Sunday, December 27, 2009

A hymn in praise of Neptune by Thomas Campion.

Of Neptune's empire let us sing,
At whose command the waves obey;
To whom the rivers tribute pay,
Down the high mountains sliding:
To whom the scaly nation yields
Homage for the crystal fields
Wherein they dwell:
And every sea-dog pays a gem
Yearly out of his wat'ry cell
To deck great Neptune's diadem.

The Tritons dancing in a ring
Before his palace gates do make
The water with their echoes quake,
Like the great thunder sounding:
The sea-nymphs chant their accents shrill,
And the sirens, taught to kill
With their sweet voice,
Make ev'ry echoing rock reply
Unto their gentle murmuring noise
The praise of Neptune's empery.

Thomas Campion.

May waves be upon you.

Surfing Bermejo


Unless you have wheels you can pretty much forget surfing Bermejo. If you do have wheels it’s been done in a car but a 4WD is definately recommended. Bermejo is situated north of Barranca and south of Huarmey. There are three track turn offs between Kilometre 220 and 225 on the Pan America Norte. The turnings co inside with a series of battery farms instantly noticeable by the corrugated iron roofs. The most southerly is not recommended. The easiest is next to the smattering of restaurants on the side of the road that appear to do absolutely no trade at all and seldom have people actually in them apart from when the surf brings people. The second track is more direct but seems to be eroding fast and there is a very real danger of toppling, stick to the turn between the restaurants you can see the wave clearly and just follow your nose. You can park on the beach or off to the side. There is some sign about private property but there was a choice of right or left along the river bed, so I figured it was which ever way I wasn't going.

You will need to bring everything you need, don’t forget lots of water, sunscreen and if you’re a car a tow rope would be handy if you can find another vehicle just in case. If you are in a car it is worth walking any parts of the track you are unsure about before driving it, most of the sand is hard packed but there is one bit I was never sure if I was going to leave my car there forever. Don’t count on the restaurants having food, a cook, water etc, rather consider it a bonus if it happens.

A medium or bigger swell from the south west, too southerly is not ideal but apparently Bermejo does pick  up North Swell.. When you drive down to the wave, the best section of the wave is actually around the corner where there is a small back beach dominated by a big rock sticking out that is impressive and unmissable. If the swell is big enough it will break well out from the rocks spitting until it tapers right round to the second beach, it has many sections and should keep you well entertained. On smaller swells keep your eyes on the rocks or shift around to the second beach that is sand bottomed with no lurking nasties but a lesser wave quality.

The ocean is quite alive with fish, seals, dolphins and birds and if you do see anyone it is likely to be a fisherman. Although they seemed relatively friendly the toilet door may give off another impression. (carajo = arsehole).

Camping is your only option otherwise you have a sizeable drive back to Barranca or on to Huarmey or further north. The next main surf district north is Huanchaco a good 2.5 hours or Centinela south may be 1.5 hours south or Lima 2.5 hours. There is one lesser known break in the area but after a story about a guy being blind folded by his best mates, I think I best keep stum on that one.

Bermejo is pretty out there, few people from the area surf it, rather Limenos driving up to the north for a swell or the summer will stop in on the way. It’s a great wave but it’s an effort.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It search of Centinela and the forgotten Middle Earth

Holiday spreading like a slow but sure pandemic through my veins. The completely untrustworthy stead packed, the directions vague at best and the wave little known compared to most. The time, a night but may be more. The buoys on the way up, at larger intervals. A new stick on the roof in a lilac board bag (god being colour blind can be a shag).

 The lone and open road awaits.I know little of what  is at the end. But I did find this cheezy yank clip. Which should you watch and listen to it disturbs me....if they are right and it is hundreds of miles to the hospital..................I've got it totally wrong cause I'm planning on it being about 80 miles north of one of the world's biggest cities..................we'll soon find out.

 A bit further north somewhere is a wave called Bermejo.....can't find it on a map either, though google earth has a lead ......anyway my now beloved seppo amigo's also stumbled upon it....kind of looks really good.....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Surfing Pasamayo.

Pasamayo is a fabled tale of quiet perfection. The reason is because the coast road or Pan America Norte between Anchon and the village of Pasamayo (not where the wave is) just before Chancay, is only open to buses and trucks as it is considered too dangerous, it doesn´t stop anyone overtaking on blind corners whilst throwing plastic out of the window though. They wouldn´t even let the team surf bus through with Terry´s international press pass! Boo!

If you are on the Anchon side of the Peaje and don´t have a vehicle I would suggest just hitching a ride from the Peaje (poll booth), we took a taxi to Pasamayo where we found the Hari Krishna retreat (not what I was expecting).

Now just because your on the cliff road, through the peaje and can get off, it doesn´t mean your going to find it. Though you should be okay. The wave is may be 3 to 5 miles south of Pasamayo village and breaks in the middle of a bay. We began by walking along the beach. This is a long hard way and you are forced back up to the road anyway. The plus side was a kind fisherman told us the wrong places to surf but did show us an amazing cave and painting. He also seemed completely unphased by his empty bag for fish. The minuses are its harder to walk up that dune than Arcachon in France. The sand is very deep and the its near vertical. The road is not a pleasant stroll but doable. However you get there, take water, hat, food etc in backpack, there are no services of any description it´s a desert and the dune is steep.

The waves are a series of reef/beach breaks that are in the middle of a bay. There a couple of empty shacks at the bottom. Run down the dune in 30 seconds spend 40 minutes of hell getting back up. I guess it doesn´t need much swell, we went when Lima was flat and it was slim pickings, but there were only two other guys there, we all got along famously which was rare in Peru. To get back we managed to flag down a bus for two soles he even stashed the boards underneath...happy days.

Its a day trip, not half a day, it´s a mission. To be honest living in Lima, I would only do it on a Sunday when the traffic is lighter. We went back to the village of Pasamayo had some beer and dead meat on a skewer and just felt good about our trip. I´ll be going on a Sunday again when there´s a swell. It´s hard to know how you´d stay nearby unless you hooked up with Hari Krishna´s who seemd to have nice accomodation and food on offer, but the haircuts and face paint worried me a little.
Many Thanks to terry and Natalia for a great day out and one I shan´t forget. Great company, great times.

Byron Boys

2001 and 2002 myself and "The Nose" spent some solid time in the North New South Wales area of Byron some ways I think we´d both still like to be there.

Check out this video from some Byron Boys I just loved it. There is something about the place.

Wizard Smoke from Salazar on Vimeo.

You can see more wonderings of Byron brains at

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It´s all a load of hot air. Competition time.

I´ve always found Meteorology a bit perplexing. This is particularly worrying as I have been known to teach a bit of geography in my time. Just before I discovered, etc I used to attempt to predict swell myself and when it would arrive and from what direction. This I have to say I managed with some success and beat the coconut wireless a few times.

What I never managed to get my head around was the wind direction that would come with it. Yes I know the wind follows the isobars, I have been told a million times but when I look at the map I just get all "I can´t deal with this".

English surfers know wind, to be more exact we know that South Westerlies and Westerlies are toilet, South Westerlies can be dealt with in Cornwall with a big to huge swell and a once a year huge south based swell will let a few south coast harbour walls operate but they are generally to be despised and unfortunately dominate. Now I can´t believe that a wind that takes up well in excess of over a hundred days a year has no name! Every seafaring country seems to have nicknames for their winds, and Britain doesn´t! As a point of interest during the First World War, Germans who developed poison gas first, didn´t maximise its usage because the prevailing sou´wester blew the gas back in their faces......and still no nickname!

Winds of the World:

Northerly: The Norte along the Mexican Coast or the Brickfielder of South OZ.

North Easterly: Matanuska of Alaska or Papagagayu of Nicaragua.

North Westerly: The Maestro of the Adriatic.

Easterly: The Leste of the Canaries or The Sundowner of California.

Westerly: The Mistral of France or Pampero of Argentina.

South Easterly: The Cape Doctor of Cape Town, RSA or Suestado of Uruguay.

South Westerly: The Kona of Hawaii.

Southerly: The Elephanta of the Malabar coast of India or Sirocco of Southern Europe from the Sahara.

Any offers for the South Westerly of England?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Eddie is on.

Following my earlier posting the Eddie is on: go to
for live action

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tasting Notes: The Whilar Progressive Longboard.

Kindly lent to me by Inkawaves writer Terry. Following on from 4 months of non-surfing, my Chiropractor instructed me to surf a longboard to test the back. Awesome! I was back.
It was ridden on a mushy beach break a few times and then at a left hand reef. Not being a longboarder I was surprised how good this board felt. I was thinking it would be too narrow but with that bit more juice you get in Peru it motored a long nicely and a bit of walking took place, sadly no cross stepping but something to work on for the future. If I was in England it would probably need a bit more width, but the thickness meant it could be surfed not just lodged in a wave and then trimmed until the wave died. I liked the feeling of the single fin, that looseness, that moment of pivot at the bottom turn and then fixing a line. I appreciated the experience and the loan greatly.

Here in Peru many longboards have thruster set ups which I’m told are more progressive than having a 2 + 1 set up (big centre fin and two stabilisers) but for me, you gotta have that big fin, which lets you walk up and down with more freedom (It´d be wrong not to). I rode it with just the centre fin and found it just super fun. I’d stick the side fins on for big fat surf.....mmm the G- spot with those rolling rights.

Anyway definitely the thumbs up from me. I listened to Motown, wore a silly hat and sunglasses and just smiled a lot, great fun. Biggest drawback....carrying the thing around and putting it on the roof rack...How do longboarders go on trips?

Longboards aren’t very common here as performance waves are just everywhere but I have noticed that for 550 bucks which is like 300 English at the moment you can have one custom made at any shaper, that’s amazing value...I’d love to but worry about how I’d get three shortboards a long board and my things for the last year home, so sadly not.

I do look forward to owning one though and can’t help but think they make a lot more sense in blighty.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Eddie Aikau

When I started surfing, it was just that, I loved the environment, I loved the simplisicity of it and I liked the fact that the people I surfed with all egged each other on. Not much has really changed since then. Surf competitions at beaches I want to surf are an annoyance rather than a point of interest. Now its looking like The Eddie Aikau will be running on Sunday or Monday in Hawaii (GMT -10). It is sponsored by Quicksilver and there is a lot of merchandise and hype. But there are two things that make this event special.

Firstly the waves have to reach 30 foot Haiwaiian. To put that in perspective haiwaiians measure waves as 3 foot is over head. So it's not every year the event runs, cause there isn't a swell big enough with favourable winds. The entrants are invited, there is no qualification process and many of them are old sea dog dudes, who are 40's and 50's. Mostly Americans but Ibon from Spain is in it! Go Europe! There are a few whipper snappers and then there are the household pro surfers who get their balls out (yes Slater has won it! But Bruce Irons may be a complete cock but he pulls into the shorebreak closeout and that shit is not for pussies).

Secondly I love the Eddie Story.Eddie Aikau was a man, a man in a world where men are wearing pink, learning to Salsa and dying their hair. Eddie Aikau was a beach boy, come Waimean Lifeguard who gave his life when a a reconstructed canoe was being paddled from Hawaii to Tahiti (not down the road) hit a massive storm and started leaking in the night. Eddie volunteered to try and swim 18 miles to Molokai the nearest island in the pitch dark in huge storm surf...and was never seen again. The crew survived thanks to a plane spotting them by chance. "Eddie would go" is both his biography and a car sticker, its a great read. Eddie didn't have money, Eddie didn't get free tickets, houses and cars. Eddie paddled out of the front of his house and road the biggest surf possible at that time and did it cause he loved it. No cameras, no bullshit, just made him alive. The contest has no tow ins, no jet skis, you have to get a 10ft gun board and paddle and commit and face your fears. Awesome, everything I want from a surfing competition, because its not about winning, they all look like there a group of friends, shitting themselves together. I love it.

So the point of this is that there is like a three month waiting period which competitors have to make themselves available for or an alternate stands in for you. There is huge swell predicted over this weekend and Monday could well be the day. You can watch it live on webcaste at:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

bit of surf fun

Sometime back I was super curious about Bra Boys the Movie, which kind of was compulsive viewing, even if it wasn´t in the sense I had envisaged. Anyway rather the dude in clip number two than me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Small, Spring Saturday in Lima, surf city?

Went for a walk after borrowing a longboard and having a great cruise on Saturday. It seemed Miraflores had decided to come out to play too. Some shots here of the waves at Pampilla, Roquitas and Makaha, the Miraflores bowl, the cow exhibition and the love being shared.

There seemed to be a very strange sign, about cows (in a desert)?!?! And I really need to improve my spanish, cause I´m sure that sign on the plants means something apart from what I figured.

People in Peru more so the coast than the Campesino´s do like to snog in public for hours...light dry humping is not out of the question either. Taking a couple of piccies of people snogging made me feel like a right perv....It was great! Gotta take your kicks were you can.

I should write a disclaimer to finish. These photo´s might convey the impression that Lima is clean, verdant and care free, that isn´t really how I feel about it. Then again, it´s a city growing, it has job opportunites and you can surf (in the dirtiest water I have ever entered and smelt).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rubbish...I can´t pretend it´s not true anymore.

The North Pacific Gyre.

Gyre = In oceanic terms, its a current that´s wind driven on a large scale and you don´t get any bigger than the Pacific (direction of Coriolis force in the North Pacific is clockwise by the way).

So when I stumbled upon the term this morning, I guessed I´d be learning about swell patterns and how this was going to affect me getting some north swell in the didn´t turn out that way.

The North Pacific Gyre is home to the worlds largest rubbish dump. Due to the oceanic current, there is in effect a gathering of flotsam in the area, a collection point if you like. Somewhere in the region of 400 000 to 500 000 Km squared in fact. That´s knocking on for twice the size of the United Kingdom or Texas. A big waste dump in the big beautiful sea was always going to upset me. Surfing in English winters in absolute crap waves has tested my love sometimes, its being away from man´s world and being surrounded by forces, geology and water that were around before us and will be here after us that keeps me in love. Surely we can´t destroy the ocean, its just so big.

I jumped to find photographs of this "New Rubbish World" knowing why no great explorer or adventurer wanted to put their name to Columbus kudos here.
There aren´t any...not good ones. Scientist hype!?!? Nope, its not so visible, because plastic rubbish "Photogrades", its like everything I learnt about photosynthesis gone wrong. The sun breaks plastic down into smaller more toxic parts (plastic polymers).

In these troubled waters Plankton are outnumbered 6 to 1 by plastic. That´s another pretty ugly statistic (that´s 3.3 million pieces of plastic a square kilometre). Now I have to qualify that a little. This stretch of the Pacific is extremely deep. Deep ocean doesn´t sustain life like shallow seas and coastal areas. There is little in the way of stirring up of nutrients and therefore lack of nutrient cycle and food chain. So the life that exists in deep ocean like the North Pacific Gyre is based on Photosynthesis......which is screwed because the plastic is there. Low biomass getting much lower much too quickly. I don´t think humans will ever have a "Save the Plankton" campaign, they don´t make cool noises, they aren´t graceful and you can´t even see úm, but I feel something is array. Sailors apparently aren´t to keen on the area because of the vista and lack of wind (a compounding factor in terms of collection) and fisherman don´t go as there is a low density of large fish. Doesn´t stop Sea Turtles, Black footed Albatross and Jelly fish to name but a few dying in scores. Nor does it stop humans eating the Jelly fish which pass on lovely hormone´s riddled with toxic chemicals.

But it´s more than that. We just can´t behave in this way. It´s out of sight, it was out of my mind and now its not. Rubbish...I can´t pretend it´s not true anymore.

Further reading and viewing:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pit Pilot

Living with a journalist and surfing with two others has been inspiring. "That´s a good story" I hear instead of my Dad shouting at the TV or my friends reaction to news and media. It´s a new slant for me and one I´ve enjoyed hearing more aboutl. The big story in Peru at the moment is the Fat sellers, who have allegedly been killing Andean peasant farmers, extracting their fat and selling it to Mafia connections in Italy for use in anti aging creams. This is a"great story" in my

Anyway .....this has nothing to do with much on this blog save the fact that I had my first article published. Pit Pilot ran a story I wrote about surfing in Peru and I´m dead chuffed, they changed things round a bit, which I´ve been told by the Financial Times Journo is terrible because I´ve sacrificed my integrity. Well I have to say he probably saved my bacon more like. I´m going to have another go when I pull a few ideas together.

I wonder if Klimax surfboards and Boz wetsuits will do me any "favours" after giving them a plug in print. I owe BOZ a cool 1000 Soles just under 400 dollars for a custom made 6/4 with built in hood that I´d promised myself for my return to England. A discount on a custom board is always handy......being a teacher hasn´t really helped my powers of monetary persuasion, Christian would be walking away with a free board and the guy´s wife.

In true Golden Balls fashion the guy has stolen the show, contributing nothing whatsoever to the article, Greg the Editor asked for some photo´s. I told G.B to send some over from our session at Pacasmayo in Jan the highlight of our trip, and he gets the shot, well I´m reduced to throwing a shaka with the Motorscooter driver who is 4 foot tall making it look like a freak show......Golden Balls, just stand next to him because the sun always shines on him and sometimes it passes on. Don´t bother planning a surf trip , ask him where he´s going and follow him, that way there is swell, sun and all things good. He´s coming back soon I hear so we´ll be getting more god waves.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Small Senoritas and dreams of the desert.

Some pictures from Senoritas the other day.

As summer stumbles into life. I shall have to find my feet at the same time. The doctor has given me the okay after no surf for four months and recent developments elsewhere mean that I should be racking up some quality water time. Anticipation and a little fear tingle the toes. It is flat for the next few days so........ I wait a little more. I can´t help but notice that Peru´s constant over head surf has retreated a little bit coming into summer. Even though dreams of returning to Chicama are probably not realistic for a good few months now, the call of the northern desert of Lobitos, Piura, Oreganos and friends begin.
I haven´t quite got the hang of the formatting side of blogging yet, but I´ve included a clip of some guys who quite liked Lobitos too. For a dirt track and a shambolic town it certainly does have awesome waves, easy tubes and a surprising crowd.

Having said that though, I think a thorough investigation of the stretch north of Lima to Trujillo is in order. Not the sexiest part of a fairly unsexy coast but, seclusion and waves of quality I suspect. Just what the doctor ordered before chrimbo and then strike out in the New Year if Golden Balls turns up.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cabeleros and Playa Negra, Punta Hermosa.

Spring cedes to summer and the beach no longer is inhabited exclusively by surfers and walkers, it takes on that slightly more festive feel. The bikini´s come out and everyone is that much happier because they do. That was Punta Hermosa today. It´s about a 30 minute drive south from Lima and a wave rich area.

My camera isn´t really meant to shoot from the distances required at low tide so the images don´t really do it justice, but there were some good tubes going on out at Cabeleros today which although it looked disorganised had some great waves.

However my Chiro said I "could surf in 2 weeks when December begins..." that´s nearly a month, but nice of him to break it gently. So with not much else to do, towel down, speedos on, beer for lunch and Ceviche and Chicharron (raw and fried fish) brought down to the beach by the kind man all for the bargain price of just over twenty dollars. Its easy to remember it´s a private beach and the real Lima is not lying on the beach, feasting on raw fish and bikini´s.

Lunch was followed by a heated discussion with Financial Times Correspondent and flat mate Naomi Mapstone on world issues such as American health care, the state of Islam, and of course the environment. Now the Penwith massive of Cornwall have instilled in me high environmental morals that I have at times found rather hard to follow. For instance in Penzance when I have seen people litter, I have taken the litter back to them and explain they must have "dropped it by accident" , if you took that approach just wouldn´t come off. So anyway I couldn´t help but have a chuckle at the new Eco Toilet that has been erected.

Pico Alto had a few rather large bombs coming through with no takers, Senoritas doesn´t seem to have had a decent wave since the end of last summer. I´ll be interested to see if Cabeleros losses or gains ( I never worked that bit out) sand and deteriorates whilst Senoritas improves through the summer. So I went to see how Scarface was getting on over at Playa Negra. It looked much better than it actually was and though there was size, it was pretty closey. As I straddled a crumbling wall on a sandy cliff, I couldn´t help but notice a left on the otherside of the bay that was big,bulky, beautiful and completely unridden, I´m sure it has a name and people ride it but for now I remain in the dark. Anyway Scarface was out there of fame and it was a beautiful session for them as the sun shone till the death of the day.

Peruvians are not the first people to back down, anyone who has driven in Lima will know what I it was with great interest that I saw my first Localism fight today. Interesting tactics were used, rather than a good old fashion put your dukes up situation or even a less respectable kick, these boys taught me Peruano styly. So kicks and punches are out, gotta watch the looks etc, instead lots of grabbing and rolly pollys and then when one tires of the farce the winner then drowns the guy in the shorebreak, holding him under.....I´ve never seen it done before and may be never again, but that´s what went down.

The last picture made me remember a conversation I had with Claire Whiley aged 9 when we did a.... you show me yours and I´ll show mine. .... obviously someone has to go first.