Monday, October 29, 2012

Sailing Anna Home

Heres a short video that I put together of myself and two good friends.
We brought sail yacht Anna up the coast of Ireland, from Blacksod Bay to Sligo Bay.
It was a rough day out there and I got so seasick I thought I was going to die so most of the filming credit goes to Willy Tindal.
She is a beautiful boat, and Im sure we'll have many more good times out in the bay next summer.

Sailing Anna Home from Barry Mottershead on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Since we landed..

Autumn in Ireland, what more can I say...

The light is amazing, long rays stretching through the trees, golden hues, warm breezes and pumping waves.
Since leaving Tasmania we've been really busy here, setting ourselves up for the winter.
Days have been filled with wood chopping, surfing, working and foraging shellfish and sun ripened berries.
We have been given the amazing opportunity of looking after a beautiful house, it overlooks an estuary so we can see the tide ebb and flow from the lounge window.
We've had some fun swells too, nothing major yet, no long spells of waves which are quite common with this time of the year but theres been the odd day thrown in if you're willing to drive and hike.

My brother Dave got married to the beautiful Daniela last week, so a bunch of us rented a house down in Co. Clare and partied, BBQ'ed and surfed for a long weekend. 

As luck would have it we coincided our visit with a mega swell courtesy of hurricane Raphael.
Lahinch was buzzing with people, jetskis and rhino chasers.
We managed to find a few waves down at the bottom of the cliff, amongst the crowds.
There were a few big beat downs on that swell, one tore my mate Roosta's hood clean in half and another hit me so hard it felt like my jaw came loose.

I got a lovely quiver from Luke Young, which I've really been enjoying. Its nice to surf some boards that are built to last, and can endure the heft of the Irish waters.

The leaves are still falling off the trees, and we're yet to have our first hard frost, but it wont be long now.
The evenings are long, and the clocks are about to go back. Almost time to hibernate for the winter!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Tripod from the Dump.

The day before leaving Raglan I was spinning out trying to find a video tripod for the trip to Tasmania.
In the end I drove up to the village dump and asked them if they had any old ones. The guy behind the counter produced a rusted, dirty old thing that had a wobbly head and cobwebs hanging off it.
The pricetag said $10, I bargained him down to $5.

Once at home I set about trying to fix the abused, rusted piece of junk using a drill, my trusty leatherman, some epoxy resin and a spirit level I achieved a decent enough pan and stuffed it in my boardbag hoping it would do the job once I reached my destination.

Fast forward two days and Eliz and I are jogging through the Eucalyptus forest at the bottom of Tasmania, trying to catch up to the rest of the guys. We were late arriving to the carpark and I had to screw in fins and wax my 6'6. The guys were amping to get out there and bolted down the trail, shouting back to us that we'd find our way.

The trail splits and forks a few times along the hour and a half hike and the only way we found our way was to follow the footprints in the mud when we came to forks in the path.

Eventually we arrived in the bay sweating, thirsty and scratched to pieces, the waves were pumping and the boys were already out there and I quickly looked for a vantage point for Eliz to film the session from before I paddled out. A ledge on a cliff face looked promising and we followed a faint goat trail up there no doubt left by another photographer in the past.

I pulled out the tripod and set up the camera lent to us by good friends Manu and Greg, and whilst I was showing Eliz how to pan on the jury rigged tripod a serious set started to stack up out the back. I hit record and watched Marti Paradisis paddle into his best ever paddle wave out there.

It was only days later whilst chatting to Marti on facebook that I said I filmed the wave and thought I nailed it. I sent him the clip and he replied saying that the other photographers there had missed it, or didn't have the right angles and could he use it.

Talk about beginners luck! Or maybe, as my dad always says "You make your own luck in life" and my fixing the decrepit tripod in a barn in Raglan was the catalyst to making this happen.

Anyway, today I got a mail from Marti saying were keen to use the clip for a feature. I had to smile, if only they knew the chain of events that went into capturing it and the shitty tripod that was used!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tasmania Trippin'

I just got back from a 'Strike Mission' to Tasmania, for a week of waves and exploring the island.

I must say that I've never flown into a country with the idea of surfing one swell and leaving again, in the past its been more the case of base myself there for a few months and wait for the sessions to happen naturally instead of trying to over plan and analyse everything.
I also thought that the interaction between me and the locals would be more in depth if I was immersing myself in the culture and the place over a period of time.
This past week has proved me wrong and I now have a bigger appreciation for those surfers lucky enough to have the time and money to execute strike missions to their favourite surf spots.

Myself and Eliz flew into Hobart around the same time that a big long range swell was hitting the island, and I was pumped to tow Shipstern Bluff, a wave I've dreamed of riding for a long time.
I had images of big ledges and huge barrels flying around my head as I waited for my boards to arrive off the carousel, and as the images began to fade so did my hope of seeing my boards. After numerous phone calls and lots of pacing around I was told the boards had been forgotten in Melbourne and I would have to wait until midday to collect them.
I was fuming but could do nothing, I sat and waited.

Once collected, I strapped the boards onto the rental and drove like a man possessed for the south of the island and the dirt carpark that I got to know very well over the coming week.

The 1 1/2 hour hike was done in record time and as I got my first view of the bluff and its dwarfed surfers I realised I was too late, the wind had swung cross shore and the skis were leaving the bay after a morning of epic surf. Absolutely gutted and sleep deprived I trudged back to the car and drove to the slipway to meet the guys and hear all about what I had missed.

I found them all eating in a local fish and chip shop and introduced myself to Marti Paradisis and the rest of the down to earth group. These guys are legends, just a bunch of friends who have a common love for this special part of the world, and who all have an affinity with Shippies that only years of dedication will foster.

We all hiked in the next day again as it was smaller, and I finally got to see what the wave looks like from up close. Intimidating.
After watching it for a while I skirted the cliff base and jumped in off the ledge, the boys were super cool and welcoming and I waited my turn watching the guys paddle big drops and cavernous barrels with ease.

Myself and a crazy Peruvian ... You want this one bru?!
It was a tame day by their standards, but for a Stern virgin like me I definitely had some butterflies. The bigger ones were the ones you wanted, but to sit under a 8-10ft ledge and just let go took some mental effort, the drop was pretty intense and then it just steam trains into the bay passed a boulder field that would happily swallow a surfer who can't negotiate the drop, and pull in over the ledges.

Me, feeling my way into the section, pre beat down.

It was a great first go out, and a humbling day for me in this powerful bay at the bottom of the world.

Tasmania is big, bigger than I thought. The locals are extremely proud of their island existence and are quite happy to be detached from the rest of Oz, and seem to revel in their heaving slabs and long lonely bushwalks. 

Most of the guys we met were fishermen, farmers, surfers, skaters or divers or a combination of all these.
It was so refreshing to meet people who know how good they have got it in life, and don't get jaded by their luck. 

Marti 'Para' Paradisis, no shit paddle attack.
Much of the week was taken up by walking in the bush or exploring down dirt roads. The dangling carrot was another tow size swell at the end of the week. Flights were rescheduled and the hire car secured for 2 more precious days.

Once more we started the hike in the freezing pre dawn light and the adrenaline was flowing, good times.

Word on the walk was that Tim Bonython had flown in to shoot the swell, and this raised my hopes of seeing some proper juice down at the end of the track.
Upon getting to the bay we were disappointed to see the swell hadn't really materialized like predicted and it was yet another paddle day, with a snapped 6'6 and only a tow board left, I sat on the rocks for 6 hours willing the swell to climb, but each set seemed to fade in energy and girth and by 14:00 it was time to pull the plug and get back to the airport.

After a week of hard missioning and many dollars spent it was a jagged pill to swallow, flying out skunked ... but the people we met, the sights we saw and the times we shared made it so worthwhile. 

Biggest thanks to the Shippies crew for taking us in, and showing us this special place.

Barry and Eliz.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Wooden Good'un..!

Three weeks ago I decided to document the building of an Alaia board.

I had a broken rusted tripod and a few POV cameras to use and asked my housemate Ryan if I could use his garage and tools.
The timber was delivered and work began, its amazing how quickly the board takes shape once the gluing process has been taken care of.

There are a few stages involved, and each one seemed to blend into the next quite seamlessly, the paulownia timber is amazing to work with, and is as light as a feather. The grain is a lovely sandy yellow colour and it really comes to life as you work. Power tools are overkill for the most part, and I found hand sanding was the best way to get a feel for the boards outline, rails and the all important concaves.

Once I was done sealing the board, I didnt surf it for a week as mother nature threw down a flat spell on Sydney, but when the day came it was perfect.
I had the local point which is normally packed all to myself for over an hour. I was definitely surprised at how easily the board paddles, and catching a wave is akin to doing it on a longboard.
Riding without fins is like nothing I've ever felt, such a weightless glide.
The timber absorbs all chatter off the face making for one of the smoothest feelings I've yet felt in surfing.

Today I saw the video is on Magicseaweed, as Video of the Day and 4500 people have watched it already. I hope its inspired some other people around the world to look into this sustainable form of wave riding.

Wood is Good.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Threads

I just got my first shipment of clothes in the door after signing with HippyTree clothing.

Im so stoked to be associated with this cool eco-conscious label as they design apparel that is built to last which is very important to me as so much clothing we see these days is made in toxic production lines with very little thought to quality.
They are also committed to softening their environmental impact by using organic / eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes.
Their clothing is inspired by nature, and is made for surfers, rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts.

For more on them and to check out their amazing prints and clothing go to

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ledge at the Edge.

I just got back from a little surf trip down south.

There was a small swell in the water and I saw a place on the map where the Australian continental shelf comes within a kilometer of the coast, so Eliz and I packed the van and started driving. We pulled off the highway and drove down a nondescript dirt road to the coast, bouncing through potholes and scraping the sides of the van on bushes and trees until we came out onto a grassy headland.

We set up right on the edge of the grass overlooking a pretty good looking setup and went to bed in the hope that morning would bring offshore winds and a bump in the swell.

We awoke to this:

It was good to mix it up again amongst some solid slabs, there was a penalty to pay for falling so threading the tube till the channel became the game.
I met a few local bodyboarders out there who said they normally surf it alone, and were happy to see some new faces in the line up, we traded barrels all morning until the tide got too low for me to make the end section over a button of rock, and I walked back to camp really content.

The next day it was cooking again, and Eliz and I paddled out for round two. She was charging and showed the boogies a thing or two about taking late drops, and backdooring the slabs.

Another day drifted away as we surfed our fill, until again the tide got too low. It was back to camp to check the beach break and make some lunch, read a book, do some stretching, etc.

We'll definitely be heading back to the Ledge at the Edge again soon, I want to see what it does when it gets bigger, the boogies also spilled the beans about some even rounder, better waves in the area so my eyes will be glued to the charts from now on.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Billabong XXL Ride of the Year Entry.

Just received the good news that a wave I rode at Mullaghmore this winter has been entered into the Ride of the Year category. Im so stoked and honoured to have been considered for this.
The cold, bleak waters of Mullaghmore feel a long way away from Sydney right now.

I owe a big thanks to this Atlantic onion, and also to my brother Dave for filming that day, and finally to Dylan Stott for driving me into this drainer...

Monday, January 23, 2012

One final mission.

Its was a fitting way to end the trip.

Rain smashing the windscreen, driving at snails pace around tight turns and braking for tractors, all the way to the secret beachy.
It was a nice walk in, well timed between squalls, and we found a cosy cave of bushes to light a fire beneath, toasted the wetsuits before donning them and paddled out into some heavy wedges.
Its been a fun trip back "home", definitely wouldn't class it in the epic category but there were a few diamonds in the rough.
So now, its time to pack my bags, scrape the cold water wax off my boards and hit the road for the Southern Hemisphere, Sydneys Northern Beaches will be home for the forseeable future.
Ive got a feeling I am the sacrificial lamb for the surfers who will be staying in Ireland, once I go the surf will pump. So enjoy it guys, catch you next time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Wild Wesht...erly

Opening car doors, going for walks, fixing surfboards, hanging up wetsuits, washing the jetski, cycling down the road are some of the things I would have taken for granted two months ago but now seem like a distant memory.
The wind has been howling for so long its actually like a cruel joke at this stage. Blame it on El Nino, La Nina whatever but we've been living in the North Atlantic jetstream this season and hell Im sick of it.
Ive seen so many days of solid waves smeered by this relentless gale.
Huge seas that have travelled so far to grace our shores only to be watched by red eyed surfers through windscreens of Transits and Transporters countrywide.
Its a shame because I cant remember the last time the charts dropped below 4 meters.

Oh well, time to put another log on the fire. Another shovel of coal. Turn up the volume on the radio to drown out the rattling of the window panes. It can only get better from here!
Thanks to Richard 'Stix' Johnson for the shot.