Success on the wave front

Seems watching the weather reports and getting an understanding of swell and wind patterns works…mostly….So, yesterday I took off to Tauranga Bay, which I thought was looking good according to the NZ Met office….the problem was that that particular bay is more or less a harbor, so it never gets any waves!

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Still…nice place to visit. However, a couple of bays over – Taupo Bay – is actually a very good surf beach and the conditions were great… a little dumpy, but pretty good.

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Taupo Bay is beautiful and it was an awesome day. My arms were pretty done from the day before at Shippies, so I lasted only an hour or so but it was good fun. After that I took off up 90mile beach with Samuel, a surfie I met at Shippies. 90 mile beach is a highway and great to drive on at low tide. We hit it at exactly the right moment. There were quite a few people out and about including a few families collecting shellfish…

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Then we drove up the river bed at Te Paki.

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And finally to Cape Reinga at the very tip of the North Island…the waves up there are crazy…I’m a newbie surfie and newly fascinated by waves., so forgive me for the gratuitous wave shots..

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Then today I went to Rarawa and the surf was also great and the day was luscious.

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So, checking swell and wind conditions against the optimum conditions for the surf beach has been pretty successful so far. The one lesson learned is just local knowledge – getting to know which beaches are good surf beaches to begin with…awesome…

Surfn Ahipara

I am a newbie surfer and these last months it’s been frustrating trying to get a good day surfing. NZ weather has been on and off this summer, but also I’m just starting to learn what weather makes for good surfing and where. It’s never a sure thing but people tell me it’s a surer thing than ‘just turning up’ which has been my strategy so far.

So, I thought I better make a go of it. I checked the weather for Sat, Sun. Mon this weekend and picked the spots. First day was a success! I spent the day at Shipwreck Bay, made famous for a scene in the most famous of surf movies ‘The Endless Summer’.

The conditions yesterday were pretty much the same as you see in the movie.

Here is a shot of the headland at Shippies, if you look closely to the right you can see the head of the wrecked steamer they refer to.

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Did you notice on the map in the film they spelled Auckland wrong 🙂 Also, they say Ahipara is on the east…wrong… Robert August, by the way, the tall dark headed chap in the movie, is living in Costa Rica and shapes custom boards. I was down there when I had my first real surf lesson last June and saw him around. I intend to go back and get one of his beautiful boards… they are classic 60s longboards… so beautiful! I love the ‘Falsa Balsa’.

Shippies, as it is known to the yokals, is found by Ahipara and so I rented a small room at a beach house here and spent yesterday surfing these lovely little waves, just right for a beginner. I was out for 4 hours or so and exhausted when I came in. I was asleep by 7.30pm (1930). 🙂

Anyways, today Shippies looks flat…plenty of locals out fishing though (it’s a Sunday).

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Today I plan to head down to Tauranga Bay in an hour or so for the next test of my newly found newbie weather skills. The wind has switched and Shippies is small and mushy, fine for swimming but no waves… so off to Tauranga Bay!

More pics of Tauranga Bay to come ..here’s more lazy Sunday Shippies pics for now…

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The Perpetual Nomad

I’m on the last stint of a 2 month mission-driven trip, taking my Shuttleworth Fellowship/Coko mission to the world. By the time it is concluded, (the last leg is Singapore which I leave for in a few hours), it will have included 3 continents, 5 conferences, funder meetings, partner meetings, the onsite facilitation of 2 publishing workflow products, some workflow consultancy, and the facilitation of a 3 day PubSweet meeting. Also, a large number of meetings, both remotely and onsite. This isn’t the first trip like this I have made this year. I asked Yannis and Jure from Coko how many months they think I traveled in total this year as they know all my movements. I thought it was around 5 months, but they both thought it was much more, perhaps 6-7. I dunno, can’t really be bothered working it out but that sounds about right.

It has been great, but also it is hard to do this without a cost. While work benefits, there is a personal cost – essentially you give up any idea of a normal life, and also you can expect a health cost. Traveling is hard on the body. You eat at odd times due to the constantly changing time zones, it isn’t always easy to eat well, you experience erratic sleeping patterns, the on-demand nature of socialising can wear you down, plus you can pretty much forget exercise (not to mention the cumulative total of 5 or 6 days that I have spent sitting still on planes this trip).

I have tried to work some exercise into this routine – namely surfing. I love it. Also, it’s one of the best ways to meet ‘normal people’ – people not connected to what I do. Sitting out the back of the wave you meet everyone from theology students to t-shirt designers to Department of Conservation workers. You don’t meet too many assholes 🙂 It is a nice way to just be a human amongst humans. Surfing is a really interesting sport. Out on the waves, you are just another surfer, enjoying surfing and nature together. Its good for the ego to be the clumsy schmuck who can barely stand on a 2ft wave! Surfing is pretty awesome. But it is not the most practical of sports! Also, it doesn’t always work out when planned – I stopped for a few days in Portugal to work and surf, and fell sick… This is often the case, that when you stop in the middle of a travel stint, your body gives up all defenses and you get sick. Over 2 months, I got about 6 or 7 surfs in, not nearly what I had imagined when I started out. So, I’ll have to look for something else to play that role.

Also, although I had time with friends and seeing some awesome people, when I look back, it is hard to see it as anything other than 2 months straight working. Seeing friends was squeezed into brief moments ‘in between’ when I could grab them. I also try to schedule in breaks now in long trips, but they don’t always pan out, I’ll keep doing it though as when they do work they can really help to refresh.

I’m not complaining! Just important to reflect upon this for myself.  I have thought I want to get more of a balance on my life and spend more time in some sort of ‘normality,’ but actually, when I look at next year’s calendar and muse on what’s going on, I count around a possible 15-20 Coko events excluding any conferences etc that we would be invited to. That’s at least 4 PubSweet community meets, plus a Coko team meet, plus some potential Editoria-specific community events, OS Bazaar events like the one we just did in Berlin, Open Source Alliance for Open Scholarship (Superfriends), and a large Coko publishing conf, PagedMedia meetings, plus I want to spend some 1-to-1 time with the crew in Athens and Slovenia and everywhere. On top of that, there are some things I really want to do such as visiting some of the Shuttleworth fellow Fellows for some potential collaborations which are looking pretty interesting. My first trip next year is Jan 10 (to keynote at a conf in Canada), it’s an early start and I don’t see me spending much of the two months after than in any one place. I mean… I ain’t complaining – it is my choice to do these things and I do it for a reason, I like to see the mission progress, and I like being in the middle of it all –  but also I actually don’t know how sustainable this pace is going to be anymore. Especially when I actually want more of a work-life balance. Tricky when your life has been your work/mission for 20 years (first as an artist, then open source, now open source/open access/open science) and you feel it is time to change gears. I mean, I know how to travel, and I have always held the position that you have to do whatever is necessary to further the mission, but as I get older (49 now) the toll of this kind of lifestyle is heavier.  So, I guess I’m going to have to do some thinking…

Anyho.. just pondering…I’m off to the airport now to fly to London (from Athens) so that I can fly to Singapore for a final conference. Then San Francisco on Thursday, a few days later I’ll be in NZ….tally ho!

So long Portugal

I’ve been hanging out in Algarve, Portugal for the last week. It is ‘between gigs’ and it was cheaper, and far less tiring, for me to stay somewhere in Europe rather than return to San Francisco and then, 5 days later, fly back to the EU. Anyho …some pics of the week… early in the week Yannis from Coko joined me and we went surfing, then I got sick for the rest of the week (darn!), but my buddy Enric (who I haven’t seen for some years) drove over from Barcelona to hang! Whoot! He’s a cool chap and doing a lot of cool things around facilitation and free culture… anyways, tomorrow off to London for a Coko event… pics….taken with a GoPro (trying it out)…

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