(M)Ocean was a part of the 2015 Bleach Festival, held at Burleigh Heads here on Australia’s East Coast on March 22. According to creator, journalist and surfer Tim Baker, (M)Ocean it is pronounced motion or emotion and is an experimental, cultural form that presents surfing as a performing art, rather than a competitive sport. When interviewed about (M)Ocean by Swellnet, Baker said he ‘envisioned a stage to be set up on the point at Burleigh, with live music directed out over the lineup. A select group of surfers will all be riding boards from a historic quiver, from solid Hawaiian timber slabs to 16 foot hollow ply toothpicks, balsa malibu, okapis, right through to modern high performance foam and fibreglass and everything in between. Surfboard collector Carl Tanner has very kindly opened up his collection to us to use on the day, including Michael Peterson’s original board from Morning of the Earth – which is slightly terrifying!’
(M)Ocean went pretty much according to Baker’s vision and on March 22, 2015, Joel Fitzgerald and myself, joined in the historic Bleach on Burleigh (M)ocean event. We were excited to be a part of the festivities and drove up the coast from Byron to Burleigh with our friends Leah Dawson and Dave Rastovich. Surfer Leah Dawson had the honor of riding the MP board, additional traditional and magnificently handcrafted boards were on lend by master craftsman Tom Wegener, whom was also a part of (M)ocean. Joel rode Wegener’s timber board called #1, along side surfing legends Rusty Miller, Wayne Dean, Rabbit Bartholemu, Dave Rastavoich, Neal Purchase Jr., Josh Constable and young guns Ellis Ericson, Asher Pacey just to name a few.
The festivities opened with a welcome to country and ceremonial dance by local Aboriginal Australians and talented Didgeridoo player. Ancient, timeless, cosmic healing vibrations from the ritual were carried by the sea breezes out over the pandamus trees along the black rocks to the surf break and far beyond. The pointy edged buildings of Surfers Paradise a rigid and ominous backdrop to the playful dancers of the sea. Live music played from the stage where the amazing Band of Frequencies cosmic waves made the tiny swells surfable.
As surfers moved in and out of the lineup, the Band of Freqs were joined by special guests Dave on the drums, Rusty on harmonica, and Leah. Whom performed some of her original songs, singing as well as playing the uke. The fantastical event finished up with one man band Kim Chruchill jamming into the night as young and old were moving to the beats of so many beautiful artists in motion. From our hearts to yours, a very big mahalo nui loa for all who turned up to support this expressive experimental festival, and extra gratitude to Tim Baker. Thank you for conceptualizing and bringing into fruition your dream (M)Ocean, we had a blast. Here are a few photos for you all to enjoy.
All photos by Chrystal Dawn