Coast sounds warms frozen landscape

Clinton Swanson, right, at Miami on the Gold Coast, with Gold Coast Mail journalist Ed Southorn and Lukas Southorn.
Clinton Swanson, right, at Miami on the Gold Coast, with Gold Coast Mail journalist Ed Southorn and Lukas Southorn.

A CANADIAN musician and ice hockey fan has released an album of surf music after a visit to the Gold Coast.

Clinton Swanson, 33, had never been surfing before he stayed a few days with Gold Coast Mail journalist and keen surfer Ed Southorn.

Clinton's Zambian born wife Toni Banyard is an emerging Canadian writer who has been studying with Ed at the University of Queensland.

Clinton had a go at surfing at Miami.

He spent 45 minutes struggling to get "out the back" and never gave up, finally succeeding in paddling for a wave.

But "it all happens so quickly", according to Clinton, and the exhausted Canadian had his board swept away from under him as he tried in vain to get to his feet.

He reckons playing and watching ice hockey as a child back home in Canada probably gave him enough fitness to tackle the Gold Coast waves, even if he failed to ride one.

However, Clinton's perseverence in the Miami breakers helped fuel his fascination with surfing.

Wave riding has a small but loyal following in Canada, despite the ice and snow, where the ocean is so cold it's usually near freezing, full length wetsuits are a must and apres surf beach fires are needed to reactivate bodily extremities.

"I guess my inspiration is that I love water.

"Being under it, on top of it, or ridin' it. I love being in it. Surf music can put you in the water," Clinton said.

His just released instrumental album, "Set 1" by his band "Surfananda", partly inspired by his visit to the Gold Coast, reflects the 1960s surf guitar sound, Hawaiian folk music and 1970s Australian band "Tamun Shud". It also is jazz and blues influenced.

Clinton has been playing saxophone since he was 12. He performed in school bands and in bars, then dropped out of college to study saxophone privately, practising up to 12 hours a day.

He played on cruise ships and in Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore as well as Mexico.

He has played with superstar Ricky Martin for an MTV Asia show, and also plays clarinet and flute.

Clinton recently opened his own recording studio and launched his own record company in Vancouver.

He says his surf music album with musical partner Billy Mendoza - both Jimi Hendrix fans - supported by a select group of top Canadian musicians, is the "first of many albums to come in a variety of genres".

Readers wanting to check out "Set 1" can contact Clinton by emailing: