Tag Archives: Swell

On Countdown…

13 Aug

Day 2 of my official maternity leave, and whilst in this strange limbo I have started to think about surfing again. I’ve not been for a surf for nearly 6 months now, and I am beginning to wonder what my chances are of juggling a newborn, breast feeding and Autumn swells are. If I am to believe the horror stories from other parents, my chances are slim to none. Will I even want to go surfing?

My husband is keen for me to get back in the water. He has coped well with the hormonal highs and lows from his ever expanding and whining wife, but alas neither of us know the reality of what will happen to our lives in no less than two weeks (or maybe a month if I go overdue). Will we ever surf together again or will we always be trying to squeeze in sessions, swapping over baby duties with a pit stop turnaround in the rare windows of swell?

So, whilst on countdown to the start of one the biggest life changing events possible, is this the beginning of the end, or simply the start of a new way of life? I will have to wait and see…


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.

Full of the joys of an Autumn Swell

24 Sep

Autumn is well and truly here.  Whilst my work colleagues were lamenting that we were not experiencing the Indian summer that they were expecting, the surf community in Cornwall jumped into action.

Last weekend, the isobars on the weather reports hinted that something special was coming our way.  The surf forecasting websites, with their new long-range abilities had more stars than Sunset Boulevard. Sure enough, as the week unfolded and the winds dropped, we all flocked to our favourite spots. 

Clinging to the railings in the car park at Watergate Bay, I watched the lines march in, and  hesitated.   The tide at was lower than I had expected, and the sets were head height and breaking fast.  I looked around and realised girls with boards of all shapes and sizes were heading for the sea.  After a summer of surfing white, windy slop, this was what I had been waiting for, it was no time to wimp out! 

I paddled out to the line up, my heart pounding.  Soon enough it was clear that I was more comfortable than I expected.  I sat in the line up alongside several guys who looked slightly nerve wracked, and I realised that I wasn’t afraid at all.  My confidence boosted, and some fine right-handers under my belt, I was smiling at the world.  A friendly nod from a sponsored female long boarder, and a great ride back to the beach, I was stoked and smug.

So why is this weekend bothering me?  Hurricane Igor is hitting the coast, and the conversation in the canteen is on a singular subject; where to go.  South coast spots, not so secret point breaks, windy well-known breaks?

I have almost resigned myself to sitting in the car, watching forlornly whilst listening to Radio One.  Why I am I so unsure?  I have surf anxiety.  Can I recreate the good surf I had this week, or am I nervous because I will be out of my comfort zone?

The reality is, until I am there tomorrow, I will not know.    I have waited all year for the Autumn swells, and as always the biggest challenge is inside my head.