Sunday, December 19, 2010

::Reef break Handplaning::

Some of the nicest handplane footage I've seen... bodysurfing a ledgey reef break on the northern beaches of Sydney called LA... I'm told that before body boards and shortboards swept onto the scene it was the old bellyboards/ paipos and bodysurfers that dominated this break...

Its a millpond out there today..but with a 4-6ft swell coming in from the south this week...its time to get limbered up...There is no better xmas present than a good swell...

Friday, December 17, 2010

::Why I Bodysurf::

...."I’ve confused my friends on many occasions by grabbing a handplane and fins on a perfect day, instead of a surfboard. “Why don’t you surf out here? Look how perfect it is!” My reply is always similar, “Sure, it’s perfect. Perfect for bodysurfing.”....Mark Lukach

Mark knows it... we know it... You know it... bodysurfing is just too much fun... Published on the surf commentary website, Mark has given his personal testimonial about his love of bodysurfing...

You need to read this. "Why I Bodysurf"

Our smile got bigger and bigger as we read.. San Francisco to Sydney... It's all the same...

Photo: Nick Allen/

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

::Wrapped in Neoprene::

Bodysurfing in a wetsuit... Never tried it so I wouldn't know, but really? Can it be as good?...

Mr Nick Allen thinks so as his beautiful photos show...His photos really capture the bodysurfing experience as it is at sea level..

I encourage you to check out his work.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Double hand planes..

bodysurf till your face goes numb.

..gotta get me some of these..

Saturday, November 27, 2010

::WOmP aRT ::

The lengths some people go to to get perspective.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

::Surf - Shooting::

Tanna, Tommy (c1869- ?)
Tommy Tanna, a South Pacific Islander, is widely credited with introducing body surfing, or surf shooting, to Australia in Sydney around 1890. Little is known about Tanna, including his real name and his place of origin. ‘Tommy Tanna’ was a common nickname for any Kanaka male, derived from the fact that a significant proportion of indentured labourers in Australia came from the island of Tanna in the South Hebrides, now part of Vanuatu.
In his recollections, Arthur M Lowe says that Tommy Tanna was employed as a gardener for the Moore family of Manly around the late 1880s and 1890s, where he lived in well-kept quarters at the bottom of the garden at ‘Tramore’, corner of Addison Road and Darley Road. Tanna fished and swam at South Steyne daily before 7am, when beach inspectors enforced the by-laws prohibited daylight bathing. His routine was to check
his self-made, basket, fish traps, put in a rock pool any fish caught, rebait (with rump steak) and reset traps, and then dive from Rocks Point at South Steyne to swim and surf-shoot. Lowe met Tanna through his school friend Eric Moore when he was ten years old, in about 1889, and describes him as follows: ‘He was about 20 odd years of age [in 1889], with a good-looking Islander’s type of face, fairly tall, with an athletic figure, and close crinkly hair’. Tanna taught Lowe and Eric Moore how to shoot waves from the deep water at South Steyne. Lowe wrote that Tanna’s shooting style always involved a degree of swimming, unlike the ‘perfect shooting’ developed later in Manly. Tanna taught others to body surf, including, it is thought, Fred C Williams. Swimming identity Arthur Rosenthal wrote that a South Sea Islander
introduced surf shooting to Williams, who in turn taught a new generation.

Source: Biographical Dictionary for Manly

Friday, November 12, 2010

Issue 4

If you haven't taken a few moments to check out Ryan Heywoods online magazine..well..your loss.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A new film from Ryan Thomas

A beautiful opening sequence of a bearded wave warrior slipping across a wave embedded in the curl. This is the sort of body surfing we dream of:

TRAILER #2: Temporal Collections... In the General Vicinity of Inner & Outer Space from R.T. on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wish you were Here

Shooting the Breakers, Manly, circa 1905.
Hall & Co.
Hall & Co. Postcard.

Body surfing at Manly Beach, circa 1905.
Postmarked February 1908.

Info and Photo from One of the best websites ever.. go have a look around.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back in the Day...

...turns out it never really went away
Skimboarding.. the best fun we can have with a shorebreak....except bodysurfing of course...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Thomas does images... good ones.. he has a bigger version of this on his little blog.
go look.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Enjoy The Ride from Ed Lewis on Vimeo.

If you can't tell...we are getting a little obsessed with handplanes at the moment..

yeah yeah

more youtubin..

synth-o-matic soundtrack... early Mark Cunningham.. noice

A Brokedown Melody

If you haven't seen it...see it... then try what you've seen.

The Brown Fish Handplane Project

In the same vein as the movie "Single Fin: Yellow", Brownfish Handplanes is looking to send one of their vessels around the world with a gopro camera attached.. 22 bodysurfers - 22 short films.. should be good!

The Brown Fish Handplane Project

Jason Hall from Daily Bread has organised a great little project. A keen bodysurfer, Jason is sending a Brown Fish Handplane, fitted with a GoPro Camera, on a round the world bodysurfing journey. Over the next year the handplane will make 22 stops across the globe, and 22 bodysurfers will create 22 short films of the waves they ride.

I've put my hand up to be one of the Australian filmers, as have four other fellas - g'day Peter, Lachlan, Duncan and Mateo!

The handplane will begin it's journey soon and you can keep track of it, and also view the incoming footage, on Daily Bread or here at Swellnet.//STUART NETTLE

reposted from:

Testing of the rig down at the Wedge.. ... we dig the low emersed perspective..

The pros and cons

reposted from

nice little blog... loved this little wrap up of the pros and the cons.. we can relate.

This past summer my wife and I drove across country to my home state of Delaware. One of the many positives to come out of that trip is that while I was home, I grabbed a pair of Churchill swim fins that I have owned for probably 15 years to bring back to San Francisco. The subsequent result has been a personal revolution of the wave-riding experience.

I first bodysurfed Ocean Beach in August on a mid-sized, funky day. I hadn’t bodysurfed in quite some time, but had an absolute blast. There is something profoundly different about riding a wave without a board, and I loved it. Since then I’ve probably bodysurfed about a dozen times at Ocean Beach, and have became so enamorate with it that I put a hand plane, specifically one made by SF surfboard shaper Danny Hess, on my Christmas list. I got what I wanted.

I’ve been posting about my bodysurfing experiences on Stoke Report, and have gotten a lot of questions, so I thought I’d address them here in more depth…why I like bodysurfing, some of the differences between bodysurfing and surfing, gear, you name it.

First off, a few disclaimers. Bodysurfing is no joke. I love it, but I also speak as a guy who grew up swimming competitively, and I still coach swimming and water polo. Surfing at Ocean Beach is an exhausting experience; bodysurfing at Ocean Beach ratchets the physical demands up a notch. The fins certainly help, especially when duckdiving. When a wave comes through, you just swim down to the bottom and wait it out. However, you are constantly swimming. There is no board to sit on or rest on, and so it’s tough. The rip tides don’t disappear when you’re bodysurfing, so if you want to give it a shot, make sure you are comfortable with your swimming ability. This addresses a point someone asked me about getting cold. You’re fully in the water the whole session, but since you’re moving the whole time, you stay just as warm as you would while surfing, if not more so.

Pro’s of Bodysurfing
-I like that it’s a little bit more demanding physically than surfing. I get a more complete work-out, and I like the feeling of having to drag yourself out of the water from being so surfed-out.
-Surfing is extremely fun, especially when the waves peel and offer long rides. However, there are often times conditions when surfing isn’t that fun. For example, when waves close-out (meaning, the whole wave breaks at once), there’s not much to do when you surf, and often times you can break your board in these circumstances. Bodysurfing was made for close-outs. Without having a big board attached to your leg by a leash, you don’t have to worry about getting smacked by your board or breaking it when you pull into thumping close-outs. As a result, pretty much every wave that you ride turns into a barrel. Most of them close-out, but they’re still barrels, and there’s nothing sweeter than looking into a barrel. Believe me. Nothing sweeter.
-It’s beautiful to glide down the face of the wave more-or-less face first. The whole experience seems amplified. So much of my body is on the face of the wave, it seems like a more intimate experience with the wave’s energy.
-Hand plane bodysurfing adds a whole new dimension. My first half dozen sessions were naked–not literally naked, but it was just me, my wetsuit, and fins. A typical ride, especially on big days, was to skip down the face of the wave, tuck into the barrel once I hit bottom, and enjoy the view as the wave ate me for lunch. A hand plane makes waves much more manageable. When you bodysurf, your body creates a tremendous amount of drag, and so it’s hard to get a lot of speed…hence getting crushed in the barrel so regularly. However, with a hand plane, the plane of your hand becomes 3 times as big, and you find yourself pushing your body up out of the water, and creating a ton more speed. Your speed becomes almost the exact same as that of the peeling wave, and as such, you stay slotted in the barrel for a while. Surfers have to stall to get into the barrel; while hand planing, you just go, and you’re in, and can often come out. I am surprised by how long my rides have been since I’m hand-planing, sometimes lining all the way up into the inside. Just as long as on a surfboard. So with a handplane, not only do you get epic barrels, but you can actually get some long rides too.
[A note about hand planes: you can experiment with many different objects as hand planes. As a kid, I saw a guy who rounded out the nose of a broken surfboard as his hand plane. I've used flip-flops before, and I've definitely seen cafeteria trays used. The DIY nature of hand planes is totally epic, but I must also say, wave riding with a beautiful wooden hand plane crafted by a masterful carpenter like Danny Hess is also pretty epic.]
-The wave count is higher. I think it’s almost a 1:2 ratio. For every one ride I get in a typical surfing session, I get two rides in a bodysurfing session.

Con’s of Bodysurfing
-The other afternoon I was out on a fairly crowded day, and it’s pretty clear that bodysurfers get treated like 2nd-rate citizens in the line-up. I got dropped in on, a lot. It was my wave, I was making the drop, and just ahead of me a surfer who thought I wasn’t going to make it looks me right in the face as he drops in to snake it. So it goes. I still got a ton of waves–mostly medium-sized waves that guys paddle for and just barely miss. And towards the end of the session, as people would notice that my rides were legitimate and weren’t just quick close-outs, I ended up getting a bit more respect. But I know I’ll get snaked again.
-The poundings can be downright dirty. As a thrill-junky, I don’t mind getting rattled, I think that’s half the fun, but holy crap can you get hammered. It’s all about the take-off, and the problem is two-fold. If you make the drop and take it too vertically, and don’t angle it enough to stay with the wave, you end up getting ahead of the lip. One of two things will happen. The first is that the lip will land directly on you, usually somewhere in your lower back, and the wave will violently try to rip you in half. The second thing that can happen is that you actually get fully in front of the lip, and it breaks immediately behind you. When this happens, you often times get fully launched out of the air….like, end up flopping your arms and legs around while you are airborne, as the wave throws you at its mercy. On one particularly memorable wipe-out I literally got water pushed under my eyelids while getting dragged under water. How’s that for the power of the ocean.
-I think a testament to the last statement is the fact that you get a ton more sand in your ass when you bodysurf. You just do.

As it says on Danny Hess’ website in his hand plane section, “I’ve occasionally had a bad time surfing, but I’ve never had a bad time body surfing.”

If you are considering giving it a go, I say do it. It’s incredibly fun. Fins aren’t too expensive, all the brands are pretty good. I’ve always used Churchills, for the almost two decades I’ve been bodysurfing, mostly because when I was a kid I saw Pointbreak and I thought the scene where the guy goes skydiving with Churchills was awesome. There are little mini-leashes that you can attach to your fins so that if they slip off your feet, they are still dangling around your ankle, which I think are a good idea. I’ve definitely had my fins ripped off my feet during some poundings.

Hope to see many of you out in the water, especially if you give bodysurfing a shot.

Now go check out the blog

Friday, October 8, 2010

Poking around

© 2010 within waves | photography by nick allen
...and in other news...introducing the ...Handplane Flexspoon

My new favourite blog...have a look...starting here...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The view from under the waves

Photographer Mark Tipple speaks about the Underwater Project:

"I've always been intrigued by what happens below the surface, like what's happening where we can't see." While watching the slide-show on Mark's laptop I'm amazed at the detail of this 'other world' that's portrayed with his selection.

As an accomplished documentary photographer, in the past Mark has used the ocean as an escape for some solace away from his projects. Lately, while between projects he's been "hanging out" below the surface trying to capture what happens while swimming on a slow summer's day.

"Coming from a surfing background I used to wonder what happens when we're duck-diving, like, what it looks like from a different angle than what we can see. Kinda hard to explain but it has always been on my mind. I used to surf with a small video camera and housing attached to my helmet, (pauses) it worked surprisingly well but my neck couldn't take the impact and stress while trying to duck-dive and capture the right angle. Even tried to turn it back on myself to see what happens clearer but that, uh, sucked (laughs). I looked for a new approach to capture what I was seeking, which basically meant getting off the surfboard."

Monday, April 19, 2010


A cracking video of some beautiful bodysurfing in tasty waves, complete with a few barrels and even a nice dolphin takeoff.. about 5 minutes worth

Bodysurfing in Taiwan

All credit to

check it out!