Why do I Still do This?!

As much as I'd like to believe I'm young at heart, the stranger matching my every move in my  peripheral vision in store windows or mirrors reminds me time has moved on at a shocking rate. Rapidly greying hair, sun-etched lines mapping over 40 years of expressions, old injuries coming home to roost. This is not a unique or new revelation for a human being to experience; we all feel the pull of time accelerating. My daughter is nearly six years old already. Time is crawling for her and she wishes she was older, taller, more capable. I tell her to enjoy this time; to savour the pure present moment unfettered with the years of self-dialogue, experience, and expectation that comes with age. I envy her a little. She's able to drop into the NOW so easily. As adults, many of us have a "practice" to access the NOW. Consider that for a moment. We tend to pile so much on top of what is happening in the present: past stories, future expectations, past experiences. This obfuscates our perception like fog filtering through the forest or wind-spray shredding the features of the ocean surface. It's laughable, really, that the moment is here for us to experience just as it is yet we seem to love to add to it with unnecessary complexity or even delusion.

So what does being in the ocean bring to my life? Why do I continue to pursue what the uninformed might consider "childish" pursuits like windsurfing, kiteboarding, or surfing? For me, the fastest way to get a massive dose of NOW is to throw myself into frigid, gale swept, heaving/frothing ocean or to drop into a long, glassy wall with only the sound of rail and fins as a soundtrack. I'm long past being labelled an "adrenaline junkie". It's peace I find on days with critical conditions. I find the self-imposed limits I employ in daily life evaporate like heat signatures shimmering on a desert highway's horizon. They are exposed for the mentally-manufactured mirages that they are. Here, my age is irrelevant. My story is irrelevant. Hopes, disappointments, self loathing, ego, future, past; all irrelevant.

Here, I am.

 

Many thanks to photographer extraordinaire, Mike Nash, for the images below of a recent session I so enjoyed in my backyard. You can see more of his work at westcoastcaptures.com

 

 

This is NOW.

This is NOW.

Freedom from thought, freedom from past and future.

Freedom from thought, freedom from past and future.

One of my delivery systems to accessing NOW.  (Christopher Curran photo)

One of my delivery systems to accessing NOW.  (Christopher Curran photo)

March, 2018 Already?!

March has me gobsmacked.

Time has completely flown by since my last post and I feel much shame for not keeping the ball rolling. In my defense, I've been consistently posting shots up on my Instagram feed (christopher.curran.photos), to the neglect of this site. This has to do in part with my notion of what it is I'd like to accomplish through this blog in particular. The world has enough blogs competing for your attention. What do I have to say that is so important? Well, I decided to get over myself and my usual self-imposed BS to just write anyway. My aim is to simply create and share photos that I'm enjoying taking lately. Maybe I'll get to brag a little about the odd session in the water while I'm at it. Just don't expect lengthy diatribes on the subject of politics, religion, or what the Kardashians are up to. I'm ok with this.  Hopefully you are too. Who knows where this blog is headed; the leash is unclipped. The brakes are off. The...you get the idea.

A perfect finish to a day of kite surfing on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. 

A perfect finish to a day of kite surfing on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. 

Spring-ish

The winter on Vancouver Island this year has been a harsh one, relatively speaking. Uncharacteristically low temperatures, snow, and fickle wind/surf have dampened my usual high levels of stoke to get on the water for the first time in my life. My personal logged sessions of windsurfing, kiteboarding, and SUPing has been have been at an all time low. Our weather has been good for nothing really, and the winter has felt long, but I've noticed a wee change afoot. The first, very tentative signs of spring are noticeable if you are alert for them. The cherry blossoms are hinting at a triumphant return, as are the buds of leaves on the trees. As much as I love the winter energy that brings ocean swell and gale force winds to the Island, I live for the rebirth that is Spring. Last Friday finally offered up a fun, if very gusty session of kiting off of Clover Point and Cook St. I shot photos earlier in the day then had my own session a bit later. 

Strapless riding has been something I've been slowly improving on in my kiteboarding and three local kiteboarders, Erik Frang, Reece Myerscough, and Graham Harney (not pictured in this post, but watch this space!), have offered huge inspiration in their very different yet equally impressive approaches to the art of riding unstrapped. Because I still windsurf, I find my nervous system is often giving me old, familiar (and erroneous) input cues while I'm engaged in kiting, sometimes making the learning curve a little more sine-wavey. Flying the kite in the correct position while trying to keep an airborne,  strapless board glued to your feet like a gecko on a wall has proven to be much more difficult than I'd imagined. I love the new challenge however!

Erik massive backside punt.

Erik massive backside punt.

Erik making 1 foot mush looking much better than it was.

Erik making 1 foot mush looking much better than it was.

Reece.

Reece.

Reece.

Reece.

Full Immersion

To kick off my first blog post, I want to start by thanking both my wife, Stephanie, and friend Bryan Hudson,  for creating and launching this site. I'm far more comfortable behind the lens and creating content than I am designing a site, so I offer my gratitude to both of them!!

 Water photography has given me an incredible and wonderfully new perspective. The years spent windsurfing, kiteboarding, paddling and surfing have given me so many moments where I'd wished I could capture a scene on the water where the image would reflect the experience of being there. An SLR in a water housing allows for more control and creativity than a GoPro (as good as they are!). The west coast of BC has such moody weather and presents all sorts of challenges for lighting, but this also makes the rewards that much greater when a shot works out.

 Most surfers have experienced surreal  evening paddles up and over a critical wave face, offshore wind combing arcs of golden, backlit spray high into the air before drifting back down in a hiss of pelleting mist. Or windsurfers and kiteboarders on the Island noticing the monochromatic, wintery layers of texture on the water inscribed by the elemental movement of currents, rain, and wind.  It's these ethereal, fleeting details that stand out in stark contrast from the day to day visual noise we tend to ignore. I love the sensation of feeling the movement of the water around me as I shoot the action. It's a very visceral and connected feeling that I'd never really considered would come from swimming with a heavy and awkward camera, but there it is: hydrotherapy of a very real kind.

Rain+ wind+freezing water = happy Chris.

Rain+ wind+freezing water = happy Chris.