Arrived back from our fact-finding mission and surf trip early Saturday [17th Apr
] evening but have only now been able to get round to updating the Log. Other business and fatigue playing their part in the delay.
We'd been able to get into our digs at Sennen more or less when we wanted on the 10th
which enabled us to get the stuff dumped before heading back to Penzance for the Pirates-Exeter game that afternoon. Forecasts of small, if any waves played into the hands of this arrangement, though it was always going to be a case of surfing in the evening anyhow, to suit tide times. The Pirates lost their match, sadly, but this didn't matter as we were joined post match by Parky and his family for a quick beer in the marquee, before heading back to the apartment to show them around.
Once refreshment had been sorted, Parky, Ben and I strolled to the cliff top for a quick wave check, to find what appeared to be a small rideable wave beckoning. Unfortunately, not only were time and the after affects of a cold against Parky; he also didn't have his board with him. And so it was that after their departure, it was Ben and I only who ventured in for a short, less than an hour, surf around 7pm at Gwenver. It proved to be just what the doctor ordered after effectively such a long lay off; a mellow easy surf in clean knee-waist high waves. That 'feeling' was back and about time too.
With tides suiting either dawnies or a late surf, come Sunday [11th Apr
] the decision was made to wait till later on come late aft/early eve, before going in again. A check before breakfast found that conditions were similar to the previous evening, and it looked as if it'd hold. It did, and with suits more or less dried out we all went in around 5pm for a couple of hours. The pattern for the first half of our stay was becoming established. If anything there was a little more size to the waves, though it was still on the mellow side, which again suited my [and the others'] need to get back into things relatively gently. As it was, I could feel some of the old confidence returning, and strength too, particularly with regards paddling. The icing though was the amount of waves caught, of which there were plenty. What's more I was finding a tendency to select the right peaks and surfing backhand by choice rather than the favoured lefts that being a goofy dictates to being natural. The bottomline perhaps was that there were more of them on offer.
Whatever. Against forecasts, and perhaps because of Gwenver's reputation of picking up whatever swell is going, we had a third consecutive day in the water [well, evening], on the [12th Apr
]. Conditions weren't as clean, with the breeze which had dropped anyhow, being from the N-NW. However, another two hours were spent in the water until around 7.30, by which time it was clear that we'd perhaps seen the last of this small swell. A highlight worth mentioning is the appearance during the latter part of the surf, of a friendly and inquisitive seal, who came within 20' of me at one time. The seeming curiosity on it's face was a delight, and a moment I'll treasure always.
Tuesday [13th Apr
] was flat, which allowed us to combine our property and area acclimatisation needs, with some time on Gwenver beach throwing some rugby ball with Ben, while enjoying the warmth of the early spring sunshine. On a sidenote, with the 300' haul up and down the cliff path, the surfing, and other aspects of the trip; this was becoming a useful Easter 'training camp' for the lad. To cap a pleasant day, a check on the waves in the evening gave encouragement, as there were signs of more swell on the way. It was tempting to go in, but we resisted, sensing that waiting till morning would be OK.
And so it proved. A nice looking 2-3' wave greeted us on the 14th
, though the breeze did pick up a little by the time we'd got organised and down onto Gwenver. It'd also got a little too much west in it, and this added to the chop effect. Nonetheless, there was more of a challenge which by now was needed to test my progress. Beforehand, I'd moved the fin back by way of an experiment, to test the more 'stable' setting. Maybe it was my lack of recent time in slightly larger waves, or perhaps the setting just doesn't suit me; but I was finding hooking into the waves on offer quite tricky. Ben's time on the board too, didn't bring the level of success expected. Afterwards, the fin was duly returned to it's more forward positioning in the box.
By Thursday [15th Apr
], the swell had increased to a much more solid 3'+, and it showed in how heavy Gwenver looked first thing. It was clean though with little or no breeze first thing, but I know of old how unforgiving it can be at Gwenver when it gets to this size [and beyond]. It wasn't as big as Praa had been last summer, but I felt Sennen would offer more of a fighting chance for my, and the others' level of ability. With the breeze getting up a bit, this became a wiser choice even if it was a longer haul on foot. No matter, and despite the weather also turning a bit more foul, we were in the water by 11.30-11.45, with HT due around 3pm. I was really pleased with my initial paddle out, and this probably contributed to a quick getting up to speed in the conditions. A couple of quick waves early on confirmed the confident feeling within me. It was good to feel that extra power under my feet, and satisfying to know I was coping. Conditions did deteriorate after the first hour though, not to any dangerous degree, but in quality. And so it was I nabbed one in to finish off. Suz had heroically returned for the car, and Ben had called it a day once the tide had come too high up the beach. It becomes a bit Skeggy like at such a time, so I don't blame him. His time will come once he's down there and gets more water time than he currently enjoys.
Later the same day around 6pm, the air had stilled totally. A quick check of Gwenver, apparently showed a cleaner, smaller, and more rideable wave. This time, temptation got the better of me and Ben, and we both got suited up and went back down. I'd got to the beach some 15 mins sooner than him, but by the time he was there, I had still failed to get out back, and came in to warn him how deceptive it had been from our vantage point. To his credit he gave it a go in the reforms, while I, this time managed to get out back and position myself on a left peak which had looked within my capabilities from shore. A couple of heavy nailings later and I paddled back knowing when to retreat and re-group as it were.
Our last full day in the area on Friday [16th Apr
] found the swell if anything just a bit bigger, but more organised. A final meeting in town in the morning was followed by joining with Gavin and his neighbour, Matthew, at Sennen around 2.30. HT was around 4pm, so it was perhaps imperative to get in sharpish to make the most of what looked fun, though challenging waves. Gav' for the first time in my company was on a log which takes some getting used to . Matthew too, was on a longboard, clearly the right choice of board today. As with the day before, I snagged a couple early on in the first half hour, and saw Gav pick off a nice right soon after. Not long after, he and Matt had gone in. Gav was obviously feeling the effects of a two month lay off from surfing; while Matt had apparently found it heavy going. In hindsight, and despite feeling fit and confident, I should have too, as I failed to hook anything myself thereafter. In fact I took one heavy nailing by a rogue I'd not spotted soon enough, just before coming in just after HT. Ben took great delight in pointing this out on our meeting up on the beach!
Overall though, our first true visit to the area we have chosen as our relocation destination over long time favourite, Bude; has proved worthwhile. The area offers a variety of opportunities for us all, and not just in surfing terms. I wait impatiently for the ball to start rolling....