Had an amazingly fun session the other day at the local. The water’s still nice and warm and there wasn’t a breath of wind which meant the chest high swell was super glassy. It was hitting the banks at Sandymere just right too as some of the better ones peeled for 50 yards or so. I got one absolute stormer of a right on the Cre8tion Hot Pepperjelly. I did nothing special on the wave (I’m not special), just raced the sections, rising and falling in tune with the shape of the wall. It felt amazing. The sort of connection with the wave that keeps you turning up at the beach, waiting for the next ride.
Been having some real fun on the Otta the last week or so, a session on the above day in particular sticks in the mind. It doesn’t look much in the photo but then you don’t need much to have a blast on these types of boards. It was a warm day and the swell was producing some real ramp shaped waves almost custom made for the Otta’s smooth belly into single concave.
The bellied nose and S-Deck feel like they really help get you into waves with not much effort needed before you can feel the board racing down the face. It’s really responsive too, lean back and twitch your heel and you can get it on a rail quickly, lean forward and your accelerating again….! It’s great fun and I’m so glad I stumbled down the Simmonsy route a while back because it’s made surfing days like this one something to remember rather than a frustration from not having a board with foam in all the right places. The great irony is that I’ve discovered a board ideal for my old local, Bournemouth Pier, seems it took me moving to Devon to discover it.
The waves have returned this week after a flat spell which drenched us in sunshine for most of the month. It’s done wonders for the water temp, I surfed this wedgey little swell in my 3/2 and it’s probably the warmest I’ve felt out in the water in the UK.
Had some short but sweet rides on my 5’7 in Bude’s semi-closeout ramps, it’s good to have a dip to wash the cobwebs off! Going to take the Otta for a run out tomorrow I think.
I had a real comedy session early last week, largely revolving around my indecision and the reason for my indecision (bad choices drive more indecision)… Knowing when to de-hood has normally been a fairly easy one for me, last few years it’s generally been the last surf in March or certainly the first in April. We’ve normally had a spell of warmer stuff by late March and the sea temp creeps up to a level where it’s a little ice creamy on the noggin as you duck dive but quite bearable. Then usually it’s a steady path to de-rubbering right up to June when you’re back in a nice thin 3/2 with no boots or gloves to weigh you down until the cold comes calling all too soon sometime in autumn.
However this year has been a bit of a different beast, the winter has been long(er than usual!) and really drawn out – prolonged by months of prevailing easterly wind which gave with one hand and took with the other. It gave us offshores making the most of the North Atlantic’s winter juice but took away any warmth the normally prevalent south westerlies provide keeping our shores just the right side of arctic for most of the winter, instead we were experiencing fun temperatures such as 1 and 4 degrees celcius in the middle of April.
So the hood has stayed on, continuing to encase my face in neoprene a little longer which brings me back to last week’s go out. I hit one of the Bude town beaches at first, it was sunny, the temperature had crept into double figures and I was thinking this could be the start of spring…. that hood can come off soon maybe? I hit the water in full gear (yeah the hood was on), it didn’t feel too cold but the waves were poor, shapeless sucky 2-3ft low tide closeouts crashing in 1ft of water. This is not fun. After 20 minutes or so of looking for an open face I retreated, still in full gear and drove to Widemouth in the hope of finding a bank that was working there.
This looks more promising, not great but there were definitely some walls on offer if you were in the right spot. I’d taken the hood off for the drive and the air was welcomingly mild. This is it. No hood. Ear plugs in, jogging to the shoreline, first no hood surf of the year – lovely stuff! It’s not too big so I shouldn’t have to worry about duck diving. Oh a set’s coming, duck, Ahhhhhhhhhwwwwwgghhhhhh!! The first one was quite bad, grabbing my head in a cold vice like grip but I thought I could shake it off. Two more duck dives followed before I was in the sanctuary of the outside although my head felt like an ice cube. I’d already messed about this session by switching spots but I knew if I didn’t get a wave in and get my hood my cold head would distract me for the rest of the sesh. So I caught the next wave in and feeling like a right bell-end retreated to the van for some head warming rubber. I ended up getting a few fun waves during the remainder of the then hooded session but nothing to crow about…. Certainly one of those outings where you’re thinking “This is a lot of bloody effort for a couple of cold ones (waves not beers)!”
Having said all this it’s been sunny and even hot at times for much of this week and there’s some swell on the way for the bank holiday weekend. I think it’s time to try no hood again…..
Hit Sandymere on Saturday for a few waves on the mini simmons. Surf was pretty lack-lustre with some waist high wind slop coming in. It turned out better than it looked (just) with a few open sections here and there. Although the sea felt colder than it has done previously this winter I had one lovely little whippy/weightless top turn on a wedgey right hander that made me smile whilst walking back across the beach evading the crazy kite-buggyists that had descended en masse!
Nic Von Rupp in cold, clean and thumping Ireland, if you have five minutes you need to watch this, quite a nice tune too…..