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E L P M SA E L C I T AR #16

Issue #16 R.R.P $14 USD

R.R.P $20 AUD / NZD

surf a PiG + raiLs & taiLs Jai Lee + GreenLand + ryan CraiG CreoLe MosaiC + oz CyCLone + BinG + north isLand


TRIPPIN

THE LIGHT

FANTASTIC Words by Matt King | Photos by Ron Greene & Al Ashworth

A short while after waking on the morning of my departure, I find myself sitting behind the wheel of my car. All is going according to plan, except it’s driving me in the opposite direction of which my brain had supposedly pre-programmed itself to go the night before. This wasn’t the first time it had happened. Perhaps the joy of sliding uncrowded, flowing puddles the night before was still resonating in that surf-soaked brain of mine—it was again suffering from a life long intermittent fault. Put simply, I had misplaced my “to-do list”. As you can appreciate, when certain conditions consisting of warm water, blue skies, oily waist- to shoulder-high peelers, and a newly acquired log present themselves, anyone with sandy feet and sheets might find their to-do list being quickly reprioritized. My original to-do list had nothing but the noblest of intentions: I would unselfishly awake peculiarly early to drive five hours north to Auckland Airport. Picking up 2006 World Longboard Champion Josh Constable before driving a further two hours to the northeast coast, we were to

meet the rest of our diverse, multitalented crew for the trip. From here, logs, quads, fishes, high-performance or single fins under the guidance of Sean Mattison and Joe Aaron would tear to pieces the forecasted building groundswell that would be met with offshore winds and clear skies whilst being documented by SLIDE’s two senior photographers, Ron Greene and Al Ashworth. Unfortunately “outta sight” little waves on the opposing coast, some considerable latitude south, had rewritten itself at the top of my newly repersonalized to-do list. I needed to rekindle the joy slid just a tidal cycle ago. My instincts told me that Josh, being a seasoned traveler that comes with being a professional surfer, would bask in the opportunity of exploring our newly refurbished international terminal if I were late. While the delay in my departure was playing briefly on the back of my mind, I dispelled any doubt when I pictured the joy he would gain comparing its many new strengths to the multitude of other terminals he has had the privilege of exploring whilst pursuing his aforementioned surfing pursuits. I was eager to hear his findings. The sooner I got out there, the better.


Opening Spread: 1

1. Image of Takuya Yoshikawa 2009 quiver in Taito, Japan, merged with an image of Dane Peterson quiver 2009 on Sunshine Coast, Australia. Peto quiver photo: Belinda PetersonBaggs.

>> Taylor, deep in morning light | Black Swamp. [AL]

>> Sean | Black Swamp. [AL]

I arrived just in time, only to be greeted with the task of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of our newly refurbished terminal. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. A quick glance at the arrivals board and I can see the first weakness: Josh’s flight has still not landed. I make a couple of round trips and look for some improvements upon the board. Things have improved slightly, but we’re a long way from getting out of here and into the ocean. A couple of items of interest slide thru my brain. I ponder the fact we’ve never met. Perhaps I should stand at the entrance with one of those signs with his name on? I convince myself that’s silly and tell myself to relax, just rely on the fact that it’ll work out. I’ll know it’s him when he comes through—he’ll have surfboards. I sit down. An oversized coffin makes its way through the gates. This could be him. However, its abnormal width is causing me a few concerns. I sit there nervously, not wanting to make eye contact as the stand-up paddleboard rolls closer. A moment passes, then, to my relief, he’s greeted by nonjudgmental family members. Getting seen with one of those strapped to my car is something I wish not

>>Josh & Matt. [RON]

TRIPPIN THE LIGHT FANTASTIC ¤ SLIDE ¤ 39


>> Early morning surf check | Black Swamp. [RON]

endure. A few more contenders come through the gates. Then, finally, we’re on the road, discussing in depth the state of the newly refurbished terminal. Our destination is somewhere between Mangawhai Heads and Te Arai Point. Attractive white-sand beaches that, on their day, can produce impressive pastures for leisurely aquatic pursuits. It had been about five years since I had ventured up this way. From memory we were heading to ... just right of the middle of nowhere. No stores, fickle waves, lots of gravel roads, and hours of trippin’ back and forth between spots. Al Ashworth had a similar to-do list as mine. He had earlier been to the airport to pick up the young American longboarding sensation Joe Aaron, his father Aaron Patrick, and photographer Greene. We were to meet them at Waipu Cove, one of the original surfing hotspots of the region from back in the ’60s, where Sean Mattison—who had been here for a couple of weeks prior, lending his surf coach expertise to the USA team at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships—and Tim Andrews, the gentleman about to redefine the term hospitality, had been waiting for most of the day. By the time we arrived, everyone else was in the water, and it was a far cry from the waves that had been reeling off the rocky outcrop from the morning’s reports. Al had donned his rugby head gear and taken to the water with his housing. Not even our frantic dash to shore upon the mad ramblings of the guy who’s either A) really good at acting, B) a lunatic, or C) actually did just see a shark, was going to stop him from getting “the shot.” Tackling practice for Al was about to take on a whole new perspective.

With everyone settled in, we’re taken up to the main house where we meet Tim’s family—a family, it seems, that is out to blow us away each and every day by the selfless acts of hospitality that unfold over the next week. A feast befitting a tribal ceremony follows. A true kiwifashioned barbecue to welcome our international guests. Steaks the size of basically great big bloody steaks and scintillating side dishes conjured up by Tim’s wife, Vicky, were washed down with good old kiwi ale. Things don’t get much better than this. Or do they? The next morning, the early risers returned reporting uncrowded waves with potential at the end of the road. We loaded a vast and varied assortment of boards into the vehicles and ricocheted from pothole to pothole towards the ocean. The forecasted swell was starting to gather momentum. Cylindrical peaks could be seen playing hide-and-seek up and down the wide expanses of desolate beach. Mattison and Smashworth were on it, their height diminishing by the minute as they power-walked towards a peak that seemed far too distant for the rest of the group’s liking.

As the light diminished we convoyed south back to our temporary abode for the next week. A call had come through and our crew was about to be bolstered with the addition of Nava Young—daughter of Australian surfing icon Nat Young, plus her boyfriend, Taylor Jensen—here hoping to make it two from two in his domination of our national longboard circuit competitions. The upcoming contest further north the following weekend would pretty much be as good as his as soon as he signed the entry form. Arriving at Tim’s property, which spanned across some 20 acres of mandarin trees down towards the Pacific Ocean, we’re not exactly doing it tough, occupying a classic old kiwi beach house. Our wide range of surfing craft sprawled out on the lawn compliment the fine array of vintage craft that line Tim’s rafters.

40 ¤ SLIDE ¤ TRIPPIN THE LIGHT FANTASTIC

>> Diversity. [RON]


>> Taylor | Waipu Cove. [RON]

>> Taylor | Maori Bay. [AL]

>>Sean | Black Swamp. [AL]

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>>Joe | Black Swamp. [RON]

>>Josh | Black Swamp. [AL]

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Rubbing our backs and eyes on arrival, the mirage proved in fact to be real. The Sean Mattison show had begun. Lightning quick and explosive through every turn, Surf Coach USA certainly practices what he preaches. Driving his 4-fin EPS creation into, over, and around every draining peak that came his way en route to lining up Al for “the shot.” Josh was working waves through to the beach with big hits and tiptrickery to match, and Joe was definitely in motion on the 6’4” single-fin he had shaped. However, seeing what can only be described as a twig, in comparison to Taylor’s towering height, being put through one turn, in particular, proved to be the highlight for me. A lightning-quick example of speed, control, and release. The view from the back of the wave being fluidly sliced during his grab-rail cutback on his alaia was unlike anything I had ever witnessed in real-time before. Surfing was soon the furthest thing on anyone’s mind as Vicky laid out another mind-boggling spread for lunch. Now, any aspiring surfer’s girlfriends or wives out there could really learn a lot from Vicky. While there is nothing better than coming in from a hard day’s surfing to a delectable smorgasbord of fine cuisine, going that little bit extra with litres of freshly squeezed mandarin juice was simply in a class of its own, the after-lunch vibe being accentuated by the fine acoustic talents of one Nava Young and her wooing, salty lullabies. As the new day dawned, certain similarities had begun playing out from an old film I had recently watched: The Fantastic Plastic Machine. It would appear that not much has changed since the days the American Windansea club members descended temporarily upon our shores in the late ’60s. The film’s claim of rain 150 days a year in New Zealand no doubt shall be endorsed by the newly formed synchronized swimming team of Nava Young and Taylor Jensen. Hailing from relatively dry climates, you can imagine their excitement as they awoke midway through the night to find that precisely two times that of California’s annual rainfall had made its way into their tent. The drought was officially over. The forecasted good times ahead were causing us to quickly cast doubt upon the forecasters themselves, as water and winds began descending from an undesirable direction. The following days were not looking promising. It seemed that what was predicted the week before was just an elaborate ploy to keep the crowds down on the other coast, perhaps. Keeping in the tradition of The Fantastic Plastic Machine, we seemed to be reliving the not-so-fabulous pursuit of driving up and down the coastline only to be skunked in the wave department. Not even mildly amusing in the ’60s, this had led them to call their time in New Zealand “The Endless Bummer.”

>>Baylys Beach. [AL]

>>Sean | Waipu Cove. [RON]

TRIPPIN THE LIGHT FANTASTIC ¤ SLIDE ¤ 43


>>Sean | Black Swamp. [RON]

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>>Sean | Spring Von Sol garden campaign. [AL]

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Days of driving literally in wayward circles ensued. Two days in a row we got no fulfillment out of driving hours towards a destination only to get a call from someone to turn around and head back to where we started due to either too much or too little swell. For those not born in New Zealand, this provided to be a great opportunity for living out lifelong fantasies of traipsing through picturesque fields with nothing but the company of their trusty surfboards and mystical sheep. Whilst we got mediocre surf on those occasions, at least somebody’s dreams were coming true. We make another impromptu sidetrack on one of these meandering days to the small coastal township of Ruakaka. We’re seeking a knowledgeable source who might be able to shed some light on a mysto spot a couple of hours’ drive north. We’re soon transfixed upon the intricately detailed workings of master craftsman Roger Hall, who took a decent chunk out of his day to show us through his impressive factory; the wooden side of operations is of fascination, and the complexity and time involved perplexes us all. Roger’s enthusiasm and passion for finely crafting something more akin to a work of art is strongly evident. It would be a safe bet to say the prospect of bettering his craft is admirably motivating him much more so than the almighty dollar. He takes us to the glassing bay, where one of his latest design prototypes is holding centre stage. The glassed flex-tail is nearing completion, about to accompany him across the ditch to the upcoming Alley Fish Fry, where he hoped to converse with other like-minded conversationalists about design and stuff. He talks of the advantages of the unique tail, as it holds in through radically steep drops, and the benefits the design affords. Lurid images consume our minds. Enough is enough—we need to get wet ASAP. In theory, one of the beauties about New Zealand’s narrow coastline is that the majority of it is accessible by car relatively quickly. If you’re willing to drive, it’s possible to score good waves on one of the coasts with a bit of local knowledge and luck. Close to two hours later we were back in Auckland to sample the west coast wilderness of Maori Bay. The solid swell had dropped just enough for defined peaks to come into their own, offering long left and right peaks to the crew. The midweek crowd was manageable but we still opted to leave the premium left peak to those already on it. We took up residence on an empty, bowling right under the impressive motutara stack that, for half the year,

is residence to a migratory gannet colony. The pungent, fishy aromas emanating from the stack above lured our thoughts towards what hungry members of the marine fraternity might be lurking beneath. Thankfully the consistent rolling items of interest above the surface soon put any trepidation on hold, as workable walls turn up in force to join the party. Log, High-Performance, Fish, and Wood... they catered suitably well to us all. Once going, Joe Motion would transform into motionless Joe as he perched, glued to the nose under curling lips before whipping his board up and around, into trim again to perform his next act of wizardry beneath the towering cliffs. Mattison jumped with ease from one board to the next, tearing the wave to shreds on his quad before commandeering my new “Del” log to bust out Phil Edwards-esque style bottom turns and top turns. Josh was hitting it hard, while Nava, opting to surf the long left peelers down the bay, could easily be seen from our vantage point, gracefully working her board from tip to tail and back again. Taylor demonstrated his interchangeable talents, switching from foam to wood with ease. He was blowing minds on whatever craft he chose to slide. With the images nailed, old Ron decided he’d earned himself a surf and had those of us changing at the top of the car park taking note of his act. However, visiting Ron’s admirable etiquette and prowess seemed to cause a little commotion in the ocean. A distinctive surfer with an unusually wide stance and uncanny ability to wiggle whilst maintaining a radically low centre of gravity had taken off on Ron’s wave—again. Being the nice guy that he is, Ron decides to kick out, spinning his board expertly up and over the wave on a dime. Unfortunately the guy in front had somehow managed to force his body even lower on one side, which fostered the beginnings of a new course reminiscent of a cutback towards Ron and his swiftly swinging longboard. Oblivious to his blatant drop-in, the guy must have taken offense to Ron’s board restyling his hair as it whisked past his head in a manner that Dora himself would have been proud of. An hour or so later, tensioned questions were still being asked in the car park as to who “that American” was out there?

>>Roger Hall | Ruakaka . [RON]

46 ¤ SLIDE ¤ TRIPPIN THE LIGHT FANTASTIC


>>Taylor | Maori Bay. [RON]

>>Tools. [RON]

>>Wood. [RON]

>>Sean | Maori Bay. [RON]

TRIPPIN THE LIGHT FANTASTIC 造 SLIDE 造 47


>>Nava | Maori Bay. [AL]

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>>Josh | Takatu. [AL]

>>Joe | Waipu Cove. [AL]

>>Matt | Maori Bay. [AL]

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>>Josh | Maori Bay. [AL]

>>Sean | Mangawhai. [AL]

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>>Nava | Maori Bay. [AL]

>>Joe | Maori Bay. [AL]

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Waking the next day to find no improvements in the wind on the east coast, we head off on yet another gas-guzzling conquest to the west coast. This time opting to head north along the Kauri Coast to Dargaville, the kumara-growing capital of New Zealand that was once a thriving logging centre. Crossing the swiftly flowing Wairoa River that was once used to float massive tree logs downstream to shipbuilders, we journey through Dargaville and outwards to Baylys Beach. Our first glimpses of the ocean draws sighs from us all as our hearts sink with what seems another failed mission. Tiny windblown peaks dribbled up and down the wide expanses of drivable beach, with the only amusement from the conditions being had by the kite fishermen utilizing the gale-force offshores to blow their kites beyond the surf line into the deeper waters of more sizable fish. With the low tide just turned, we drive onto the beach itself with no dramas, the hard-packed sand stretching out almost the size of a football field. We head south past a few random rock formations in the sand for a few miles, scanning the shoreline for a shred-suited peak. We discover a right which is deemed to have potential, but with nobody making much of a move to get out there, we head back to where we started. Then back to where we just were. We’re instructed to make the most of it before the tide gets too high and we risk getting trapped by the tide. The rip running through the peak was producing an intense little wedging right through the shorebreak, which is convincingly pronounced by a certain photographer to surely get better as the tide pushes in. The certain peak prospector was so on the money that he may want to lend his skills to more lucrative oil prospecting endeavors in the future. As the tide inched further towards the van, the folding oceanic sheets of green gold got bigger and better. The strong offshore wind and current cutting back through the peak was forcing the waves to run and fold an increasing distance. Josh and Mattison were getting some impressive tube time. We kept a watchful eye on the shore for panicking photographers ready to high-tail it out of there, but everyone’s demeanor appeared normal. Eventually stoked and surfed out, we loaded the van. The berm had definitely become narrower but it looked like we would make it out of there just in time. Peering out the port window

it seemed the surf was now surging a lot more. The sets had become a continual push with the tide. Up ahead, one of those rock formations we barely noticed on the way in was now trapping our departure. The surges of whitewater pinballing between the rocks were definitely a concern. There was no visible route through, and if there was one we’d have to do some radical driving to avoid getting beached by the next surge. Al jumped out and ran through a possible route using hand gestures and clown dances to the best of his ability. You couldn’t help but feel for Tim and his work van. Things had definitely taken on a more serious tone with the prospect that we literally might be going surfing in his van for the last time. Taylor was driving up behind us, but you wouldn’t have been able to do anything but laugh had the brand new wagon loaned to Taylor been shipwrecked. Taylor had been scratching his head most of the week why a car company would loan a surfer a brand new $60,000 car to use while he was here. The exposure they were hoping to get was no doubt more of the feel-good vibe of having a world-class athlete being seen driving their heavily branded vehicle. The imminent exposure of said branded vehicle to the elements of the Tasman Sea as it rusted and decayed becoming a new feature of the coastline was probably not what the marketing department had forecasted. The wait for a recess in the surge seemed to take forever. Tim must have felt the time was right. The water had barely receded, but it was now or never as he pushed the accelerator to the floor. A couple of hard swings of the steering wheel to the direction of Al’s crazy gestures and we’ve somehow hit the open road again. Leaving Al behind to coach Taylor thru the rocky chicanes, we’re on a mission to make it back to higher ground. The cafe at the top of an elevated hill about two kilometres from the beach appears to be safe from the rising tide. We wait there for Taylor and order lunch whilst we bask in the glory that the van is unscathed, negating the need of a rather long walk home.

>>Sean | Mangawhai. [AL]

52 ¤ SLIDE ¤ TRIPPIN THE LIGHT FANTASTIC


>> Joe | Baylys Beach. [RON]

>>Josh | Baylys Beach. [AL]

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>>Tim | Black Swamp. [AL]

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>>Max | Forestry. [RON]


>>Sean | Forestry. [AL]

>>Serenity. [RON]

On the final few days, the crew is dispersed in different directions, with Taylor and Nava heading north to Sandy Bay for the contest. Josh, unable to resist letting Taylor ride shotgun to the winner’s cheque, also jumps in for the ride. The rest of us explore the surrounding beaches and lap up the unrelenting hospitality of the Andrews family. The sudden abatement of wind one sunny afternoon provides enough motivation for Tim to launch into a late-afternoon fishing trip. Between catching enviably sized fish, those that make the nautical journey are dually blown away by the scenery and serenity of it all. The edible trophies are soon smoked, to be devoured over the final meal in the Andrews household. Looking at the impressive spread, you could say the diverse array of fish on offer perhaps signifies all the varied choices of oceanfaring craft that have come together making up our group’s surf-entity. Slightly different life forms inhabiting the same space, all swimming pleasantly together. But that’s just getting kinda deep. >>Ron. [SEAN]

TRIPPIN THE LIGHT FANTASTIC ¤ SLIDE ¤ 55

ISSUE 16 SAMPLE Trippin The Light Fantastic  

Slide #16 - We are stoked to present this latest issue to you, a tasty mélange of wide- reaching tales that span from far north to deep sout...

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