'Summer Skin' Finisterre 'Broadcast' Late Summer 2018

UK surf company Finisterre recently featured a short story of mine on their excellent blog 'The Broadcast'. Entitled 'Summer Skin' the tale concerns the transition from Summer to Autumn at my home in West Cornwall. You can check it out in full here, alongside the excellent photography of my talented friend James Warbey.

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Excerpt from 'Summer Skin':

'I know exactly when it happened. Do you?

The zenith of the summer is a moment. A unit of nostalgia that you will hold until your last. For me it was that warm beer we shared in beach car-park after work. At the time I would’ve given anything for a couple of cold ones, but looking back - I’m glad we shared. I’m glad it was warm.

My friend Buster paddled to the ‘Brisons’ that day. A set of imposing, exposed rocks situated some distance from Cape Cornwall off the west tip of Cornwall. Black igneous rocks with a dusting of bird shit as old as the island themselves. I once read on the wall of the local pub that they were named the ‘Brisons’ after the French word for reef ‘Brissant’. They dominate the view north from the beach and are framed by the window of the wooden lifeguard hut that I work from. A distinctly inhospitable zone - battered by waves most of the year and scoured by tide daily. A place impervious to our trivial needs, wants and desires.

I remember watching him leave on his paddle board - A rogue ex-lifeguard rescue board daubed with white paint and framed by shabby handles covered in thin webbing. No plan other than to go for a paddle on a fine summers day. I don’t remember him being gone. When he arrived back some hours later we saw beneath his sunburnt neck, noodle arms and wild eyes - reddened by the salt and spray. We knew he’d been somewhere beyond and had come back on the other side of summer. 

To the Brisons we asked collectively? He nodded. 

I felt like a child whose friend had just taken one step into the adult realm and we knew everything from that point would be different. The beer we shared that evening was the culmination of our summer. It wasn’t even the warmest day, but it was the purest expression of this summer I found. A moment as fine as a bee’s wing.'

A fine moment with the Brisons in the distance. Photo: James Warbey

A fine moment with the Brisons in the distance. Photo: James Warbey

'A Harbour Affair' White Horses 25

'When I was younger, a framed photo of my dad surfing here in the early 80s used to hang on our toilet door. I studied that picture fairly regularly - once a day for a number of years in fact. ‘Gul’ wetsuit with green arms and ‘Best-Ever’ twinnie underfoot. Big grin on the old man’s face. Although in that picture my dad wasn’t old - he would’ve been younger than I am now. 

Looking west towards Trewavas mine, I realise I am sat in the exact spot that my Dad had his picture taken some 30 plus years ago. A wave of distant melancholy spreads over me as I come down from the natural high of my session. I feel cold to my core. How many more days will be like this? How many years of this do I have in me? As with everything, all things eventually come to pass. I wonder how many more years I will be able to keep my harbour affair going? Some of my most treasured, impassioned surfing moments have happened at the entrance to this harbour. I look over at Steve sat diligently at the peak still waiting for the ‘one’ and recognise that in our endless search we are all guilty of occasionally not giving thanks for the ‘ones’ we have had and the finite amount of ‘ones’ we may be blessed with in the future. I give my own thanks to the Atlantic and my County. I decide to get out after ‘one’ more.'

Excerpt from my story 'A Harbour Affair' featured in White Horses Issue 25.

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'A Tale of Snails' Wavelength Magazine Volume 254

Great to have my story 'A Tale of Snails' feature in the Summer Issue of Wavelength. A departure from my surf based storytelling, concerning gentrification and of second-home ownership in my home of Cornwall, UK. I imagine broadly relatable to many surfers around the world who are being priced out of their local communities.

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'Growing up in Cornwall you get used to being trod on from a young age. On one hand it’s the most popular holiday destination in the U.K. and on the other, one of the most socially deprived areas in the entire country. 

Every summer the tourists come to feed and roost, before flocking back to the presumed riches of urban Albion. In some of the more successful and entrepreneurial areas of Cornwall I have heard rumours of the locals feeding heartily on the tourists wallets year round. Although in all my wanderings I have yet to see this feast in person. I know that many still miss out on the main course served in August. 

The subtle summer dance of give and take is played out to a looped, nostalgic Cornish soundtrack: crashing surf, children playing in the sand and the west Atlantic breeze whistling up the county lanes. Whilst the oft-heard B-side plays the muted aimlessness of the disaffected youth; a group who feel like they are being shoved off the pavement and onto the muddy lane in this yearly incursion into their land and homes.'

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The Surfers Journal 27.2 Field Notes 'A Paradise Breeze'

A true honour and joy to get a feature in the latest issue of 'The Surfers Journal'. Getting my words in the journal has been a goal of mine for a long time, so to see that dream hatch into reality is a special thing. 

The story details cyclones and roiling inequities in Fiji.

'With our escape route now closed, I hunkered down with the remaining staff as the tempest approached. I joined a band of strays on the tip of the island to meet the wind. A magenta sky bloomed in front of us. The gusts tacked north at sundown. The generator died. This was the turn of the paradise breeze, a dry equatorial gale, sinister and constant.'

 

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'Luna Riders' White Horses 24

'See Pete is a surfer, like you and me. But unlike you and me he didn’t learn to surf in the sea. Nor did he learn to surf on waves generated by the myriad of weather systems that are spawned by energy released from our sun. His relationship with surfboard riding is something quite distinct. An evolutional sub-branch from the multi-headed beast that we all know as surfing. Pete is a Luna rider. A gravitational warrior. An aficionado of the tidal bore wave that occasionally travels up the Bristol channel, in the heart of the English countryside. They call themselves the ‘Muddy-Brothers’.'

Extract from issue 24 of White Horses - on sale here

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'A Harbour Affair' Carve Magazine 185

'The winter sun dips beneath a solitary cloud. The temperature drops. I pause against the retaining wall that separates the flashy cliffside houses from the south-western approach to the harbour. The granite is warm to the touch. Leaning in, I watch a silhouetted figure paddle from behind the tight pack; finding that invisible, but ever-present west-wedge energy that is key to unlocking the peak. Rail engaged on take-off, he drives through one, then two sections. My hoot coincides with the suns re-emergence low on the horizon line. The wave now illuminated in a hue of pale straw and russet gold, begins to straighten, before turning square. On the inside ledge, the surfer bleeds off the unbridled speed and hooks into the draining inside section. The invincible summer within us will never die. '

Carve Issue 185 ' A Harbour Affair'. A pleasant (and rare) surprise to have my surfing included in one of the spreads - thanks to talented water photographer Mike Lacey for sharing a moment in this Biscay Beauty with me.

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'An End and a Beginning' White Horses Magazine 23

Always a pleasure to get a run in the fine Australian surf publication 'White Horses'. This time about a journey to the end of the land at Cape Finisterre, NW Spain. Honoured to have Javier Munoz's (@pacotwo) photos accompany the finished story. 

Extract from 'An End and a Beginning':

'That evening, inspired by the mornings entertainment at the Cape, but mainly just full of verve from the quart of supermarket Rioja we had bought, we built a pyre on a deserted bay flanked by a rivermouth. We drank the wine, gathered drift wood and shouted at the wind, revelling in the freedom of an empty beach, safe free camp spot and a modest lefthander. We had journeyed to the end of the world that morning and having retraced our steps back to the crossroads, had decided to keep searching. Over the next hill, we had found a new ‘rias’ finishing and starting its journey too. In its wake, creating another wave worth surfing and another day worth living.

When we woke up, the tide had erased all the physical remains of the fire. But the hazy memory remained.'

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'Seat of Storms' Carve Magazine 183

‘Framed between pink sea thrift. A stiff easterly wind blowing your hair over your face as you look out over a well-travelled swell. A gaggle of friends sat on the sunny grass above the break, calling the chronic-iic rip bank the moment it shifts up a gear. Wrestling into your soaked 3/2 whilst trying to shove chocolate digestives into your mouth. A glorious struggle between time and tide.’
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Stoked to have my tale about West Cornwall ‘The Seat of Storms’ feature in issue 183 of Carve Magazine. Especially to see my words alongside the stellar photography of @almackinnon @warbey @tobybutlerphoto- all of whom have captured more than I could ever hope.

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'Wild Eyes and Restless Wind' - White Horses 22

A pleasure to get a couple of stories in the latest issue of White Horses magazine. 'Wild Eyes and Restless Wind' details a surf trip to the northern extremity of Scotland back in April. I also contributed a short ('A Tale of Snails') about second home ownership and associated damage it can bring to communities. An issue close to my heart and home here in the county of Cornwall, UK.

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'An Open Mind in Galicia' - Carve Magazine, Issue 182

UK surf publication Carve have just featured my story 'An Open Mind in Galicia'. 

'We sunk a tepid service station ceveja an hour from our destination, served by a grinning, gap-toothed attendant who recognised in us the unquenchable thirst that travel affords; forging onwards to Santiago we fired spent pepita husks out of the van window onto the rain lashed road, an offering of sorts.'

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