Meeting Tom Hewitt is a pleasure, inspiring and a highly humbling experience.
Tom has harnessed the addictive and therapeutic elements of surfing to integrate it as a key part of a rehabilitation program for street children in Durban to help them eventually reintegrate into their communities and find work.
Hearing their story and surfing with the team was mind blowing, and I hope the bonds between Tom, the Surfers Not Street Children team, the Tubestation in Polzeath and the surf communities and others they met during their tour of the UK that have been forged will help promote awareness and raise funds for this project.
“It’s absurd to think that physical age is any kind of indicator of what you can do…at this point I feel 10yrs from now I could still be in the running for winning contests… beyond that it’s what you do with your mind and body to keep you in the right space”
The Volcom Fiji Pro was won by Kelly Slater who once again demonstrated just why he already has 11 world titles in the bag. The Fijian reef passes provided a stage that demonstrated the raw class and power of the best surfers in the world.
Enjoy the highlights from the last day of competition below.
Hawaiian Carissa Moore Talks Training With The Wall Street Journal
While surfing as much as possible is the obvious answer to the question ‘how can I best stay in shape for surfing?’ the unpredictable nature of the field of play means we need to have a training program that covers flat spells and times we cant get to the ocean. Any training needs to focus on movements that compliment what we want to achieve in the water but not neglect the bigger picture.
I was surprised working with a physio on my shoulders last weekend to discover weakness I didn’t think existed triggering a change in my training program to include a more comprehensive range of movement.
Surfing is physically demanding and a great way to get/stay in good shape. Click here for a great interview with Carissa Moore in the Wall Street Journal in which she talks about how she trains to stay at the top of her game mentally and physically.
How The Ejector Seat Gave Britain Award-Winning Wine and Watches
One of the joys of spending time with people who share my passion is that you get to learn about theirs. Perhaps not surprisingly I tend to be drawn to adventurous types who have built businesses with a clear vision and product that embodies their spirit as an integral part of its DNA.
Britain’s business world has a glorious history of eccentricity with tales of determination and belief in the face of challenge and mirth from larger, more established companies. Branson Dyson and Morgan are great examples of celebrated and homegrown household names that have achieved a worldwide recognition whilst retaining a quintessential ‘Britishness’.
As a teacher and coach, being on a constant quest for information is par for the course. Growing up in a military family I’d heard of the ejector seat manufacturer Martin Baker, but until recently hadn’t given it much thought. Then twice in a month the significance of their work blipped up on my radar.
Bob Lindo is the founder of Camel Valley wines in Cornwall. On leaving the RAF Bob moved to Cornwall to bring up his young family, and planted vines. 20 years ago you’d think that was the first line of a joke but with passion, hard work and a gift in the dark arts of Oenology he now presides with his son Sam over the multi-award winning Camel Valley wines.
As we enjoyed a glass of wine overlooking his vineyard we got onto the subject of his time in the RAF. I was interested to learn that without Martin Baker we might not have been standing there drinking the fruits of his labour. “I was in the RAF club in London”, Bob explained “and a guy asked me if I’d ever tried landing without wheels. I’ve landed without a plane chum I replied…”.
On Friday 6th June 1986, crews of two Jet Provosts collided in a training accident and both airmen were forced to eject. One of the airmen was Bob. The same family passion and hard work he and his son put into their wines had fortunately been put into the engineering and development of the ejector seat that saved both airman’s lives that day. To date ejector seats engineered and built by the British family owned company Martin Baker have saved the lives of over 7400 aviators.
Having spent that rather idyllic sunny Cornish afternoon with Bob Lindo and Mimi Avery (of Bristol vintners, Averys) tasting and discussing his wines whilst looking out onto his vineyard, I wasn’t expecting to come face to face with an ejector seat just a few weeks later. Far less so on South Audley Street in London. However I had just stepped into the Bremont boutique and the world of Giles and Nick English, a boys own adventure that has manifested itself at an alarming rate as one of the hottest names in luxury timepieces.
Drink in hand, Giles swept me along jumping from boats to bikes, planes and every boy’s favourite subject - stress testing. A serious business for a company that came into being following a plane accident that killed the boys’ father and left Nick with more than 30 broken bones. Looking at the energy, engineering and love in each chronometer I can think of no greater tribute or epitaph to the passion and skills their father had bestowed upon them growing up.
It’s no surprise that adventurers relate so strongly to Bremont and to learn that the boys have a bond with the armed forces as well as an ongoing and close working relationship with Martin Baker. Bremont have a dedicated watch collection in tribute to Martin Baker’s contribution to aviation. The movement of each Martin Baker series timepiece is protected by an anti-magnetic Faraday cage and a specifically designed anti-shock case mount. The range has been designed and tested to withstand the Martin Baker ejection seat test programme.
Each watch series Bremont make has both an innovative quality and a story to tell. They combine elements of function and fantasy that extend to the wearer. A Bremont clad wrist captures a sense of history, future and adventure that has impact. If what we wear is our clearest non-verbal communication to the world of who we are and what we’re about, it’s little surprise those with a sense of adventure look at Bremont as ‘their’ kind of brand.
If James Bond is actually out there, free from million dollar endorsement deals, I suspect he’s drinking Bob and Sam’s fizz and keeping time on a Bremont.
People come to Polzeath to learn to surf or improve their surfing usually as a part of their personal sporting/adventurous agenda. It’s been interesting over the years to watch the other initially hidden benefits. No ‘smart’ phone, but another distraction. Surfing at every level is all consuming, physical and cerebral. Clients often comment on not being able to think about anything other than catching the wave and trying to ride it. What psychologists refer to as being ‘present’ or ‘in the moment.’ This in itself delivers a second vacation one from ourselves and our daily worlds.
Oceanographer and Big wave surfer Dr Tony Butt has written a great piece for Patagonia’s blog, ‘The Cleanest Line’ on ‘Flow’ and while he approaches it from a Big Wave perspective it can translate to our experience of surfing and waves based on each individuals personal surfing ability.
It’s good to acknowledge the benefits (and potential pitfalls) of challenging ourselves in Nature…
Barcelona is just one of those great cities you can’t visit enough. I remember being in awe during the 1992 Olympic Games seeing the backdrop of the city from the diving event on the Montjuic Hill. What I didn’t know then is it also got waves. My surfing buddy Jordi grew up surfing the city beaches and always mentions great sessions there. He’s not kidding! Click here to enjoy a beautifully shot movie of the Med dishing out some stonking rides (and beatings!)