Sexyloops is ten years old today, 22 September 2008. I'm writing this ahead of time - so it may not happen of course; worlds may collide preventing the aforementioned event occurring, or I may have forgotten to renew the domain (as has happened before), however assuming it has happened and you are indeed reading this on the 22nd or thereafter, then: Fucking hell - how did that happen?!
As it happens, by mistake.
Now I know you're thinking I just made that up, and that you can't start a website the size and scope of Sexyloops “by mistake”, but that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Obviously I intended to start a website, after all I bought the domain sexyloops.co.uk , it being my second choice, originally requesting flyfishing.co.uk, but fortunately (in retrospect) that one had gone and so - slightly embarrassed - I asked for Sexyloops, which was the name of my first published article in Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine.
The name, Sexyloops, first came to me partly while teaching a bloke in New Zealand - cool guy, no idea if he knows the “minefield of information” he helped create when Sexyloops first became sexy - not that they have of course, for trademark reasons - and the complete piss-take that subsequently occurred… and partly through meditation on top of the mountain as reenacted in the Enlightenment movie: Red wine.. Chillies.. Sexyloo - no not Sexyloo - Sexyloops, yes Sexyloops.. am I Enlightened now? (Checks size of penis) Yes I think I am.
Of course “Sexyloops” was originally a piss-take on flycasting instruction. That's irony for you. There is no greater source or more advanced knowledge base on flycasting that the Sexyloops Board. Over the past ten years we have advanced flycasting understanding more than in the previous 100 (Bruce Richards, of Scientific Anglers and FFF Flycasting Board President said that, and I don't think he was drunk at the time).
The very first Sexyloops page was a one-page advert promoting “Flyfishing and Flycasting Instruction, Guiding and Tackle Sales”. It was in Internet Grey and I was smoking a pipe somewhere in Fiordland. I've looked to see if I still have a copy, and I probably do somewhere, but not here with me in Canada. Very few people read it of course and after six months I decided that a good idea would be to create the “Sexyloops Flycasting Manual”. That would have been around the Psychedelic Marbled Pink phase that we went through - curious that Pink would later come back to haunt me.
Our, well really my shop at that time was actually doing quite well. There was almost no one selling gear online and it was a nice side-income. I was teaching a lot too, basing myself in the UK for at least some of the season. It was then that I had a purchase from a guy called Steve Foster, who cleverly tried to buy tackle for the discounted amount instead of the discounted price. The subsequent email exchange saw Steve working for Sexyloops.
Steve was a genius, put quite simply, and together we launched new sections - Beginners, The Flow, The Discovery, Stillwater (which was a book I'd written for teaching novices), Pic of Day and The Board, amongst others. Sexyloops went five days a week, and shortly afterwards, seven days. That was quite a line-up there with new content coming in daily. I was Monday, as I am now, Sean Geer was Tuesday with Fishmail, Mike Connor Wednesday with his Connor's Metre (a metric reflection on his poetry), Lars was Thursday with Viking Tips, Ben Spinks Friday with Flytying, Saturday was a mystery guest and Sunday was God. (God became a bit of a problem in the end, and so I sacked him with Hurricane Bob Wyatt quickly taking his place).
We've had other great long-term contributors since, Magnus Angus, Steve Parton, Carl McNeil, Zoran with his amazing and irreverent Front Pages, Eric who was and still is a rock, with his FPs and behind-the-scenes involvement, Matt Klara who writes extremely strong pages and new to the fold, Christian Strixner, Jo Meder and Stoatstail. We're currently experiencing our third-generation line-up. Establishing writers' personalities and delivering fresh content from around the world is the Front Page of Sexyloops.
Sexyloops has achieved a number of things in the fishing world. Firstly it has advanced flycasting knowledge. The Board has never been about what we know; it's always been about trying to figure out the bits we don't. Rod loading and double haul misunderstandings have been exposed and although there's a bunch of stuff we still don't fully understand - loop formation and its morph for example - we have a much clearer picture of how the cast works. I must say, thanks Frank; I think I've had more fun arguing with you on the Board than all the other conversations combined. Rod Creep may have been my favourite discussion of all - I actually had to park up for 5 days just to stay in that argument!
Sexyloops has been busy changing the traditional image of flyfishing. I don't think there's anything wrong with tradition, hell sometimes tradition is good, however elitism and egotism don't represent my reasons for fishing at all and they are undoubtedly embroiled in our tradition. It's my belief that they are detrimental to our past, present and future and despite ending up bruised and bloodied I think the fight is a worthy one. It's not about being a bum and it's not about being God either. It's all about the fish - and being equal to every other fisherman on the planet. Sure I sleep under my truck, but that's only because I don't have any money. If I had money I'd buy a bigger truck.
Many measure success by how much money you have. Others, such as Zoran, by how many days you fish. Some, such as the Dalia Lama FFS, by how happy you are. Well I reckon the real measure of success is how close you come to living your dream/s. My over-riding dream is to become the best fly fisherman I can. Of course I'll always become a better fly fisherman, as will we all. And the more we fish the better we become (so long as we're paying attention of course).
And although Sexyloops was started “by mistake” it did have purpose, namely to advertise flycasting instruction. However it outgrew that fairly quickly. And I've grown too, man, you know ten years is a long time, it's a decade FFS. I was pretty shy ten years ago, hard to believe I know, and now I blow shit up. And I definitely had a few personal problems and although I'm not saying I'm sorted now or even close, I'm certainly a lot fucking happier. Whether that's because my dick is getting more action or I'm catching more fish I can't say for sure, but either way it's pretty damn good.
And I have many more friends. Sexyloops is an amazing network of the best friends any man can have. And although they may not all get along together whenever I'm not there to show them how much of an asshole they can be, I think it's a uniquely inspiring place.
I've picked up a few more purposes along the way. One is to get flyfishers greener than green. I know flyfishers who are the greenest (with being down-to-earth) people you can meet. They not only actively promote the environment but also are sensible enough to know we live here too. That's the image flyfishing - and the planet - needs. Matt Klara and Paul Harper lead the way here in my opinion. They're young like me, fisheries biologists, work in Government fisheries management and they flyfish. Matt by the way, is one of the very best anglers I've met and I can't wait to listen to those two around a campfire.
I'm also going to recruit new flyfishers, flip Sexyloops inside-out, open up the sport to young like-minded people, build a program we can be proud of, and help reverse the decline in world fish and habitat populations. So it looks like the next ten years is going to be pretty busy.
How am I going to do this, you wonder? There really is a Plan. That plan is to show flyfishing to the World. I want the world to see us through my eyes - and are they in for some interesting times! My “ambition” for the last 20 years has been to get on TV - that's what our three Sexyloops films have been about, learning how to present myself. Last April, Ronan and I presented a pilot show which will be aired on Discovery Channel across North America very soon (date to be announced shortly).
We're extremely lucky to be teamed up with an awesome director, Greg Smith, flyfisher extreme in the making, super guy, who allows us to do pretty much what we want and then edits it in a way that the world may or may not understand, Cam, our bio-fuel, bee pollen eating cameraman who is a complete and total nutcase and Dale our sound technician who Ronan tried to blow up during several river crossings.
And I tell you something, if you've never made movies, it's a blast all the way. As we say here at Sexyloops, hang on to your shorts baby, it's all about to happen.
Paul, Mr Sexyloops, President of Hungary, Ironman and Big Penis.
22.09.08 - check out the POD!
10 years Vortex Archives