Maldives XSories feature in The Surfers Path magazine

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Extract from ‘INFUSION SURFING’ by

Sam Bleakley


“…Surfing has always had its ‘outsider art’, its primitives and naïfs, who refuse the polished path of the professional or the grand tour of ‘the world’s best 100 waves’. These creative men and women of the fringes offer a counterculture to ‘brand’ surfing and celebrity waves – production line surfboards, fashions, and contest kudos. They are ragged, inventive, often surreal in their openness to experimentation in equipment, untrodden surf spots and genre-bending styles. They ride anything from pieces of foam to heavy log boards, from beat-up antiques to futuristic designs, from fruit-baskets to hi-tech carbon fibres. And they ride for the sheer pleasure of surfing, the untiring challenge of how to fit the curve of a wave and best engage its rhythms, its snaps and flows, its surprise elements. While ‘outsiders’ to surfing’s commercial mainstream, they are ‘insiders’ from the point of view of the waveforms they inhabit – surfing from inside, indwelling the wave from a pure love of breaking water. I call this ‘infusion’ surfing. Fusion brings things together, but then the product must infuse into a culture, slowly seep into its psyche, structures, and institutions, to cause change and reformulation…”


I have often wondered what it would be like to have a song line playing in your ear as you crank a bottom turn, cross-step and hang five in an air pocket showering in saltspray. Would the music change your repertoire? London-based French filmmaker Toma Jablon has been thinking the same thing for a long time. He suggested working on a short film where I longboarded to a specific jazz track whilst wearing a waterproof mp3 player. When Toma talked to Franck Bywalski (entrepreneur and owner of XTreme Video) about the project, Franck, and his creative director Philippe Vergez, lit up. Their brand XSories sell a waterproof headphone/mp3 player called the AquaNote. Franck (like many others) believes that if surfing can be more choreographed, with surfers riding waves to music of their choice, performances could be electrifying as they are doubled up – wave savvy and music savvy at once. In this way, a single ride, or even a full session, can form an elegant and complete whole, from take-off to kick-out, rather than a set of isolated, dislocated manoeuvres. Toma’s timing is spot on. Franck has just planned a project to the Maldives with his XSories team to test a range of prototypes, including suncreams with compounds that do not damage coral, drones with GoPro camera mounts, and the trusty AquaNote. Australian surfer/artist/musician Andrew Kidman, his partner Michelle and their beautiful family, Franck’s partner Silvia, and New York photographer/filmmaker Michael Halsband are onboard as well: a classic crew…”


About Sam Bleakley

I am a freelance writer and professional surfer from Sennen, West Cornwall, in the UK. I specialise in surf exploration projects with renowned surfEXPLORE photographer John Callahan. I have undertaken groundbreaking trips to the likes of Algeria, Liberia, Kenya, Oman, South Korea, Hainan, Palawan and the Maluku Islands. Surf writing has led me to visit sixty countries. My roots, however, remain in Penwith, where I live with my family above Gwenver beach, close to Land's End, the westernmost tip of Britain - next stop Novia Scotia. I have an MA in Geography from Pembroke College, the University of Cambridge, and I am currently researching a part time PhD in Travel Writing with Falmouth University. I am the author of two illustrated surf travel books, Surfing Brilliant Corners and Surfing Tropical Beats (Alison Hodge Publisher, Penzance). I have been a multiple European and British Longboard surfing Champion, and former competitor on the ASP World Longboard Tour. I am widely published and featured in international magazines and newspapers ranging from Resurgence to Action Asia to The Cornishman, and a regular contributor to The Surfer's Path. I have studied and taught travel writing courses and guest lecture on aspects of surfing, travel, writing and geogrphy in further and higher education. I edited The Surfing Tribe: a history of surfing in Britain, and have edited Longboarding supplements and specials for Carve and Wavelength magazines. My first book, Surfing Brilliant Corners, details a decade of extreme global surf travel, illustrated by John Callahan. Surfing, jazz, geography, ecology and cultural studies mix as I journey to Mauritania, locked in political strife, where landmines litter access to some of the best waves on the planet; and Haiti, which captures my heart and makes it race as if falling in love. My second book, Surfing Tropical Beats, follows our surfEXPLORE team on a rollercoaster ride from Haiti to Gabon, through Algeria, India, Vietnam, China and back to Haiti.
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