Sunday, February 28, 2010

England a winter surf destination?

8 degree water, 8 degree air. Light offshores, good solid, cold south coast. 6 people out, its dark, cold, winter...its austere. To my great surprise there were two people without hoods on who were smiling like maniacs and looked a they weren't from round these parts types. I ended up having a shouting match with the outsiders. I say shouting match and it probably sounds like it was unamicable, but it was anything but, only with the wind, big swell and a skin tight hood on, its rather hard to "talk". Turns out the two guys were on surf trip from Norway. They said they'd had an awful winter of surf and had had only a couple of days waves all winter and fancied getting some waves in Cornwall. I was gob smacked, Morocco, the Canaries, Portugal, Spain, France, Senegal....anywhere would be warmer, more consistent, cheaper were my knee jerk reactions.

 I guess warmth was probably at the front of my mind. Golden Balls summed it up well the other day. After seeing one to many surf articles on surfing Iceland, Canada, Norway etc place....he said " I can understand this looks really f +++$%ing cool and out there to some South Californian or Ozzie,but we know Ed don't we! We know what wet 5mil booties are like to pull on, we know what its like to surf when your too cold to bend, when your fingers can't grip the car key to take shelter......F*&*k that".

But I've had time to reflect on my Nordic meeting. The last month the waves have been pumping, my new 6mm Boz wetty has definitely taken the sting out of the winter, the back drop is ruggedly romatic, these guys are cold water specialists who are probably allergic to sunlight and heat anyway, and they just looked so stoked to be scoring celtic waves and then it all became so perfectly am I.

A couple of piccies of the perils of shedding your 6mm and stepping out into the caustic sun indecently clad in your loin cloth:

It looks great fun Chicama, but walking for 25 minutes up the point again in wet boardies is not good for your skin.

You don't get fin cuts wearing 5mil of foot love.

No need for arm vaginas in a full suit, unlike an ill fitting short john.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The World Tour started today.

Whether or not competitive surfing is your thing and also if you're prepared to sift through some of the more shallow aspects of it, the World Tour does have something to offer you. The first five events are, Snapper and Bells beach in Oz, Santa Catarina in Brazil, Jeffrey's Bay R.S.A and the beast that is Teahupoo in Tahiti that alone has me glued to the action.......... (God will someone please send me to the South Pacific and J Bay immediately..........well its not going to happen until 8pm today when my lottery ticket will enlighten me, failing that I will have to live vicariously through the webcastes for now).

 Times have changed too, not everyone is copying Tom Curren and Kelly Slater anymore. Last season Dane Reynolds took out a twin fin (called a "Robber" made by Al Merrick) in fat French beach breaks and won his heat with panache, yes I stand by that panache, it was as refreshing as a cup of tea. Wild Card Owen Wright took down everyone in Peniche till he burst his ear drum in a heavy Supertubos closeout. Yet my favourite moment of last season was when meek mannered Basque boy Aritz Aramburu got to the Semi Final's at Teahupoo taking down Slater with him. Humble, talented, fearless he barely won another heat in the whole season, but he will always have that event in his heart.

There is another reason why Aritz's day of days stands alone for me. Quite simply I love the rise of European surfing on the World Stage. Sadly that doesn't include England but that is another issue all together.

 The season on tour sees the return of "Saca" Tiago Pires who hails from the lovely Portuguese town of Ericeira blessed with breaks such as Coxos, Cave and Ribeira d'Ilhas, he knows what he's doing and this season after re qualifying last season he'll spill some Seppo (septic tank = yank), Ozzie and Brazilian blood.

 But I have always loved to watch Jeremy Flores surf. Now whether a man who was born in Madagascar, spends half the year in Reunion and New Caledonia, can even call himself a Euro is dubious. However the great thing about our beloved Union is that we're pretty open minded and the guy does have a post box in Capbreton, so he's in in my book. Last season he was injured mid season and still requalified at a canter. He was tipped by the Bald One himself for greatness as a kid and seems to have been around for ages but has only just got his first hair on his chest. This man is my call for 2010 World Champ, and I reckon I'd get good odds on it, keep an eye out for him. Definitely not one to put your mortgage on but what fun would life be if we didn't shoot from the hip sometimes.

 All the events have webcastes and you can access the Snapper event through the link at the top....otherwise just ignore the tour and this article, but trust get into it. If nothing else you can see what great surfing technique is out there, you can appreciate the role of fitness is surfing and there is character shown, passion and pride. Allez! Vamos!.....I'm English we don't do languages.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thank you FCS

Following my first complaint letter over my new FCS fins breaking after two weeks. I was stoked to get a replacement sent from FCS HQ in Europe. It was refreshing to see a bit of corporate responsibility and accountability. Shame I can't get off my quad. So good on ya FCS, great to see a market leader still lookingafter their boys.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book review: All for a few perfect waves. The Biography of Miki Dora.

 Seen one to many guys with long blond hair wearing a Volcom T shirt and boardies? Been to one to many shops that have 25 boards and they're all 6'1 x 18 3/4 x 2.5? Seen one to many shots of Andy Irons somewhere hot with a million photographers?................Is surfing really that devoid of character and creativity?

 Reach for David Rensin's biography of Miki "Da Cat" Dora. Californian legend and anti establishmentarianist personified. The reason no one has inked out Miki's life before is the sly old fox is more secretive than an irish bishop in the Vatican, the truth just as hard to grasp.

 This book will have you laughing your head off, shaking your head disapprovingly, being impressed by focus but most of all, what endeared it to me was daring to dream. You could read this book if you weren't a surfer and for my money you would know a quirky corner of our beloved sports past that is genuinely "pure filth". I for one am a fan of this purely hedonistic, selfish, paranoid, thieving, lying lovable rogue. Grab a copy and sponsor a guy who has done a great job on a sticky wicket. Failing that, I've got one I'll happily lend you.

I couldn't summarise the book really, except to say this is a real Robin Hood story, there isn't  a man with more chinese whispers behind him and a cult following. A couple of quotes from a flick might include:

Ex girlfriend Barbara Sievers: On our first date, Miki had a long list of parties to go to, with the goal, I soon found out, to train me to "rifle hookers purses. pg 142

Gerry Kantor: One night in France Miki walked into this restaurant holding a copy of his FBI 243.

Mike Hynson: The people I took LSD with considered it a sacrement. We planned for it and paired for it.....we were down in Mexico. We got in the ocean. We surfed  a little bit...Miki was as godly as he could 177.

Ron Smerling: We'd go into museums and he'd take spears right off the walls and pop wild animal heads into his coat. Then he'd go out and stick them in the car. I was scared shitless. pg193

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Surfing and not surfing Porthleven.

Photos I took in my 10 minutes.

The pride of South West surfing, Porthleven. A reef break that through most of the tide is a right, at dead low tide there's a left and at higher stages of the tide it gets too backwashy.

 It also gets very crowded and the town itself is loaded with top surfers like Dan Mole, its also visited by the St Agnes legions led by Tubemeister, Robin Kent. To be honest its very crowded for such a small peak. Everyone wants there moment and unless your dead keen or dead lucky, you'll probably head off to Praa sands or search out another break on the south coast.

The other day I was up for it, drove down (mid week early) and was totally amping to get out, when I turned up the car park was rammed with photogarphers and top surfers like Ben Skinner, 10 minutes in the car park and I was off to Praa, which was totally awesome. I just don't dig on watching 10 people so close to each other, waves require attention for me to surf them and people just distract me. I'm still scarred for life from surfing in Portugal and not gettin g a wave for 3 days because I was freaking because of all the people paddling and shrieking all the time.

 I guess I'm not a Leven kind a guy. Shame really, it looks so good.

Life in Penzance, Cornwall

Some images from around Penzance, Cornwall. UK. A pretty diifferent situation from my street scenes of Miraflores, Lima, Peru not so long ago.

Cornish traffic, a far cry from Lima's free for all.

Newlyn bridge.

Unemployment is going well so far.

Penzance from the harbour.

Home sweet home, Heidi and Tolver Road.

My favourite shop, inclusive of characters (Trader Gray RIP)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pangaea, the answer to the question?!?!

I tried to reply to the question from my last entry which read:

"Anonymous said...

What do you mean Sugar Loaf is the other half of the Lion's Head? I don't understand. Bond"

Top: An illuminating view of Rio at night with Sugar Loaf in the centre.

Below: Cape Town's Table Mountain with Lion's Head the peak to the right, my favourite coastal city.

I found myself unable to without the use of illustrations. This is my understanding of the situation. At various times in the earths 6 billion year history all landmasses have been connected. The last time was called "Pangaea", now without wanting to really get into. When South America split from Africa it literally tore a single mountain in half. One half went to Rio de Janeiro and is the iconic Sugar Loaf mountain, the other half the lesser famous Lion's head mountain of Cape Town.

 Mental! So James although not a Vulcan myself and by no means an expert, I hope that this reply satiates your desire for knowledge and doesn't lead to anymore tricky questions....

A shaken but not stirred Spinal Surfer.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Atlantic Versus The Pacific Ocean

In England in the Summer when you surf and then go out, you get a crust of salt on your face and in your hair. In Peru you don't.

In England you float more in the sea than you do in Peru.

My conclusion was that there was more salt in the Atlantic than the Pacific.

I began researching, because I wanted to know more what the differences and foilables were, here is what I discovered:

1) Size.
The Atlantic is the second largest ocean in the world, but over half the rivers flow in to it. The Pacific is the biggest ocean in the world. It's bigger than all the land put together.

2) Age.
The Atlantic is the youngest ocean formed during the Jurassic Period as South America and Africa pulled apart. It is growing by an inch a year. The Pacific Ocean is currently shrinking from plate tectonics, roughly  0.2 square miles a year.

3) Deepest point.
8500 metres is its deepest point in the Atlantic, the Puerto Rico Trench. The Mariana Trench in the western North Pacific is the deepest point in the Pacific and in the world, reaching a depth of 10,911 metres.

4) Physical facts.
The Atlantic is home to the largest tides in the world, 50 feet on a spring tide in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. The North Atlantic Ridge is a mountain range, in terms of Longitude it covers 10 000 miles and is twice as wide as the Andes. This chain is home to Iceland, the Azores, the Canaries and Tristan De Cuna.

 The Pacific contains about 25,000 islands (more than the total number in the rest of the world's oceans combined). “The Ring of Fire” is the world’s largest belt of explosive volcanism. It is on average the deepest ocean without the inhibiting amount of continental shelf of the Atlantic.

5) Salinity.
The Atlantic is the world’s saltiest ocean and it is at its saltiest in the North Atlantic where it is 37 parts salt to a thousand parts of water.
 The Pacific averages about 34 parts salt to water, but its highest areas of salinity is in equatorial areas.

6) Name?
Probably Atlantis, the Island described by Plato instead of a popular theory that the Romans named it in connection with the Atlas Mountains (it makes no sense to me.)
 The Pacific = “Peaceful sea” so named by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

7) Local Variations.
The Atlantic sees the sprouting of Hurricanes off  West Africa which reek havoc in Caribbean areas.

The Pacific suffers from the El Nino Effect which sees a reversing of its wind and sea currents every 4 to seven years with devastating effects.

8) Early Navigators.
 The Pacific was settled and explored by Polynesians getting all the way down to the Chatham islands, south of New Zealand, which forced them back into a hunter gatherer lifestyle perversely.
 The Vikings were the kings of the Atlantic, getting to Canada a long time before Columbus's jaunt ruined Meso America.

Did you know?
Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio, Brazil is the other half of Lion’s Head in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Mariana Trench is over 3000 metres deeper than Mount Everest is high.

In 1938, a coelacanth, a type of fish that first appeared in the sea some 300 million years ago, was caught alive by the fishermen off the Southern coast of Africa. These fishes were thought to be extinct for more than 60 million years.

The Atlantic is home to most oceanic firsts such as crossings by ships and planes.

Here endeth my discoveries.

Secret Spots, Semi Secret Spots and the Abyss of Mainstream.

There is a spot in West Cornwall, that I used to check on every swell of size. It would break less than 6 times a year and was a secret. I shall call it "Legumes". It has a back drop that is hard to match, stunning and iconic.I have some great photos but I cannot post them.

 Last Saturday a strong swell lit up the spot. I arrived  mid morning still shaking off the Jet Lag, ecstatic it was breaking on my first full day back in the county. The track down is a wee bitof hassle especially after rain but after navigating it, I was dumb struck. Over 10 cars and as many in the water, girlfriends on the rise and dog walkers drawn to it and it preceeded to grow with people and then someone lit a BBQ. The local field, turned into a car park.

 I should say that I have heard of people in Newquay talking of the spot before, but its a long way and I figured they wouldn't know the formula that well, yet Saturday's swell was an easy one to call for Legumes.

The wave is not the best wave in the area, it does not break top to bottom it can be pretty fat, but it also has its moments. The few times I have surfed it was more like a celebration of it. It almost felt like a friend, the time, pertol and dreams I shared with the Pumpkin trying to score it. Before I left Cornwall after breaking up with my girlfriend during all the rows, I had slept down there after storming out in the early hours of the morning in winter and arisen to find it going off, I surfed it all day and only saw two other people all day, it was a special day thatI shall not forget.

Now it seems it cannot be called a secret spot, rather it is a semi secret spot, it is on the slippery slope to being named in a "Stormriders" guide or "Wavefinders" and after the farmer gets annoyed with the traffic, damage to his land, litter etc, he'll turn his field into a car park and they'll be a ticket machine.....surely not, it doesn't work often enough.I guess I'm just sad about it.

 And then I got the arse...I'm trying not to so much these days. A friend of a friend had posted pictures on facebook of it. I sent a polite message asking him to withdraw them, which he did and the whole interaction was very civil, polite and more than anything english. Having just returned from a year in Peru, I have reflected on how this could not have taken place anywhere else only here.(I have changed names of the writer and the spot)

Mark  February 11 at 6:29pm Report

alright Ed,
 i just got a message from im about the Legumes pics.sorry if ive pissed anyone off- i didnt even think about other people other than my friends(who all know about the place)seeing the is pretty busy down there already i guess without broadcasting it to the world.hope you managed to score somewhere on the w end.


 Edward Lockyer February 12 at 8:00am

I know what you mean, facebook gives the illusion of sharing with people you know but...I don't think I know you, but because a mutual friend comments then I get to see it and hence it goes on.

I was amazed how many people were at Legumes last weekend, I was a bit saddened. I guess the swell was well predicted for a long time and so everyone trapsed down.

I'm no "local" but when I first moved here,it was like a mythical rumour Legumes it just doesn't happen that often and very few people surf it when it did....the problem is that a photograph of it makes it the easiest spot in the world to work out where it is. I guess its moving into the semi secret spot class, which means it will be common knowledge soon enough....just want to slow that process down not speed it up. There are only a few Penwithian gems left and we'dlike to keep onto them as long as possible.

Thanks for the email and taking the pictures off.


I guess more and more people love the sport I do and surfers love to travel and so.....the spots get found and increase in numbers, after all I can't remember how I found out but someone surely pointed me in the right direction, may be the shouldn't have?!?!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tube photography

Some images to share from

Claiming: The Shame of it.

A Claim: A celebration of catching a good wave for self indulgent purpose, also used in competitive surfing to influence judging.

Smoking head and a half hollow Praa sands, barrels going down between some close outs. I take off on a bomb going right, it stands up down the line and the lip throws out. I make it in and out and wave my arms around like someone having an epileptic fit. There's even a photographer on the sand. Sometime later I get to the beach where the photographer is nowhere to be seen. Heidi informs me I wasn't in the pit, I was out in front......disbelief ensues and then embarrassment. Her view was from behind the wave....I'm still in denial.

I trawled the Internet for the pictures, needing desperately to seek confirmation. Nothing at:

The sheer arrogance and ego of such antics. It made me remember a heat in Tahiti, Teahupoo when Andy Irons needed a 9.6 against Dean Morrison with seconds on the clock, disappeared in a pit (un debatable) and then exited and shotgun claimed the heat over "Dingo".........and then lost the heat by 0.1, having aimed an imaginery shotgun at a close competitors head and pulling the trigger.....I wonder  if he said"Chick chick boom"

Andy irons and I have both made stupid and embarrassing claims...that is where the comparison ends.

 Be careful of claiming is my advice, you might end up like Andy Irons is the moral of the story.

The following video I would like to add does not reflect the views of Spinalsurfer, but did make him stare in disbelief and laugh a lot.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


St Michaels Mount, Penzance, Cornwall. UK.

Arriving in Cornwall was like falling in love all over again. Replete with beauty, healthy and wholesome on the senses. I admit I am wearing long johns all day and some of the palm trees are bent in favour of the prevailing South Westerly. Yet the water is jade green and looks more inviting than is decent at 8 degrees, the back drops are of an England I blush to say I had taken for granted and the air clean and fresh. There ain’t no place like home.

Taff with his Jan Tan.

Yours truly at semi secret spot.

Having donned the new Boz 6mm, gloves and boots, as well as being pretty fit at present, I couldn’t believe how hard paddling out was. Really it’s like giving a walrus a piggy back. Everything was just a lot of effort. Gloves! I struggle with gloves its like walking up stairs in flippers. I got the slightest trickle down the back from a duck dive and I was out the back. The other guy hovering around the sandbar was wearing the English National Surf Costume: black wetsuit, black gloves, black hat and white surfboard. He could be married to your sister and you wouldn't know it . His face was pale, his cheeks blue and he yelled at the top of his voice “Alright mate!” and stuck his thumb up….I was home.

All I need now is a snooker ball in my mouth.
 Crusing through high tide on the Derrem Hybrid fun model, which I love more and more.

The waves are pumping at present and the quality of the waves really surprised me, “Taff” had a blinder at Praa on Saturday. The easterly wind has kicked in with good swell, so we have offshores all over West Cornwall, good swell and 1 degree air temperature for the week.

Having fun at Sennen Cove.

Going home.

Photos courtesy of Harry Stevens and Heidi Row.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fantasy Surf Team at

I am no great fan of competitive surfing and few things are as annoying to turn up at your local beach to have a contest on your favourite bank. Yet last season I ran a fantasy surf team at:

 It was pretty cool. You can watch the events on live and those boys go to some pretty amazing spots. Highlights last year was Basque boy Aritz Arumburu making the Semi's at Tahiti taking down Slater.

 The first event is at the end of Feb at Snapper Rocks, Australia. If you decide to enter a team, I have the "Spinal surfer" clubhouse for readers. So set your page up now and select your team in a couple of weeks.

 Any questions let me know.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Home Coming!

I've been back in the UK a few days, seeing my folks. My Dad is in hospital having had a double hip replacement, which he seems to be pretty good with after 24 hours. He's still refusing to sell me his morphine and even worse won't even get on it himself! Dude when opportunity knocks you gotta grab it, cause it ain't on tap usually.

 So I should be back in Penzance Cornwall thursday night. I have my new 6/4 from Boz to try out and Continental airlines seem to have got two of my sticks home okay (haven't taken the socks of them yet), so I thought I'd have a look at the chart. I mean there is still a lot of snow here on the ground, so I'm kinda not may be as keen as always, but this changed things.

I'm seeing some crazy readings for the North and South coast. To me it looks like a storm, but I know a few south spots that may be all time. I dunno surely I'm not that lucky.

FCS customer complaint

Dear FCS,

I am writing to you about my new FG – 7’s. Last month I went on surf trip to Peru. I bought a set of your FG – 7’s from Klimax in Miraflores, Lima, Peru for 95 dollars. I only surfed them for about 10days, when something very strange happened. I was paddling out from the beach at Lobitos, when my fin came into vision next to my board. I had neither grounded it, hit a rock etc….I can only assume it is some sort of manufacturing fault.

I have used FCS fins for years and over time I have broken some Occy’s etc, but never in a few weeks and never so innocuously, so I am enclosing the said fin and the bits that go in the plugs, hoping that you will replace it.

As an observation the fins make/made a lot of noise when surfing hollow more powerful waves….I’ve never encountered this before.

Yours Sincerely

Edward Lockyer


 As you can see I have decided to become more pro active as a consumer. In the past I would have chucked it and bought new ones, but is that really value for money? Is it fair? Is this the environmentally friendly thing to do? I have had to send the letter to the FCS headquarters in Hossegor, France, so I will be interested what the response will be.