Back from the 2 week jolly to the Bude area; our first trip west since the latest [and nearest!!] failure to get moved there. It was good to get 'back home', perhaps more so it being this area, leaving no doubt that when the renovations are complete this will be where we headed. Emotions now we're back in Lincs are mixed and the frustrations will possibly surface every now and then. I reckon a surf in the next few days will be just what is needed..I wonder...Anyway, as for the surf action over the past fortnight, it'll probably be best to do this a week at a time. 6th -12th Aug
Our arrival on Sat 6th
was delayed by about an hour but the cure was as ever very simple; the first glimpse of the sea and assessing the wave situation. Today was no different despite not expecting a great deal. As it was nearest from our base near to Bridgerule we opted for Widemouth as the chosen break. Not original nor secluded for sure, but at least a sound all round choice. We were pleasantly surprised then to find a cleanish, rideable 1-2' onshore wave though the breeze was light enough not spoil things. Ben was in before I'd finished fitting my fin and chatted to 1 or 2 folks. Suz had to miss out again though having left her contact lenses at the caravan!
I finally paddled out around 4.15 about half way into the flood, and found Ben already into the swing as the big grin testified. Even if I didn't fall into a groove I was glad just to be back in Cornish waters for the first time in 12 months. Sitting out there waiting for the first ride, I just couldn't care less the number of bodies on the inside; they'd have to take their chances. Happily from my point of view 'they' didn't have to wait for long as I was soon having to weave in and out of 'them'. In the next 15 minutes there were 3 more such occasions and the pattern was set. Sure, conditions weren't demanding powerful bottom turns and fast runs down the line, but it was fun stuff as Ben would agree. After two and a half hours water time we both got out refreshed and happy. Suz will have to wait till tomorrow to join that club.Sun 7th
saw us back at Widdy at low tide [2pm] more through laziness than no real swell data to go on. It wasn't inspiring. The breeze had shifted to the NW [as it did for much of the fortnight] and not to the NE as forecast. Consequently what swell there was, was being crapped out as is often the case in this scenario here. Common-sense screamed waiting for at least a couple of hours as it was warm and sunny and wiser to wait for the evening effect to kick in; besides the beach and water were heaving. However Suz needed a dunking to crack the ice and Ben as ever wasn't waiting for anything.
The crowds were a problem though and after half an hour with nothing on the scoresheet I was seriously considering knocking this on the head. An hour or so later and with only 2-3 unsatisfactory rides chalked up, I had at least resigned myself to it being a Sunday afternoon paddle practice. Ben too, wasn't getting much joy either; though at least Suz was enjoying herself immensely.
Around 4pm things improved slightly with signs of an increase to the mean wave size, which at least thinned the crowds out some. The quality wasn't that much better, but it was enough to give heart for a worthwhile finish to the session. The number of rides increased as did spirits, though this did confirm my earlier feelings about waiting till later. When will I listen to myself?! After another hour I spied Suz and Ben watching from the waters edge and caught one in to confer and have a breather. Suz had had a great time so far and was keen for a final flurry. This prompted Ben to nab my longboard which left little option but take out his minimal. I'm glad I did as I felt really chuffed to hitch 3 pleasing rides on it in the remaining half hour of our three and a half hour stint. It gave me some kind of guideline as to how far I've improved since going 'long' 5 years previously.Mon 8th
developed into one of those days you dream about. It's perhaps a bit too far to describe it as sublime but it nonetheless left you feeling pretty good about things. Although it was again sunny and very warm, from a surfing angle it hadn't begun promisingly. We were expecting nothing surfwise till later if at all and had opted to head into Bude in the morning. Our first view of the sea on our way in at Black Rock seemed to confirm our fears. Though the breeze was a very very light Northerly and the sea had taken on those rich blue hues you associate with summer, it looked flat. However as we drove by the NCDC car park further north along the beach there at least appeared to be a small clean wave beckoning.
In Bude, Nigel at Zuma's suggested a look at Sandymouth and with the prospect of another 'zoo' at Widdy this seemed the logical option despite never before having really surfed the place well or often. While Suz browsed in town elsewhere, Ben and I went and viewed Summerleaze and Middle beach for more eyeball data and were again encouraged by what we saw. Not bad for 1' and north!!
Parking in the top car park at Sandymouth just before low tide [2.36pm] we could clearly see some nice clean looking lines down below us. Having first [partially] suited up, the long trek down to the beach was thus carried out with extra spring in the step. Although the swell may not have been particularly large or strong, expectations for a really fun time were high. Ben paddled out around 2.15 just as I began the walk out across the open beach and hooked his first one as I arrived at the waters edge. Suz hung back for a little while enjoying the rays before getting in a little later.
With the sun beating down from a cloudless sky this just looked oh so inviting. I caught him up as he made his way back to the take off point, and just had enough time to view things from there before the next waist high set trundled in. As I swivelled round on the board to take my first wave of the day, I just couldn't take in how easy it all seemed and with very few others there as well. There appeared to be so much time and space as to be un-nerving; certainly compared to Widdy the previous 2 days. The ride was short but rewarding as I kicked off and turned to see Ben on his next one already. The pattern had been set and we both traded wave after wave, sometimes the same one, but always with a friendly competitive edge in what became the perfect seeming, father-son scenario. In the first hour we netted around a dozen waves each and were totally into it. Suz by now was in herself and we exchanged verbals whenever we rode near to where she was in the 'bather/body-board' section. True, the waves weren't big, but they were clean, easy to pick up on, and great fun to ride.
As the push gathered momentum, some livelier sets began to show which provided an even more positive platform to 'work' with. My only regret later was not taking advantage of this and experiment a little more to find a way to the nose proper. Perhaps I was too busy enjoying just getting ride after ride, and shouldn't detract from what was becoming a great surf. The second hour had produced a similar wave ratio for us both and showed no signs of abating. For a short while we swapped boards again before coming in to rehydrate.
Suz had thought along similar lines just before us and we crossed mid beach. She was having a great time too and was on her way back in before the tide got up on to the rocks. After a few minutes respite, Ben and I headed to a nice looking right peak at the northern end of the beach which we'd noticed three or so other surfers making the most of during our break. It was clear now that the swell had picked up as we'd felt, to a nice and solid shoulder/head high. Something that good was now getting even better. For three quarters of an hour we enjoyed the feeling of these bigger waves at this spot with me this time just edging things wave-wise, including the one where he took me out!! After which we moved back to where we'd been mid beach when the waterline began to lap over the rocks in front of us. Besides, a bigger set came through and rendered the peak to deep to allow the waves here to continue.
The last 40 minutes or so, before fatigue eventually kicked in, still provided an exhilarating time. A mixture of rights and lefts were still showing and the ambiance was still mellow. The wave count had slowed as you may expect, but the quality was there right until my final left when the arms cried enough around 6pm. Ben had called it just before me and Suz was by now watching from the beach. Not unsurprisingly we were all stoked with Ben and I having 30-40 waves each to reflect on. Suz's grin and the barbie back at base summed up what must have been close to the perfect summer's day.
After yesterday's exploits, hopes on Tues 9th
were tempered with caution for more of the same. Plans later in the day to go watch the Pirates play Launceston in a pre-season friendly, called for a closer to base spot to surf, and so Widdy was chosen. The plan was to try and at least beat some of the crowds by getting in around mid morning and surfing the ebb; any earlier was deemed impossible if any kind of recovery was desirable! On the point of setting off and without any real knowledge of the wave situation, we were encouraged when parky texted to say his viewing of the cams had been enough to take the day off and get over for "a piece of this longboard heaven". We pressed on with a slightly revised plan of a quick surf before lunch, with a more 'serious' session on his arrival.
Ben and I were both in by 11.15 and enjoying a pleasant couple of foot or so with a light onshore. It was obvious by the conditions, and by overhearing others that it had been better earlier but it was no good crying over spilt milk. We surfed for an hour or so, though with the extra numbers in the water, and no doubt some fatigue left over from yesterday, the quality and number of waves ridden was down. Ben did though manage one stonker that stood out and so we were at least pleased with our efforts and hopeful of more to come later when Parky got here. Even so, I decided to move my fin to the rear of the board having missed a few waves through apparent lack of speed.
Parky arrived around 2pm as expected and so Ben and I headed back in having had a nice long rest. Suz also now got in having watched earlier, but it was clear that conditions wave-wise had worsened. The sun and the swell was still there, but a serious rip was generally trashing the waves either side of the bathing area. The paddle out was OK and in my case it was straight into my first tasty ride making me wonder if the fin setting change was the cause. Either way, by the time Parky joined us it was getting worse and I only managed a couple more rides and plenty of trashings in the closeouts that were now predominant. Parky and Ben weren't faring much better and by the time Ben and I got out around 4pm I couldn't even catch one to ride in! At least we'd have better opportunity to catch up with Dave at the latter part of next week when he planned to come over again.
With the waves clearly deteriorating yesterday, confidence wasn't high for any improvement today Weds 10th
. Tensions surfaced on and off between father and son, even after a quick check late morning revealed something rideable at Widdy, which indicated to me reasonable prospects later after low tide [3.30pm]. Patience on Ben's part to wait for better options, and my lack of understanding for this impatience being the catalyst.
The Town beaches in Bude had been earmarked in preference to Widemouth as early as Monday owing to the formers seemingly finicky form to now. And so with us two still simmering, Suz was relieved to be striding off to the bathing area around the corner from Crooklets as we paddled out at Middle Beach. The mood as it was totally opposite to the still sunny warm weather enjoyed since Sunday. But this surfing lark can soon change that!
The rips that had messed things up yesterday at Widemouth were apparent here too, though not as strong and as destructive. Drifting northwards along the beach was an issue with the surf schools about, but a lot more manageable, even with the swell quite small at this pre-low tide stage. Even so the vibes between us improved and memories of a couple of days previous did arise despite a lower wave count; some 5-6 each in the first hour.
As the tide turned the quality of wave improved as the rip eased right off and reversed the drifting trend towards Summerleaze instead. A pleasant waist high right began to show with the take off at Middle Beach before rides' end at the rivermouth. Consequently wave quotas picked up with me choosing the earlier take off point and paddling into position a bit more, while Ben opting to take off from the shallower spot closer in instead.
The effects of the last few days were obviously having an effect on the lad when he called it a day around 5pm, around about the same time as Suz who was strolling over content with her efforts. I rode one in to check in with them before paddling out to a cheeky looking left showing off Barrel Rock. Amazingly only one other longboarder had cottoned on to it, and a more competent bodyboarder who could venture out from the lifeguarded area in front. Technically therefore this was in the bathing zone though it was clear there shouldn't be any problems if we kept wary of our positioning before take off. Happily I didn't incur any wrath from the guys in red and yellow and enjoyed the most satisfying 4 rides of the day in the half hour I surfed it.
At this point it appeared to drop off a bit and so I paddled back over towards Middle and rode one in, intent on checking out a peak at Crookies. This turned out to be quite steep and dumpy and had to be the potential channel I noticed on walking out earlier. So, after yet another 3 hours in, I too called time.