Posts Tagged ‘surfing’


Feast your eyes and salivate – a eulogy to surfing

May 16, 2009

There are great surfers in this world, seriously extreme guys (after all, surfing can be an extreme sport), and there are great surfing photographers – seriously extreme photographers, and Bali Strickland must surely fit into the elite of this catagory. Feast your eyes on his video, balistricko,  and then I’ll tell you more…

Strickland has been experimenting with a new super slow-motion German underwater TyphoonHD4 camera that the BBC  Natural History Unit had had  specially modified at a cost of  $100,000. It can film at up to twenty times the frame rate of a standard high definition camera..

The camera required a special housing unit designed and built by German specialist high speed cameraman/technician Rudi Diesel. Until this film, no one had ever tried using this type of camera underwater before. The film shows the awesome power of the waves from underwater and the spiraling vortexes created by these huge waves.

It’s only drawback is that it weighs a TONNE. But apart from that the photography is simply extroadinary.

Now watch this, courtesy of the BBC:

So, here’s where they shot this superb film:


They (the BBC) went to the South Pacific Islands with Bali Strickland and Dylan Longbottom, a world class surfer, to film these sequences because it is well known that some of the biggest waves in the world break here.

However, it was not all plain sailing. Confident in the fact that this was one place in the world where the waves were guaranteed … the two weeks they were there gave them almost millpond conditions. They had to return 4 months later to get these fabulous sequences.

Enjoy them, drool over them, and have a wonderful weekend…


Does Portugal have the best surf in Europe?

May 6, 2009

Many people think it does…

Situated West of Spain, Portugal has a very mild Mediterranean climate. The coastline receives swells from the North, West and South and therefore has a wide variety of waves.


Every year thousands of surfers flock to the Western coast of Portugal, an area often overlooked by mainstream tourism but well known to surfers for its solid surf. The offshore breezes bring swells across the Atlantic seaboard generating ideal sized waves for surfing and there is such a wide variety of waves around the various beaches that all standards of surfing can be satisfied.

Not only that, but it’s fantastically cheap compared to mainstream Europe.  You can hire a villa for as little as €100 a week – you certainly can’t do that in France and you would struggle to do it on the coastline of Spain.

The Algarve, in the south-west of Portugal, is renowned for its pleasant Mediteranean summer climate and its mild winters which makes it a perfect surf-holiday destination. From mellow beach breaks that are ideal for beginners to worldclass point and beach breaks that satisfy any experienced surfer. Since the Algarve is on the southern tip of Portugal it picks up both south and west swells, making it one of the most consistent places to surf in Europe.

During winter the swell size is around the 6ft mark but can get to 15ft or more, offering some challenging surfing. There is surf throughout the summer months and you can expect waves of 3-5ft.  Offshore morning breezes are extremely common.

Portugal is also a very good place to learn to surf with plenty of places offering lessons and packages.

Here’s a tantalising hint of what surfing in Portugal can be like, with thanks to ErrantSurf for the video.


Do you need some inspiration choosing your extreme holiday this year?

April 18, 2009

… if so, please follow this link:


Maverick’s Big Wave Surf competition has been called off.

April 14, 2009

“Have as much fun as you possibly can, and quit thinking so much” –     Shane McConkey

And why not? Is that not a good motto to live your life by?

Which brings us onto the almost forgotten topic of MAVERICK’s… what happened there? Did the wave happen? was it possible to hold the contest?

As it happens, very sadly the world-renowned Mavericks Surf Contest near Half Moon Bay will not happen this year, making this winter season the fourth that has been skipped since the contest’s creation a decade ago, said contest director Jeff Clark.

The window for the contest closed on Tuesday, 31st March, but Clark said he had extended the permit to use the waters that are a half-mile from Pillar Point Harbor, until 8th April in case a swell materialized.

However, the ocean storms that produce the swells needed for the contest were too weak. The contest organisers are negotiating for the contest window to open earlier next year, possibly as early as 1st November. This year’s contest window opened 1st January, but the months from November to February produce the greatest swells for ideal contest conditions,  which are waves of  roughly 40 foot.

So a quick re-hash on Maverick – the ultimate extreme big wave… what’s all the fuss about?

Jeff Clark, of Jeff Clark Surfboards and the big wave contest organiser, was brought up 100 ft from the sea and watched the wave for years before deciding to challenge it for the first time in 1975. His good friend decided that he’d rather not, but that he would watch closely and call the coast guards if Jeff needed help!

“That first day I managed to get five waves, barely surviving long enough to kick out of one. It was a great confidence boost for me to have gone where no one had gone before, and to ride waves that were more powerful than anything that I had ever imagined,” he said.

“The 1990s in general brought an amazing assault of big-wave surfing. When Mavericks hit the scene everyone questioned it, but now all of the doubts have been put to rest. Mavericks produces the most consistent big waves in the world, has provided California with a big-wave identity all its own, and has produced some of today’s best big-wave riders…

He sums up by adding, “We are now well into the new millennium and it seems that everything in the world is going in the direction of  ‘extreme’, not just in surfing but in all sports. Where it will end I don’t know, but the hunt for better performance and better equipment is really exciting to me. Still, having Mavericks as the testing ground “makes the possibilities endless.”

So, don’t give up on watching this one. It’ll knock your socks off for entertainment value next time it happens…


Devon and Cornwall’s top ten beach locations

March 12, 2009

So we know things are bad – there has been enough press about the depth and extent of the recession that at least the paper industry should be doing well (its not actually, so times are really bad) – you’ve probably lost your job, your bonus and the potential to make any serious money for the next thirty years – its therefore probably time to start cutting your cloth to your budget.

Well if thats you it may mean cancelling the five bedroomed villa in secluded countryside with large pool and guest house in the South of France to something closer to home. We therefore thought you might be interested to read Dorling Kindersley’s recommendations which they have recently published and which we picked up in The Times On Line for where to go in Devon or Cornwall.

Of course should you decide on this drastic action you must remember that the ‘Beam me up Scottie’ machine has still not been invented ( now there’s an opportunity, but we will not be volunteering ourselves as the test pilot – that would be one extreme too far!) and so you will have to face the wonderful A30, or even worse the A38 as you meander your way into Cornwall’s green and pleasant land.

Of course on that day the sun will be shining without remorse but, because you couldn’t afford to have the car serviced (thanks Flash Gordon) the godarned air conditioner has packed up and the temperature in the car has risen to over 90 degrees F. The two elder children are shouting, pinching and yelling at each other whilst the baby has just expunged itself of waste from both ends – the smell rises and forces you to crease your nostrils – desperately you look down to turn the fan on flat out – BANG – the mother in front of you has stopped and now you have caused the mother of an accident.

Three hours later you are on your way again in a replacement vehicle arriving at your destination to find your room has been filled by another traveller…..

We paint a grim picture – thanks Gordon – but in reality the Devon and Cornish beaches are some of the finest in the world, with great surf, huge expanses of white and golden sand and a vast and bracing ocean. Fun can be had for all the family – from the little ‘uns who can spend hours in harmony building castles in the sand or hunting for crabs in the endless rock pools, to the next generation who can surf, waterski, paraglide, mountain bike, kite surf and wind surf, to the less extreme activities for perhaps Mom and Pop who can go fishing, golfing, walking and sailing.

It is a magical, wonderful place – just two things – the getting there thing…….oh and the weather has broken when you do arrive – make your own fun!


One of the finest bays of the Penwith Peninsula, Porthcurno, with its wedge of white sand mixed with tiny shells, is squeezed between granite cliffs. The rock-hewn Minack Theatre is located to one side and there is a museum of telegraphy at the back of the beach. Pubs and cafés can be found close by. 

Porthcurno beach, Cornwall

Par Beach, Isles of Scilly

Majestic, bare and wild, the beaches on St Martin’s are considered to be the best on the Isles of Scilly. Par Beach on the island’s southern shore is probably the most impressive – a long, empty strand looking out onto rocks that make up the Eastern Isles. Be prepared for chilly water though.

Whitesand Bay

This expanse of fine sand close to Land’s End is a favourite with surfers and families alike. It has a good beachside café and at Sennen Cove, the more popular southern end of the beach, is the Old Success Inn. Surfing equipment is available for hire and courses are also provided.

Kynance Cove

This is one of the best options on the Lizard Peninsula, where beaches are few and far between. The 10-minute walk from the car park is well worth the trudge for its fine white sands, rocky spires and surrounding grassy areas. Swimming is limited by the tides but other attractions include caves and cliffs with serpentine seams of sand.

Woolacombe Bay

Surf dudes come from far and wide to one of the West Country’s most famous surfing beaches. The beach is popular with families and there is a warren of dunes behind for exploring. Crowds gather at the northern end, but more space can be found at the quieter southern end. The small resort of Woolacombe has shops and cafés.

Fistral Bay

Surf aficionados flock to this beach, which is the venue for surfing competitions. A surf centre supplies equipment for hire. Most of the sand is covered by water at high tide and strong currents mean that kids need to be careful, though lifeguards are present throughout the summer. The restaurants and cafés here offer outdoor seating.

Watergate Bay

North of Newquay, this arc of golden sand has a wild appeal. It is home to the Extreme Academy, which offers kite-surfing, land-boarding and other pursuits for the adventurous. Behind it are Jamie Oliver’s famous restaurant, Fifteen, and the more casual Beach Hut, both with splendid views. Watergate is not very sheltered, so make sure you carry windbreakers.

Tunnels Beach, Ilfracombe

This private beach is named after the tunnels that have provided access to it since 1823, when the swimming was segregated. There is a tidal bathing pool and on-duty lifeguards make the beach safe for kids. The rock pooling is top-class and there are kayaks for hire. Open Apr–Jun & Sep–Oct: 10am–6pm; Jul–Aug: 9am–9pm.

Croyde Bay

Sandwiched between the extensive west-facing Saunton Sands and Woolacombe, this compact bay has fine sand. There are campsites around and the village has pubs and bars that fill up in the evenings.

Blackpool Sands

Backed by woods and meadows, this family-friendly beach makes an enticing sight as it swings into view on the road from Dartmouth. Its sheltered location, clear water and fine sand makes this one of South Devon’s best swimming spots. For refreshments there is the renowned Venus Café.

Top 10 Devon & Cornwall is published by Dorling Kindersley, priced £7.99, and is available at

We wonder why the likes of Damar Bay with the villages of Rock, Polzeath and Padstow – home to Rick Stein’s gastronomique delights (he has four restaurants there – or certainly did have before Gordon took charge!), has not made it to the top ten………………perhaps too upper class and too many drugs of the nefarious kind, reportedly. Let us know your thoughts and get on down there, it will be a blast.


Go to Peru for your extreme vacation

February 11, 2009

Peru is gaining in popularity as the place to go for indulging in your chosen extreme sport. Whether it be paragliding, surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing or mountain climbing Peru offers some great venues in unrivalled settings and no doubt at a price more reasonable than bak home.

One of the most popular of these sports is paragliding. Peru’s beautiful mountainous terrain and vast unspoilt landscape provide scenic views that make it an unforgettable location for paragliding. What’s more, low-turbulence laminar winds make Peru an ideal location for practicing those difficult paragliding manoeuvres that most weather conditions would not permit.

The video below comes from leontienkragten and shows his paragliding holiday in Peru where all the best paragliding venues were visited – great action.

As well as continuing to grow in popularity as a paragliding location, Peru has also developed a reputation as a surfing destination, particularly amongst spring break students. Peru’s enviable position on the Pacific Ocean means Peru can offer surfers some of the longest waves that are to be found anywhere in the world. In fact, such waves – which often stretch for several kilometres – combined with its reliable weather and relatively unspoilt beaches make Peru an ideal location for a surfing holiday.

Probably the most famous of all Peru’s surfing locations is Chicama; with waves that can stretch more than 4kms, Chicama is the professional surfer’s dream come to true. In addition, 60km up the coast lies another of Peru’s most popular surfing destinations, Pacasmayo; whilst the waves don’t tend to be as long, they can still reach around 500 metres in length.

The video from altubo below is a great representation of the length of the waves to be found at Chicama.

Although popular with surfers, over the past few years the area has also begun to attract a large number of kite and wind surfers. With wind-speeds averaging around 14 knots, the area is perfect for such water spots, the Peruvian coast providing a beautiful backdrop for an unforgettable surfing holiday.  This video from kiteclub shows excellent kite surfing action and a brief glimpse of wind surfers in action.

While Peru’s warm seas and long waves have made it a haven for surfers, its rugged mountains and high peaks make it a mecca for mountain climbers. One of the most popular climbing spots is the Cordillera Blanca mountain area near Huaraz.

Although the mountainous region offers various peaks for climbers to enjoy, Huascaran – Peru’s highest peak – always proves to be the most popular. Sitting high above the Rio Santa valley, Huascaran offers unforgettable views of the Peruvian countryside and a challenging climb to mountaineers of all levels. The video from grillbiller shows a successful Danih expedition to summit Huascaran in 2008


I’ve found some more extreme waves…

February 3, 2009

I thought I had fairly comprehensively covered this catagory, but on a subject like this one, I don’t think you ever can. So here are a few more seriously gnarly waves to keep you entertained…

Desert Point, Lombok, Indonesia

Desert Point is a beautiful lefthand pointbreak breaking over coral. On a good day, it is one of the longest waves in the world, some say maybe even the best left in the world. This wave is for experts. However, the wave is not guaranteed and there can be long periods of flat spells – and there is very little to do there besides surf! But when it’s good – it’s very very good – long, hollow barreling, warm and consistent.

Drawbacks? the crowds are getting worse every year, you have to guard yourself against maleria, and it is adviseable to take a first aid kit with you as the closest medical access is hours away.

DP Perfection Hiding CF, Kuta, Lombok, Indonesia

The Cave, Ericeira, Portugal

One of Europe’s premiere surfing destinations, Ericeira has a high density of quality surf-spots. Actually, the whole Portuguese coastline is peppered with undiscovered surfing spots, and one of the best things about surfing in this country is that it is easy to escape the crowds and find your own fabulous wave. The Cave stands out as a fine wave with all the ingredients that a dangerous wave should have, including a shallow reef.  It has  been described as Europe’s heaviest wave and is becoming popular with the international surfing aficianados. Thanks to ZonaRad1cal for this video.

Lunada Bay, California, USA

Lunada is a wave for experienced surfers and martial arts experts! Does that sound a bit wierd? Well, apparently the natives aren’t very friendly and the police force less than interested – you have been warned! However, back to the wave… this is a world class wave and perhaps one of the best right handers in California. It is not a particularly dangerous wave but it is a great performance wave at 6ft up to 20ft swells with the length on a normal day being 50 – 150m, but on a good day 150 – 300m. It is on a rocky reef with boulders underneath.

The main drawback to this wave is that it can be very crowded. And then of course we get back to the … locals. There have been reports of slashed tyres, rocks thrown and fist fights. Sounds like a full day out!

Thanks to tfisher29 for this brief video.

El Gringo, Arica, Chili

“You first have to understand the set-up of El Gringo. It is a full slab set-up, a right and left ledger slamming down on a jagged rock reef. Entry and exit is via a narrow, dog-leg keyhole, with surging tides and sets that, on occasion, actually unload into the slot. There’s spiny sea-urchins on the jagged rocks. Razor sharp mussels. And a territorial pack of seals. So when you’re caught on the inside, you’re left crab-walking the jagged guts and praying the sets stop pouring in. Which, in Chile, they don’t. And if you haven’t got a board to assist your outward scramble, you’re pretty much bummed. according to Surfing Magazine.

This is a very dangerous wave as you only have 2ft of water beneath you. It is a left and right reef break which breaks over rock. There is a very big tube/pipeline  to the left – at least a 30ft ride, and a longer ride to the right – about 120ft. During the 2007’s WCT event on Gringos, pro surfers suffered broken boards, battered heads and embedded urchin spines – and these guys know what they are doing, so beware – definitely a wave for expert surfers only. GreenSurfTour posted this video. Needless to say, crowding is not a problem here!

Tarqua Bay, Lagos, Nigeria

Tarqua Bay is considered to be a regional classic and suitable for all surfers. There are virtually no surfers during the week, and the crowds at the weekend are thin. This wave is a right handed break onto a sandy bottom at the entrance to the Lagoon of Iddo in Lagos and is often a fun, wedging peak with a length of 50m. The waves are at the western end of the beach. It’s best to surf this wave between July to October, but any time a solid swell hits, it barrels.

The drawback to this wave is the pollution. 60 million litres of raw sewage and tonnes of industrial waste produced by the 8 million inhabitants of Lagos every year, flows out into the ocean. Other hazards include floating carcasses, rubbish and the occasional mugging on the beach!  Not recommended for travellers but if you happen to be stuck in this part of the world, going surfing is about the only relaxing thing you will find to do. Oh dear…

I cannot find a photograph or a video for this wave… but I would suggest that the only reason it is considered a ‘dangerous’ wave is not because of its force (as it hasn’t much) but because of what might happen to you if you spend too much time in the water!

The Wedge, Newport Beach, California, USA

And I’ll draw this article to a close with a monster.

Surf spot travel photo of The Wedge

This is a wave for advanced surfers only and is considered deadly at all tides. “The Wedge is not a wave — it’s a 20-foot-plus meat grinder dreamed up by the devil himself. It heaves, bends and pulverizes in ways that good little waves aren’t supposed to act.” says

When supplied with a south swell of the proper size and direction, it can produce huge waves as spectacular and intimidating as any in Hawaii, Tahiti or Australia. It is a combination of two waves that merge together, creating a powerful wave which  refracts the swell energy off the jetty and creates a sideways wave that slings across the beach and collides with the next wave in the set. The result is what locals fittingly call a “humping effect,” where the set waves jack, expand and release in unimaginable ways. This wave is the best known bodysurfing wave in the world, but stand-up surfers are less welcome, in fact, throughout the summer, no boards of any kind are allowed in the water except in the early morning and late evening. Thanks to ctowersey1 for this video.