Saturday, 19 October 2013

The surf trip continues

After my weekend surfing in Bude i went on up the coast into North Devon in the hunt for more waves. First I went to Westward Ho! a place i had visited many times as a child but never actually surfed and the thought of surfing here really excited me. Unfortunately like Bude earlier in the day the surf wasn't on my side and the waves were non existent.
Surfing Westward Ho!
With time on my side and not being back to work until Wednesday I wasn't going to give up that easily and headed on up the coast. My next stop was Saunton sands but yet again the waves here were even smaller. There was a group of paddle boarders in the water having fun but not a wave in sight.
Surfing Saunton Sands
Next beach along was Croyde a place were I had my first surf lesson many years ago. As I came around the coast road and caught a glimpse of the beach I could see small but perfectly formed waves and lots of people in the water. Putting my foot down I arrived at the beach car park which was full of cars and rushed to get changed into my suit and headed into the water.
Surfing Croyde
I paddled straight out back and sat on my board waiting for a ridable wave, I sat watching the surf instructors on their surf lessons and thought about how much my surfing has improved since my lessons down here so many years ago. Then the heavens opened and the rain began to pour, it didn't bother me whilst in the water but the rain became so hard that it actually stung on my face as it poured down.

Then I noticed something whilst I was in the water that brought tears to my eyes. I noticed three instructors with one young man teaching him to ride the waves. The next thing I noticed was that the young man was in fact heavily disabled. The three instructors helped the guy onto the board first of all sitting up, then manoeuvred him so that he was laying on his back on the board then rolling him over so that he was ready to catch the wave. When the next waves came in the surf instructors pushed the board along and the wave was caught, all you could here was the shrill of excitement coming from the young lad. He was laying on his board racing along all the way into the shore, the surf instructors rushed over to him to help him up an there was high fives and big smiles all around. I was left with a tear in my eye, the excitement that this young man was experiencing but also the patience showed by the three instructors helping to share their love of surfing with someone not as capable. It really was a moving experience and made me really appreciate how lucky I was to have time off work to spend time doing the thing that I loved the most.

After a few hours in the water and the cold wind cutting through me I headed back up the beach to the van. Walking up the beach I noticed the man hole cover that was lifting up with water bellowing up from underneath. As I arrived back at the car park I realised that the rain had been a lot heavier than I thought. The car park was a wash with water and I was the only person left in the car park. I opened the sliding door of the van to get my towel and quickly realised that the rain was that heavy and the rain was pouring in and soaking the bed. So I threw the towel back in the van and shut the door as quickly as I could. I decided the only way to do this was to strip off my wetsuit outside in the pouring rain and then jump into the van as quickly as possible and get dry and changed in their with the door shut. Once dry it was off to find a camping spot for the night ready for more surfing the next day.
Camping North Devon
With the rain clearing through the night I was up early excited to be going for another surf, still adamant that I wanted to surf Westward Ho! I headed back down the coast to finally surf this beach. Unfortunately yet again the waves were not good for surfing, barely any power and just ripples of white water I wasn't going to be able to surf Westward Ho! this time either. Heading back up the coast and into the morning rush hour traffic I headed to Woolacombe and here there were waves. I parked nice and close to the beach and watched the waves for a minute before rushing in, and then it started to dawn on me that the waves were actually looking a little bit big for me and actually a little bit angry. I also noticed that there was no one else in the water and started to wonder if I should go into the water on my own at a beach I didn't know. But then I decided that I wasn't going to have driven all that way not to get in the water so I suited up ready to get wet. Before I left the van an air ambulance landed right next to the van and suddenly had a sinking feeling that maybe the injured person had had an accident in the water.... I soon shook off those thoughts and headed down to the beach.
Air ambulance Woolacombe

Surfing Woolacombe

I paddled straight out back and sat on my board assessing the waves, which were pretty messy and all over the place. I caught a few waves and before I knew it I was joined by many other surfers I think I counted about 15 in total so felt much happier in the water once I wasn't out there by myself. After a few hours I left the water happy that I had managed to get in but yet again the weather was turning for the worse and the rain started again. I spent half an hour having a quick look around the shops before heading on back up the coast to start making my journey home. With another quick stop in Barnstaple for a spot of shopping I managed to get the first of my Christmas presents on the long list. Now it was time for the drive back to Cornwall and the end of my epic surfing weekend.

Surf at Woolacombe