Tag Archives: Canada

Wall of Corn

Pretty scenic eh?

I REMEMBER once when I was a grom, picking up a Riptide Bodyboarding Magazine containing a feature about waves on the Cornwall coast of England. The images in the piece were actually pretty good and I remember being completely amazed that you could surf there. I knew of course you could surf overseas – Indonesia and Hawaii always featured heavily in the mags when I was a kid, and still do – but it was a shock that you could ride these sick waves in a place I never suspected would get surf. I still sometimes get that inspired feeling nowadays – like when I watched Dave Rastovich getting barrelled out of his brain in India in Taylor Steele’s film Castles in the Sky or Dane Reynolds’ Iceland section in…I think the same movie? I may not be the most competent waverider, but the knowledge that you can find breaking waves basically anywhere in the world that has a coastline is something that drives me to travel. If I can’t be good at surfing I may as well be good at getting to surf different places instead. This mentality drove me to a pretty fun yet freezing surf session in British Columbia, Canada last year at the tail end of the snowboarding season and it’s what drove me to catch a bus to Newquay, in west Cornwall a few days ago (the UK being the 18th country I’ve now managed to surf in). I was only there for 24 hours (my choice of hostel is what drove me back to London a night earlier than expected) but I still got some fun waves early and had a good wander around the town before a big storm hit. Check out the pics below. P.S. Yes, shit was cold son. Continue reading

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Changes

Current location: Porto. Photo: Mildred.

THE winds of change are upon us friends. Save for the south of Chile and Argentina in March, the weather I’m experiencing now in Portugal is the coldest I’ve faced in my nine months or so away (and it’s not even that cold, yet). The singlets and flip-flops have been packed away for good, traded for layers of warm clothes and umbrellas (actually the flip-flops are sitting in a dumpster somewhere in the south of Portugal somewhere cos I threw them out after stepping on a football-sized dog poo). My snowboard jacket has made its first appearance – in anticipation of harsh European winter temps – since hitting the slopes in British Columbia last year. The other major change of late is my hair. I traded in my luscious semi-blonde shoulder-length locks for an army-standard buzz-cut, the kinda haircut you can set your watch to (thanks Mildred). I look a little less like a hobo, and have been receiving 47 per cent less offers for drugs per day, which is good although the noggin is now a bit colder in the surf. I was trying to think of other stuff that had changed in my world but couldn’t think of much. I’ll undergo some major life changes in the months to come, and surely I’ve changed a lot over the past nine months but right now none are apparent to me. Plus you don’t wanna hear that shit. Continue reading

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Photo of the week

I’M LACKING in the recently-taken photo department yet again, so here’s another one from the vault. This was taken on the patio of the bar/restaurant I worked at for seven months in Whistler, Canada, minutes after the country’s ice hockey team took out the gold medal at the Winter Olympics (Feb 2010). What made the win even more special was it was during Canada’s turn to host the Olympics, the match took place just a couple of hours away in Vancouver and they beat arch-rivals the USA. The match was a fucking nail-biter. Myself and most of the crew in the photo were all still on the clock at that stage. Our legend boss Kevin (the dude in red with the white cap going mad up the back left) shut down the kitchen towards the end of the game and us kitchen boys sunk a few beers while watching national hero Sidney Crosby score the game-winner seven minutes into overtime. The vibe and emotion in that restaurant when the puck hit the net was insane. I was almost choking up and I’m not even Canadian. Continue reading

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13 days

THIS popped up in a Lonely Planet email subsription thing I received the other day. Kinda resonated with me and is sorta what this li’l blog is all about. The comments people have left down the bottom make for interesting reading.

Aaand yeah. Today I worked and got a bit sunburnt. Less than two weeks ’til I leave. That’s about it. Catchya.

Here’s a picture of me in the street I lived in for six months in British Columbia.

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An ode to the road…

PLANNING and preparing for a long stay overseas can suck. Sure there’s tons of nervous excitement but working six days a week trying to hit those savings goals while researching destinations, organising yellow fever jabs and figuring out what to pack can be a nightmare. So it was with this in mind that I thought I’d reflect on why I’m doing it all again, forgoing the chance to start a new career or save up for a house like so many others in my age bracket. I had to look no further than my last trip – a 375-day journey that saw me traverse eight countries and endure 18 flights, four ferry trips and 19 derrièrenumbing long-distance bus rides. Here’s a list of some of the PG-rated experiences, good and bad, I had last time that make me want to to do it all over again:

  • hand-fed a mama deer and it’s little one an apple on a bone-chilling walk back to my hostel after a bender one morning in Banff
  • became friends with a gay Mexican facial surgeon
  • lived on a couch in a loungeroom, in a house deep in the mountains, with a snowboard jib setup in the backyard, which was next to a giant frozen lake
  • bussed my way from Mexico City to Costa Rica
  • played a game of soccer with the local Indos near Lakey Peak, Sumbawa
  • drove to Desert Point, Lombok – finding it near-perfect for the second time in my life (then finding the wave ridiculously hard to surf on a bodyboard for the second time)
  • almost got our hire car impounded by a nasty cop and narrowly missed hitting about 300o pigs after finding this wave near Popoyo, Nicaragua. then getting waved down by two cops an hour later only to have them jump in the back of the ute for a ride home
  • got offered heroin for the first time in my life – Jaco, Costa Rica.  No thanks buddy.
  • made an impulse decision to jump on a plane to Sulawesi, and ended up staying in a rustic beachside hut with an old friend I met in Indo a few years prior
  • hiked up an active volcano and toasted sticks on the lava (we forgot marshmallows)
  • jumped off a huge rock face into Central America’s deepest lake
  • partied in an amazing club in Managua two nights in a row where we were the only white people inside
  • partied at the Viper Room in Hollywood with a couple of Austrian girls, finding it to be a shadow of its former self
  • rode the Flowrider in San Diego and didn’t break any bones
  • drove our hire car from Hollywood to San Diego and only crashed it twice – once into the back of a van driven by the hottest soccer mum I’ve ever laid eyes on (she told us not to worry about it, it was just a scratch)
  • put my Spanish to the test in a conversation with a five-year-old Mayan girl about the animals of the forest
  • had to bail a Mexican house party when we found out the tattooed guy spilling bourbon all over the place was a gang member with a knife down his shorts

  • got the best barrel of my life at G-Land, which was almost topped by a Puerto Escondido keg a month later
  • went to the Winter Olympics and watched the bobsled and Super G downhill events
  • learnt to snowboard, conquering backside 360s over large jumps and boardsliding downrails (both big deals for me!) as well as riding powder up to my armpits during a catskiing trip
  • got lunged at by a bear protecting its cub in Whistler while drinking cider with my friends next to a beautiful lake
  • went op-shopping in Vancouver and Seattle, securing my wardrobe for the next few years
  • sold my car to go stay in Hawaii  with a Swedish friend I met in Canada on the way back to Australia, just because I could
  • hiked the beautiful Na Pali coast in Kauai then struggled to hitchhike home because I looked like a hobo
  • had a suss of Jimi Hendrix’s guitars and Kurt Cobain’s handwritten lyrics in Seattle
  • got barrelled in Hawaii (not Pipeline or anywhere else of note but still barrelled all the same!)
  • played golf beneath a double rainbow on one of Hawaii’s best courses
  • spent Christmas Day hitting kickers and rails (horribly) on one of the world’s best ski mountains
  • went to an NHL game and saw the Mighty Ducks (Anaheim)
  • got ice-cream headaches surfing in Tofino, Canada
  • spent my 23rd birthday gyrating on a pole onstage at a sketchy Mexican strip joint, with an even sketchier looking crowd
  • met 2009 bodyboarding world champion Jeff Hubbard in the Kauai airport – then went back to his parents place with him where his ma made me English muffins for breakfast
  • watched Canada win Olympic Gold in the ice hockey and nearly had a teary at the restaurant I was working in
  • woke up outside my mate’s apartment building in Vancouver to find an aggressive raccoon staring me down at my feet
  • ingested some funny-looking mushrooms high above the clouds in San Jose Del Pacifico and almost died on the way there when a truck almost hit us on a narrow hairpin next to a cliff (or did I just imagine that?)

Aah to go back…

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