Looking Sideways: 10 Things
Here are this week's ten things I thought were worth sharing
1. My latest episode with GB Surfing’s new Performance Pathway Manager Joel Gray. I've been covering the often fractious relationship between action sports and the Olympics for 25 years, and the fundamental question remains the same.
Just how do you place a progression-based culture in such a white-hot competitive environment without eroding the very factors that made that culture unique in the first place? Especially when you throw funding and medals into the mix? And what does impact does it have on the grassroots of the scene?
All reasons why I was so keen to chat to Joel for this week’s episode of the show.
This a really insightful look into the future direction of travel for British surfing (including what hasn’t been discussed so far); from a committed, passionate surfer who’s in it for the long haul, and is determined to try and strike a balance between the two opposing poles of the Olympic board sports conversation. Listen above.
2. On the same topic: another interview with Chief Executive of GB Snowport and chair of GB Surfing Vicky Gosling, in which she talks about how she’s tackling the above roles, and sets forth her views on Britain’s relationship to action sports.
When I posted about Gosling on Instagram earlier this year I received a fair amount of criticism (and a couple of accusations of misogyny and bullying, which obviously I thought were pretty ludicrous).
So I wondered whether I should include this. Then I remembered: she’s somebody who is unelected and has really come out of nowhere to have a huge amount of power in our world. Those roles also mean she is having an increasingly big influence on the way our culture is perceived in this country.
Plus she’s out there doing a lot of national press, in which she’s opining about action sports culture, as above. So on reflection I think it’s completely fair to draw attention to and interrogate stuff like this.
3. I’m very privileged to have been asked once again to be part of the Selection Committee for this year’s Natural Selection series alongside organisers Travis Rice and Liam Griffin, and my pals Pat Bridges, Mary Walsh and Ed Leigh. I’m hoping to get out there once again to record a load of episodes - stay tuned for that.
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4. As I wrote in one of my columns for Pleasure Magazine earlier this year, setting up your own magazine in the current media climate is akin to enthusiastically setting fire to a pile of your own cash. So big up Caleb Giddins and friends for getting the latest issue of Local Mag, a surf mag with a focus on the British south west, out into the world.
5. British surfers should be aware of the consultation taking place around the planned Whitecross Offshore Windfarm off the coast of North Devon. Hat tip to listener and local surfer Chris who says “the current preferred cable route goes under the main right hander at Saunton which is one of the best logging waves in the country. We need as many comments as possible on their consultation to ensure they consider if there will be any impact on the wave of the cable takes that route”. Click the link to find out more.
6 Aga Wood of Everyone on Boards has been fighting the good fight for years, so it is great to see her getting such recognition for her work, as with this recent interview for Slam by Jacob Sawyer.
7. Liam Lonsdale is doing a brilliant job of keeping across the horrifying Elnaz Rekabi story.
8. I found this podcast series about the scramble to control the minerals that will be essential for the green energy transition to be equal parts fascinating and scary. One soundbite that leapt out: in the next three decades we are, apparently, due to extract more minerals from the earth than we’ve so far managed in the previous 70,000 years. Gulp.
9. Jake Powell’s latest for Skateboard GB on Baghead Crew is great.
10. As is my pal Sam McMahon’s ace short about snowboarding in Macedonia for Nidecker. I haven’t been snowboarding off the beaten track for a good few years now, and this got me fired up to dig out the atlas once more.
Enjoyed this week’s dispatch? Anything caught your eye?