Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Saturday, 23 January 2010

17 Days Later

It is already over two weeks since I returned from the serenity of the tropics to my frost bitten home of Cornwall and finally I am getting back into the swing of the things. Although not quite as bad as the apocalyptic scenes of 28 days later, recently I do feel a bit like a zombie as I am going through the daily grind of the 9 to 5.

This morning I felt I was finally home as whilst walking the dog on Crantock beach the sun was shining through a clear blue sky, showing what a great place Cornwall is, and there was some reasonable surf. Even though I gave it a miss today due to the strengthening cross-shore wind, the banks looked good so definitely some good waves to look forward to when the right conditions transpire.

I also opted for some retail therapy of the practical kind this week by buying myself a new winter wetsuit as my dilapidated one from last winter was not doing much for my surfing enthusiasm during the cold snap we had and to go one better than that I decided to order a new board next week! In terms of getting around to doing things I have been more confused and disorganised than usual. A problem only compounded by my ambition to do more than I can, which has stacked up due to my holiday. I finally got around to finishing something this week and it is now on drift at Hopefully I'll finish the kitchen I just plastered next week.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Arriving Home To a New Year

We arrived back in old Blighty from the Philippines on Wednesday night just before the next dumping of snow came down. So luckily, the drive back to Kernow was fine. Now I am home I am dreaming I am one those people who spends all winter away. I wish could have stayed in Baler until the end of March, which is when the surf season there ends and things start to defrost a bit here. After a week on the west coast of Luzon where the waves supposedly get good but we found them average, the surf town of San Juan was nothing special and the seedy side of travel, sex tourists can be seen here due to the proximity to the red light district of Poro Point.

Baler is something else all together though. Four hours from the nearest town, you arrive in Baler after an arduous trip through the Sierra Madre Mountains that sandwich Baler between the Pacific Ocean. The mountains covered in lush jungle and rainforest still today is a hide out for the Communist rebels of the NPA. The land around Baler is a series of waterways, rice paddies, jungle and coconut groves where the people live a simple life. Sat in a wide bay, which stretches so far you cannot even see the end on days of low cloud. Throughout the bay, there is a fine selection of waves but many of which take some determination to get too. Some working under different conditions there are slabbing reefs, a barrelling yet remote left point and some point like peeling rivermouth waves. Whilst we were there we had two head high swells where we had the opportunity to surf some of the reefs where you find you way out to the reef through a series of mangroves. When the reefs and river mouth were not working there always seemed like there was something small to catch at the beach on a longboard, except the locals all have tiny yellow beaten up old shortboards, which they manage to launch through a series of big turns and airs on the sloppiest of waves. It seems to me the Philippines are not as fickle as people say there was a big swell in Baler a few days before we arrived, two while we were there, another big swell this weekend and one next week. You just need to know where to be, at what time of year and find the waves for yourself. It is not like other places with a surf camp out front or a queue of locals waiting to take you to the waves.

Talking of the locals, I was a bit concerned about security issues in the Philippines as they have a reputation for crime but the Philippines is as safe as anywhere, once you have left Manila. The local people everywhere we went were kind, welcoming and friendly which is the embodiment of the Filipino spirit, Mabuhay. This is a lot like the Aloha Spirit of Hawaii and we made many friends. The Filipino people's generosity and the beauty of their country overwhelmed us.

Now I am home I have an article to write for Huck about Baler. Another environmental surfboard article for Drift as well a couple of other things I have in mind for them. There is also a Paipo Glide story in the pipeline and I am just awaiting the photos. I am also looking into doing an article about the strange weather patterns of the last two years. In addition, I hope to have time finish my journalism course and write about more non-surfing topics.

Alan Partridge

We spent the night in Heathrow the night before our flight and I found on the internet what looked like a swanky hotel for a cheap price. On the way up to London I imaged myself living it up like Bunker Spreckles and his rock n' roll lifestyle but when we arrived it wasn't such a great hotel and I felt more like Alan Partridge.