We are extremely lucky here at GVSCO to have started working with the legendary explorer and Journeymen that is Jeff Allen. With his very unique skill set and passion for the outdoors Jeff strives to… More
In February of this year we were lucky enough to spend a long weekend in the beautiful city of Rome, Italy. We’ve always wanted to travel to Italy and experience the ancient city, all the history and romance of Italian culture, so we took this opportunity to really try and experience as much of Rome as possible. Firstly we wanted to do all the classic tourist routes and spots, but equally as important to us was to try and get lost and find ourselves a Rome that you wouldn’t find on the page of Tourism Guide.
After an easy flight from London we pitched up at our Airbnb which was located in the heart of historic Rome. This beautiful private flat in a classically kept gated community was a stones throw the ruins of the Roman Forum, which in turn meant that we were ideally placed to experience Ancient Rome and were exactly 400m from the Colosseum. We began by getting our bearings and decided to explore the area around us known as Rione X Campitelli. This area of Ancient Rome is home to some of Rome’s most famous and incredible buildings; walking just around the corner from our flat we were on top on the Roman Forum, which in its hay day was the centre of Rome’s government buildings, temples and a vibrant public area. These astonishing ruins are something to behold, confusing as the geography has been somewhat lost amongst the remaining structures and the less durable remains. But what took us by surprise was the sheer size of these buildings, which was only surpassed by the realisation that they were hundreds of years old and were built and constructed by hand!
A short walk from the Forum is the Piazza del Campidoglio, a stunning courtyard which is bordered by three equally stunning buildings which now house the Capitoline Museums. Walking down the Cordonata, grand stone steps, on the main road we arrived at the right hand side of the Piazza Venezia, home to the Vittoriano. This incredible marble building has many impressive attributes and stands proudly at the head of Via dei Fori Imperiali, or to you and I, the road that leads to the Colosseum. However, our favourite attribute of the Vittoriano had to be the Terrace of Chariots which stood at the back, which had giant iron horse drawn chariots at each end, lording over Rome like Roman gods!
We then walked up to the Colosseum, which did not disappoint. I think the only way I can possibly do this amazing building justice is to simply say you have to see it for yourself! As we walked around the circumference of it, sadly it was closed for the day when we were there, our conversation bounced between Gladiators, Emperors and the splendour it would have been to see when fully constructed. Its easy to see how it is described as the worlds first stadium as it does rival many stadiums today. The complete enormity of the Colosseum is breath taking, our eyes scanned every crack and every shade of stone oozing with history. Again our conversations came back to how on earth such a building was completed, by this stage we fancied ourselves quite the engineers so reckon we could figure it out, but in truth if you do look hard enough you can see the different stages and ages of which the Colosseum was built and birthed giving some indication as to how such a mammoth building has lasted so long.
Our day ended with a lovely walk along to the Circus Maximus, which is now a vast open space where once stood a large stone and marble arena capable of seating over 250,000 people. This giant of an arena was where chariots racing took place and truly was a site. To this day the dirt sand track can be made out and walked on and opposite is Palatine Hill on which stands the ruins of a vast Roman palace and Rome’s second ever temple, Temple of Apollo.
To be continued…….
After an action packed weekend down at Boardmasters Alice Lemoigne and Edouard Delpero have come out victors. Although the conditions weren’t great and local hero Ben Skinner went out in the Quarter finals there was plenty of other great surfers to keep the packed beach occupied.
MEN’S LONGBOARD (LQS1000) PRESENTED BY THE STABLE
MEN’S OPEN (QS1000)
WOMEN’S OPEN (QS1000)
Tonight after a very long day at work we are grabbing our stuff and hitting the road down to Newquay. We are planning 5 days of surfing, watching the pro’s, seeing some great bands and probably a few craft beers along the way too!
After bypassing Boardmasters for a couple of years it seems to have fallen back in favour with the WSL and as you will see from the following, they seem pretty pumped to be back!
The Boardmasters, Cornwall, a long-standing tradition of music and surfing festival in the U.K is coming back this summer, unfolding from August 10-14 at the iconic birthplace of England’s surfing, Fistral beach.
Re-appearing on the WSL schedules in 2015 after a two-year hiatus, the Boardmasters comes back even stronger this summer, adding a men and women’s QS1,000 divisions to the existing longboarding events.
“We are so stoked to see the return of World Surf League sanctioning across all disciplines of our event,” Andrew Topham, Boardmasters Festival Director said. “This really drives the level of surfing within the UK and will inspire the next generation of British surfers towards competing at the highest level. Since 1981, Boardmasters has always been the pinnacle of British surfing and this once again takes us to another level. We are really excited to see another huge crowd on the beach cheering some of the best surfing that will be witnessed on Cornish shores this year.”
A classic event amongst the European and international field of qualifying series campaigners, this event has been host to many of the current world’s best surfers and will once again be the center of attention come August.
“WSL is very pleased to be returning once again to the Boardmasters and it is great to see our involvement grow with the addition of a men’s and women’s QS event,” Rob Gunning, European Tour Manager said. “As we expand across Europe the Boardmasters is for us a key event as it is one of our longest running and most high profile events. The on-site activities, crowds plus the music festival make the Boardmasters very special. It will be great for not only International and visiting European surfers but also for the local Brits who will get a chance to compete on the international stage. The women’s QS event will be a first for the Boardmasters and it is fantastic to see women’s professional surfing included in the schedule.”
The venue: Fistral beach is a 750m stretch of white sand backed by steep dunes and overlooked by the Headland Hotel, an iconic landmark. Sitting just a short walk from the center of Newquay, Fistral is the most popular surfing location in the country, invaded by thousands of waves enthusiasts of all-level each summer.
When the sun sets and competition is called off, the Boardmasters Music Festival becomes the main attraction with national and international artists taking the various stages set overlooking Watergate Bay, just north of the town. With the festival extending over five full days from August 10-14, there’s a flurry of performances for music aficionados. For more information and an up-to-date list of headliners, head on to boardmasters.co.uk.
We love getting posts in from Caitlin as she has a fantastic passion for travel and a keen eye for some amazing pictures! This latest instalment follows Caitlin through Lisbon with her boyfriend Paul and was the first part of a 9 week journey spanning Europe and Indonesia!
Our entire first day was lost to travelling and we didn’t arrive at our hotel – Residencial Mar dos Acores – until two o’clock this morning. The metro link is available from the airport and an unlimited 24 hour card costs only €6 each. We alighted the last train around 1.15am and it took us an absurd amount of time to find the hotel due to the lack of public wifi, thankfully when we did arrive our room was still waiting for us. With a 7.3 rating on Booking.com and one bathroom per floor which is shared between eight rooms, the €25 per night fee for us both seemed fair. It’s located a steep five minute walk from the Anjosnmetro station and is surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants. When we got there, the amenities were beyond what we had expected; immaculate kitchen stocked with beers and drinks for a fee, stunning mosaic interiors and a lift. The room itself, albeit compact, was spotless and included a sink, TV, air conditioning unit and a fan – both of which are necessary even at night. The bathrooms pleasantly surprised me, again immaculate and cleaned several times a day. After one night past, €25 seems like a steal.
From what I had read online, on WordPress as well as the Visit Lisbon website, I would be lying if I told you I expected much from the Portuguese capital. Combined with the heat, how tired we were and the pending game against Poland this evening, I really thought today would have been lost to relaxing and watching football. Thankfully, for me at least, that was so far from the way the day unfolded, and I’m really glad our curiosity pushed us towards spending time in a lesser raved about location, because after only a few hours out in the beating sun we have both fallen for this beautiful city.
We took the metro from Anjos to Rossio, the city’s main plaza in the Baica district. From there, we headed uphill through the narrow, pastel coloured streets. We had no plan, but our route allowed us to see so many glorious buildings. We followed the steep steps upwards to a higher plaza, from which we could see the city’s port. After deciding to head towards the water, distraction after distraction pulled us in all directions. Every street we passed one of us found something intriguing; from intricately mosaiced walls to hidden churches, the rich pastel colours of the city are so attractive we couldn’t help but walk around with our necks craned, while I photographed everything my eyes met. Eventually, when we reached the water we sat at a waterfront restaurant and watched the world go by with a cold beer in our hands. Across the water, sailboats and cruise liners sales past and the vast red suspension bridge leading across to the historic Almada district stood stark against the bright blue sky and water. Behind it, a Christ the King statue stands tall, towering over the district and overlooking the rest of the city from across the water.
From the harbour, we walked along the waterfront, through the Praça do Comércio and underneath the Rua Augusta Arch; the city’s trump gal arch, a vast Neoclassical monument flanked by Baroque buildings (which are very reminiscent of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna). Through the arch and much to my delight there was a wine festival taking place before the shopping district began. I tried local whites whilst Paul did some shopping before heading to the Elevador de Santa Justa, a tower with panoramic views of the city, but also with an extensive queue and so we decided to head further uphill to have an undisturbed and unrestricted view for ourselves.
Without realising, we had done a complete lap of the city on foot and found ourselves back at Rossio square almost three hours later. I took the opportunity to photograph what I had not already and afterwards we headed away from the square in the opposite direction from before, towards the Cathedral and Castle. We climbed even steeper streets on this side, but there are teams, tacos and tuk tuks available if the walk isn’t for you. Pauls trying to catch up on my tan from Canada, so I think that’s why he has been so keen to walk so far. On this side, streets were beginning to be decorated with Portuguese flags and tinsel in the flags colours. Music played loudly from pubs and the smell of seafood bled out into the streets from the many homes and restaurants that lined the cobblestone streets. Once at the top I found the view I had been searching for all along; a sea of terracotta roofs and off-white walls, plastered against an uninterrupted blue sky. We found the Cathedral atop the hill, but the castle sadly evaded us, and we were too tired to look anymore.
I feel Lisbon is sadly overlooked in favour of the more popular European cities such as Barcelona or Rome, and I can say that because I too overlooked it. After visiting so many in Asia, I have a really great appreciation for European cities and am trying so much more to explore the world a little closer to home before venturing out across continents again. Lisbon was the perfect starting point for this new adventure of ours because of its relaxed atmosphere, the lack of need to rush to pack sights in and the proximity of sights from one to another. Without a map and any idea as to where we were or where we were going, in a few hours Paul and I seen the majority of the sights on the to see lists. I found it to be an incredible romantic city – something I don’t think I’ve ever said about anywhere on earth. The colourful buildings and sun constantly shining makes it near impossible to not stroll around with a smile on your face. I was so pleasantly surprised by the proximity of the water to the city centre, and the rich variety of architecture and sculpture across the city.
I feel relaxed, which is odd to say after a day of walking around in the heat. In truth I feel really lucky to have spent time here, and I can’t wait to see what the Portuguese city of Porto has to offer over the next few days.
Freo. Home to a thriving arts scene, independent retailers, creative thinkers and everyone else in between, all bound together by a humbling sense of community. I think it is fair to say that the 6 months i spent immersed in Freo life were some of the best I have had. As a traveller, Freo is the perfect place to stop and earn some coin for further travels, and the nearby airport in Perth is a spring board into Indonesia and we all know what that means…. Waves Waves Waves.
I have put together a Top 5 list of things to do during your time in Fremantle. These are not your standard “TOP 5”, so you wont find these in your lonely planet books or travel guides, these are a some local sweet spots and hidden gems.
- Monument hill sunset
The old Fremantle docks make for a beautiful setting as the sun sinks into sea lighting up the sky giving you the most spectacular panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. With nothing between you and the east coast of Africa, it’s a must do, believe me.
- Holy smokes – Bourbon Bar
A very cool low key evening spot with good music and some outstanding bar snacks, be sure to try the jerky and the scratchings!. And of course their drinks are sublime, Holy Smokes boasts a massive range of high quality Bourbons so you’ll be sure to find a new favourite.
- Surfing the cove
All the way up the west coast of Australia there are world famous surf breaks. But if you are short of time, then the best surf break in the local area is a spot in Cottesloe called the cove. A right hand reef break, with easy accessibility from the car park, its a low hassle way to get wet and get your fix.
- Coffee – Jack And The Bean
Coffee, not something that is hard to come by in Fremantle and a lot of places do great coffee. However the coffee at Jack and the Bean topped with they exceptional service made it the go to spot. Start your day right and grab a brew from Jackie and the team.
- Sunset markets – south beach
If you are in Freo during the summer you have to get yourself down to the sunset markets, this is the pinnacle of the Fremantle’s community spirit. Friends and families getting together, hanging out with some beers and amazing food, all prepared by local foodies who delectable wholesome grub goes great with the beat of local musicians. Again a must do.
Thanks Fremantle, Stay stoked
Last week we wrote a piece on the National Geographic and their work with The Pristine Sea Mission and Davidoff Cool Water. They are working together to try and help save the Oceans, reduce pollution and create funding and it is really great to see big companies like that doing their bit, but sometimes we want to know what we can do to help?
National Geographic, as ever, are on hand to help with this and have drawn up 10 simple changes we can all make to do our part.
1. Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption
Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. A few things you can do to get started today: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, take the stairs, and bundle up or use a fan to avoid oversetting your thermostat.
Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable.
3. Use Fewer Plastic Products
Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in nondisposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible.
4. Help Take Care of the Beach
Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach cleanups.
5. Don’t Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life
Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items such as coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products.
6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem.
7. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean
Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home.
8. Influence Change in Your Community
Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood counter.
9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly
Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.
10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life
All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.
GVS Co. xx
So two of the team members over here at GVS Co. have booked a surf holiday to Ericeira for the start of August but we have only just realised that this coincides with the annual Portuguese Surf Film Festival! We cannot believe our luck!
It is the 5th annual festival and is being held on July 30th – August 6! There will be 21 films screened over the course of the festival and they will be judged in 5 different categories: Best Surf Film, Best Short, Best Sustainability, Ericeira in Shorts and Best Soundtracks
We cannot wait! Also if any of you lovely people are going to be out there, let us know!
Pollution is an issue which has been plaguing surfers world wide for many years and has resulted in great organisations like Surfers Against Sewage and the Plastic Project who aim to try and tackle the rubbish that is collecting on our beaches.
Prominent Men’s fragrance Davidoff Cool Water, who base their advertising around crystal clear seas have been active campaigners on ocean pollution. They teamed up with the National Geographic campaign called “Pristine Seas‘ back in 2012 and they have been working together since then to help try and preserve the world’s oceans.
Their latest campaign #lovetheocean is encouraging people to sign up to their local beach cleans, avoid using single use bags and also to campaign for a plastic bag tax or ban.
It would be easy to be cynical about a big brand using an ethical campaign to win brownie points but in all honesty we think that any extra awareness that can be raised for ocean pollution can only be a good thing! They have a load of interesting information on their website so make sure and head over to check it out!
Founded in 2015 by Luis Vaz, Tails and Whales is dedicated to creating products that focus on form and function, as well as versatility, durability and most importantly, the user experience.
The brand name originated from the whale, the giant mammal of the deep sea that has adapted it’s form over time to flourish in its natural environment with a strong tail that propels it’s functional movement. This is the core behind the brand identity and what we aim to achieve with some elements of biomimicry to the whale: adaptability, movement, balance and simplicity. Each product resembles and reflects a whale species closest to its design. The Bowhead, a multi-function backpack, is the first product to sprout from Tails and Whales.
The name represents durability, thickness and a ruggedness that Bowhead Whales possess. As the oldest mammal, the Bowhead represents longevity and quality – a product that is made to last. The Bowhead is the swiss army knife of backpacks, designed to alleviate the pains of organizing and storing surf gear – on your back, in your car and on and the airplane – making it it easier to travel to your favorite surf-spot, regardless of the distance. The Bowhead is made of water-resistant Cordura, and provides a 35L of total storage space while still being FAA-compliant for carry on travel. The bag is divided into compartments so surfers can keep their gear organized and maintain a separation between wet and dry gear: it includes 5 separate storage areas (2 large, 1 medium and 2 small), all secured with reinforced waterproof YKK Zippers.
In addition to the standard shoulder straps, the Bowhead features a hook and strap mechanism that allows surfers to attach their bag to the backseat of the car in a matter of seconds. This helps you to organize all your gear while maintaining trunk space, and allows for easy access to the pockets. This unique design also allows the customer to unfold the back into a flat plane that can be used to protect your surfboards while travelling, used as a chair at a busy airport, or as an additional division to store more items. The Bowhead provides all of the features that people have come to expect from a high-quality backpack, and adds a unique level of functionality and performance designed for active explorers that require a higher level of versatility, durability and efficiency.
Tails and Whales is owned by Canvaz Design Studio, based in Matosinhos, Portugal. Canvaz was founded and is run by Luis Vaz, an avid surfer, traveller and professional UI/UX designer with over 10 years of experience in branding, marketing, advertising and mobile/web design. Canvaz focuses primarily on developing best-in-class digital interfaces and crafting seamless user experiences for consumer products. Tails and Whales was founded as the Studio’s performance brand, and will focus on the design and development of fashionable and functional gear for outdoor sports – specifically, surfing. The Studio includes a workspace that serves as the company’s headquarters, as well as a showroom for Tails and Whales branded product; all 500 meters from the Beach.
My profession is as a UI/UX designer, and my passion is surfing. I have spent many early mornings warming up with a cup of coffee just before dawn, trying to preheat my body before jumping into the cold water for a sunrise surf session. I’ve also spent countless hours travelling – driving, flying, walking – in search of the best swell in isolated places. Being able to pick up and move quickly to wherever mother nature decides to create a swell, requires a certain amount of efficiency and discipline in one’s preparations. You don’t want to rush to the beach, only to find that you’ve forgotten your surf wax, or finish your session and not have anywhere to put that soaked wetsuit. But you also have to be cognizant of not overloading or over-packing your bag – being quick, nimble and versatile is the name of the game. To that end, I was always struggling to find a bag that suited my needs; being both large enough to carry my gear, but comfortable and compact enough to travel easily with, and of course durable enough to take a beating. The Tails and Whales performance brand, and our flagship product, The Bowhead surf bag, was born out of my own desire to solve these issues for myself.
“I started out to create a backpack that allowed me to keep my surf gear organized – large enough to fit the necessities, but compact enough not to slow me down while I went searching for the swell. After selling a number of my own prototypes – literally right off my back – I decided it was time to make a business out of it, which is how Tails and Whales was born.” – Luis Vaz, Founder of Tails and Whales
You can find these guys here and we will also be stocking them in our long awaited store!
Bowhead Product: http://bowhead.tailsandwhales.com
A few more guides from the guys over at SBS boards to help us improve and develop our surfing skills.
Definitely going to be hitting some of these up before heading out on our surf trips this summer!