Sunday, February 17, 2008

A weekend of two halves.

Bizarre - this Paddle surf thing can become quite consuming - I have always been 'into' something that takes up my spare time - Surfing - Motorbikes - Mtb's - Fishing - etc. . . etc . . . etc - Perhaps it's because I have a limited span of attention, that gets worse as I get older, but nothing has engaged me at the rate and intensity that this SUP'ing has. Perhaps it's because it takes one of my long term passions and enhances it. Perhaps it's because the initial learning curve is short and then steepens as quickly as you determine. Anyway I initially thought that it would supplement my surfing - it was not until this weekend that I seriously considered the possibility that it might actually replace it.

Shane checked out the forecast for the weekend - the best prospect of any sizeable wave was going to be before work on Saturday morning - in the water at seven. He was up for it - I was a bit reluctant - but ever keen to recruit a sole to the dark side I tried to broker a deal - I'll do the dawny if you ride one of my Stand up Boards on Sunday - Sundays forecast was looking pitifully small even for a longboard. Shane laughed and said that he would rather have a chilli enema and that he was going anyway so I gave in - We met in Gwithian car park the next morning just as it was getting light - I drove there in my wetty to save time - that's a first.

Climbing down the cliff was interesting with 11' of Jimmy's finest and a paddle to contend with but time was pressing on. We got in the water at 7.00am and Shane got out first - it was clean, consistent and shoulder high - overhead (just) on the sets. We did not have much time to waste having to be home showered and back in work by 9.00am so we set about our work. - I always find that the first waves of a session either go well or I completley loose the plot - these went well and Shane's response to my cheesey grin said it all. We have always been competitive with each other and even though his surfing skills are light years in advance of mine we always have a laugh, goading each other on. He said "Don't - alright just don't say a thing".

The session was one of those perfect little interludes that although we did not want it to finish getting out was not too much of a bind as we had made the most of our time. A perfect surf raid that made me feel smug all day.

Saturday evening I text'd Gavin and we arranged a 9.00am start Sunday - I got to Gwithian at 8.30 - it looked soooo small. I went straight in and found myself a little peak that was firing (yeh right - at knee to waist high!!) with both lefts and rights. This was all right - hell it was better than all right it bloody good fun. I paddled up and down between Sheep's Pool and the Rock taking as many waves as I wanted - looking over towards Godrevy I could see that it was bigger - but it was already very busy - I surfed pretty much alone save for three other hand paddlers until Gavin joined us.

Both of us worked the whole break - well away from anybody else, however it was comical how we seemed to attract hand paddlers to whatever peak we were milking. We would then move a hundred yards along the break and again - shortly there they would appear.

'Listen Guys - it's the boards not the waves!!!'

One of them said "That looks fun". - He was right I offered the guy a go but he declined. Had to try. You just had to smile.

Both of us remarked that the day would have been pretty much a write off on hand paddlers. The wave was fat, slow and as the tide built so did the offshore wind holding things up and making entry harder - unless you had a paddle.

I stayed in until I could not paddle any more - three and a half hours - God knows how many waves - If it was only one every four minutes that would be 50 plus and even if the 'caught inside time warp rule applies' and it was only half that number - it was still like shooting fish in a barrel - all in a Summer wetsuit with thermal fleece rash and boots - IN FEBRUARY - how good is that??

So that is how I considered the possibility that I may not ride a hand paddler again - Anyone want to buy a mint Stewart - Colin McPhilipps Pro???

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