An ode to a surfer's soul arch

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 April 2009

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An ode to a surfer's soul arch

An ode to a surfer's soul arch
The soul arch is seen by some as a functional element of style, and is dismissed by others as a flamboyant indulgence. I see the soul arch as a functional expression of a surfer’s joy. I believe it helps the surfer connect with the soul of the wave as well as sections of a ridden wave itself.

Dawn patrol. Hump backed pulses of energy are moving toward you from the horizon. All is calm. Sound is muted. You push through the faces of one, two – three waves and they spill and track behind you. The trail of the low sun finds form in the water, colouring it golden to purple.

The curvature of the swell reveals itself as you spear through three more unbroken faces into the wilderness beyond.

You’re alone now at the point where the clear water meets the foam on the surface of the water, directly above where a rock nestles unseen in the nub of a gently sloping bank of sand. You sit and breathe and stretch.

Questions cloud your perception of the morning. Does the soul exist as an observable phenomenon? Is it a phantom – a cipher for the essential element of everything?

Does the fact that it is possible to conflate the words ‘soul’ and ‘surfer’ mean that what you are doing is something truly special?

What is a soul arch? Does it connect the body with the wave via the soul? The horizon darkens again. The questions fall away and you make some instinctive calculations. You dig in hard with your right hand; sit upright for a moment, swinging the nose ninety degrees toward shore.Paddling quickly now toward the beach you are falling and the board is lifting beneath your feet and spray is distorting everything but the speed of the wave. Weighting your inside rail you thrust your hips forward and arch your back. The bowl-like area of water around you steepens and morphs to a liquid wall the colour of honey.

You stand tall like this for a fraction of a moment – before you race down the line tucked into trim. That moment, the first ridden instance of the morning, is burned into your cortex like a bull’s brand. An answer to those questions settles into your being as you paddle out again. Even if the soul does not exist, the soul arch exists in itself.

Words: Michael Fordham
Illustration: Nick Radford

Why I Ride

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008

Why I Ride
I ride my bike for selfish reasons.
I ride my bike so that I am not one of the ordinary people.
I ride my bike for the adrenaline, for the confidence it gives me, to feel empowered.
I ride my bike to be different, as a mountain biking woman you are something of an enigma.
I ride my bike to take me away from being a mum, an employee, old age, to being just me again.

I ride because I can.

Belinda Tarling
9 x National Masters XC Champion
2 x World Masters XC Champion

Two Best Friends
They have at times been the subject of makeovers and suffered the whimsy of fashionistas that try to re-invent them. They always come back stronger and more focused after such trifling. I can do every thing in my life with them that seems worth doing and what can’t be done with them I couldn’t care less about. We have been on some incredible journeys together and they have been to some of the best gigs of all time with me. 


They have never been perfect in any way at any time but they have been more understanding and forgiving of my ability to go from one reality to another in the flick of an eye, one minute we could be skating a ditch, later in the day we’d be hill climbing and at the end of the day we could be either dancing like dervishes at a party, riding BMX bikes or riding fixies to a gig 25 miles into god knows where, they never back down from a challenge and have never let me down. 


I don’t want to climb Everest in them but if I wanted to they’d come with me, but like me we’d all be out of our depth, no matter though as they’d still do their job and with a few extra mates to fill in the gaps, I’m sure we’d be able to conquer those extremities too, but I’m not interested in being that extreme. I just want to keep it simple and that’s why they are always there for me.

Whether I’m slashing a kerb in a car park, jumping off cliffs into the sea or out on my bike they are ready to take it. They also like a walk to the shops too.


I used to ride 50 miles with them when I was in my mid-teens and that was when we were wearing nylon pants and bell bottoms, always laughing our asses off and having a great time. So I’d just like to use this space to say thanks to my two friends with whom I have spent so many good times with that they too should take some credit for what we’ve all done. 


Mr Jeans and Mr T-shirt your simplicity and adaptability has made my life better. Cheers for helping make a six feet five lanky fella with a love for bikes, boards and mischief find a uniform that lasted longer than any fashion or trend, classics they are not, icons they are.

Find Nowhere

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008

Life is complicated. Sport is simple

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008

Categories:

Life is complicated. Sport is simple

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