Endless Summer Fund-raiser for Scotland Surfing Team.

We’re so stoked to be able to provide a rare chance to see surfing’s most iconic and timeless movie in a great venue, on a huge screen and with awesome homebaking. Entry is by donation with 100% of proceeds going to the Scotland Surfing Team for the EuroSurf 2015 contest.

endlesssummerposter

Whatever you’re doing on Saturday 5th September – if it’s not this, then it’s time to change your plans! The film will appeal to surfers and non-surfers alike and is suitable for all ages.

Aloha,

B.

Want to get ahead?

This is a thing of beauty. This is home. Scotland’s for me.

Thanks, as ever, to the wonderful curators and cultural anthropologists at huck magazine for sharing.

enjoy!

B.

 

 

SUrf Camp 2015.

It’s hard to believe that it’s a year since I sat here typing words about a seemingly hair-brained idea that birthed a new friendship and a commitment to launch the inaugural SUrf Camp back in summer 2014.

Twelve months on and the lure of adventure, coupled with a large dollop of providence, saw a hand-picked team of awesome volunteers and a bunch of amazing teenagers from across Scotland, the South of England and, even, Switzerland immerse themselves in the antics of SUrf Camp 2015.

SUrfCamp15T

We had 50% more campers than last year, which meant splitting the group into morning and afternoon surf sessions and simultaneously running a menu of activities back at camp.  I have a great selection of polaroid pictures in my mind of: an impromptu ceilidh; some dare-devil sand-dune surfing; an innovative home-made water slide; a crazily competitive game of girls against boys football with the biggest inflatable ball known to man; faces exhausted and crying with laughter on inflatable obstacle courses;  a large aerial art-attack project involving squirting paint from a zip-wire slide; exploring some trails on mountain-bikes; learning as Alasdair from Surfers Against Sewage presented about the problems of marine litter followed by everyone rolling up their shirt-sleeves only to be dumbfounded at the amount of micro-plastics we found on a, seemingly, clean beach.

Most of the teenagers hadn’t surfed before and it was awesome to watch the daily Go-Pro footage of how everyone gave it 110%.  Whilst the filming from the start of the week would be appropriately sound-tracked by “Wipeout!”, the confidence and ability of the group improved markedly by the day as the waves also got bigger. There were big smiles, slides, glides, hi-fives and a few impressive tricks in the “expression sessions”. Then, of course, there was a memorable coasteering session where people launched themselves off rocks in to the sea.

Personally, I took such delight in watching some of my friends at Coast 2 Coast surf school invest so personally and to offer such specific advice and encouragement to each individual.  It was really awesome, once again, to see people from different parts of my life coming together to help make something good happen.

The theme of the week was “I Am Here: Here Am I”.  There was a recognition that just because someone attends a Scripture Union holiday, it doesn’t mean they necessarily share the same experience or beliefs as some others on the camp.  With that in mind, our evening sessions considered stories from the bible involving water and people’s encounters with God at those times.  At first glance many of these stories sound like the childish things many of us associate with Sunday School involving the characters of: Noah; Moses; Johah; Jesus and; Peter.  The aim was to explore how we interpret those stories and to see what application there could be for life in our very different looking society today.  As well as exploring these ancient stories, most of the team leaders briefly shared something of their own stories too – some of events over many years, some of occurrences in recent days or weeks or months. Those stories were left to drift during the week for people to explore or dismiss.

We had small group times each evening where we chatted about life and encouraged a natural conversation about how the themes of the week were engaging with people and what they themselves thought. We were there to listen as much as to talk and I think those times were precious.

The week ended, as all such weeks should, with a ho-down late at night on the beach with a camp-fire blazing and sending embers and sparks skyward like our thoughts and hopes and fear and dreams and prayers.

It was so good to work in partnership and a huge thanks is due to everyone who got on-board.  As the Christian Surfers UK motto for 2015 reads, “Working together: achieving more”.

This little video edit prepared by JW ought to give you a flavour of things.

Till next year – stay stoked!

B.

 

“…Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path…”

Every now and again God gifts me a lived-out experience of an abstract concept within his word. We recently had one of those times, and I am still learning from it. Mostly I have been realising afresh that following Jesus means that the step of obedience is the one just in front of me that I can see. I am learning to take one step at a time, and to have faith that the one beyond will reveal itself as I take that step. Here’s the story:

The wedding party was over but still a few of us lingered, and so the bride and groom led us smilingly into the dark summer’s night. Each of us held a small lantern, a candle glowing and flickering within, and each of us tucked a log under our arm, carrying our share of the load for the beach campfire.

As we left the street and found our way onto the rough footpath, we fell into single file as the grasses rose high on either side. Away from the streetlights and into the dark we went. The lanterns soon became the sole light to guide us by, only casting enough of a glow to illuminate our feet and the heels of the person in front. Distant voices at the front of the line called encouragement and direction, but their words were lost on the gentle wind and in the swish of the high grass. Voices from behind joked and teased, wondering if anyone knew where the beach was. Laughter and merry banter trickled up and down the path, and soon we found our rhythm. Those ahead would call out warnings to those just behind:

– watch this wee rabbit hole – there’s a big hummock of grass – mind this drop coming up – here, take my hand – this patch here is a bit slippery – take it easy here – you’ll be fine if you follow me –

And each in our turn would pass the guidance, the direction, the call for caution, to the one behind, each in our turn leading where the next would follow.

The lamplight burned low and the vast wetland before the beach stretched blackly all around. The night had reduced all to deep blues and the indefinable colours that light’s absence can create. We only knew who to follow, we only knew that the next step to take was the one we could see, right before us.

As the candles became dim we joked nervously about finding our way home once the sun rose again.

As the candles became dim we muttered, wondering when this had seemed like a good idea.

As the candles became dim we grew uncertain of our footing. Who was it leading us? Could we really trust them? Did they really know where they were going? Because we couldn’t see more than our toes, we couldn’t….

…and then I stumbled, foolish and distracted. I stumbled when I stopped looking, and the ground and my feet lost contact with each other, and I lost contact with the feet in front of me, and I lost contact with… and then I was up. Laughing again at my own foolishness, suddenly resolute, I paid attention.

Somewhere along the way grassland turned into sandy dunes of marram grass and then there it was.

The sea, there, waiting for us. Just where it had always been, suddenly obvious. Suddenly the route made sense and with relief we cheered and joked. Of course, of course we’d made it.

We lit the fire, we threw our carefully carried logs on and, with the shared joy of passing a shared test, we smiled at each other across the flames.

SamandDianeFire

V.

P.S. If you like what you see here, then you can find more reflections from a variety of voices in our home church congregation by clicking here.

#Inspiring

WaveProjectBeyondSight

This Saturday the Wave Project in Scotland teamed up with the Scottish branch of Christian Surfers for only the second Scottish screening of ‘Beyond Sight; The Derek Rabelo Story.’ This movie tells the incredible story of Derek Rabelo who was born blind in Brazil to a surfing family. This did not stop Derek from getting in the water and the film describes his remarkable journey from learning to surf in Brazil through to getting barrelled at Pipeline. The night was an incredible success with inspiration being found both on and off the (HUGE) screen. It is even rumoured our gruff Scotland coordinator was spotted with a few tears in his eyes. The night also provided a platform to present what we do at the Wave Project in Scotland to many new individuals. With the kind of support we received on Saturday the future of the project in Scotland looks very bright indeed.

Finally a massive thank you to Brian and the team at Christian Surfers Scotland, not only for putting on an incredible night, but for raising an amazing £492.29!!
J.

Beyond Sight Film Screening.

We’re so stoked to be bringing Beyond Sight to Edinburgh. The film had its Scottish premiere at the UK Pro Tour in Thurso last October and went down really well with the competitors and spectators alike. It documents the incredible story of blind Brazilian Surfer, Derek Rabelo and his desire to get barrelled at Pipeline, Hawaii. The story captured the attention of a global audience and Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Laird Hamilton, Damien Hobgood and others all play way more than cameo parts in the journey.

Beyond Sight Edinburgh

The film will appeal to a far wider audience than just surfers and absolutely everyone is welcome. We are not charging an admission fee as such, but are asking that people make a donation on the way in. All monies raised will be gifted to The Wave Project Scotland for the incredible work they do in helping excluded children and teenagers grow in confidence and self-esteem through surfing. Jamie from the Wave Project will be able to share a little about his inspirational work before the film starts.

You can get a flavour of the film here:

Please come and join us and feel free to bring anyone else who you think may enjoy the event.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak of the venue we’ve booked. When did you last get to see pro-surfing and a story that does more than just restore your faith in humanity on such a big screen?

centralvenues

See you soon!

B.

Comes With A Smile…

Much as I love surfing, I really love the people who I meet and the stories that are traded.

Here’s one such story from someone it’s been great to get to know in recent months.

Please read it, it comes with a smile.

image

Just click here.

B.

SUrf Camp 2015’s Up!

Are you of secondary school age and longing for something to look forward to at the end of term?

Parents wanting a week of peace and quiet during the summer holidays?

Want to live life to the full and have a heap of fun?

Why don’t you just switch off your television set and go outside and do something less boring instead?

How about THIS?

Places are filling up. Book fast to avoid disappointment!

If you want to get a flavour of what last year’s SUrf Camp looked like, then there’s a write up here.

Book your place here.

SUrf’s UP!

B.

 

Spring has sprung!

dolphin statue

It may sound like community service or shovelling snow in a blizzard, but, I’d rather that you thought of it as a UK-wide flash-mob of sorts – giving something back; raising the profile of an often neglected issue; acting as anthropologists of what is causing plastic tides and devastation to the marine environment and affecting our food-chain with the assistance of a new smart-phone app…

Yes, the annual Surfers Against Sewage Big Spring Beach Cleans are almost upon us. As a seasoned participant, I’ve always found these times to represent a great chance to catch up with friends, meet new people and to do something worthwhile whilst even having a bit of fun.

There are over 150 beach cleans being organised across the UK this coming weekend and 15 of them are in Scotland.

So, why not give up an hour or two, roll up your sleeves and get involved?

You can find out all the info on times and places here.

Thanks,

B.

 

Life is complicated.

“Life is complicated: sport is simple” was a slogan that once appeared in an old Howies’ catalogue. It’s true. Many of us find escape and a deep pleasure in the simplest of activities.

Last Friday I watched part of Comic Relief with my kids. Part of me wanted them to enjoy the humour whilst simultaneously protecting them from the stories of childrens’ lives devastated beyond belief. But, a bigger part of me wanted them to learn something. To count their blessings, to have gratitude in their bones and to long to try to actually DO something about the things they are exposed to.

It took me till I was researching Anita Roddick in my post-grad year at Uni to even ask the question about what must have happened in the background to enable a T-shirt to be available on my High Street or supermarket for only £5. How cheap was the labour involved to enable the price to be so seemingly competitive? Now, even my four-year old understands something of the meaning of Fair-trade. I knew nothing about the threat of melting ice caps and rising sea levels until I read “Our Common Future” in a University library in 1994 and I found myself genuinely shocked at the findings from the first ever Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992. Now, these things seem obvious. The adjective “Eco” gets tagged onto everything from homes to holidays.

I regularly find myself surprised by conversations with friends or acquaintances who seem accepting and unmoved by these things or who find the whole thing an inconvenience.

In many ways I think surfing wrecked my life. The experiences it began to offer were coupled with the fact that I became a father shortly after I started learning to surf. The latter meant that I began to see the world with a whole fourth dimension. Add to that a bunch of new ideas and books and podcasts that lead me to really examine how my faith collides with my appreciation of so much of nature’s simple beauty and I was left with a fairly combustible set of influences that reshaped the way I view the world, my place within it, the priorities and values I hold true, where I want to go and how.

Life is complicated. Sport is simple. Sometimes, I want a more simple life. Thanks to my good friend, Sam from Coast 2 Coast surf school for sharing this little clip this week. Now this is what I’m talking about…

B.

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