Category Archives: Featured

2018 Skullcandy Oz Grom Surfing Open

Held annually at Lennox Head in the July school holidays, this major junior surfing competition draws around 300 competitors, not only from NSW, but around Australia and even from around the world.

Many parents take advantage of the pilgrimage to combine travelling to the comp and make for a family surfing holiday.

I went out behind the scenes with a backdrop of perfect winter weather… to capture a different perspective of the general ‘cool’ vibe of the aged variety of spectators taking in the ‘Groms At Play: IN and OUT of the WATER’ …

MY FIRST AUTHORED BOOK

Well, co-authored to be correct.

For over a year, with limited resources, I was part of the dedicated volunteer ‘Surfing Lennox Crew’ applying our best efforts to assist the Lennox Head Heritage Committee produce a 104 page book Surfing Lennox: From Then to Now.

The  book chronicles 70 years surfing around the town of Lennox Head and takes you on a wild ride following the evolution of the town from a once sleepy fishing hamlet, to when the first lone surfers tentatively entered the water, to the seemingly unstoppable crowds attracted today to the iconic world renowned surf location.

The book covers the breaks of the Lennox National Surfing Reserve (LNSR) stretching from the south between Flat Rock to the Lennox Head-Alstonville Surf Club in the north. It is ten years since the dedication of the LNSR and the book explores all the themes that define National Surfing Reserves: ‘sites of environmental, cultural and historical significance to the Australian surfing culture.’

Behind this backdrop are the people, groups, the characters who were born here, visited, stayed or have come and gone. It is not only the location and environment, but this diverse bunch that together in some way, shape or form, makes Lennox such a special and unique ‘buzzing’ town.

As co-authors’ our contributions combine with materials delivered via donations from the public to make for irreplaceable recollections the local community can now keep as an archival document.  The volume of information and images received was overwhelming and we faced some difficult challenges; many decisions about inclusion were very tough to make.

To include everything and everyone was impossible and there is no claim as definitive, but in turning the history pages of our towns surfing journey the modest size book still covers a great measure of authentic ground. Who knows, perhaps, with more resources the next generation could produce a definitive history and fill a large 300 page hard-cover book.

But right now we do finally have an interesting, stylishly presented book. And all entirely locally produced, edited, designed and printed!

Monies from the sale of the book will go to the not-for-profit Lennox Head Heritage Committee and Lennox National Surfing Reserve Inc.

Surfing Lennox From Then to Now is currently selling at Lennox Post Office,  and local shops, Anchor Chief, The Book Room, Lennox Head Surf and ABC Bookstore Ballina for $49.00 RRP.

Cafe’ Poster

Marius Cafe in Lennox Head was taking a gamble making a move from the safety of their usual opening daytime service,  and introducing a new flavour into the nighttime dinning scene.

They asked me to come up with an A3 poster to attract attention. Something Big Bold & ! GREEK !

It was a great success and full house for weeks, with more people marching in than athletes at an Olympic Games opening ceremony.

HIPPY’S IMAGE

When ‘Hippy’ Craig Richards became the new licenced  trader at Lennox Head Motors he asked me: “can you design a new Ad, as the old Ad with the Volvo HAS TO GO (sorry Volvo drivers) but it just doesn’t fit our image, here in Lennox right across from the beach.”

AD BEFORE:

AD AFTER:

I came up with this based on the look of the old N.S.W. Rego stickers. The old Holden wagon cruising down the road over the waves with the old timber Malibu surf board strapped onto the roof-racks.

A few months later I designed a new and different Business Card.

 

I saw ‘THE’ Light???

Last Friday night I witnessed ‘something like a phenomenon’.

THE PHOTO IS NOT REAL. I felt compelled to try and define the experience (similar to Richard Dreyfus obsessive character Roy in the movie ‘Close Encounters of a 3rd Kind’.) My interpretation is still off the mark, as the light orb was not as bright, more opaque and translucent.

At approximately 8pm Friday 16/06/2017 driving south, about half way along the Broadwater – Evans Head Road passing through the Broadwater National Park NSW Australia:

Travelling at about 80 km/h I suddenly noticed out of nowhere in my rear view mirror that a car’s headlight was some 3 car spaces behind. My initial reflex response was “WOW, how fast is this car travelling to make such ground on me?”

This road is unlit and dark, reasonably straight, the terrain fairly flat, rather than dense and forested the vegetation is scrub and heath. Thus you can notice approaching vehicles from hundreds of meters.

I then thought the car must have problems with its headlights, as only one light was visible, and while quite present, it was not strong and seemed dim. The best I can describe is: I once owned a 1967 V.W. Beatle and the old 6 volt power source headlights in those older models were not very strong, both in low or high beam.  The shape of the light was kind of similar as well (about 30 to 60 cm max. in diameter.)

I was also figuring maybe it was a motorbike as the light didn’t favour one side and was directly behind and centered.  And if anything, a motorbike possibly could have the ability to sneak up so quickly and unsuspectingly.

I transitioned to about 60 km/h the light now came closer to following say 1 car space distance.

Within the increments of a few seconds I was looking at all the logical explanations, while at a deeper level I was yet to accept something illogical had occurred.

Under these circumstances, with a non-blinding headlight, there should be a possibility of making out some shape, volume or ‘presence’ of a vehicle. Perhaps even an engine or road sound, a glimpse of a red tail light.

But no, it just seemed to be that one single light.

However, within 10 seconds I was thinking what is going on here? This orb of light followed me for what was (I think) say a minute, maybe two.

But just like that, the light vanished. Gone.

This was no motor vehicle. It didn’t pull over or turn (there was nowhere possible for that). Nor if a vehicle did it show any sign of an accident, as I would have noticed any erratic movements of direction of the light itself. I was really having a battle in my mind with the logic.

Looking back in the mirror there was now nothing, no light, no shape, (no sound), no ‘presence’ of a vehicle car / bike or otherwise. !!!NOTHING!!!

The realist in me, now having run every general logical (motoring) scenario through my brain had to face a fact: what just happened was beyond normal.

This was extraordinary. This light had just appeared from nowhere (it didn’t ‘COME FROM’ anywhere) and it disappeared the same way (it ‘DIDN’T GO’ anywhere) … as suddenly it just instantly appeared, it had instantly vanished.

Reflex now took over and it was petal to the metal. I made my way into Evans Head continually questioning and repeating to myself, literally out aloud loud “W.T.F. was that!!!???!!!”

Around midnight I had to drive back over the same stretch of road. After a pretty nerve racking and uneventful return trip, I made it home safely. I then took to the driver’s seat of the Google search engine and burned the midnight oil into the early hours of Saturday morning looking for answers.

While not totally ruling anything out, I was not thinking U.F.O. as it seemed not at all mechanical, material or of any real solid matter. My encounter happened near an area of local Aboriginal significance, so this led me to research about what I had already heard about before in the Australian outback, and what Aboriginals call:

‘Min Min lights’;

A University of Queensland neuroscientist Professor Jack Pettigrew in his research of 2003 mentioned how “these mysterious lights seem to follow travelers for long distances. The Min Min light seems to have magical qualities, sometimes following observers, even as they speed away in vehicles, while at other times seeming to retreat shyly.”

His research explains “The Min Min light occurs when light, from a natural or man-made source, is refracted to an observer who is tens, or even hundreds, of kilometres away, by an inverted mirage, or Fata Morgana.

A cold, dense layer of air next to the ground (or sea, or sea ice) carries light far over the horizon to a distant observer without the usual dissipation and radiation, to produce a vivid mirage that baffles and enchants because of its unfamiliar optical properties.

Fata Morgana can be terrifying at night when a single light source gives no hint that it is actually part of a mirage emanating from a great distance. Even hardened Outback observers can break down (that includes me shitting myself) when they are unable to interpret the unusual optical properties of the light in terms of their own, very different, past experiences.”

Here is a link to Professor Jack Pettigrew’s very interesting scientific explanations 

https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2003/03/uq-scientist-unlocks-secret-of-min-min-lights

I later contacted the Professors for a discussion but he stood by that his research satisfactory explained my own encounter …But to some extent I am still not sure…

I do understand and accept that Professor Pettigrew’s research and scientific explanation, can and does happen in certain circumstances. However, it would be more feasible if the object was a static where the viewer was focused on one projection point.  And in my case the orb was not far in the distance but only a few meters behind me. So unless it was a ‘Mitsubishi Mirage’… how can a mirage from hundreds of kilometers away follow the exact same path and movements of my car for over a minute?

I also accept there are other feasible scientific explanations which I also researched, such as trapped underground gases rising up to the surface as a bubble, spontaneously combusting and igniting for a period of time. Perhaps, even caught in my van’s slipstream and thus giving an impression of ‘following me’.

In fact I can buy both scientific explanations in certain given circumstances. But I still have my doubts about just those two explanations each being definitive.  By there being two possible explanations, don’t they each cancel out the other as definitive? Don’t they both have to prove that there still can’t be any other possibilities???

As a final note: the Min Min lights in Australian Aboriginal people’s folklore are said to be the spirits of the ancestors. Just a bit of a coincidence I guess that should my dad still had been alive, the very date of my encounter occurred on what would have been my parents wedding anniversary… ??? hmmmmm…???

N.Z. Methven Heliski 2006

August 2016 signifies ten years since I last went Heli-Boarding.

Join me in the back seat for a behind the scenes look, with the experts at Methven Heli-Ski operations, as we head west following the Rakaia River to Heli-base farm and take off from there…

Click into photos to enlarge…

Within an hour the beautiful scenic drive lands you at the Heli-base for a welcome cuppa, safety briefs and to start ‘gearing-up’.

Groups are organised to place snow riders with similar abilities together and make sure everyone is set to hit the terrain they are most comfortable with.

While waiting for my groups departure I took the opportunity to ‘shoot a few of the birds’ as groups were shuttled up the mountain range.

Finally my turn arrived and the adventure begins!!!

After a run you can look back down on your tracks and the temporary signature you carved onto the mountain.

There is the stop for lunch with one of the best views any restaurant in the world could offer…

A few more runs later, as you are about to ride ‘the bird’ back to base, you have that one last look back over your tracks.

Its back to the farm base for a wind down cuppa, then later back to your accommodation. And finally, sadly, sooner or later back home. But your soaring soul still taking  quite a few weeks to arrive back down to earth!

The Stairway to Heaven

Here is a nice slice from ‘hanging out’ on The Stairway to Heaven on the a weekend 14 – 15th May. The weather is as good as it gets. Cool nights with perfect warm sunny blue sky days equalled with water temps in the mid 20’s degree C. Topped with excellent water clarity of magnificent colour, light off-shore winds and some nice little waves.

Big Boulders Tow-In Day 2006

10 April marks ten years since I captured these images of Tow-In Surfers taking on !HUGE SURF! rolling into the Lennox Head region.

Boulders to Flatrock

To get some perspective of just how big it was look at the above photo (Boulders to Flatrock) and zoom into the foreground headland and compare the size of the people spectating on the headland. Also, if you are familiar with this surf break, zoom into the peg and you will know what I am talking about.

In the same picture, in the very distance background, waves can be seen breaking across Flatrock. The feature being the centerpiece of the picture with waves breaking from Sharps through Skinners Head to Boulders Beach.

 

Over the entire day only a handful of souls managed to paddle into a couple of waves at Lennox Point.

Many HUGE very good ride-able waves were breaking way out from usual locations and 4 Jet Ski assist tow-in riders led by Lennox legend Billy Hession tracked an area at The Cove at the southern end of Lennox Headland.

 

Below sequences Geoff Doig: