Posts Tagged ‘big waves’

Shipstern Bluff and Digital Technologies

February 13, 2012

Prologue. I was going to do a follow-up on the Bo-Wang power dance, but decided it was a pure waste of keyboard energy, since every Sino-expert and a few besides have waded into the speculation-reading of the tea leaves. Your guess as to what took place behind the Chinese curtain is as good as mine, and at least it does not assume any secret knowledge by an another academically tenured China expert, to wit Joseph Fewsmith.

You’re really talking, I think, about development models, where China goes from here,” says Joseph Fewsmith, an expert on Chinese elite politics at Boston University. “This takes on much broader ideological dimensions than anything we have seen in 20 years.” WSJ

As if domestic uber politics in China was/is so easily explained away with such a comprehensive all-knowing text bite.

And a holiday in the Caribbean for the reader who takes me to task for an absolute factual howler.
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Now to the main course and a further supplement to my Surfing File, which is certainly the sport of kings after the horsies. After all, surfing was introduced to tubbyland in 1915 by the legendary Hawaiian waterman (which is the correct term) Duke Kahanamoku. Okay, lets not quibble. A Duke is a sort of King in training.

Now, lets look for some pre- and post-modern contrasts ushered in by the digital age. In a pre-post-modernist history, board riders adopted the Captain Goodvides approach to professionalism and built their courage on the big waves with a mix of chicks, booze and drugs.

Captain Goodvibes: sexist, disgusting and excessive

At a more professional level, we have this b/w photograph by Alby Falzon capturing Gregg Noll descending into the biggest wave ever at Makaha, North Shore on Dec 4, 1969, and the excellent supporting read is found HERE.

Greg Noll: the surfer who broke through the fear at Makaha

Only thing is there were multiple cameras at Makaha in 1969. Tracks cofounder and surf filmmaker, Alby Falzon had several. Falzon hawk-eyed the action all day from an apartment overlooking the point. He watched the swell build, the first guys paddle out and the last guys get washed in. When he wasn’t looking directly at the ocean, he was squinting through his 500mm lens or making adjustments to his 16mm film rig. Falzon shot rolls of film that day including, he maintains, a three shot sequence of Noll’s famous wave.

Water-proofed film and digital cameras amped up the possibilities of getting right into the wave action, as evidenced by these truly magnificent images: HERE.

And being a pirate, here is a sample.

Mark Healey, Backdoor Pipeline, Hawaii. April issue, 2009. Photo: Pat Stacy

To date, the State of Tasmania has been noted for possibly the most vicious penal system run by the British Foreign Office in the heyday of Empire. Try reading For the Term of his Natural Life by Marcus Clark. Within the pantheon of national humour, it is also noted for its mullet haircuts, plaid shirts and isolated, inbred Deliverance-type communities.

Thanks to DW TV, or at least the very non-teutonic, drop-dead- gorgeous anchor person, channel surfing abruptly halted, and Shipsterm Bluff came into view. Just so we are on the same page, here is the location.

Shipstern Bluff: South East Tasmania cold as hell and in the middle of nowhere

As most surf broadcasting sites delight in telling us, Shipstern Bluff is rarely crowded and beware of rips, rocks, isolation and sharks. Not surprising, given its location in an equally forgotten past appendage of Empire. Nonetheless, this is the spot for you if you have organised your affairs (ie prepared a will and kissed your loved ones). Google images HERE.

Returning to the technology thread, it occurred to this scribbler that we have now crossed over into a post-modernist phase in surfing history. Take Jeff Rowley big wave surfer from Victoria. Big wave stuff is truly a team and corporate sponsorship effort these days. You need the board dude who knows no fear, a highly experienced wave rider team for tow-ins and rescues, plus your own dedicated videographer, in Rowley’s case his gf Minnie Voung. And the final ingredient, some basic keyboard skills and your own website.

I fail to understand people who focus on the dystopian aspects of the digital world at the expense of outcomes such as this which give autonomy and control over their surfing lifestyle. To be sure, this autonomy is strewn with sponsorship deals, but hey, the clothing, logos etc are also pretty cool.

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