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

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.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Universal Studios Los Angeles

Today was one of the more action packed days of this trip so far.

After a bit of breakfast at Starbucks I caught up with Al, Cotty and Kelly and headed off towards Universal Studios.

I wasn't all that keen to head to the movie lot, but I'm really glad I did now.

We parked up and wandered up to the gates where we had the option of going for regular admission or VIP at twice the price. We queried the guy whether or not it was worth paying the extra, and he said the lines were long and because we were only starting at 1pm it was worth it.

Ahhh, what would he know, he only works there.

We headed in with the regular ticket, and by 6pm we had done Water World, Studio Tour, Jurassic Park, Back Draft, The Mummy, Shrek 4D, House of Horrors, Special Effects and the Blues Brothers. We only missed out on Terminator and Animal Actors, which no one was too keen on anyway.

The longest time we spent in line was for the Shrek 4d ride, and that was about 7 minutes.

Unnnnnluuucky to anyone that bought the VIP tickets.

The day was great with warmth, sunshine, and lots and lots of laughter.

In all my time I have never seen someone so scared of theme park ride, or during a haunted house, but it provided with tear stained cheek laughter.

We rounded the day off with a massage at an oxygen bar before heading down Sunset Boulavard where I could see what LA was all about...... which isn't too much at all, but I think it's just because I prefer the coastline.

Tomorrow morning it's up at 7 and off for a surf with Cotty, Al, Kelly, Duncan and Hannah before they head back home and I continue the journey on down to San Diego and park back up and my favourite bar Tiny's Tavern in Ocean Beach.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Billabong XXL Awards Dinner

What a day, what a night!

It started with a drive down from Hermosa to San Clemente for a barbeque at Greg Long's place. Unfortunately we drove a little too far past his place and on to an American armed forces base, but I can assure you we were quickly ushered back out again.

At the house we enjoyed a few beers and a thousand pizza's while we talked about the biggest sessions of the year.

Greg was nominated for Monster Paddle and Overall Performance Awards, both of which he won on the night.

When we arrived it sunk in just how big the awards dinner were, with a line stretching back around building.

We wandered up towards the red carpet and ran into the ESPN crew that we'd met a few days earlier and Sam George walked us up to pick up our tickets.

Although we didn't know it at the time, but this is where we messed up a little.

We head inside the gates and stolled up the red carpet along side such surfing greats as Brad Gerlach, Shane Dorian and Mike Parsons (not to mention Al Mennie and Duncan Scott).

We headed inside and caught up with Al, Kelly and Cotty, and together with Duncan and Hannah we headed inside to watch the show.

We were a little late getting in so we didn't have a row of seats for us to sit down, so we stood at the back of our section and watched the show kick off.

It was amazing to see the year in review on the big screen, and to hear the crowd screaming with excitement at some of the biggest waves, closest escapes, and worse wipe outs.

Two of the best moments during the awards was to see my name come up in the video credits for the Ireland segment, and also when Occy (host for the evening) mentioned Al and Duncan's name and how great it was that they'd brought Ireland to the Big Wave Surfing World Stage.

After all of the Awards were awarded, all of the speeches spoken and the drinks well drunk we headed back towards the red carpet to board the fun bus for a trip back to Greg Long's place.

Just before we left we bumped into one of Duncan's friends who was supposed to be joining us only to find out that we were given the wrong wrist tags, and that we had a table up in the front section with our names on it and all. Apparently it had a sign saying "Reserved for Ireland Surfers and Videographers"

Oh well, there's always next year.

Next year will be a better year again. The boys are going to be heading to the Canaries and Oregon for the Tow in competition, while we will also be waiting throughout next winter for another swell like the December 1st Mullaghmore session. Duncan has just shipped his ski back and is moving over to South Africa for the winter and is hoping to get a couple of good sessions at Dungeons. I've got the camera in at SPL Water Housing which means no more comfort of the land shooting, time to get in amoungst it and get that classic Teahupoo angle down the barrel.

All in all it was an awesome night and something I hope to be able to repeat in the years to come.

Cotty, Occy and Al

Me and Duncan at the Awards

Inside the Awards

Thursday, April 10, 2008

LA Surfing

Going on previous experience I was nervous when I joined what looked to be the shortest queue at the Los Angeles airport..... and for good reason.

I was, once again, the last person through Customs some 50 minutes after joining the line.

Oh well, I'm sitting at Starbucks now at 9pm (or 5am in London) waiting for the boys to pick me up.

Apparently there's ESPN interviews tomorrow morning in Aneheim so it'll be good to see just how much of a media frenzy this might turn in to.

Fingers crossed there's going to be a decent swell hit the coast at some stage to get some more filming and maybe a bit of a surf in, although I'm a little worried about paddling out with the boys, but I'm sure it will supply them with endless entertainment.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Marathon De Sabels

I've been reading about this in a few different articles over the past few weeks and think it would be quite a challenge.

I'm not even considering running the thing, but I'm confident with a bit of training I could go back to back marathons for 5 days straight walking.

Anyone else interested?

Ski the Dream - Snowing in London

Kita woke me up this morning with "Quick get up get up, you have to see this, quick!!!"

I thought one of my house mates had fallen asleep on the kitchen floor after they had quite a big night last night, but it was even better.


Mark the date, the 6th April is the first time I have even been in, and seen snow falling!

Excited I raced outside to take a picture before realising I had only a pair of thai fishing pants to protect me from the elements.

A few pictures later the video camera came out.......... it's almost as if a child was born.

I walked down to the tube stop with Kita fully kitted out in my winter gear with thongs, socks, fishing pants and jumper.

I even made a snowball and threw it down the road (I always thought they'd be light a fluffy, but those things are going to leave a mark if they hit you), and have made another one to show my flat mates but they're all suffering from a hangover.

Kita outside the Clapham North Tube Stop

Me outside the Clapham North Tube stop

Snow filled park on the walk home

Saturday, April 05, 2008

St Patrick's Day

I had a pretty good nights sleep so was up early and went for a wander through the city of Galway while I left Kita, Danni and Gary to sleep off their hangovers. The city was pretty quiet at 8am on the biggest day of the year, and judging by the shenanigans that went on the night before I could certainly understand why.

The day kicked off for everyone a few hours later with a bacon and egg breakfast............ just what you need to get ready for a overwhelming day of celebrations.

Sarah led us down the street to watch the parade and we were shortly joined by Jimmy before we headed to the Dew Drop to have our first.............. coffee.

Galway St Patricks Parade

With the Coffee quickly downed we quickly chased it with a Guinness (except for Danni and Kita nuring hangovers, started off with powerades). The National Hurling Championships were on the TV so as everyone left to head up to the Kings Head, Ant and I watched the first half of the game and talked about........ sport and girls.

Coffee in the morning at the Dew Drop

According to Ant there were no good looking girls in all of Ireland, and seeing as I've seen the Corr's on telly I assured him there were. This sparked an all day event with us trying to find good looking Irish girls that didn't have straightened hair or a fake tan. Normally I would have thought this would be quite simple, but damn do the Irish LOVE straightened hair and fake tans.

Gary, Marie and Me

We managed to get the count to two, but it was through a lot of "Are you Irish?" "Your hair looks amazing, what's your secret?" and "Have you just been on holiday somewhere sunny?"

The whole day was absolutely fantastic with friendly Irish, good friends and fantastic Guinness.

Dani and Kita enjoying a pint of Guinness