Category Archives: People

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 (in a similar manner 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:

I was travelling at about 80 km/h and suddenly noticed out of nowhere in the 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 dark and reasonably straight, the terrain fairly flat, and rather than dense and high forested, the vegetation is scrub and heath, thus you can usually notice approaching vehicles from hundreds of meters.

I then thought the car must have problems with its headlights, as there was only one 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.)

Thinking the driver behind was in such a mad hurry, I transitioned to about 60 km/h to let him overtake… at this point the light now  came closer to following say 1 car space distance.

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 unsuspectingly.

In this circumstance (of a non-blinding headlight), there should be a possibility of making out some shape, volume or ‘presence’ of a vehicle. Perhaps even a sound if it was a motorbike. Or a glimpse of its red tail light. But no, it just seemed to be that one single light.

Maybe with problematic lights, the driver approached so fast to actually catch up and tailgate me, so I could provide a form of escort into the nearby town of Evans Head?

All this happened within the space of say a minute or so and I started thinking what is going on here? Anyway at the point of thinking ‘overtake me or do something’, just like that, the light vanished.

Gone. It didn’t pull over or turn (there was nowhere possible for that). Nor did it show any sign of an accident,  as with only 1 car length behind I would have noticed any erratic movements of direction of the light itself.

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

I was really having a battle in my mind with the logic. The realist in me now seriously doubted that the laws of physics would allow any motor vehicle to make up that much ground on me so quickly out of nowhere, without me first noticing it approaching.

In running every general logical (motoring) scenario through my brain, it was time 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) …it just instantly appeared and 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.

‘Min Min lights’:

A University of Queensland neuroscientist Professor Jack Pettigrew in his research of 2003 mentioned how “these mysterious lights seem to follow travellers 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 even later contacted the Prof. who stood by that his research satisfactory explained all this …But I am still not sure…

I do understand and accept the Professor’s Pettigrew’s research and scientific explanation, can and does happen, to some extent. However, it would be more feasible if the object  was a static where the viewer was focused on one projection point.  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 a minute?

There are other feasible scientific explanations, such as trapped underground gases rising up to the surface, spontaneously combusting and igniting for a period of time.

I can buy both of these as well. But I still have my doubts on the scientific explanations.  With the two, don’t they each cancel out the other. Don’t they both have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there still can’t be any other possibilities???

As a final note: the Min Min lights in some Australian Aboriginal peoples folklore are said to be the spirits of the ancestors. Just a bit of a coincidence I guess that should my dad be still alive, this date is my parents wedding anniversary…. hmmmmm…..???

Paul’s Fishing Rods

Here is another 9 x 6 cm Ad I created for Paul Woolford to go in the Lennox Wave magazine’s Trades And Service section .  This time Paul can also now use this as his own business card as well…

Paul started fishing as a kid on the North Yorkshire Moors of England. He adds, “I still remember as a 12 year old testing (from the very wharf at Whitby where Captain Cook departed on the Endeavour) the first fishing rod I built for myself.”

Sixty years later from the garage of his Lennox Head home Paul’s custom hand crafted fishing rods are finding their way, similar to Cook on the Endeavour, all around the world.

From word of mouth, Paul now fills custom orders, not just for locals and around Australia but also trout fishing lodges in New Zealand and the Test River in England.

He has even made rods for a salmon fishing tour guide in Alaska!

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.