hurry into traffic or climb a hill......... and as we were around the Piranese mountains this was going to cause some trouble. I guessed it was something wrong with the diff, slipping or something was wrong.

We pulled the car into a car park and set up for the night and I called AA in the morning to come out and take a look.

It turns out (never would have guessed that I got this right) that it WAS in fact a major problem withe diff and rendered the car unable to drive, especially to Spain.

This left us sitting around the small town near Perpignan france for a few hours (everything closes between 12 - 2) until we got word on what we could do.

AA were great in helping out, and although the taxi driver they organised dropped us off at the wrong place and it took an hour to get in touch with them again (much to the delight of the girls) they got us a fast rent-a-car and put us up in a hotel until our new wicked van will be ready.

Hooray to Wicked Campers for keeping the cars so well insured, and hooray for AA for doing such a good job in helping. Also, hooray for my two girls on tour who put up with the broken car.......not to mention putting up with me, over the past week.

Monday, August 18, 2008

West Europe Road Trip - Cinque Terre

We left Tellaro and headed towards the 5 towns that make up Cinque Terre.

The area is a fantastic mixture of beach front and mountains.

After being waved away by the police at the first town (apparently the carpark was full and I wasn't too keen for them to see 3 people in a two seater) we headed on down to the second town of Manarola

After a long stroll down the road (very steeply down the road) we came out on a beautiful beach with mountains that adorned the shores. Surprisingly the girls missed a beat on this one and we soon went back to the car (via a walk that nearly snapped both my calves)to get their towels and bathers and headed to the next town for a swim.

The next town was smaller then we thought and we soon found ourselves looking for the beach at the front of a huge electronically controlled iron door that only opened when you turned a key that was mysteriously already in the hole to the side.

As the door opened all I could think of was the movie Hostel and began to wonder if this was such a good idea.

The door opened into a tunnel about 4 meters in radius, and was about 10 degrees cooler then the outside temperature. Judging by the size of the mountain, if the tunnel went straight to the otherside it was about a 25 minute walk............ if it went to the other side.

All of a sudden an old single cab green truck pulled up, kind of like a dyna truck, and a man got out. He roughly explained he could take us, Sarah, Alyce and myself, to the other side in his car for a cheap price.

Once again I began to have flash backs of Hostel and Wolf Creek but thought, bugger it at least the guy escaped it both those movies.

We got in the back and the guy started the rough drive through the poorly lit and privately owned tunnel which was 10 degrees colder then the outside and which we didn't really know where it lead.

5 minutes later, very long minutes for the girls, we emerged on the other side to find a lovely old Italian man with good english who explained how to get down to the beach. Unfortunately towards the end of his explanation he added that it was a "free" beach, which we thought he should rename to "Shlong Beach", "Sausage City", or "Penisville".

None the less we had our swim, however it was very short lived and we were soon on the way back through the tunnel and back to our car.

We decided that seeing as it was our last night in Italy that we should treat ourselves to a nice dinner with some fine wine. We drove back to ............. where we parked the car and found a nice place with fantastic seafood.

After a few beers and a couple bottle of wine, as much bread as we could eat, two entree's and 3 mains we walked up the hill from hell and sat out in the car park for a few more sneaky drinks before retiring to bed.

The next morning we awoke to rain gently falling through the sun roof, but also to farmers picking the grapes on the side of the mountains that surrounded the carpark in which we slept.

We did the last of the towns in the Cinque Terre, swam and sunned for a few hours before pouring back into the car and heading for Monaco and France.

West Europe Road Trip - Tellaro

The drive down to Tellaro was amazing. We went through a few mountains and edged closer and closer to the coast until the ever so beautiful blue water rose over the horizon.

We jumped off the toll roads early and got onto the road that ran parallel to the beach. Along the 8km stretch of road there were hot girls EVERYWHERE! They were walking, bicycling, roller blading, running, or just standing around looking hot.

Unfortunately for Sarah and Alyce we passed two hot guys, much to their dismay.

On the beach side of the road stood rental areas for the beach. Every 50 meters there was a different section of beach with it's own change rooms and sun beds that you could rent out.

Being the backpackers we are we just wandered on through the most deserted section and got ready for a swim........ just before we were ushered further down the beach by the guard at that particular section.

The water was devine, and it was the first ocean swim I've had in............. well probably since I left Nicaragua (link to Nicaragua story) last year.

After a well deserved and very nice swim we headed off to the little town of Tellaro and pulled up at the U-Turn area over looking the water.

Tellaro was amazing, and a crowd gathered around the van as we brought out the gas bbq and cooked up a feed of pasta, pesto, corn and tuna.

We slept there the night and woke early in the morning to have coffee on the water and make our way towards Cinque Terre.

West Europe Road Trip - Florence, David and the Leaning Tower of Pisa

We pulled up outside of a Camping site in Florence. We were only 3 days into our trip, and the first day into the trip with the Van so we were reluctant to pay to stay somewhere and decided the side of the road would be just fine.

We sorted out the van and went in search of some cheap wine to help our first nights sleep.

We came across a small resteraunt on the water and ordered some wine and were pleasantly surprised when they brought out some garlic bread free of charge.

The next morning we went in search of Michaelanglo's David in the Florence city centre, and after a cafe in the morning to kick start us we were struggling to find the Galleria de Accedemia.

Fortunately it lead us across an impressice chuch and also the main attraction to Florence, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

After a fairly lengthy wait in line we ascended the 381 steps to the top of the church to take in some breathtaking views of Florence.

At street level the place is not much to speak of, but look at it from a 50 meters up and it becomes quite impressive.

Terrecotta roofs extend as far as the eye could see, with the exception of a single aqua-green dome where the only Mosque in the area is built.

After we got back down and our legs had stopped involuntarily shaking we located the place where David was kept and jumped in line............... around 2 corners. Half way along the line, about 35 minutes into the wait, we had started to pay attention to the graffiti and I think this one hit the nail on the head.

Unfotunately you're not allowed to take pictures of David, but I made sure that I was there long enough to permanently remember the impressive piece of art. David stands some 5 meters tall and was made from a single block of marble by Michaelangelo when he was just 29 years old.

From Florence we stopped off at Pisa to check out the leaning tower, get the usual photo that we all said we would never participate in and headed on towards Tallero.

West Europe Road Trip - Wicked Van

Carlo picked us up after we arrived on the bus and took us to the hotel where the car was parked.

After a quick once around the car and usual explanations we were on the road with some instructions on how to get to the nearest electrical store to secure a power inverter and Sat Nav.

Now I know that Sat Nav's kind of take the challenge out of a road trip, but without it we would be relying on maps, my sense of direction, and the girls ability to translate the destination on the map into a series of lefts and rights.

Needless to say I think the 169 euro has already paid for itself with out ability to find some amazing places along the way without the arguing on the way to them.

Unfortunately Carlo didn't have the same navigation abilities and we were soon on the wrong road heading away from the shop.

We did a u turn at the next toll exit and went back to where we entered.

As we exit the toll Alyce put the ticket through.



We pushed the "Ask for Assistance" button which was shortly followed by a barrage of Italian, and then a ticket which then opened the toll.

Unfortunately the ticket said that we had 14 days to pay the total or legal fee's would follow.

We headed over to the station and with the help of a friendly lass had the payment void and we could move on once again.

West Europe Road Trip - Wicked Van

We left Rome in the mid morning in a mad rush.

Alyce and Sarah had been in the line for the Sistine Chapel for over an hour and by the time it ticked over to 9am they were only just approaching the ticket booth.

They decided to flee and get back to the hostel as quickly as possible, and it turns out they timed their run perfectly.

We had to catch the 10.10am bus on the Roma Marche towards San Benedetto and it was 9.40am when we left the hostel.

Running for a bus isn't that difficult, but if you add to the task the need to speak another language and the fact that you don't know where you are supposed to be going, not to mention about 25 kilo's on your back, it takes a different meaning.

So there we were, sweat pouring off us running down the station looking for where you can buy the bus tickets, and it was 10.05 already........... we were in the Amazing Race.

We eventually found the place, and while I waited in line (it was 10.10) Sarah found the bus and worked out we could get a ticket once we were on.

We, now drenched in sweat, managed to find our own seats on the bus....... in fact it was almost as if people were moving so that we could have our own seat (but more likely so they wouldn't have to endure the 3 hour bus ride with our smell).

We arrived without any complications and picked up our home for the next 2 months, the Dr Who wicked Camper.

Monday, August 11, 2008

St Peter's Basilica - Rome, Italy

So far the trip has started in colossal style.

I arrived in Rome on Friday afternoon, and after I tracked down my hostel the jet lag from my trip back from Australia (not to mention the horrendous lack of sleep as a result of Ladies Day, Carbine Lunch, Colemans Cup, Darwin Cup, Darwin Cup Dogs, Darwin Cup Ball, Wedding, Quiz Nights, Bledisloe Cup, Sunday Sesh's, Sunday Jazz nights) set in and I lay down for a quick siesta.

The quick nap lasted until about 9.30pm, definitely time to get up and get some dinner.

My first pizza in the home of pizza was great, although it's definitely not the home of smiling waiters and good service.

The next morning was much better, I was up early (god bless the afternoon nap) and headed out on the Metro to Vatican City.

I was dressed in my Darwin best clothes of boardies, thongs and blue singlet but somewhere in the back of my mind I could hear Lambo saying "You can't wear that to the vatican". Fine, I thought, I'll put a t-shirt in my bag as well.

When I arrived I gave a quick thanks to the little Lambo voice, as there is a dress code to get into the place. I also gave a little thanks that I still had both my legs...... I would have thought the church would be more forgiving.

I'd just like to have a quick side note............ the Vatican, the place where the POPE lives, where the Sistine Chapel displays its marvelous ceiling, where the St Peter's Basilica stands ever so grandly.......... I could wear thongs! But, go to any pub in Darwin..?!?!?!?!

St Peter's Basilica is ridiculous. As I walked around the corner and into Vatican City I was immediately gob smacked at the sheer enormousness of the place.

Romans certainly don't do things small (except maybe the appendages on the statues...... makes everyone feel better about themselves ;)

It's a shame though. Although I plently of photo's outside of the Basilica it just does not do the place justice........ and that is just the outside of the place.

As I walked inside I immediately forgot about the outside. They were seriously now just taking the piss.

The inside is just immaculate, the entire inside is lined with marble, huge marble carvings in every corner and against every pillar, paintings on the ceiling ( there's a mere 551 steps to the look out BELOW the actual ceiling), and a vastness that just can't be explained.

As with the outside of the place the photographs just do not do it justice...... but they're impressive none the less.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


No words really needed.......

Friday, August 08, 2008

Summer in London

The skies are cloudy and there is a slight drizzle.

London during the summer, does it get any better?

Fortunately it does. Yesterday I arrived back in London after a 20 hour flight back from Darwin. I was able to sleep for about 10 hours during the flight which was great, but the final 3 hours heading in to Heathrow definitely dragged on.

Arriving at 5am London time I spent the next 1.45 minutes clearing customs and waiting for my bag to arrive. It seemed at Singapore they forgot to transfer the luggage from the Darwin Jet Star Flight on to the BA flight.

2 Flights with BA into Heathrow in the past month, 2 times lost luggage.

Luckily for me and all the passengers the next plane that arrived had our luggage safely stored away...... definitely lucky for me seeing as I'm now sitting at Stansted Airport awaiting a boarding call to head to Rome.

From there I'll check out the Pantheon and the Fountain tonight before collecting Sarah and Elise to do the Colleseum and the Vatican on the Saturday and Sunday.

Once Monday rolls around it's off to pick up the wicked camper http://www.wickedcampers.co.uk and start our drive across the south west coast of Europe.

The camera is charged and the underwater housing is packed, there's sure to be lots of great pictures, videos and stories to follow.

The Darwin Cup Ball

At nearly $300 a ticket the Darwin Cup Ball was going to have to be massively impressive for me to think that it was worth even half of the money.

Everyone that I had spoken to over the past few years had said that it was fantastic, worth the money, we'll be going every year.... but I had never been able to take their word for it seeing as $300 was a lot of money for dinner and drinks.

I mean, we could go to a fancy as resteraunt, have several courses, drink lots of wine/beer/spirits and I don't think that we'd get to $300 a piece.

Well I thought, time to put this Gala Shmala ball to the test....... I was going to put my money where their mouths were.

I put forward the $300 while I was still back in London, it didn't seem so bad to fork out £140 for the ticket. Fortunately I still had a tuxedo I had bought a few years ago when I realised that it was only $50 more expensive to buy then to rent one..... after I had rented 5 times.

I arrived at the ball with Kwhy, Deep and Nadz and quickly caught up with the rest of the crew at the Darwin MGM Grand Casino. We stood in the lobby and heckled the people who didn't actually come dressed as black tie..... I mean seriously, it's a black tie event and you've paid $300 for a ticket, the least you can do is dress up a little.

We got the call up to move on in, and after walking through 3 security checks to make sure that we all had our tickets and wrist bands we strolled down the red carpet and out onto the lawns of the casino.

As we walked past the final check the lady said "Please make your way to one of the 15 self serve bars" and I first thought that I may have made the correct decision.

We mingled on the lawns for about 45 minutes and took lots of photo's before we made our way through the horse shoe, down the red carpet and into the ball itself.

Deep, Kwhy, Nadz and myself

Sunset from the Lawns at the Ball

Kelli, myself, Darin and Bec

With buffett tables filled with king prawns, bugs, oysters, muscles, salad, vegies and roast meat my stomach instantly started to grumble in anticipation of the fatbarstedoff I'd be having with Paul.

The drinks flowed quickly and the night was never dull. Human Nature funked up the dance floor with their mo town sounds.

Human Nature keep the dance floor entertained

Me with Reanna and Kelli

Myself, Karren, Michael and Kelli

1.30am rolled around much too quickly and we made our way to the tables inside the casino to enjoy more drinks and a bit of light gambling.

When I looked at my watch and realised it was 5.20am and the drinks still didn't look like they were going to stop I knew it was time to make the move towards town. Half of the table had succumb to the excitement, and free drinks, and were busy studying the inside of their eyelids from the comfort of their beds, while Paul and I had one more buffet vist........ the pie oven at the Shell Service Station.

As we raced the sun home (winning by a good 15 minutes) we looked back and reflected on a few hundred dollars well spent.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

FFMpeg Settings for Flash Video

Flash Video is currently the best format to share your videos on the web. Sites such as You Tube, Vimeo, and Myspace all use the .flv format to deliver videos to the end user.

Some of the latest versions of video editing software have included .flv as an export option, however if you are using a free or cheaper option like Imovie, Windows Movie Maker or Final Cut Express then you will need third party software to get the desired .flv file format.

There are hundreds of products out there that can so this for you, for a small fee, however as with all good things on the web the best tool is free.

You can download FFMpeg from http://ffmpeg.mplayerhq.hu/

The FFMpeg settings that I use for Flash Video are listed below......

/opt/local/bin/ffmpeg -i /Users/justinavery/Movies/name_of_sequence.mov -qscale 10 -r 15 -s 720x540 -ar 44100 /Users/justinavery/Movies/name_of_flash_squence.flv

There are multiple options to choose from in FFMpeg, but I try and keep it as simple as possible.

Let's break this down into simpler terms.


The first part calls the application. You will see a lot of articles on the web that just start out with ffmpeg, but I've had some issues getting that to consistently work so have chosen to use the full path.

- i /Users/justinavery/Movies/name_of_sequence.mov

The - i is where you define the location of the movie that you are encoding to a flash flv file. As a quick way to get the location try using the tab key as you are typing the file path...... if there is a matching name of the file name will automatically be printed.

-qscale 10

This has to do with the quality of the video and the final bit rate. Previously I guessed a bit rate for the video I was encoding, or entered a maximum file size however I usually had to tweak it a few times before the flash video was to my liking. The -qscale ranges from 1 - 25 with 1 being the best quality and 25 the worse.

-r 15

This defines the frame rate, or the number of video frames that are produced each second. Generally PAL works in 25fps and NTSC works in 29.97fps, but as long as your footage doesn't involve fast moving action or quick pans you should be able to set it at 15 without noticing much loss of quality. Obviously, the less frames per second the smaller the file will be.

-s 720x540

As you can probably guess from the look of this, -s is the setting for the size of the video. The camera I use most often now is the Canon HV20 which outputs a whopping 1920x1080, so I need to scale it down to be suitable when previewing. Remember, most people won't be running HUGE screen resolutions so make sure you're not using valuable file size only for the video not to display on the screen.

The setting 720x540 is set for wide screen, but play around with it depending on the layout of your site or your target audience.

-ar 44100

Can you hear me? Well without this you run the risk of your audio content being to high or too low. 44100 is the highest, and most of my footage includes an audio track or musicians playing so I try to keep it that way. If audio isn't important to your clip then halve the number, 22050, halve again for less quality etc etc until you get the desired result.

If you're not good at maths and halving proves tough don't be alarmed, the application will alert you that your audio bit rate is not compatible and give you a list of options you can use.


To finish off the command we need to tell FFMpeg what to call the video and where to put it. Keep the name without spaces, use an underscore as I have done if you want to make it more readable.

Now this is by no means a be all and end all explanation on using FFMpeg to produce flash .flv files, but it's a start that will get you going and allow you to further investigate options that will suit you.

My next task will be to include the exact frame that I would like to export as the preview thumbnail for my video listing pages.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Synchronise Nokia 6085 with iSync

This is a bit out of left field for this blog, but it was a handy pick up for me at this stage of my life.

Three days ago I lost my camera sometime during a Carbine Club luncheon at the Darwin Convention Centre. I was lucky enough to only lose a few photos from the preceding day at the races for teh Colemans Cup, and of course allowed me to update to a new and improved camera.

It did get me thinking though, what if it had been my mobile phone that I lost? It would mean the loss of 18 months worth of travel phone numbers..... contacts in Hawaii, New York, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Mexico, Bali, Spain, United Kingdon, Ireland, Germany, Nicaragua and more.......

To avoid that I did a quick search and came across this tutorial on Synchronising your Nokia 6085 with Mac Isync.


It works and treat and now all my Nokia 6085 contacts happily reside on my phone, laptop, and my ipod.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pamplona Running and Jumping with the Bulls

I haven't had much time between running around with the video camera for http://www.wickedcampers.co.uk and staying at the ezcabar camp site with http://www.smashedtravel.com while enjoying the free breakfast, beers and sangria they put on.

I did get a chance to put together two short clips.

The first one is shot from inside the Pamplona Bull ring with the Canon HV20 on the first day of the Running of the Bulls.

The second clip is from footage taken off my happy snap Canon Ixus 70 on the Opening Ceremony for the Running of the Bulls.

I have to say that both clips feature some pretty ballsy people, however the second clip has more to do with drunken stupidity then bravery.

Pamplona Running with the Bulls

Pamplona Muscle Bar

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pamplona Running of the Bulls

The running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, is nothing short of sensational.

It has only been 3 days, but the experience is one of the most exhilarating.

Between the opening ceremony, the first bull run, the random drunken nights on Sangria in town, the Bull Fighting and the fireworks display last night it's been a very impressive week.

Getting Drunk on Sangria

Fireworks Display

Dennis, Callum and myself during the Opening Ceremony

Mark, Danni, myself, Callum and Kita out the front of the bull ring

During the Opening Ceremony

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Surf in Europe

The next few weeks are looking like they're going to be pretty hectic.

I'm coming up to the last 6 days of work for 3 months, and there is still so much work to get done. I've also got a wedding video to edit, Wicked Campers Ireland video and I have to get everything organised for my trip back home to Australia.

Fortunately there's a lot of exciting things coming up also.

1st July is the first day of my 3 month trip, and it's going to be spent filming the Wicked Camper Van tour heading off from London.  There is about 15 vans going and their first stop will be Pamplona for the running of the bulls.

The 2nd July will see us going to Hyde Park to watch Mason Jennings, Jack Johnson and GLove play in an open air concert, I can't wait!  The last time I saw Jack and G Love was back in 2005 with Jimmy, Rol's, Kara and Chani at the Blues and Roots Festival in Byron Bay.

The next morning at 6am I jump in my own Wicked Camper and start the journey down to Dover to catch the Ferry over to France.  From there I'll set the GPS on Smashed Travel Camp grounds in Pamplona, the video camera up on the passenger side of the car, and then start to see the continent of Europe.

We'll be there until after the running of the bulls, where myself and Denis will head up to Bieritz for a surf and then back to Barcelona to drop off the cars.  Then it's back to London, grab my stuff, and back on a plane for Australia.

And that's just the first 2 weeks of Summer!

It's been a busy last few months at work, but things are starting to look up for Surf the Dream and I can sense the regular posts on great adventures are not far away at all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hard Hat Crew

The Stockwell household decided to throw a bit of a party over the weekend.

Thankfully there aren't too many pictures of the carnage in the morning, but it sure was a fun evening.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Team Justin

It's been about 8 months since Team Justin was together in force, and after the quick catch up in Amsterdam the team is hoping it's going to be another 8 months before we catch up again.

20 hours that we did catch were put to good use, to say the least, and more then made up for 8 months of missed chats over a pint.

It is said that you should always do things in moderation, and I've found that there are binge "Team Justin" sessions which would leave a lesser man in search of bridge to hurl themselves from, tram to jump in front of, or crazy amsterdam bicyclist to be run down by.

Thankfully, what goes on tour............ well you know the rules.

All in all, Amsterdam is a fantastic place. And if I didn't accidently book my return flight for August, have to rebook another flight for today and have to pay for my train ticket to the airport twice, the 2 days I was here were an absolute pleasure.

Thank you Justin, thank you Amsterdam, I thank you to ensure that the two never have to meet again.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards airs on ESPN 2

Tonight the Billabong XXL Awards hits ESPN 2.

This will recount the year that was for big wave surfing and involve interviews with the guys I was lucky enough to travel and spend time in the states with including Duncan Scott, Al Mennie, and Andrew Cotton.

Now I just have to find a pub that plays ESPN 2.

Where are the American pubs?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Filming Leo and Yam

Saturday night I was asked to help my friend Geoffroy to film some aerial circus performers at http://www.thebrickhouse.co.uk

The performers were called Leo and Yam, http://www.leoandyam.co.uk, and were nothing short of sensational.

Not only were their performances amazing to watch (and too film) but they are both awesome people and very passionate about their work and life.

They train at a circus centre in Hoxton Square around shoreditch (I'm sure I've spelled that wrong) which we're going to have a tour of this week, and when they're not training or performing at the brickhouse they're off to Sweden to perform or preparing to head to Glastonbury.

As soon as we get the footage down and edited I'll be sure to post some here, but in the mean time have a look at their site and check out their amazing performances.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Squiz UK Office

Seeing as I've been working here now for more then 6 months I thought it was time to give you a visual as to where I spend most of my week.

The Squiz Office from the front door

Squiz board room where all the important decisions are made

The Squiz WIP table for meetings and Friday afternoon drinks

The Squiz Office


I made a few remarks that I'd make fun of the Birthday girl after the visit to the dentist, and after going to pick her up after the procedure I can say that they were in terrible taste.

It hasn't been since looking after Sophie while teething with Kylie and Paul not around that I've felt so bad because I couldn't do anything to make the situation better.

All there was to do was sit there, try and make the tube/bus ride more comfortable and reassure that the worse of it was over (not that it made either of us feel any better).

But I have to say I'm super proud of Lana for pulling through the whole ordeal without drama's or a single complaint..... defintely not something that I think I could do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Surfing Australia in July

It's been done.

There has been a lot of procrastination involved in the process, but at the same time there hasn't been that many opportunities for me to get it done.

If there is a spare moment between Monday - Friday I usually take advantage of it and get something to eat or drink at work. When it comes to the weekend, well I'm either hung over on Saturday morning due to the number of beers I had Friday night to get me over the number of hours I had spent at work the following 5 days, or it's too nice a day to spend inside so I'm sunning on our new deck with my "cool as a house" house mates.

Today however, thanks to an unfortunate series of events, I find myself on a Tuesday afternoon out of the office and able to do the thing that has been plaguing me for so long..... which in itself is a good thing for me....... but for the girl who is getting a new front tooth drilled into her upper jaw on her 20th birthday......... well that just plain sucks.

In fact, it sucks so much that I think I'm going to forego any "gummy" comments, remarks about getting old and needing false teeth, references to dentures........ I won't even point and laugh if the anesthetic hasn't worn off and she drools all the way back home on the tube.

Well I might point and snigger.

So, after all this procrastination I have finally booked my return trip home to Australia for Min and Paul's wedding. I'd like to forget just how much money I have now donated to the Flight Centre foundation, in fact it almost would have been cheaper for me to book myself in for a new set of front teeth as well...............

Now is the big question, do I announce the dates of my return, or just surprise everyone by just rocking up unexpected some time in July?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Surf the Dream Characterture

I went to the 50connect launch on Thursday night and managed to enjoy the one glass of champagne that was filled up every 10 minutes for about 5 hours.

While I was there they had a a lady wandering around doing everyone's charactertures, I think she pretty much hit the spot with mine.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bucket of Corona

My last day in Hermosa and Manhattan Beach was......... well lets just say it was a long day.

I headed down to the Hermosa Pier to catch up with Cotty, Al and Kelly for breakfast at Henessey's before they headed off to the airport to fly back to Ireland.

That in itself provided plenty of entertainment let alone what would occur 6 hours later with just Cotty and myself back at the same place.

During breakfast we saw a woman jogging down the road slightly bra-less, but definitely not in a good way. She then proceeded to dance on the spot with some rather crazy and unique dance moves while everyone else walked/ran/skated past her giving a WIDE berth.

While we were giggling at her antics and police car turned up and two offices started chatting to a bunch of what looked like were homeless guys sitting on the entrance to the pier.

One of the Officers took out some rubber gloves, which of course sparked lots of comments about a cavity search, however he moved over to an upturned bicycle just in front of the guys. He started working on the bike and at that time another 2 police cars turned up and parked next to the first car.

After about 30 minutes the bike was fixed, the police had written one of the guys a ticket, and they had put the newly fixed bike into the back of the police car all while the crazy lady danced and did a retarded version of aerobics oz style.

Seems to me that there would be bigger issues in LA to deal with rather then have 3 cars deal with a possible stolen bike.

From there I said my goodbye's to Al an Kelly and made plans to meet up with Cotty in the afternoon.

I wandered up to the Spyder Skate shop and bought a cruiser board for $140 USD and had the trucks taken off for travel (only for me to realise later that I was still in town for a few days and could use the board now).

I chatted with the guy setting up the board and he was telling me about a budding business he was starting with designing hats. It's call Cala Caps and you can find out more at the website http://www.calacaps.com

Once home I finger tightened the trucks back to the board and skate down from Manhattan Beach to Hermosa Pier.

This was the first time I've been on a board in.......... well in a very long time.

It was an embarrassing performance as I struggled to hold a straight line, propel myself forwards without nearly falling over, and avoid on coming traffic...... but after 10 minutes I had reached my destination without too many incidents an no injuries.

Cotty was already relaxing in the beer garden and I was happy to see him not only enjoying a nice cold corona, but also having a bucket of ice with three more waiting.

We kicked back and watched the world go by, crazy people, hot californian babes, drunks, skaters, surfers, it had everything. By the time the sun went down we had done 4 buckets and Cotty had gone to the bathroom 17 times. We decided to move inside for some warmth, and another few buckets of corona.

Here's where everything gets a bit hazy.......... but I do know we had another 3 buckets of corona, Cotty was refused service because he didn't have his passport, and that we grabbed some beers for a walk back to the camper van to get some ID for Cotty.

For some reason during that walk back I thought it would be a good idea to 1) hold on to a beer; 2) Skate down a footpath on to the road; 3) having just consumed 14 Corona's at the pub.

The skateboard flew off horizontally......... as did my feet, while my body was launched vertically. About .2 seconds into this experiment Gravity over ruled my movements and brought my right hip, right elbow and beer bottle quickly to the surface of the road.

Fortunately my head steered clear, and the beer bottle shattered without cutting me, and although Cotty can't recall the incident I can tell you at that time he thought it was pretty bloody funny.

Suffice to say I walked the skate board the remaining distance back to the Camper Van.

We called it a night and I wandered back down to the beach to skate back up to Manhattan, which of course was the cause of my slightly strained groin muscle from doing the splitz, the bruise on my left thumb from stopping my face hitting the pavement and the numerous bumps and lumps I have from the 15 or so times I fell off the board on the way back.