Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Surf Filming in Newquay, Cornwall

I love train rides.

It's definitely not the speed at which you get from place to place, It's partly the interesting characters that are on the train with you, but mainly it's the opportunity to see the country side between your destinations without having to watch your speed, watch the other traffic, check the fuel and make sure you get there in one piece.

The weekend didn't get off to the best start though. I managed to get out of work on time and got the tube without any problems to the Paddington Station. I even got to enjoy a feed of sushi after seeing that my train was still on time. When I got back to the platform after sushi I stood watching the departure/arrival screen slowly canceling trains heading towards west UK and I got a deep sense of Deja Vu.

Could my trip get cancelled twice in a row?

My first trip to Ireland was over an hour delayed, but I was still able to get there, the second trip was cancelled due to a thick fog that descended onto the City Airport, and now my third trip away by train to Newquay was delayed more then an hour and trains all around it were being cancelled.

All of a sudden "Paddinton to Penzance Platform 15" shone up on the screen and I breathed a sign of relief.

In the first 5 minutes of the journey I was nearly in tears of laughter as a rather posh Englishman was on the phone to his wife trying to explain why she was still back at the Paddington Station platform while he was on a train, a train that was not only 80 minutes delayed but still a full 60 minutes earlier then the train he was supposed to be on, and racing away from that very same platform she was waiting on.

"But you said meet on the train so that's were I was waiting for you" was his stock standard excuse and he was sticking to it......... over and over again.

Try imagining the most posh old irritating English accent you can imagine............his was worse. Basically he fucked up BIG, and was trying in vein to get out of a grilling from the wife. To make matters even worse for him a bunch of young and already drunk lads pointed out to the conductor that they should check this gentleman's ticket. Bastard act, but damn funny.

After a 6 hour train ride I met up with Duncan Scott for the first time and his stunning girlfriend Hannah at Bodmin Parkway. From there we headed off to Tony's, an ocean photographer with www.surftwisted.co.uk who was out taking photo's in the line up during the epic day in Mullaghmore.

We sat around the kitchen table and worked out what footage we already had and what we wanted to achieve over the next couple of days, but not before we went back through the footage of Mullaghmore to do some more "oohhhh" "ahhhh" "woooooohhhhh" "whoopppeeeee" and "Faaaaaarrrrrrrrk".

The plans were laid out and I headed off to check into www.newquaysurflodge.co.uk, a newly refurnished hostel with great facilities, rates and friendly staff.

On Saturday morning Al Meenie picked me up from the hostel and we headed off to Hannah's place to pick up the ski. From there Duncan, Al, Tony and myself all got together for the first time and what followed was two days of good times and a LOT of laughter. The weekend contained so many memorable moments, and it would take me the whole 6 hour train journey to explain just half of them.

I will however list a few things to jog the memories. Things like getting cleaned up by horses, gay barn door openings, disabled photo shoots, 1....2.....3 push the ski further down the beach yet get farther from the ocean, chunder in the ocean, claiming the mighty cribber, falling off during a rescue pickup and getting caught inside, the "what are they up to?"'s, another session another interview, baking brownies during the interviews, um and then......the interview waffle, it started 15 years ago, car trouble...................

Actually, that last one is worth a mention.

After filming all day saturday we were brining the ski back onto land. Al was driving the ski around near the shore while Duncan headed up to grab the car. I was unhitching the trailer from the side and was wondering what the hell Duncan was doing with the car. He would back down the hill, then stop, then back down then stop. Tony and I walked up to the car to find that it wasn't starting at all, in fact it wasn't even turning over.

We tried and tried but couldn't get it to make a peep. We tried calling the owner (of course it was a borrowed truck) but they weren't answering either, and after about 15 minutes I noticed Al was standing up on the ski frantically waving his arms around. I jogged down to let him know about the car and we made our way back up the beach and left the ski there.

This happened around 3pm and it wasn't until after 7 that we finally got everything sorted. I used all of my expert car knowledge to help with the situation, which consists entirely of being able to pop the bonnet. Actually, this time I was able to pop the bonnet AND check the battery, the connections and spray the shit out of them with WD-40 (I'd seen Cory do that once before, seemed to help something).

We tried adding more fuel to the car, extra oil (these were both very low anyway), jumping the car from something less powerful then my hairdresser car back home, still nothing.

Eventually we got hold of someone with a van to tow the truck to the top of the hill, grab the trailer and head over to the Wharf to get the ski out. By this time the tide had come half way up to the cliffs and was washing away the tyre marks left on the beach (earlier Al had told a guy that he could only turn around if he went onto the beach, which he did in a very tight turning circle and subsequently buried the car. Feeling a bit bad, Al ran down to dig him out and it eventually took Al, Duncan and another photographer Tim 5 minutes to explain how to and help maneuver this guy back out again).

The problem with the car? We had taken the key of the key chain to take out in the ski...... the key chain that also contained the immobiliser....... the key chain that was on the front seat nowhere near the immobiliser.

Of course after all of the effort to get this going again we had killed the battery so AAA came out to get us going again......but of course keeping with the theme of the day they didn't bring any jumper cables. That's right, the association that is dedicated to helping people with car troubles didn't actually have any jumper cables with them.

Comedy of errors, and as the everyone said there is always something that goes wrong with days like this, it's just a matter of how long it takes to get around the issue and get going again. Things could have been worse, this could have happened before we launched the ski and we would have lost the whole day of filming

We did all the interview on the Sunday, and we spent as much time in tears laughing as we did getting usable interview footage..... and after I run the out-take clips pass the guys to vito anything they don't want I'll post up some of the stuff here at Surf the Dream and also at Surf Twisted.

As I sat down on Sunday night I reflected over where I was and what I was doing.

It is amazing to think that a single passing comment about a big swell would trigger a series of events that would lead me to a situation where I am working with two professional big wave surfers who have been nominated for the Billabong XXL awards and a professional water photographer with a trail of photographs in numerous surf mags.

Twelve months ago I was a government employee of 8 years and now I've had the opportunity to travel the world and have filmed Hawaii, Mayan Ruins, Puerto Escondido, Barra De La Cruz, an epic day at Mullaghmore and now the vicious "hell-man only" cribber.

If ever an opportunity to do something you're passionate about you should grab it with both hands, go whole heartedly with it and do what ever you can to get there.

We can only every realise our dreams once we let go of our reality.

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