Author Archive

Big Swell at Pig Outs. October 26, 2019


The big swell was manageable at Pig Outs. It was too wild and woolly at East End or Fitzroy for surfing but perfect for IRB (inflatable rescue boat) training. Those guys and gals are good, eh?   The paddlers rode some great waves. Des caught two bombs way outside beyond my view. Then Steve arrived with his foil board just after 5pm to catch a few inside.   Surf-tacular day!


High Flying. Sept. 23, 2019.

DSC_1531The winds picked up later on Sunday and you didn’t have to ring the bell twice. It was full on at East End Beach.   Des caught a few good ones and ended on a solid headstand! DSC_1828DSC_1820DSC_1782DSC_1712DSC_1788DSC_1809DSC_1792DSC_1818DSC_1778DSC_1775DSC_1779DSC_1815DSC_1807DSC_1471DSC_1474DSC_1483DSC_1159DSC_1504DSC_1508DSC_1726DSC_1742DSC_1754DSC_1761DSC_1773DSC_1814DSC_1301DSC_1215DSC_1179DSC_1167DSC_1710DSC_1509

Wheels up! Sunday Skate. Sept 22, 2019.

DSC_1603A change up today.  Scooters and bikes were flying at East End Skate Park,  and I had to snap a few of these kids. They were eager to show off their jumps and the enthusiasm was never ending.  Cool as.


Super 8 Series Surf at Fitz. Aug 24, 2019.

DSC_0364 2Okay, NZ surf is epic.  The best part is you don’t have to venture far from town to feel like you’re “living it” too.  Here’s the view from the coastal walkway.

The 2019 Super 8 Series at Fitzroy Beach, sponsored by New Plymouth Surfriders Club, was yesterday.  Sets were farther out and “bigger than it looks!”   But for reals… waves faces were 3.5 meters (11 foot).     I met some new folks including a cool high schooler who knows no fear, not even level 2 physics class rattles him. (pink jersey above). DSC_0304DSC_0363 2DSC_0351DSC_0163DSC_0256

Clean Swell Sessions. June 2, 2018.

IMG_3444This day the surf at Back Beach was clean, even at high tide.  The waves broke in sections, spread out the surfers, and provided space for longer boards.  The vibe was great.  There was a jump in the surf  the following day.  Bigger sets mean overhead, whomping close outs ( or “walls of death” as I used to call it). Des surfed again on our pinky,  8.0 surftech and got a few thrills.

The surf changes rapidly with the daily large tide fluctuations. So, when it’s good you’ve got 2 hours before it isn’t.

Of note, my camera has reached the end of it’s life.   The autofocus fatigued, necessitating manual focus to snap photos in the prior posts. Now that function has expired too.  The photos on this post were taken with my old iPhone, in my wetsuit, in the cold and rain. Please forgive the quality.   IMG_3484



Below are shots of  “the Groin” surf spot, perfect for short boogie board rides.  Biking farther north along the coastal walkway,  I usually bike pass these guys, “moo!”


Coastal Walkway Surf Breaks . May 25th, 2018.


DSC_0132 (1)New Plymouth’s many in-town surf breaks have a few obstacles to overcome, but once you get out to the points (way out there)  it looks amazing. I surfed around a corner at a calmer spot called Piggy’s and Des likes the clean lines off Belt Road. Yesterday I captured a few images at lower tide and watched the surfers navigate the rocks.  Many scramble out with no booties, tough Kiwis.




9 outta 10, eh? May 1, 2018

DSC_0116DSC_0093MetService surf forecast was a 9 at Fitzroy and the waves didn’t disappoint. Gorgeous as! The Stand up paddlers caught plenty a few hundred meters down at East End and, thanks to the southeast winds, all of New Plymouth experienced good sized breaking waves. I’m keen on going out tomorrow if I can find a longboard spot or…nice shoulder to ride. Might be bigger too, whomp!

Surf in the Southern Hemisphere. April 30th, 2018

DSC_0028 (1)There were plenty of clean waves today at this in town beach break. The outgoing tide walled up the earlier peelers at Fitzroy Beach.

12,000km southwest of Port A.

Old Town Expression Session. Oct 21, 2017

DSC_0362Harvey who?  Port Aransas celebrated its 107th Birthday with several traditional Old Town Festival events.  The Expression Session Surf Contest felt like an ocean-centric revival of the spirit. Folks gathered, cheered, photographed, swam, surfed, ate, laughed and played on the beach. It was a gorgeous day! Thanks to everyone who stepped up to make it happen, especially Cameron Pratt, the first to say, “We’re gonna do this!”

Summer on the Other Side. June 24, 2017


When it’s windy, hot, and crowded on the beach,  the evenings on the backside of our island  are  blissful.  The last two are shared here.      In Piper flats light breezes blowing through the mangroves surrounds you with a whistling  sound as you drift along.  Herons squawk loudly and egrets track your every move.    At Charlie’s Pasture  jackrabbits bound on and off the trails, often leading you on a good chase.  Water birds loop above then land for a stroll in the flats.

Whether you walk, run, bike or boat the other side is the best place to be at sunset.


Beach Vault! June 17, 2017

Port A Beach Vault. June 17, 2017


If you weren’t at the Port Aransas Beach Pole Vault meet on Saturday,   you missed some red hot action!    Temperatures were high,  so was that bar the athletes fearlessly  flung themselves over   The best women jumped 14 feet and the men 18 feet;   but the dedication and effort exhibited by all the competitors was world class.    The coaches will tell you pole vaulting is all about speed,  but without that intangible “thing,”   raw talent only takes you so far.   These guys and gals have it.   Good luck to all the vaulters and the future world campions that came to Port A to showcase their skills.

Congratulations to Greg West of West Athletics Vaults Crew-  It was a spectacular event. Click here for results/info.








Happy Dad’s Day. June 18, 2017

Remember those cheesy Father’s Day cards with pictures of fish, boats, and camping gear?   Well,  at least for most Port A dads,   these are common passions.    A few days ago,  Des ventured over to the north jetty,  yes on a surfboard,  and lured in one after another.   Frying up the speckled trout will be a family affair today.    Let’s feast!

Marinedream Boat. June 8th, 2017

DSC_0691                          Happy  World Oceans Day!

From river racing canoe to ocean cruiser, this boat has been transformed into a unique, single-man exploration vessel.  Ask Dave or Des for the whole story and Scott can fill in the Austin viewers. It’s a beauty and it’s for sale!

(comment below for inquiries)

G.I. Joe lands in Port A. May 14th, 2017.


Stan Weston, the creator of the G.I. Joe military action figured passed away on May 1st.   After learning a bit more about the maker,  we decided to pull these dudes out of their GI Joe lockers and play.   My son bought a nice collection at a garage sale a few years ago.   Their outfits and gear are cool, of course, but I was surprised when we pushed a  button and heard one speak  Korean, Vietnamese, or Japanese; I’m not sure which.

GI Joe’s were the first articulating dolls and, boy do I remember the first time I got my hands on one.   I  really pushed the limits of those joints!   Their fuzzy hair and beards and that scar fascinated me.   He was way neater than barbie.

Anyway, I found out that Stan Weston sold his concept to Hasbro in 1963 for $100,000 and declined the tiny royalty offer.   Since 1964 something like 400 million G.I. Joe’s have been sold,  so if you do the math, that’s a few billion dollars in sales.   A year before his death he was able to settle with the toy company, and hopefully, at age 83, got a few bucks back!

Here’s to you Stan, and everybody out there who had a great idea that made someone else rich!   But the joy you brought to boys, and girls, is priceless.

Don’t take my Ektachrome away. May 10th, 2017.


A  friend  and  fellow  surfer,  Ewell  Clarke,  promised  to  dig  through  his  old   slides and  found  some  Port  A  sessions  from  1982-85.   This  one  was  shot  with  high  speed  Ektachrome  film,  300mm  lens,  from  the  dunes,   and  without  autofocus –  not  available  back  then.   Ewell  writes,  “Hope  you  can  see  the  riders;  shooting  from  the  dunes  they  sometimes  disappeared  in  the  trough  on  bottom  turns.”

I  like  this  photo;   the  feathering  wave  is  good  size,  similar  to  our  last  wind  swell.   Nice  to  see  3  surfers  sharing  the  wave  too.

Also,  I  appreciate  the  image  because  it  was  taken  on  slide  film,   the medium  I  learned  with.   It’s  known  as  color  positive  film,  “slide,”  or  “transparency”  film.   No negatives.  What  you shot  was  what  you  got.  Exposure  couldn’t  be  adjusted  in  development  so  you  had  to  know  your  settings  in  different  light   by  heart.   And  there  was  no  autofocus,  you  chose  the  focal  length  and  hoped  the  image  was  in  focus,  or  used  manual  and  lined  up  little  blurry  half  circles  over  the  subject.   Remember?    Oh,  the  anticipation  of  pulling  a  newly  processed  slide  from  the  box  and  holding  it  up  to  the  light  to view  it  for the  first  time!    Sometimes  I   got  a  gem.

Thanks,  Ewell.

All Day Port A. April 30, 2017

DSC_0383The Port A Surf-a-rama continued with north by northwest wind conditions all day.  It was a Sunday worth re-living!

Port A Surf-A-Rama, AM session. April 30, 2017

DSC_0563Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Monster Wave and Surfer Show at the pier!

more photos of afternoon session to come.

Golfing for Trinity Day School. April 28th, 2017

DSC_0130Hey Golfers! Trinity by the Sea Episcopal Day School thanks you!  

Click for PHOTOS

Earth Day 2013

2 do-gooders, 2 kayaks, and 2 plastic mattress bags = Happy Earth Day! 

As  everyone  knows,  St.  Joe’s  tends  to  collect  plastic  bottles  like  nobody’s  business.   One  November  day  a  few years  ago  we  hatched  a  plan  and  set  out  to  do  our  part.   It  was  our  “earth  day.”

We   kayaked  over  to  St.  Joe’s  from  the  south  jetty,   strolled  the  beach  and  dunes,  and  stuffed  as  much  plastic  as  possible  in  our  “trash  bags”.    Once  filled  we  tied ’em  up  to  our  kayak  and  SUP   and  launched  from  the  north  jetty.

Towing  the  loot  back  across  the  ship  channel  was  the  real  adventure.   High  winds  made  excellent  sails  of  the  huge,  floating  bags  and  carried  us  a  bit  off  course.   Jen  managed  to  wrap  her  towing  rope,   big  bag  and  part  of  her  partner’s  gear  around  a  piling  near  the  UTMSI  docks.  The  spin  maneuver did  halt  our  westward  progression,  but  let’s  just  say  Des  and  his  knife  were  needed  at  some  point.

Luckily,  being  strong  paddlers,  and  despite  the  hooting  and  laughter,  we  did  manage  to  arrive  on  the  south  side with our recycling cargo intact.   James  Derkits  took  our  rescue   call and  sped  over  to  pick  us  up.

Filming  from  a  fast  moving  SUP  while  paddling across  the  channel  was  some  of  the  best  video  I’ve  ever  taken – that  I’ve  never  seen  beyond  the  viewfinder!  I  keep  hoping  it  will  turn  up  on  a  hard  drive  somewhere  in  the  future.

Searight Seascapes. April 11, 2017.

Sarah at doorI’m mariedreamin’!  Sarah Searight is featured this April at the Port Aransas Art Center. She is showcasing acrylic on canvas and watercolor scenes of the ocean, shore birds, surfers, and beach life. Her dynamic creations capture the essence of the sea. Sarah is a local favorite and has a signature style like no other.   Stop by and browse or make a piece your own!

Sarah also exhibits her fanciful art at her home studio here in town. “So cool!” Sarah in lounge

Sunset Pop. Jan 3rd, 2017

sunsetnewyearOh, yah.  An evening to remember.




Happy New Year Swell! Jan 3rd, 2017

dsc_0666A few photos of noon time surf. It was amazing all day, especially our morning session!

Evening Glow. Nov 29th, 2016

dsc_0258The party out last night really likes to surf. They fought the current and unpredictable wave breaks. Though the sunset was less than hoped for, the last light cast a beautiful glow on the water.