I have always been fascinated by the sea and especially waves, add the sunrise and you will find my perfect start to the day. Whether I am on it or watching it, there is no difference.
Well how did this all start?
When I was a baby I was only quiet with movement, music or sunshine. In the summer I was placed on the waters edge where I would sit cross legged or crawling around until I fell asleep. Normally curled up with our dog Amber. I have been told that I was placed in a boat when I was 3 and tied to the mast so I did not fall out. Obviously it did not take long before I was playing in the waves on the shore, probably starting to really go in them around 5 years old.
You can imagine what this looks like to a baby.
This is how I spent my summers. Taking this photo brought back happy memories.
When I was 9 years old I went to a public sports school on the Isle of Wight, where we did at least 2 hrs of sport every day. It was a school where they encouraged you to be very active outside. This is where my true learning and love of the sea started. We had our own private beach, safety and sea awareness was taught from day 1. Part of the curriculum was swimming and life saving for those that were water minded.
This is also where I started my sailing, being taught traditional seamanship. This is in my blood. From the day I was born, I was on my grandfathers lap while he was doing rope work. You can see that I must have learnt something.
We also had hobby afternoons where I learnt many traditional hand crafts. My art side was encouraged and developed.
When I was 13 years old I started to help and teach beginners in the sailing school in my summer holidays. I would also do a lot of racing. A typical week was Saturday morning training with an afternoon race. Sunday morning racing and then the Tuesday evening series in Cowes. Sometimes I would also do the Thursday evening series as well but that depended on the activities at the sailing school.
My constant question was can I try this?
I was very lucky and the answer was always yes. I learnt many sports, taking some of them to a high level. But there was always the day where I had to choose which one I continued, as I could not do all. The answer was always the same………………. sailing of course.
So in my school years I did a lot of learning which gives you a very good background to teaching, having had many sports teachers.
On my 18th birthday I could finally be issued with my teaching certificates. I could teach at advanced sailing level. So when I left school I spent a gap year being an apprentice boat builder and running the beginner section at the sailing school. I also started my training to become a senior coach, which enabled me to teach instructors.
In 1978 I tried windsurfing for the first time when I was doing a teaching session at the National Sailing Centre. I was one of those sailors who was not convinced with windsurfing, they just kept on falling in. After trying it I was hooked and started teaching it in 1979.
Also in 1978 I went to Art College where I fell in love with Photography. I did not take up photography but chose to become an Interior Architect but it has always been my hobby.
Teaching windsurfing took over from teaching sailing. It was the start of a new sport. Looking back, we had no idea it would come so far.
This has to be photos from the early 1980’s
Like with sailing I went through all of my windsurfing certificates and became an RYA Trainer and Competition Coach. My boatbuilding and traditional sailing knowledge also helped me with being involved in the development of windsurfing.
This must be around 1986 with a revolutionary sail and one of my custom boards. I think the sail was a 3.2m, the make was Substad from America. Look how short the boom was. This made us think about changing the rocker and moving the mast foot back.
Development always coincides with all of the elements. The sail changes because of a change in a board, a board changes due to the change in the sail. The rider changes the way he uses the material, so again all changes. My development in teaching takes the same path.
In 1989 I moved to Lanzarote to open a windsurfing centre for an English company. Well I just fell in love with the island and it is where I call Home. I did not know it but it proved to be a huge change in my life. Freedom and time to explore and find out how things really work.
Lanzarote is the perfect Island for an Artist and Waterman, the light and water conditions encourage you to be creative and search for new possibilities.
I have enjoyed being involved with many people, board brands, sail development and clothing companies. Always windsurfing and technique has been the driving force.
Noah Voecker is one of the people I have enjoyed following and helping. Here he is in 2011, 12 years old. When he is on the water at his home spot I am often out taking photos.
Understanding board and sail control is done by doing manoeuvres . This is one of my moves that helped me understand, the Gecko………………………. technically it is delicate but what a wonderful feeling. You do not often see it being done on such a large board.
Always being one for trying new things. When someone says have a go at this, the answer is always yes. So using a surf ski or kayak in the surf became a passion. Another way to use a wave, a different perspective.
As a child I loved to fly kites, making my own and experimenting. Stunt kite flying and power kites became very popular. When the first kites came out to use on the water, of cause I had to have a go. Water skiing and wake boarding was already something that filled my no wind, no wave days.
In the early days it was very dangerous, I spent hours adjusting and working out safety systems and de-power options. Plus it was a sport I could really play around with boards to ride. Not just the classic surfboard or twin tip. The freestyle side of kiting was transferred over to my fascination with windsurf freestyle. The surfing side of kiting really helped me see and use a wave in a different way. You have the same speed but with windsurfing the sail often blocks your view of the wave, so you are going in blind.
Check out the side bar and find Photo Shoot. Kirsty Jones having fun on a photo shoot, world champion but most of all a very good friend. We still have a lot of fun on the water, she is a water women.
Then Stand up Paddle boarding came along.
Another amazing way to explore waves and be on the water in all conditions when there is no wind.
From my Kayaking skills this was a natural progression, paddling and surfing combined in one.
Again coming into this sport at the very beginning I have enjoyed the development. Of cause I played with board shapes but paddle shapes and steering strokes is what I enjoy the most. It is like meditation, using the power of the wave to get the glide then using the paddle to turn. Creating smooth transitions from side to side.
I often use a Gopro while on the S.U.P to capture images.
Again I enjoy showing the finer details of how this all works. Check S.U.P. turns on the side bar.
In the early days of internet I had a page on Broad Band Sports but unfortunately when they closed the site down, I lost 150 videos. (An archive that is sadly missed!) So in 2011 I opened my page on wordpress.com and became The Wave Hobbit.
I do not post on this site any more but it is a very important archive to keep online. There are many board tests, spot guides and instruction articles.
All of my life I have been giving demonstrations on how things work. Being small has sometimes given interesting challenges. Finding a board small enough to sink or trying to get a large board to turn. No wonder technique has been my driving force.
With the advance in computers and software, I spend hours analysing photos and video to help understand moves. Check out the video on the footer.
So where am I now?
Still on Lanzarote.
Still taking photos.
Still following people. Check the side bar.
Still driven by development.
And most of all, still on the water.
I hope you enjoy exploring this site.