For many people, 2016 will go down as a year where we lost so many icons and an angry man decided he fancied himself as a brickie, take note Mexico. (http://magicseaweed.com/news/donald-trumps-irish-wall-scrapped-surf-spot-is-saved/9770/)
For me, 2016 was the first year I started “surfing”. I don’t feel that I can actually say I went surfing as I still can’t surf, but 2016 was the year I bought my first surfboard (a 7ft 2 minimal), first strapped the board to the roof of my car and first went to beaches that didn’t have a group of 20 people having a surf lesson elsewhere. It felt like I was an explorer, I probably looked like a wierdo.
First trip was to Broadstairs in Kent. On a windy, February day, with promises of food at the end of it, Em and I borrowed the Sister in Law and Pepper the dog and drove the hour and a half to Broadstairs. Joss Bay is probably the best known break in Kent but with Broadstairs offering shelter for non surfing folk, it felt the fair thing to do. It was a day where the weather turned from rain to sun in the matter of minutes and on having a quick look at the surf and seeing that other people were actually out in the water surfing, I quickly got changed, grabbed my board and headed back down to the beach. In that time everyone had left the waves, I didn’t take it personally, and after a quick warm up I started my first paddle out.
It was cold, like, really cold. In my cheap 3/2 wetsuit and boots, my hands soon went numb and brain freeze set in, I was having the time of my life. The waves helped, by a strong breeze, were the most powerful I had ever been in. I quickly found a position I was happy with and turned myself around to face the beach. I soon realised the waves being big, didn’t give me much time to think about what I was doing or to get to my feet. I also realised that I was quickly ending up almost on the sand, so needed to try and get out past the breakers, this was somewhat of a struggle with no experience of turtle rolling or duck diving. I attempted to walk out further, jumping over the incoming whitewater. After 10 minutes, I was tired, cold and decided I had given it a brave attempt and to call it a day. I felt great. Afterwards we went for a walk along the coastal path and then had fish and chips. What a good start to the year.
March- Camber Sands
This was a beautiful, warm sunny day and the forecast was looking good. A 2 hour drive down to Camber Sands filled me with excitement and driving down some lovely country lanes it felt like it was going to be a good day.
Now other than the reference in Reverend and The Makers, Heavyweight Champion of the World, I hadn’t really heard about Camber Sands and wasnt sure what to expect. A large caravan park leads into a quiet holiday village and in the large carpark I quickly got changed and grabbed my board.
Always check what the waves are doing before you get changed. Even a 5 minute walk is better than getting changed, walking with a surfboard to get over the dunes to see a millpond stretching out to the horizon. At that point I should have turned round and gone home but with a beach full of dog walkers it felt cowardly to walk back. So down I went and spent 30 minutes paddling backwards and forwards without even slight swell to move me. Was it a waste of time, probably. Other than a bit of paddling practise, that was about the only plus. But it was great just being in the water!
I would think it would take a big swell to make Camber Sands worth going to, even if the forecast is promising something to ride.
One day in April, I had been waiting and waiting for the forecast to show it was worth making a trip. All week the forecast was showing great surf, come the weekend, Norfolk was flat, the south coast was barely moving. The closest surf I could find was Boscombe. A well known beach due to the large artificial reef that was built to help create a first class break. It seems its only delivered a good wave for bodyboarders and now provides a place for divers. With great facilities, it was a good place to go in however it was blowing. So much so, foam was collecting by the groynes. This was my most successful trip so far, reliable waves coming through, a few times standing and apart from a 3 hour drive home it was a great day.
May- East Wittering
We had been camping to East Wittering in 2015 and really enjoyed the quiet, chilled town with a couple of good surf shops and also Drift In Surf Cafe. We will do a review of this place next time we are there but its well worth checking it out.
With a car park and public toilets close to the beach, Wittering has been my favourite place to surf so far. A long beach with plenty of space and on a day where the waves were regular, with enough power to take you but calm enough to give you time to think what you’re doing.
And that was it.
Although other trips were planned, the surf was either flat or plans had to change. Every trip was worth making, every time you pull on the wetsuit and head out, you could have the best surf of your life or the worst, but you will never know until you get in the water, paddle out and do your best to catch the waves.