What a difference a week makes


This time last week the UK bathed in glorious sunshine and perfect early summer temperatures but now with a low pressure firmly in charge and Easterly winds dragging in cold air and rain its more like winter again! However when the sun does come out Northcore team rider Corinne Evans is always the UK media go to girl for summer sun surfing images in Cornwall, complimenting the inevitable “Scorchio” headlines. Last weekend was no exception with Corinne yet again hitting the papers!

Corinne- Newquay

Corinne- Newquay

Corinne -Fistral Beach

Corinne -Fistral Beach

 

British Adventurers on track for paddle board world record


You may have seen from our earlier blog posts that we are closely following a world record paddle board attempt by two British Adventurers who are using some Northcore Kit on their expedition in central America. Below is the first update from Rob and Arron:

The Panama Paddle Expedition Update 1:

So, where to start, we’re 18 days into the paddle. We’ve had a tough start to the adventure, robbed on our first night, left mid ocean in high seas somewhere near the Panamanian border, we’re on our 4th GPS, GoPro’s and Oakleys lost to the drink. But hey, at least our bags are lighter. We’re trimmed down from 15kg each plus food and water to a more reasonable 10kg each including food and water.

Paddle boards- Panama

Paddle boards- Panama

And luck is relative, we’re lucky just to be out here, living this dream journey of ours. So thank you for the support that has enabled us to do this. We’ve two paddleboards in fine form, two paddlers feeling healthy and strong having finally recovered from the worst sun burn we’ve ever had, and rather than sitting melancholy on our ill fortunes during the first 10 days, we’re made a concerted effort to turn things around over this past week.

So we’re delighted to announce we’ve made the first paddleboard circumnavigations of the 2 largest islands of the Bocas del Toro Archipeligo, Isla Colon and Isla Bastimentos. Possibly these were the first human powered circumnavigations, totalling 41 miles over 5 days and 25 miles over 2 days respectively, with some hairy reefs and mangrove mazes to negotiate in the process.

We are now one third of the way to a new prone paddleboard world record with 113.5 miles under the boats. It always takes a while to name a boat, having become well acquainted with ours, the names came to us as if a dream. So if you here us referring to Betty Blue an Big Bird, hopefully you won’t assume we’ve gone crackers.

We even had time to surf a few spots in Bocas del Toro including the reefs of Paki point and Playa Paunch and a secret spot we came across as we came around Bastimentos. But I can assure you paddling a surfboard is not what you want to do on your days off from paddleboarding so after 100 miles of towing surfboards we’re going to leave them behind in Bocas and document the waves we see on our way south so we can return with a larger boat one day ion the future!

We’ve met some great people, our Spanish is steadily improving, being well acquanted with phrases such as ‘ustedes muy loco’ (you boys are nuts) and more ofen ‘Columbia!! Porque?’ (Why?!) to which we often struggle to find the answer! And we’ve even managed to catch our first fish!

So we’re heading due South again now, away from the difficult chop of the Caribbean and into the calm waters of Bahia Almirante.  So we’ve set ourselves a new target of 100 miles in 10 days, at the end of which awaits our first river to survey for Manatee, which is something very exciting to look forward to.

Beating back the sand flies, singing in the morning rains,

Rob and Arron

Surf Photographer Interview series: Roger Sharp


The Northcore journey has been an amazing one so far. I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with some really creative, articulate, interesting and inspirational individuals from all areas of our collective lifestyles (surfers, photographers, artists, writers, explorers and more). So we’re going to publish a series of interviews with these characters to share their work and delve into what makes them tick! For this piece we’d like to introduce to you British photographer and film maker Roger Sharp:

Dawnie

Dawnie

Q: How long have you been a surf photographer and where have you/where do you work now?

I’ve been messing around with waterproof cameras since I was a teenager but got serious and started the long process of learning the art properly in the early 90s. So I know how to make prints in a darkroom and all those mystical lost arts. First published shot was in 360 bodyboard mag in 1995, I went to uni with the Irish champ Tanya Ward so that was handy. I’ve been pro since 2000. I shoot and edit Carve magazine now and also do stuff for Surfing Life in Oz, Surfing in the US, Surfers in Germany and brands like O’Neill and Northcore. Previously I edited Fins mag (Ireland) for a year, SurfEurope for three and did my own magazine Slide for two years and have shot for loads of brands/newspapers/mags. 

Q: Which do you prefer stills or video?

I’ve been messing about with video since the ‘90s but it was so hard, and expensive, to edit and distribute in those days of tape. Since the advent of DSLRs that shoot video I’ve got back into it and with iMovie and Vimeo it’s amazingly easy to produce your own little films. It’s a whole different art, it’s exciting, challenging and fun. I love the simplicity of stills, video is ten times the work. Being inherently lazy I have to prefer stills. But with the GoPro on top of my water housing I can do both at the same time in the water which is amazing. You can check out my efforts here: https://vimeo.com/sharpy

Q: How often do you need to upgrade kit with technology moving so quickly?

I’ve been digital since 2005 and it was pretty much a new camera and new housing every two years for a while, which when the camera is a £1000 and the housing more it was pretty painful. Recently it’s settled down and I’ve had the same water camera, in the shape of a Canon 7D in an Aquatech housing, for four years now. My land camera is a Sony NEX7 which I’ve been using for a year now and so in love with it’s not even funny.

Q: If money was no object which camera body and lens would you have?

The Canon 1DX is awesome but I love my NEX7. It’s 10 frames a second, 24MP and tiny. I just need to get it in a housing.

Q: What kit would you recommend for someone starting out taking surf photos?

In the old days I’d have said an economic Canon body and a Sigma ‘bigma’ 150-500mm lens. Now there’s a sweet Tamron 150-600mm zoom which is getting rave reviews and under a grand. But the main thing is not rushing into taking long lens shots. You can take great surf pics on the kit zooms that come with DLSRs. People are too obsessed with equipment rather than technique. You can take surf pics on an iPhone if you compose it well. 

Q: What’s your favourite subject matter, surfers, landscape, water shots, empty waves, wildlife, sports, weddings! Etc

Water shots for sure. It’s just the funnest thing to do ever. I’ve been doing it for twenty years for fun and I’ll be doing it until my body gives up. Whether I’m getting paid to or not.

In The barrel

In The barrel

Q: What do you consider your finest achievement in your photographic/film career?

My first double spread in Surfer magazine, a fisheye watershot of Rob Machado in France in the late ‘90s, was a big moment. Not often us British guys get a look in the big league magazines. The rip was out of hand that day as well, I was running up the beach, swimming out, getting washed 200m down the coast shooting then getting out and doing it again. My favourite pic is the Andy Irons in France one, all the more poignant now he’s gone. 

Q: Do you have a scariest moment from when you’ve been taking shots- perhaps in the water?

Nearly drowned in the Maldives one year. It was on one of the O’Neill WQS events and we were doing a free surf shoot with the team. The small tender boat had gone to the island with the TV guys so Larry Haynes and I (legendary Hawaiian water filmer) had to swim for about half an hour from this big dive boat in the channel to the reef at Cokes. When we got there we got smashed by a 15 wave set, it was relentless and just bending, focussing and doubling up on the ledge we were on. I was seeing stars and getting to that point where I didn’t think I could swim under another wave. Larry got washed into the lagoon. It was only four foot as well but just whomping. Water photography is all about confidence and that rattled mine for a long time.

Backdoor on the North Shore is also utterly terrifying. When you’re swimming on your back you keep kicking the reef because it’s so shallow. A real easy place to get wounded.

Backdoor- Northshore

Backdoor- Northshore

Q: What has been your favourite wave/destination anywhere in the world to shoot?

My favourite place in the world is NW Ireland. I love the Bundoran area. So many sick waves and the people are great. There’s a short, little reef there that’s my happy place. Been shooting it for 15 years and when I first shot it we went and asked Richie Fitz what the wave was called, he said it ‘wasn’t even a wave’ and that ‘no one bothered with it’. Took a year or two to convince him to come surf it! It comes and goes in popularity and is rarely good but when it’s on I’m just snapping my face in half grinning. Thurso also is one of those places I can cruise for weeks in. Far afield I think my favourite place I’ve been is New Zealand.

Bundoran- The peak

Bundoran- The peak

Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring surf photographers?

Don’t obsess about gear. You can shoot great surf pics on ancient film cameras and you can pick up amazing manual focus lenses for 10% of the price of all singing all dancing autofocus lenses. Also don’t get into it for the money. There isn’t any. Do it because you love doing it. If and when you’re good enough to sell shots then that’s a handy way of paying off the gear and helping out with trip costs. The days of full time surf photog’s making a career of it are over. Shoot weddings for money and surfing for fun. Also remember to go surfing!

UK line up

UK line up

Q: Where can we view your work?

My work appears in most issues of Carve magazine and online I have a small portfolio at http://500px.com/surfphoto. I’m on Twitter @surf_photo and Instagram @surfphoto. 

 

 

 

The Panama world record paddle attempt begins


After weeks of training and acclimatization in Central America, Rob and Arron have now set off on their epic adventure in Panama. Their goal is to set a new prone paddle world record, surf some undiscovered spots and do some conservation work along the way. We’re stoked that they’ll be using some Northcore kit during the journey and we wish them all the very best.

Rob and Arron Panama

Rob and Arron Panama

Rob said today “It’s going to be a hard few months ahead of us, but hopefully the achy limbs, chapped lips and sunburnt noses will be worth it. This will hopefully be a benchmark journey for adventure prone paddleboarding. We sincerely hope we can inspire others through our journey and to contribute meaningfully to the conservation of our planet in the process”. 

Where is that shark?!! Enter the “Lydia Landfall lottery”


Enter the “Lydia Landfall lottery” and WIN a Cuddly shark and a FREE Northcore back pack to put her in!
Northcore will also make a donation to Ocearch shark research through rally.org
Lydia the Great white shark has been creating quite a stir since she was tagged by Ocearch as part of their tagging and shark conservation programme. She was tagged off the coast of Florida and has since been making her way across the Atlantic towards Western Europe making history as she goes being the first shark ever to be followed live online making this journey. Northcore would like to join in with the fun of tracking Lydia at the same time as supporting the amazing Ocearch conservation project, so we’re running a little competition!
#lydialandfall

#lydialandfall

  • To enter all you need to do is guess the landfall of Lydia which we will determine once she is approx 20 miles offshore.
  • Entries need to contain your guess of Country and nearest beach. This could be anywhere In Europe or North Africa
  • Entries can be posted on all of our social media platforms Including FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, GOOGLE+ and TWITTER. Just post your entry and hashtag it #lydialandfall
  • If Lydia doesn’t make landfall within a month we will revert to a Sweepstake style competition and select a winner at random
  • The competition closes on 20th April 2014. Winners will be notified by Social Media channels. For full rules on our competitions click here:
Lydia... where will she go next?

Lydia as of 17th March 2104… where will she go next?

Heres the moment that Lydia was captured, tagged and released off the coast of Florida.

OCEARCH is a non-profit organization with a global reach for unprecedented research on the ocean’s giants.

WHAT THEY DO – They support leading researchers and institutions seeking to attain groundbreaking data on the biology and health of sharks, in conjunction with research on shark life history and migration. The researchers we support work aboard the M/V OCEARCH, a 126′ vessel equipped with a custom 75,000 hydraulic lift and research platform, which serves as both mothership and at-­‐sea laboratory.

HOW THEY DO IT – OCEARCH fieldwork involves the attracting, catching, tagging, and bio-­‐sampling of sharks before they are released. The shark is monitored at all times under expert guidance and maintained on the platform by water over its gills. All fieldwork is done according to agreed and approved protocols based primarily on ethical considerations, and overseen by leading scientists.

For more info: http://www.ocearch.org/

 

 

Northcore support world record paddle board attempt


Here at Northcore we love the spirit of adventure so we’re always stoked to hear from individuals who are pushing boundaries, getting out there exploring, pursuing their dreams and often trying to make a positive difference along the way. One such project is from a small team of guys from Bristol who have recently set off to Central America with a goal of establishing an all new prone paddle board distance record, adding some conservation work and surfing along the way. So when they approached us for some product sponsorship we jumped at the opportunity to help out in a small way.

The guys who have planned the trip are called Rob and Arron and we sent them some Northcore

Arron and Rob

Arron and Rob

kit like leashes, travel packs, ding repair, soft racks, SUP carry slings and more. At present they are in Costa Rica training and prepping for the trip which is planned to start on 24th March. The guys will be taking stills and video along the way so we hope to update you as they go. Here’s a summary of their exciting plans:

The majority of the conservation work is towards the start of the paddle so they’re anticipating a slow start before increasing the paddle distances. One of the boards they will be paddling is a beautiful wooden 16ft San O’ board, the other is a stock 14ft prone, though slightly wider and more stable than a usual board.

Wooden 14ft San'O paddle board

Wooden 14ft San’O paddle board

As a loose framework for dates:

  • Begin 24th March
  • Reach the Panama Canal 5-6 weeks later around May 5th
  • Cross the canal (as far as they are permitted – to Gamboa and walking the final 16 miles to keep aligned with the human power side of things!) May 5th- 8th. Arrive in Panama City on the 9th. (+ a few R+R takes them to the 12th)
  • The final leg is route dependent. They will either have an escort boat and will make a long open ocean passage to the Perlas Archipelago and Island hop to their most south-easterly point, before crossing back to the mainland. OR they will continue along the south-west coastline. Both routes have their merits but they’re hoping to island hop if they can find a reliable boat captain.

Their aims for the paddle:

  • Set a new long distance world record for prone paddle boarding, not a small feat for a three thousand year old sport! We carry all our gear in dry bags on deck.

Conservation Goals:

  • Search for undiscovered populations of Antillean manatee at 5 locations identified as havingsuitable habitat.
manatee's

manatee’s

  • Determine the status of and hopefully thereafter take the first photos of a critically endangered Salamander, Oedipina maritima endemic to Isla Escudo de Veraguas.
  • Photosurvey the coastline as they go.

 

Surf Goals

Panama surf

Panama surf

  • To find and surf undiscovered spots along the way. As far as they can tell the coastline is as unexplored surf-wise as it is ecologically.
  • To record this journey sharing with the world images of a seldom visited and largely unexplored coastline.

Fundraising:

  • To support the environmental charity Seacology who run human-environment linked conservation projects in coastal Panama. www.seacology.com

Why Panama?

It’s an area they both visited in 2009 and were blown away by the beauty of the place and how untouched much of the country was. They also saw extensive destruction of habitat to make way for a booming tourist industry and made a promise to return, see parts of the country people don’t

Panama

Panama

usually get to see and in the process try and affect change by contributing with some of their own independent conservation work.

About Rob and Arron:

They are old school friends from Bristol. Arron is a trained conservationist and Rob is the team medic (he’s avoided the final year of Med school by doing the trip and will have to return in July) and has some expeditioning experience under his belt.

They are both keen surfers and paddle boarders though they admit a long long way from professional. They are quite ordinary guys, though both very athletic and with experience in adventure/ wilderness travel, who had a crazy dream 5 years ago, talked about it in the pub for 4 years and finally got serious about it for the past year.

Arron is most excited about finding his rare salamander and Rob by finding an idyllic point break somewhere along the way.

Northcore wish them the very best of luck in their venture and watch this space for updates and progress

 

 

Surf Photographer interview series: James Skerritt


One of the reasons for creating the Northcore brand was so that I could go surfing more often, get out there and explore some of the planets most remarkable landscapes and oceans and embrace the boundless opportunities for creativity in all its forms. It’s been an amazing journey so far where I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with some really creative, articulate, interesting and inspirational individuals from all areas of our collective lifestyles (surfers, photographers, artists, writers, explorers and more). So the plan is to publish a series of interviews with these characters to share their work and delve into what makes them tick! For this piece we’d like to introduce to you Irish photographer and film maker James Skerritt who we worked with on our short film “934″ which we shot one wild day in County Sligo with James clinging onto the back of our jetski! :

Co

County Clare

Q: how long have you been a surf photographer and where have you/where do you work now? I find the term surf photographer slightly strange and never really like to go by it but I have been taking photos for five years now. I work as a freelance camera operator. The nice thing with being freelance is that you are open to work anywhere you want. I am currently, and happily, based in Ireland for the winter but in the last year I have worked on projects in London, Italy and France

James surfing

James surfing

which have ranged from short films, documentaries, TV programs, music videos, music events and some surfing stuff while I have been home. Q: Which do you prefer stills or video? I change my mind on this question frequently. I have started a new portrait project, ‘Hello! Pleased to meet you’, where I take a portrait of someone I encounter every day for 2014. This has me very much into stills at the moment. I am also working on a series of short comedies and a very nice short documentary so I feel prety content in terms of getting to explore both stills and video. In the surfing world, I am working on a winter edit for Ollie O’Flaherty and a new project with Luis Eyre.

One of the benefits of a surf trip

One of the benefits of a surf trip

Q: How often do you need to upgrade kit with technology moving so quickly? I upgrade kit depending on my workflow. It is always great to see what new cameras are coming outand be aware of what you need but I think you can definitely get sucked into a cycle of always wanting the new toys. It’s probably the way we were raised. Q: If money was no object which camera body and lens would you have? If money was no object I would happily kick all my digital stuff out the window and shoot constantly on film!

Q: what kit would you recommend for someone starting out taking surf photos? It seems that every camera these days have printable image quality. My phone at the moment has the same megapixel as my very first SLR. When people think of surf photography they always try to get the biggest lens possible. I always have much more fun with smaller lenses; they make

West Coast Of Ireland

West Coast Of Ireland

you frame a shot rather than just having a wave and a surfer which can get more then tedious. The quality of the new gopro is mindblowing. Get that and just go surfing. Q: what’s your favourite subject mater, surfers, landscape, water shots, empty waves, wildlife,sports, weddings! Etc In relation to the ocean, my favourite thing to shoot is empties. Its a beautiful feeling swimming under and shooting a slabby empty wave that scares and excites you at the same time. I also have a portrait fetish. Both are things that I want to improve on.

Q: What do you consider your finest achievement in your photographic/film career? I am slowly getting to where I want to be in my life. I have lots of milestones that I am more than grateful for and proud of but nothing too major just yet. I made a short mockumentary called, ‘The Element – Behind the Scenes’, which followed a fictional character as he made a fictional surf film. At the first screening of the film I was unsure of how it would go down. At the end of the night a few different people came up to me praising the filming and then asking when the film is coming out. It was a nice feeling answering, ‘it’s all fictional’. I wouldn’t consider this my finest achievement but its a moment I liked very much.

Q: Do you have a scariest moment from when you’ve been taking shots- perhaps in the water? The scariest moment I have had in the water so far was the day my housing leaked. I jumped in and looked back at my port which had about an inch of water floating around it. It took a panicked few minutes to get back out again due to the rip. I remember just sitting on the reef in disbelief. I regretably rang a friend of mine that night to ask for advice when I got the reply, “Oh….. You F**ked man!” I left the camera dry for a few days and thankfully it worked. It was a depressing few days.

Q: What has been your favourite wave/destination anywhere in the world to shoot? The feeling of being at the bottom of the cliffs of Moher is yet to be beaten. I am prety sure I still don’t realize how privileged I am to have grown up in this part of the world.

Q: do you have any tips for aspiring Surf photographers? Surf more. I don’t think anyone gets into surf photography if they don’t surf. You are then left withthis strange and uneasy feeling wondering either to shoot or surf. Like everything in life, a healthy balance is always the way forward. Q: where can we view your work? Please view my work on my site: www.jamesskerrit.com

Northcore grom team riders Stan and Joseph on the road in California


Northcore grom team riders Stan Norman and Joseph Morris are on a surf training trip of a lifetime exploring the California coast from Huntingdon beach up to Santa Cruz – surfing and skating all the way. They have hit all the iconic surfing spots so far like Trestles and Malibu and they’re checking out infamous locations like Mavericks. As they go Joesph’s family are filming and taking shots of their adventure and here at Northcore we’re editing the footage together to bring you regular 15 sec video travelogues posted to Instagram, which we’ll also post here on our blog.

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Episode 4:

Episode 5:

Episode 6:

Episode 7:

Episode 8:

Episode 9:

 

Then once they are home and we have all of the footage we’ll be putting together a short film of the full trip so stay tuned!

Richie Fitzgerald, some mates, a van, Jagermeister and a trip to Iceland!


Northcore team rider and Irish surfing legend Richie Fitzgerald recently had the good fortune to be selected for a 12 day trip to Iceland to film a TV commercial for Jagermeister (Of the Jager bomb fame!). The resulting TV ad is below and in his own words Richie’s account of what sounded like an amazing adventure. Enjoy!

Richie Fitzgerald “The whole Jagermeister ad came to me through my good mate Gabe Davies former Northcore team rider and his production company during late summer last year. After 14

Richie Fitzgerald

Richie Fitzgerald

months of scouting different counties by the advertisement company with no luck they decided that British and Irish surfers is what they needed for the new Jager ad. So after an initially casting and over the next couple of months myself and Dave Blount were chosen from Ireland along with Oli Adams,  Ben Skinner and Owain Davies from the UK to made up the cast, all solid surfers and good blokes, I knew the trip would be a blast with this group of shams!!!!

The stars of the show

The stars of the show

We spent 12 days up in Iceland in November 2013 shooting the ad,  ‘Pegasus productions’ scouted the most amazing and breathtaking locations you can imagine taking in pretty much the whole country in our 12 day stint, huge drives and radical weather was the theme of most days.

Iceland

Iceland

Ingo @ Arctic Surfers our surf guide brought us to some of the best surf coast I have ever seen, with world class slabs, points, reefs and and outer reefs everywhere, thats really saying something considering I live in Bundoran and have Mullaghmore, The Peak and million other phenomenal waves on my doorstep. Many of the waves we surfed were inside the arctic circle, cold, heavy hollow point breaks where the outside air temp was -15 and sea temp was just above freezing, it was a hardcore environment in and out of the water with blizzards and gales popping up with ferocious regularity that makes the west of Ireland fell like the Mediterranean.

Ice and Fire

Ice and Fire

My favourite part of the trip was the ice lagoon we shot in for a day, where a glacier reached the ocean and foamed an stunning sea water lagoon at the beach full of melting ice bergs which we paddled around and climbed over all day, real Bear Grylls stuff. Being with the boys for 12 days in the back of a van searching for waves in Iceland was the best and funniest trip of my life the fact that we shot a TV ad, shot a lot of jagers and got paid for it, it was a dream trip.

 

 

 

 

Northcore’s latest film “934” explores the emotions of riding huge Irish waves


The storm systems during the winter of 2013/14 have been wholly unprecedented for the shores of Western Europe. Back to back low pressure systems originating in the US eastern seaboard have whipped up seemingly endless storm to hurricane force winds which have battered the coastlines of the UK and Ireland with horrific ferocity. The one upside to the devastating storms has been monstrous open ocean swells sometimes creating Atlantic wave buoy readings in the 30ft and 20 sec range! which have seen surfers at home and abroad buzzing about the possibilities of catching the biggest waves of their lives.

The Northcore short film “934″ sprang to life after the Northcore team decided to chase after the mother of all the storms. A low pressure system which began to wind itself up in the Atlantic during the first week of Jan 2014 eventually reached a near record low pressure reading of 934mb. The system was so fierce it even spawned its own names, officially “Hercules” and unofficially the “Black Hole swell”, that generated massive surf which travelled North from Scotland right down to Morocco lighting up every big wave spot on the way. Some of the Northcore team riders selected to gather at Mullaghmore head in County Sligo, Ireland to meet up with Hercules and in the tense, quite moments before the collective tow session go button was pressed Northcore captured some of the riders thoughts on film on what it feels like before setting out to tackle one of the planets heaviest waves.

“934: A Northcore Film”

CREDITS:

A NORTHCORE FILM:

PRODUCED BY: Matt Strathern
CAMERA: James Skerritt
EDIT: Simon Weir

SURFERS: Conor Maguire, Peter Conroy, Sandy Kerr, Ollie O’Flaherty and Paul O’Kane

northcore-europe.com