news: surf shepard
Like many surfers, I tend to form an attachment to my various boards. They each hold memories for me of experiences, locations, moments in time – even individual rides on particularly joyous waves or spectacular encounters with ocean wildlife and visually stunning sunrises. Many of us (well, some at least) go so far as to name and decorate our boards to highlight their character.
As you may have guessed, I have a soft spot for the wonderful writings of AA Milne and the equally magnificent illustrations of EH Shepard – so a number (but not all) of my boards are named for characters from the Winnie the Pooh books. There’s Eeyore and Tigger, plus Pooh and Rabbit – though only the first two of these are yet decorated with my hand-cut vinyl decals (it’s a slow and fiddly process, especially as my eyesight deteriorates with time!)
Other times, I simply resort to good old-fashioned enamel paint (the tiny tins by Humbrol for Airfix plastic models are perfect), as shown on the ‘calligraphy’ Greek letter phi with which I decorated ‘Phi-Nix’ the 10′ 6″ ocean paddle board I rescued from the rocks after a big storm swell and brought back to life with many hours of repair and restoration.
Or if a board is simply not suited to either treatment, such as Honu (Hawaiian for turtle) the 7′ 6″ alaia I shaped by hand-plane from a solid blank of Paulownia timber – then what better way to show my care and respect than a sisal rope and cedar ‘sling’ to keep him looking beautiful and ready for the next day of perfect waves?