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.
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.
Had a few fun ones yesterday in lazy 2ft surf at the good old Ho! I’ve been hoping to get my new Doofer from Fourth wet but the conditions called for something with a bit more foam (the Doofer’s intended for good waves) to maximise the fun so out came the 5’7 Pepperjelly from Cre8tion – I swear you can catch a ripple on this thing. The sun came out for a while too which made the hoodless duck-dives just about bearable although ice cream headaches are still in full force! Here’s to some more fun summer stuff.
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…..
This shot was from the last groundswell we had in the South West a couple of weeks ago, waves were chest high and walling up really nicely. Water still crazy cold for approaching mid-April and I was still fully clobbered up in 5mm and a hood (normally hoodless by this time of year) but that never seems to matter much when there’s no wind and the waves are that fun. The short and porky Cre8tion Pepperjelly was going like a dream on the couple of peeling rights I had, starting to feel how to rock the board from rail to rail using the vee along the tail for smooth transitions, it can be tricky as the tail is so wide but once you get in a rhythm it feels very natural and you can really maintain some speed harnessing all that foam. Foam is fun.