Sunday, September 11, 2011

Children of El Cuco

I've been in El Cuco, El Salvador now for 10 days and it has been an amazing experience from day 1. This will be my first blog post in a while and the first of this trip. There is still so much to post about, what I'm actually doing here (I'm still kinda figuring that out for myself), the waves (of course) and the people, however, the shots and story I wanted share the most  are the following.

During this last week a group of people from San Francisco came down to Azul Surf Club, El Cuco. These folks are from all walks of life but have collaborated to raise money and come down to help finish building the local school. They known collectively as Surf for Life.

While Danny Hess ( and Jay Nelson ( designed and built desks and benches for the new classrooms, myself and the rest of the team got down and dirty preparing the location for new foundations. There happened to be three eager and willing surfers from the West Coast of Oz in camp who took time out of their daily surf schedule to lend a hand in the heat of the day too.

As the project progressed, sand and rubble was moved, and moved again, cement was mixed and walls began to rise, more and more surfers joined in. During early morning dawn patrols Andy ( managed to recruit dudes and dudettes straight from the line-up. By the end of the week there were more hands than needed. Its incredible how people (surfers) are willing to give their time to help the local communities of the places they travel to and surf when approached.

After a sweaty, dirty and surfed out week (its not a surf trip if you don't surf) the children of El Cuco wanted to show their appreciation by holding a soccer event on the beach in front of the school. The crew were stoked to the thought of running circles around the kids until we arrived. I'd say most of the town had come out to show their support and the kids had begun setting out the field. Real legit! We sat on the sidelines as the first games begun in awe.

The children had skills and I for one can barely run without causing a scene. In fact that would have to be my secret weapon, perhaps I could distract them with fits of laughter watching the clumsy, blonde, gringo giant falling over himself. One little dude who I aptly named Mini Monster Man, was the most intimidating of all the kids, he was probably 4-5yrs and could run circles around Rooney (he took some good pics too when he and his buddy Jose' got hold of my camera).

This little dude's mom was one of the locals working at the school, as hard as nails, and he spent most of his time hanging out on the small construction site handing out tools and scrotum high blows. The soccer games went into the evening with everyone getting involved and having a grand time.

Photo by Jose'
One thing that I noticed was the amount of  local children that turned out for the event. This brought me to the realization that the work Surf for Life does and continues to do will impact more people and children than my initial view from a glance. Many of the older kids don't go to school due to lack of teachers and room. They therefore can never graduate and in turn will probably end up, if they lucky, as local fisherman or surf guides or end up heading to the city, well, we all know how that ends.

I've been to a fair amount of 3rd world countries on surf trips but I've never taken it upon myself to inquire or reach out to see if there was any way I could help out. What may seem insignificant to one could mean the world to another. If anyone is interested, donations to Surf For Life can be made at Forward it to your friends, you could also jump on board one of their trips to help on a project and get a chance to surf some great spots. Check it out!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Winter Sessions

Like I've mentioned before, this is the first winter I have spent in New Hampshire and the first REAL winter of my life thus far. There were a couple of concerns.
Firstly, I knew I was going to freeze my balls off either way I looked at it. I couldn't prepare for that, I just had to except it for what it was.
Secondly, I had to learn how to snowboard in a hurry to maintain my place as the Alfa male. Two other individuals wouldn't agree but they will just have to except that for what it is.
Finally, In order to satisfy my addiction and get my fix, I would have to man-the-fuck-up and suit up!

Tyrese ready to rock 'n roll

Yip, not kooky at all!
So I borrowed Tyler's 5/4mm (well ventilated) wetsuit, got myself a pair 5mm boots and gloves and was ready to take on the freeze.
I had often read articles in mags and seen clips from surf videos of these crazy sons of bitches who surfed while there was still snow on the ground, "idiots". Easy to say when you sitting on a warm and sunny beach in your home town of Durbs. Whats not so diving the third wave knowing there three more behind it and not being able to breathe due to the shock and brain freeze of the first.
Pics courtesy of Ned Bulmer


With that being said, every session had this winter was well worth the effort and cold. The problem with New England is not its ability to produce great waves, but the time lapse between decent swells. But when a little ground swell is slowly swept in then dusted by an offshore breeze, the results are worth the lack in breathe.......breathe taking..?? Now that makes sense.

The Seacoast

Duck-dive dodging

Unfortunately I don't have any pics of the really good days but those you can peep on MSW or

I suppose the facts that you never expect perfection and always just pray for something surfable, contributes to the excitement when finding an empty, 4 foot beach break.....or point break, or wedge, whichever you leaning towards. The Joel index might play a part in your final decision too.



Yip, Winter surfing is sweet! Don't know why anyone would leave during winter. Boardies are over rated.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Birthday in the clouds....and other fun stuff!

If you were to think back on all the birthdays you have had over the years, a couple will jump to mind. My 27th birthday is definitely going to be one of those.
Stowe, Vermont - The Barn and the beginning of...well, an average day.
The McGill's homestead 
The Window
The untouched winter wonderland outside the window
We had heard from Ty & Ryman's dad, Jim, that Stowe had just been dumped with 36 inches of snow the day before my birthday. With Winter coming to an end and the new shop renovations coming along, it was probably the last chance we would get to snowboard in good conditions and I hadn't yet seen the much talked about McGill house in Vermont. With that, the decision was made to make the 3 hour drive up North and take advantage of the powder covered slopes of Stowe. 

Stowe Mountain
Ry & Ty preparing an airshow clinic for me
A day on Stowe wouldn't be complete without a customary beverage at the Matterhorn
A standard snow cannonball
I never realized how remote Stowe really was. The old McGill house was built in the late 1800s and beside the ski resort, not much has changed since then. The slopes were fairly empty due to it being a Wednesday and the snow was fresh. After a solid day snowboarding in the best conditions I have ever been exposed to, we stopped by the local bar & grill, The Matterhorn. As far as bars go it was pretty standard but the activities which followed were a little out of the ordinary for me. 
Just Hanging
Coors Light Bru!
After stopping by the barn for some refreshments and gear we headed to Staley's which is a smallish hill just up the road from the house, for some snurfing. Snurfing is basically surfing in the snow. The big board you see me with was one of the first snow board styles. A snurfer is smaller than your typical snowboard with a rope attached to the nose which when pulled, prevents the nose digging into the snow. We didn't realize the snow was waist deep so it took us a little time to get across the field.
Introduction to SNURFING
This is how its done!
Notice the skill and concentration...
...and frozen stash!

We had a few appointments we couldn't miss back in Rye so by 5pm we had to leave. Another 3 hour drive back home got us back just in time for the Summer Sessions indoor soccer match. The support was there in full force and it was a great start to the night. BG and Matty came up from NYC and the rest of our crew all came out for an epic evening on the town then back to Christine's Crossing for the finale and the rest is history! All and all, it was a birthday I would never forget! Missed all my family and friends back home in ol SA, don't worry, you weren't forgotten! Thanks guys for the best March 9 2011 I could ever have wished for!
End of an Incredible Birthday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Put some sky in these rounds!

We've been trying to keep the new Summer Sessions Surf Shop location on the DL but being the small town Rye is, the "secret" didn't really last long.

Watch this space
We've been documenting the whole revamp process so everything that is and has happened behind these walls will be edited into a a pretty wild video, well the concept is awsome.
Anyways, during the initial steps of clearing out the old convenience store that was the Sandpiper, we had to relocate some hotwheels.

1966 Ford Mustang = GANGSTA
Mr Leary looking swank in his red rocket

We found out that old man Leary is a small fan of vintage vehicles, he has collected a few over the years. I think he said he had about 50...give or take. My old man and I have always had a soft spot for old cars and often talked of overhauling Jags and Cobras, but the one car I've always dreamed of having, the car that you would have pinned up on the wall next to a half naked picture of Cindy Crawford, was the 1965 Ford Mustang GT 350!

So what you packing man?
What am I packing....? Just 100% American muscle bitch! Now get the F&%@ outta my way!

GOD DAMN! The things I would do to get my hands on that wheel! task too great, bring it! Unfortunately Leary's Mustang was a real lady bug with a small 4 cylinder engine. All looks and no action. Either way, shes a beaut!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New England's Winter - Flat, windy and cold, but very beautiful.

Pirate's Cove

New England and I have had a very extreme relationship ever since I stepped foot here 2 or so years ago. My first summer experience happened to be, in FACT, the worst summer recorded in New Hampshire's history. I believe this is true because I was told by numerous locals triple my age. It rained for the best part of May, June and July. I've just witnessed my first winter so trust me, this is a BIG deal! 


Summer 2010 just so happened to be the BEST summer ever. It might not have gone down in the history books but as far as I was concerned, it was the best damn summer I had ever had in New England. Hot sweltering days, waves, great new people, terrific! Finally Christine could say, with pride, "this is what we mean by summer". 

Like I mentioned above, I'm busy experiencing my first New England winter, and in true tradition, its a record breaker, of course! While I was in New York I believe they reached the all time snow fall record. I'm not sure of how much snow was needed to break it but the city was brought to a stand still at one stage. Pretty awsome! The New England winter has been a real experience. Nothing quite gives you more appreciation of the warmth of summer than a couple months of a real northern hemisphere winter. June, July couldn't come quicker and I reckon this summer is going to be another for the record books in more ways then one!

Jenness Beach