Sadly, our latest attempt to relocate to the SW is officially at an end. As of Monday just gone, we pulled our property off the market after it was becoming clear we were being sucked in to the Stamp Duty trap :o( Quite frankly, with the Kernow move all but over, this was the final straw. Opting instead to cut losses and run to nearby Sleaford just didn't cut it in our opinion and so we have decided to stay put, improve the asset we already have, and try again in the near future; though unlikely in the next 12 months. Watch this space...
It's the old 'waiting for a bus' syndrome at the moment. There you are without a surf for 4+ months, when all of a sudden it's a case of surfing on consecutive days! Hadn't planned on going again today, but with a very light breeze coming from the SW; a promising webcam image; and a bright sunny day dawning; it seemed churlish not too :o) Besides, after yesterdays overall disappointing session personally, I wanted to get 'back on the bike' as it were, straightaway [It's all cliches at the moment!].
Conditions on arrival at Sandilands were a vast improvement on yesterdays. A good couple of foot and super clean was just what the doctor ordered, though you could tell by the deep channel close in right at the waters edge, that this may not last very long. I suited up quickly and was in by 11am, just as another surfer was getting in further north up the beach. High tide today was around 14.40 and was due to peak at around 5.1m. The paddle out was straightforward enough, it was just a case of positioning at any of the several peaks showing. I noted matey had hooked up a couple of short rides while I'd been warming up and then on my out, though they hadn't looked anything special. Maybe things might just be ideal for the longboard at last, though you wouldn't have thought so after my first half hour.
Over time and with very rare exception, I've got used to being able to make good of conditions like these right from the off. After 10-15 minutes I was still waveless, either paddling in too soon or too late. If it was any consolation, there didn't seem to be much oomph in the wave, but all the same when on form I'd have had a ride or two by then no matter what. I was trying to put this to the back of my mind, but it was a struggle. Then I spied a tempting looking set and paddled right into the firing line, swivelled round nicely and seamlessly stuck in 2 or 3 powerful paddles and was in. That pleasurable feeling of having the board lifted beneath you and knowing no further arm strokes are required allowed instinct to kick in. In an instant my feet were planted and I shifted my weight backwards to attempt a right turn and at least glide along the face, backhand. The latter part of that didn't occur though as the wave decided it was time for a total closeout all around me.
The brevity of it was disappointing as ever, but for the first time since effectively January, I felt those familiar feelings of stoke returning. The other surfer who was unknown to me got out soon after, whether disappointed himself with conditions I'll never know. But after only managing a couple of slow, shortlived rides more myself not long after, I began to wonder if the swell was dropping, or whether there was a backwash effect from the shore already. Maybe he'd sensed this and decided it was a waste of time staying.
I'd drifted slowly back south along the beach though, and I figured the seemingly longer gap between sets was more to do with me now being between regular peaks. Either way I was determined to stay in longer and at least try and get a few more waves before it totally poohed out. Later I was joined in the water by another unknown to me surfer, which coincided with the arrival of some more consistent waves once again. More by chance than design I was positioned just right and I enjoyed a much more satisfying period, landing a super left in the mix which allowed me the chance to carve up and down the face looking for those speedier pockets. I even threw in a smooth back hand turn before the wave finally died in the deep channel close in.
This foray inside convinced me I'd probably seen the best of it, and so it was I could only scrape together a handful more short, gutlass rides before picking my way through the shore dump to get out. There was though a much warmer feeling inside of me than 24 hours previously. I'm nowhere near my best I know, and the wavecount is even by my meagre standards,an embarrassment. But slowly and surely, the hunger and the desire is returning, and with it there is more in the way of an inner peace sadly missing over the last couple of months or so.
I can't help think that the parting statement at the end of the log entry dated 3rd January was a little premature ... "All in all a good start surf wise to the 2005" Yeah right! Here I am 134 days later, and only now can I report on some personal wave action. Not unsurprisingly after such a long lay off, I was extremely rusty in every department. It didn't help either that conditions weren't really up to the mark, nor after recent events, was my confidence high to begin with. However, and as ever at such times; by the time I called it a day, it had been worth it if only to shake some of the 'cobwebs' out,and try and get the mood going again.
A check first thing on the Skeggy webcam confirmed the likelihood of there being a wave to be had, but there was some concern over whether the localised breeze at the coast would spoil things. Online indicators had it light and N-NW with the possibility later of it veering N-NE though still light. The local TV forecast the previous evening had even suggested it going full on E and onshore! But there was no turning back now, after such a long lay-off I at least just had to get in. Suz decided to tag along for the ride, and so just after 9am we set off for Sandilands.
As feared, the scene on arrival wasn't brilliant. The breeze wasn't as forecast that strong, but it was persistent and as cross-shore as you wouldn't want. The was some swell though, easily 2-3' with the occasional larger set; but as you can imagine it was being messed up some. By this time [10.15] it was around the mid flood mark with HT around 13.25. We watched for a while for any encouraging signs, and also awaiting Naips' arrival. I wasn't convinced though, and after a quick telephone conversation with him, opted to move a little further south down the coast to Moggs Eye.
There we found a slightly cleaner wave but the longshore-rip looked a bit mean, which would make paddling out fun. It did and I felt it. Naips didn't fare much better though he did manage a couple of rides during our short 20-30 minute session after getting in; two more than I even looked like getting! This was enough to convince us to move on again and see if we could find a bit more shelter from this annoying breeze. Chapel Point looked gutless but North Shore at Skeg held a lot more promise albeit with smaller but much cleaner waves. Skeg therefore got the nod.
Being only just over an hour until HT, there was the risk that what there was could drop pretty soon after we got in there. With such a small tide due though, it might just hold. Happily it did, though I can't confess to being able to make much use of this fact. All timing and technique was missing from my game, and it was some time before I even began to feel as if I was getting anywhere. Paddling at times was weak and ineffective though this did visibly improve on the rare occasion I snagged any kind of ride. Gradually though, I did make some progress, and after one or two aborted attempts and/or shortlived rides, I at last found some kind of rhythm. The quality was still lacking, and my own self belief was well below par, but at least I didn't embarrass myself too much in front of a by now quite large group of spectators on the beach. Perhaps not coincidently this occurred at a period when the breeze dropped off quite noticeably and the best conditions of the day could be enjoyed.
Just after 2pm I decided to get out before risking overdoing it. I'd figured allowing that to happen might just set the 'Comeback', back as it were. Despite everything, I could at least honestly say that I'd had worse surfs on better days, and better ones on worse days too. No illusions though, I have to make a conscious effort to get my mind in the right gear and put all the problems of late behind me if I am to get back to a level of performance that I feel happy with.
I have to admit that during this last four months or so without so much as a peep at the coast, I'd have understood if any surf bud out there had started to believe that 'Woll' had hung up his wetsuit for good! At times, and with the frustrations and disappointments over the move, I may have even started to believe it myself.
It was with relief then, that I could actually return a text from Naips with a positive response about having a surf on Tuesday; all things permitting. The forecast looks promising and with a 5m tide that shouldn't move a lot of water around, it could be cracking if the local wind plays ball too. Will get back to you nearer the time.