Photo of The Year Nomination - Surfer Magazine

Extremely stoked and proud to have two nominations on Surfer Magazines: Photo of The Year 2011:


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

Where is the Love

Surfing is for the most part a selfish lifestyle. We prioritise our lives according to swell and weather forecasts, and plan work and family commitments as best we can around our next surf. And when we do go surf, chances are we are abandoning a loved one at home with the kids or leaving a loved one alone on the beach, hiding from the harsh elements in the car for a good few hours. For those few of us who have found surfers as our better halves, life is simpler and relatively fair, until the arrival of children that is. But two of the most selfish surfers in my opinion are the egotistical “boardist” type; surfers who for no apparent reason dislike other wave riders to the point of hatred, and then the seemingly entitled “local” type, who claim aggressive ownership over something that can only truly be acquired by mutual respect and a welcome smile. As always it comes down to the individual and our private interaction with the waves, but as experience has taught me, even a poor surf can become one of our most memorable when we open our hearts and minds, and share the love.

In the year 1779, Lieutenant James King recorded the earliest written account of surfing - “But a diversion the most common is upon the water, where there is a very great sea, and surf breaking on the shore. The men sometimes 20 or 30 go with the swell of the surf….” By the time Captain Cook and his ships reached the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, the art, sport and religion of surfing had reached a sophisticated peak. At this zenith of the sport in Old Polynesia, surfing was celebrated and shared by all. No locals, no bigotry, just a communal sharing of a human art form, both “Paipo” (prone) and “Alaia” (standup).

One of the first surf photographs I ever captured was of an unnamed surfer burning and dropping in on another surfer at New Pier, presumably claiming himself a “local”, and thus beyond respecting his neighbour in the water; I was horrified. Sure share the wave if that was his good-natured intent, but I only saw malicious droplets of saltwater dripping from his angry face. This kind of disrespect is not restricted to any one spot unfortunately, and it is worst at renowned spots like New Pier, Jeffrey’s Bay, Muizenberg, and Longbeach. These are among our most celebrated waves in South Africa, but celebrating good surf invariably brings out the dark side of some of our selfish hearts. I’m ashamed to imagine what this must look like to non-surfers, aspiring to be like us, learning from our actions.

Being a traveling surfer and photographer, I do not subscribe to localism or being a local, regardless how often I may surf any one spot, and I try my best to refrain from judging others. I surf and photograph to celebrate life and the gift of surfing, and I want to share our blessings with the greater surf community, whoever they may be. It is all about respecting our fellow surf riders. Did you know that suggested synonyms for the word local are: “Restricted, limited, confined and narrow”. It most certainly is narrow-minded to think you will never surf another spot other than the one you frequent. How you wish to be received away should be how you engage people at home.

I recently stole a day away from the office and embarked on my very first surf trip in 10 years. Some of you may scoff at such a statement, but it is true. I left all cameras at home, and drove up to Elands Bay with just my wetsuit and board, and the basics for a 24-hour strike mission. As fate would have it, the predicted swell was a no show, and I was understandably gutted. What a waste of precious work time and the hard-to-get surf token from the misses! I decided to paddle out anyway, and joined a fellow surfer up the point for the measly 2-3 foot waves on offer. At that precise moment I had one of two options; smile and engage, or scowl and hassle. The rest they say is history and it turned out to be one of the most memorable surfs I’ve ever had. Not because of a particularly long wave, big snap or cozy barrel, but rather because I left all that selfish egotistical competitiveness on the beach, and celebrated the simple act of sharing waves with others, and ultimately sharing the stoke. This is why I surf, and it will be my mantra for any future sessions, both home and away. Smile and engage!

The success of any surf you have will not be determined by the way you interacted with the wave, but rather by the way you interacted with the people sharing those waves.


"Keep The Faith, Live The Dream"

2012 and India - SA Paddler Editorial

Grant Twiggy Baker admires the tropical paradise of remote Madagascar from his SUP in SA Paddlers August 2012 Calendar.

A kayak sized sea turtle grazes while paddlers stroke into view while exploring offshore India in this January/February issue of SA Paddler:


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

Africa at it's Best - Weg & Go editorial

I met my three friends in Casablanca in Morocco, the city made famous by the 1942 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

We managed to decipher the Arabic rail timetable and traveled south for 350 km on a jam-packed train, carrying coffin-sized surfboard bags. Our only refuge was the wind-battered space between two carriages.

At the town of Agadir we met up with another friend who works as a surf guide and drove for 1200 km in his 4x4, through the highlands of Morocco and across the invisible border into the disputed territory of Western Sahara. It's one of the least populated places on earth; a landscape at the mercy of ocean tides and the shifting sands of the desert.

Spain claimed this region in 1884 and it was known as Spanish Shara until 1975, when control was relinquished to a joint administration by Morocco and Mauritania. Those two countries went to war, joined by a rebel group representing the nomadic Sahrawi people who sought to proclaim an independent country of their own. In 1979 Mauritania withdrew and territory has been controlled by Morocco ever since, an unhappy situation that persists today.

Little remains of the Spanish occupation besides the occasional fortress in the desert, slowly being swallowed by sand. This particular outpost, near the town of Dakhla, stands naked on a low hill, overlooking some of the most beautiful beaches in the Western Sahara.

We pitched our tents and camped for two weeks. The waves were epic and the scenery surreal, but each day as I jogged down to the beach with my surfboard underarm, I was sad that the freedom I felt wasn't shared by the people of this wild, empty half-country.

There are no easy answers when it comes to politics, but the trip reminded me how fortunate I am to come and go as I please, living my own personal dream.


Keep the Faith, Live the Dream

North Africa - Surfline December Best Bet

Check out the full gallery and story for Surfline's December "Best Bet" - click here


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

Taking Off - Surfer Magazine

On a recent journey to the sun-scoured Atlantic coast of Morocco, Alex Knost laid down some unusual lines with the help of this DIY craft. The Californian has been making his own boards for a while now (he's nearing his 100th self-shaped board), and this particular late -'60s/early - '70s-inspired hybrid is a good example of the kind of shaping he's interested in - transitional designs that incorporate positive elements from different eras. And while riding inconsistent hand-shapes from an inexperienced shaper makes getting consistently god boards infinitely tougher, Knost doesn't seem to mind. "There's no reason I should ride consistent boards," he laughs. "Making my own boards has helped me learn to be more connected. I'm not sure if it makes me surf better, but it certainly makes it more interesting." - Photo caption by Surfer Magazine


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

Fun in the Sun

Fun and outrageous were the order of the day at the inaugural Kommetjie festival surf showdown. Needing little excuse to dress up (or dress down in most cases), local surfers hit the frigid water of Longbeach in an array of crazy costumes and strange craft, hoping to snag one of the events three fun prizes.

Chip Snaddon won an O’Neill wetsuit for the “Best dressed” with his brilliant environ-mimicking of the seasonal blue bottle, while Mikah Burger won a custom surfboard for “Most original craft” with his out-of-this-world alien UFO, but hands down the most radical as usual was Michael Grendon on his “Bob the Builder” ladder and surfboard hybrid, which won him the “Most entertaining” surfer, and it sure was entertaining. Wearing nothing but his trusty speedo, Michael would paddling into the chilly-willy water on his longboard and hastily ascend the steps on his strapped down ladder. Needless to say it was a hilarious sight.

The idea behind the festival was to raise funds for various community organizations and projects and most importantly to build community spirit. A portion of the proceeds will be going towards the Kommetjie Pre-primary swimming pool.

Check the full gallery on:


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

The Africa Project Surf Film

The highly anticipated opening premier of Jason Hearn's film, The Africa Project, is set to take place on Friday 25 November 2011 at Trinity, 15 Bennett Street, Green Point, Cape Town.

Featuring the best waves that Africa has to offer, including locations like Morocco, Senegal, Namibia, Reunion, Madagascar and all along our very own coastline, this film is definitely one that is not to be missed.

Entrance is FREE, and all are welcome to attend. Get there at 18h30 for pre-drinks, the film starts at 20h00. After the film you are also invited to stay on and enjoy the afterparty.

The Africa Project Surf Film
"Africa through the eyes of a surfer"


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream


welcome to my dear friends from all parts of the world

Redwood National and State Parks

Welcoming sight

We began at Shady Cove, Oregon, and decided to drive to see the Redwoods in CA, as Crater Lake got 6 inches of snow overnight and most roads and trails were closed. The drive to Redwoods was long but interesting, following the scenic Redwood Highway up and through the mountains. Skies were mostly cloudy and temps were in the lower 40 when we headed out at about 0900. The trees just kept getting bigger as we neared the ocean.

Smith River

We reached the Ranger station at about 12:30 pm near the north border of Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park; as soon as we stepped from the car the subtle scent of evergreens told us we had made the right decision to make the drive. We drove through the backwoods on a small one-lane dirt road, Howland Hill Road, and hiked around Stout Grove, curiously named after a lumber baron whose wife preserved the area after worrying it would be logged after his death. Stout Grove was a short easy hike that had great trees, the largest in the area we saw was 36 steps around by my count. The redwoods were incredible, towering above you to the point that you couldn't see where they ended. The temperatures were perfect for hiking, in the low 50s in the shade.


Holly in the Clearing

Sequoia Sempervirens

The forest itself was impressive, and the scale of the giant trees was heightened by the clearings, and small groves of low-lying clover and sword ferns that blanketed each hillside between the Redwoods.

Sword Ferns, Creek

After this area, we ate lunch in Crescent City, and headed south on route 101 along the coast. The temperature was in the high 50s at this point, with lots of sun. Lots of vistas on the way, with frequent stops to admire the view of the Pacific from high overlooks, and checking out the rough surf, sandy beaches, and huge beachside boulders from False Klamath Cove. We drove up the winding steep Requa Rd to reach the Klamath River Overlook. Grey Whales had been sighted here, but we didn't see them this day. We hiked a short but steep half mile to the scenic overlook, which was worth the effort as we were the only ones on the trail. It looked like wild raspberries were lining this trail as well, though I would check with someone who knows before eating them.

Klamath River

At about 4 pm, we decided to check out the scenic drive south of the area off exit 765, Newton B Drury scenic parkway, into Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. This drive was marked with roadside giant redwoods everywhere, and many hikes we did not have the time to really investigate further. Each tree looked bigger than the next, the biggest roadside being 48 steps around by Holly's count. We came to a sign that read "Big Tree," which turned out to be a giant thick redwood about 1500 years old, 300 feet high, and 21 feet in diameter. It was lamely roped off. We read that the largest trees get to be 380 feet tall, and about 25 feet in diameter. The trees live about 2000 years.

The biggest

On the way back to Shady Cove in Oregon, we stopped at a Pizza shop for dinner and caught the last few innings of the Tigers vs Yankees, which was the last game of the ALDS. We found another Tiger fan at the place, and another guy who just hated the Yankees. The Tigers trie hard to blow it with a 3-1 lead, walking in a run in the 7th to make it 3-2, but they were able to close it out and win with a final of 3-2. We finally got home about 9:00 pm.

Things we missed: A 4-hour round trip drive and hike is the Tall Trees trail, which is reachable by permit only, first-come first serve daily. Redwood Creek trail looks like a fine drive as well, and there is an old WW2 radar station in the park apparently disguised as a farmhouse and barn.

More Photos Here

Walk in the Park

This afternoon I took a walk through the park near my house. This park is one of my favorite places to take pictures. There are ponds, flowers, pagodas, and the park is always busy.  The Expo Bridge connects the park to the Expo Center where there is an amusement park, art galleries, etc. Here are a few shots from my walk today.

Hope you enjoyed these shots, next week I'm going to a Mountain Park called"Maisan", it's famous for its rock pagodas and a Buddhist temple built by a hermit monk.


 It has been a while since my last posting, I've been entering contests and traveling. Here are a few photos I took last year when my son David and his wife Liane came to visit us here in Korea.

Homeward Bound

Hunting Island, South Carolina

"The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.George Eliot

McIntosh Book Shoppe

Sadly, my vacation in Beaufort is coming to an end.  So I made one last stop at the McIntosh Book Shoppe on Bay Street (my third this trip).  I love old books and the stores that sell them, and dearly miss not having one on Third Street in Geneva.

Today I acquired a new lowcountry cookbook, an autographed first edition of Beach Music, by Pat Conroy, and an older (c. 1912-37) book, Dick Sand, by Jules Verne.  This is a book store I could spend the better part of an afternoon browsing, and find something of interest on every shelf.

I found this terrific article about owner, Wilson McIntosh, here.

I am looking forward to being back home soon.

St. Helena's Church

I am still on vacation in Beaufort, South Carolina.  I really do miss Geneva, but today, as I walk through these tree-lined streets, I am daydreaming about perhaps one day writing two part-time blogs that celebrate my favorite places on Earth.  Like Geneva Daily Photo, Beaufort Daily Photo has a lovely ring to it too, I think.

This is the of steeple St. Helena's (Episcopal) Church in downtown Beaufort, South Carolina, and the brick wall surrounding the adjoining cemetery.  The church was established in 1712, and the first church building erected in 1724.  The congregation will celebrate its tricentennial in 2012.

Uncle Bubba's

A quick side trip to Uncle Bubba's in Savannah, Georgia for lunch.  Shown here are the Shrimp and Grits I ordered, and they were GOOD!  I think this may well be my new favorite thing to eat, but I will need another bowl to be absolutely sure.

We had a terrific afternoon together, and especially enjoyed visiting with Uncle Bubba, who checked in on us while we were dining, and spent some time chatting with us in the parking lot outside.  I hope he remembers to tell his sister, Paula, we said hello!

You can try this lowcountry favorite for yourself!  Click here for the recipe!

Life's A Beach

Still on vacation, but missing you, Geneva!  After a day spent on the beach, the girls and their cousins have collected a king's ransom in sand dollars, shown here drying as the sun sets.


A small shop in Frogmore, on historic St. Helena's Island.  St. Helena's is one of the sea islands near Beaufort, and many argue it may be the site of one of the oldest European settlements in the new world.  The island was home to large plantations that produced indigo, cotton and rice, and were worked by a large slave population.  The blending of so many traditions produced the rich Gullah culture which is still in evidence today.

St. Helena's has retained its rural, agricultural character, and unlike many of the islands along the coast, is not dotted with gated resort communities.  Frankly, I think that is why I like it so much. There are a couple historic sites that I love to photograph, namely the ruins of the old Chapel of Ease, and the site of the former Fort Fremont, deactivated about a century ago.

They island may be best known as the location of Penn Center, a school which was established in 1862 for newly freed slaves. 


Lunch, Southern style. 

Pulled pork, sweet potatoes, squash, cornbread and iced tea.  The food at Sgt. White's in Beaufort is out of this world!  Which is a good thing, since with such a full plate, I won't be eating again, I don't think, for a couple of days!

Changes In Latitudes

For the past several days, I have been on vacation.  Unfortunately, the images of Geneva that I planned to show you this week didn't make it on vacation with me.

So instead, I bring you sunset in Beaufort, South Carolina.  My other adopted home town.  The South Carolina lowcountry is quite possibly (after Geneva, of course!) my favorite place in the world.


The Herrington Inn from the east side of the Fox River in Island Park. 

A Moveable Feast

On Sunday, the French Market opens up on South Street, in the parking lot north of the train depot.  There are many interesting vendors, bur for me, only two stalls truly evoke memories of my visits to Paris.

One is the antiquarian bookseller, who reminds me of afternoons spent walking along the Seine, and also hours spent hiding from the rain at one of my favorite Paris treasures, located at 37 Rue BĂ»cherie (5eme).  The other is this one, selling lovely damask linens that make me wish I were spending a morning shopping for fabrics in the 18eme (Montmartre), in the shadow of Sacre Coeur. 

There is something here for everyone, even if it is French in name only.  Maybe you will find your own little bit of Paris here

You Can Leave Your Hat On

"I myself have 12 hats, and each one represents a different personality.  Why just be yourself?"  (Margaret Atwood)

I spied this impressive bit of millinery as I waited for the train last week.  This woman, and about a dozen others, were all attired in red hats and purple clothing.  One or two went far enough as to accessorize with red shoes.  It was like Margaret Atwood's collection of bonnets (each with their own unique character) on parade.  Truth be told, one was wearing only a simple red headband in lieu of a flashy chapeau.  My teenager gave her very high marks for her comparatively subtle expression of conformity with her party.

Very Short Stories

They say Ernest Hemingway, on a bet, once wrote a short story in only six words, declaring it one of his finest pieces of writing.

I might be able to tell the story of this photo in only five:

My neighbor has a dog.

Awesome Blossoms

Despite the heat wave this week, I found these sturdy "flowers" in full bloom outside of the Paper Merchant on Third Street.

Not A Sound From The Pavement

Twelve o'clock.
Along the reaches of the street
Held in a lunar synthesis,
Whispering lunar incantations
Dissolve the floors of memory
And all its clear relations,
Its divisions and precisions,
Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium.

T. S. Eliot


"It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are."  Wendell Berry