Tag Archives: Fistral

Newquay – Surf Town Hangover

17 Sep

A breezy September afternoon and my hangover is mirrored by the Town. The streets are vacant and shivering as Newquay clinks and clatters in the wind. The holiday makers are mostly gone, and Newquay goes about its business. Muted and lifeless compared to the thump and bustle of summer.

Proprietors stare blankly, their shops quiet. A hen do straggles from bar to bar, a gust snatching at their feather boas. A surf school struggles down beach road. Heavy swell boards under arm in their uniform of wetsuits and flip flops.

Love it or hate it, on an August afternoon the town is alive. Newquay is pumping (unlike the surf), with music blaring from the bars. Thousands flock to the town, to party or just to see the spectacle that is Newquay in the summer. Fistral beach is transformed as the travelling show of competitive surfing dips its toe into the town.

View From Fistral Beach Bar - August

A Saturday afternoon six weeks later and Fistral is almost deserted, bereft of human clutter and exposed to the elements. Like the morning after the night before, the silence is deafening, with the Autumn breeze ringing my ears instead.

View from The Beach Bar - September


Surfers Paradise?

23 Mar

For the majority of the year I lament our Northerly latitude and the generally rubbish weather that us Brits have to put up with. As the sun shone this weekend along with a sweet little clean Spring swell, we raced to the beach for our first surf sans hoods and gloves. Blissful is the best word I can use. I felt truly lucky to be in Cornwall. At the end of the day we were surfed out and sun-kissed.

Whilst on the North Shore this December, we met many Hawaiians who were indeed shocked that we could even surf in this country. They were convinced we lived under a cloud of fog all year, in a permanent pea souper but gladly this is not the reality.

Whilst we do have to put up with windblown surf and the inconsistent shifting sands of our beach breaks, there are many things that we need not concern ourselves with. We have no sharp coral or lava reef to worry about and no man-eating sharks. The water quality is considerably better than the fetid soup of Taghazout, Morocco after a storm. We had to invent a new vocabulary to explain the behaviour of our Colons after that trip! I would rather surf in Bournemouth than relive that experience.

Limited crowds! Yes really! For those that have witnessed France in August, the crowds in Waikiki and the boatloads of multinational surfers dropped off at various reef breaks in the Indian Ocean, Fistral in summer is not that bad.

We have to put up with less than perfect conditions for the majority of the year, which only makes us more appreciative when the sun does shine and the surf is clean. We savour our precious trips to far-flung destinations with mechanical surf and cobalt skies.

But what is by far my favourite coincidence of geography, is our long daylight hours . Even before we adjust the clocks to BST, we are able to sneak in a surf before and after the daily grind of our nine to fives. We can work hard and play hard, even before we start the weekend.

Surf Pie

11 Sep

Although I enjoy being part of a subculture, it would be amazing to see surfing recognised as an Olympic sport or even for it to be scheduled on regular television. 

People unite to support their teams and I have chosen to support surfing as ‘my team’.

A few weeks ago I was trying to connect to the Billabong Pro Tahiti.  The server  was unusually slow, and I had difficulties logging in. I wondered whether the reason was down to the large number of people trying to log into watch the webcast of the event.  Instead of being frustrated, I was excited by this.

I have always enjoyed sport.  Throughout my teens my interest waxed and waned from one activity to another, from Hockey to Dance, to Swimming and Football.  Quite typically this then moved to boys and alcohol and any pursuits that followed were purely hedonistic.

As an adult I rediscovered how much I enjoyed an active lifestyle.  I started surfing, and now I define myself as a surfer.  It changed my life.

In this global society, sport transcends many things such as class, race or religion. I believe the only real exception to this is gender.  In order to truly enable more people to benefit from surfing as a lifestyle there needs to be more opportunities.  Especially for women. 

Three years ago I watched a women’s 5 star WQS event at Fistral Beach, in Newquay, Cornwall.  I even got to meet one of my surfing heroines, Megan Abubo.  This year no such luck.  Women weren’t even on the on the schedule.   

It seems that an increasing amount of people are logging into watch the ASP World Tour events.  This is exciting.  As surfing gets recognised by the mainstream as an exciting professional sport, the more opportunities it will create throughout the industry.

Hopefully us girls will get a bigger slice of that pie.  Keep logging in!