Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Not quite festive...

There are things afoot in the life of N & L and we've had a flipping busy few months. The summer is now a distant memory but winter hasn't really kicked in yet. It's only a matter of days until Christmas but we're still experiencing double figure temperatures.  Thinking back to last year and going wakeboarding was all about separating the men from the boys in December. With minus figure temps and pretty much freezing water temps, just building up the momentum to get in the water was a challenge enough and wiping out was made painful simply due to how bleddy cold the water was. Looking at the weather charts and wakeboarding this weekend might be wet but it could be 14'C.

So what have we been upto...catching up with friends, celebrating birthdays, a trip to Brno and generally just being busy. Haven't been wakeboarding for the last month or so. I did manage to squeeze a very poor session in when we visited Brno but the main cable was closed for the rest of the year and so I was left with a very poor quality 2.0 style system. the cable was so slack that most of the time I was amazed that it managed to pull me up out of the water. Still, I spent almost 60mins trying to nail a reality I spent 60 mins just hitting the water at various angles and speeds.

Training for the London 2 Brighton run (100km) is kinda' going to plan. Not really a great runner, so my idea is just to maintain a decent level of fitness through the winter month and then when the days start to get longer to kick up the training and actually start to do some running of worth. Hopefully it'll work but I do have to make sure I don't put on too much muscle or running in the New Year will just be painful.

As I said, Christmas is around the corner, so I should have more to say at the start of 2016.

Tilly takes it easy after a bath.

Ted looks surprised about his wash and haircut. 

Blaithin takes drinking games as seriously as she did back at Uni.

More games.

Same game.

A walk in the woods.

Saturday morning coffee.

I cooked.

I popped out for 2 drinks and wandered home at 2am.

Something not quite right about Ted.

Tilly snuggling with L.

Tram stop in Brno.

L trying to work out if this is our tram.

We made it in one direction and now just have to make it all the way back again.

Got to love a spot of lego.

A great skate shop hidden away in Brno town centre.

Brno health & safety.

L takes a glug of my beer.

It's a up & coming area apparently.

Prior to a spot of Brno wakeboarding.

If you look 'up' the place looks a lot better.

A very comfy bed.

A changing mat in one ofthe bars.

The flight...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Only a quick update as there are loads of things going on in my busy little life but this is a good-un! Going to be picking him up on Friday but this is my new motorbike. He's already been named as Bumblebee as Lisa thinks he looks like the motorbike version of Bumblebee from Transformers.

I'll let you know how things go but I opted for the MT-03 over a KTM Duke 390 for a few reasons (apart from price).

  1. The exhaust noise the MT-03 makes is so much dirtier (the KTM sounded too polite).
  2. The torque of the MT-03 makes the acceleration through the gears feel a lot quicker (not sure how much faster it actually is). 
  3. The KTM felt a wee-bit small. Lovely to ride and actually felt so light that I could almost compare the feel to a mountainbike - it filtered through static traffic sooooo easily.
  4. I actually love the look of the Yamaha MT-03. To me, it definitely looks like a transformer (the placement of the badges and that tank help).
  5. The steering is heavier than the KTM but the ride feels more 'fun' and edgy.
That's about it so far but I'll let you know how things go.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Jaxon Surfboards...

The other week I spent 5-days in Cornwall making my own surfboard. It was a proper little treat and something that without help from friends and family I wouldn't have even considered doing.

Wow, it was fun. Hard work and I made a few mistakes (thanks to Jaxon for helping me rectify them) but to end up with a proper custom board at the end of it was amazing. Also, Lisa managed to tag along and so ended up having a very relaxing mini-holiday.

I went for a blue/bronze burnt-through effect. I was tempted to play safe and just go for a dip or single colour but decided to push things a bit and went for a 2 colour look. It looks pretty grungy (in a shiny way) but will look fab in the water. As it's based on my original surfboard (see first pic below), which was shaped in 1980, it's a bit of a line cruiser but I'm hoping it'll ride like a beaut!

The board I based my board on, Shaped by Mac in March 1980.

Lisa makes herself at home in the bovy (small but cosy).

Pretty pleased with my shape.

Lisa pops in to check on my work.

First glass coat - blue.

Second glass coat - bronze

A spot more sanding.

Old v New.

Jaxon and me having a moment.

My logo - it's a copy of one of my tattoos.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


I have to admit to loving a spot of Finisterre clothing (apart from their unethical years when they outsourced to India and China) but I'm starting to lose faith in the business. I realise the balancing act between ethics and profit is a difficult one and is faced by many of those in the surf industry (a key reason why Kelly Slater has moved away from Quiksilver etc) but  I can't help but feel that the actual surfer is being lost in a sea of middle-class pretenders.

OK, the Finisterre clothing range is expensive but it does do a good job and the team at the front end do a  fab customer care job but they are slowly turning into a fashion brand for those who like to pretend to be 'cold water surfers'. If you check out their website, as well as the usual clothing and expensive undercrackers, they now stock a range of fashion accessories that will beautifully coordinate with your iPhone 6S and iMac. So not to put off this market, the items are equally overpriced. A waterproof torch for £90, which apart from the logo seems below the spec of any aluminium diving watch for almost half the price. A pen-knife that for all the packaging and wooden handle isn't a patch on the original British Army folding-knife that sells for a third of the £90 they're asking. Just don't get me started on the duffle bag (£150 ..... what?!) and hand planes!

All-in-all, I fear that my friends and I are turning away from the brand (remember Howies when they were bought out by Timberland) and looking for a real brand that reflects the surfing image and not just those that live in London (have I said that their main store is in London).

As a surfer, I look to buy as many items as possible direct from Surfers Against Sewage and luckily, many of the gifts available from Finisterre are also available in a SAS version (drinking bottles, towels etc).

I'm not anti-profit but price-skimming at the wealthy market segment seems to go completely against the surfing-grain (have you seen the price of their upcoming wetties?).

For me, I'm going to have to be shopping elsewhere as prices are increasingly prohibitive and the products themselves are becoming irrelevant to me as a water sportsman and cyclist. Howies is looking like a far better option (especially since they are now an ethically minded and independent company) and even though a high price (like Patagonia) seems to give me something Finisterre just isn't - VALUE FOR MONEY!

Sorry but this has been bugging me for a while.

Don't lose who you are Finisterre!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Had a birthday...

So, I've managed to survive another year and I'm now a wee bit older but none the wiser. For the celebrations I (we) headed down to Woolly for the weekend. The plan was to drink, be merry and surf. The sun came out a treat and I can happily say that we managed to do all three (tick, tick, tick!) Arrived on the Friday night and promptly headed to the Barn for a few pints (the slurring began very quickly).

Up and at it on the Saturday to make the most of the sunshine (the surf was flat and so a pasty was the action for the day). The day came and went far too quickly but it was OK as Bar Electric was calling. Before the sun had even thought about going down, we were at the bar and downing the first of many pints (and then of course the compulsory rum). Anyway, the long and short of it was that I drank, made merry with friends and then danced my arse off until we were politely expelled from the which point we all went back to the girls van and continued on the vodka jelly and other drinks (not too sure what it was). It has to be was an excellent birthday! 

Sunday was a slightly tired one but again the sun was out and the surf had picked up. It was a complete close-out and the guys surfing in the comp by the rocks were getting quite a beating but we opted to head in. A few waves were caught but on a longboard it was a tad freaky and so after feeling as though I'd got myself caught out back, I paddled back in and grabbed another pasty.

I arrive at the Barn and ready to drink.

I get my b'day card and the promise of a gift inside make my year (I'll tell you about it in July).


My beloved (and slightly crazy Carla).

Little sis (aka Spud).

Cold weather and wakeboarding....

A slight delay in remembering the publish this post (possibly an age or even lifestyle thing). Should I have posted this at the start of April I would have been saying that it is almost my birthday. Infact, i has now been my birthday and what a weekend it was (I'll post about that later).

So, what have I been up to this winter.....mostly freezing my arse off at Liquid Leisure in the hope that my wakeboarding will actually improve. With water temps just about freezing that guys having to crack the ice in the pool gap, things definitely got a little frigid in the cold months. So cold in fact, that on a number of occasions I was the only one on the water. There is a downside to such temperatures however. The reluctance to try a new trick is always at the back of your mind, as you know that when you get it wrong, the swim to shore is going to be a very cold one. Still, I might not have nailed anything beyond the occasional 360 off the kickers but the water time has helped with technique (a little) and confidence. Thankfully, with the sun starting to come out, the boat lake is now open and so wake-to-wake spins in now the focus.

Cotty is now on-track for his next big-wave adventure (I also have a nice t-shirt & cap)

Colder than it looks.

Tilly chewing , while Ted does a sneak attack.

Back in March I was a little reluctant to take my woolly hat off!

Even the dogs are thinking twice about jumping in.