Monday, September 29, 2008

Sold boards and Flat Water Paddling

Great response to my board-fest post on the for sale section on resulted in a quick and tidy sale of my trusty Starboard to Paul - hope he enjoys it as much as I have. Also have some interest in my BK Pro and may have found a 10' Diamond tail for sale - all bodes well for France in a couple of weeks. Bring it on.

Sunday saw the swell dropping away fast. Still armed with the optimism that only surfer's and fishermen understand I tooled up with the C4 - full bore surf beastie to check out an onshore knee high,uninspiring slop. Even standing watching it for twenty minutes did not make it any better. Back to Sunset Surf with Mel and Steve for a coffee and inspiration. Which is what we got -

Rory had posted on Standuppaddlesurf that he and a few mates were planning a paddle from Loe Beach at Feock to Malpas at Truro. With no surf on the horizon it seemed like the only game in town.

Rory and Pebbles

Rory, Pebbles and Andrew

View back from Malpas showing where we had come from.

Mel going upstream in full flight - great incentive to be following!!

SUP Flotilla

Denzil and Andrew

Heading out from Loe beach towards Turnaware Bar

Dog on watch

We pitched up at Loe beach at 3pm and left at 3.30pm - 6 of us - Rory and Andrew on Jimmy Lewis 11'rs (and Pebbles)!!, Denzil on a Starboard 9'8", Mel on a Starboard Ultimate Blend 11'2", Steve on his Starboard Starship 14'er and me on the 11' ULI inflatable. We planned on testing the quality of the beer at various riverside pubs on the way up river with the tide and possibly the same on the way back with the out going tide. We made the first pub - probebly the best thing really.

L-R Denzil,Rory,Mel, 'Pebbles', Steve, and Andrew

4.2 of the most scenic and tranquil miles imagineable saw us reach Malpas in about an hour and a half - quick pint en route and paddle back to Loe beach.

Star of the day was Rory's dog 'Pebbles' who quite happily sat on the front of his board all the way much to the amusement of the local yachties and other river users.

Paddling home into the sunset

Big thanks to Rory for the plan - nice to meet Andy and Denzil - hope to do it all again sometime.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Evening Glass Off

I know that I don't put enough pictures on my blog - I've got the camera and the kit to stick it on the front of the board - but when it's good, I just want to surf and when it's iffy - I don't want to look bad, which I do - often. Plus generally when you've got a camera you tend to point it at someone else and that's fine - but by virtue of the fact that I have put the best part of my years surf exploits on this blog qualifies me as somewhat of an exhibitionist, so it's me that I want to see up here, to balance that if I'm not doing this I'm usually checking out the sites and bloggs opposite to see what everyone else is up to - so that makes me a voyeur!! Geez I wish I could make up my mind - anyway as last weeks swell began to die off we managed to catch some fantastic, waist high, clean waves at Gwithian and on this particular session shared the break with Phil and his good lady Sam on their longboards.

Phil made the mistake of taking his camera along - he now knows what I've been droning on about above - nice pics of every one else but him - ta very much - I'll make an effort to return the compliment soon.

Some nice moody shots that hopefully Phil won't mind me using - as always double click the pics to enlarge them.

The evening after this Sam borrowed my 10' ULI and was up and running like she had been on it for years.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

September swells are the best.

Fantastic run of swell this month - just as well as we are beginning to loose the light in the evenings. Great!! Still just enough time to organise a quick dash home from work and in for a couple of hours before the murky grey lines that just make the distinction between sea, swell, horizon and sky blurs into one and catching a wave becomes one last minute, frantic dash - great for 180' board spin practise though.

Notable sessions -

Getting Rob on my Jimmy Lewis earlier this month was a treat - seems like ages ago that we were falling off the things in flatwater but seeing Rob progress in the course of a couple of hours or so from knee paddling, standing, turning and then catching his first wave brings it all back. Less than 12 months ago we were in (or on) the same boat. Hope he sticks with it - not least because I hope he buys the Jimmy so I can free up some cash for the Naish 9'6".

This last week has been outstanding

- Friday night small, clean and fun

- Saturday the same albeit building

- Sunday held off in the morning with the swell building all day into an insane crescendo of 7-8' at 13 secands, this coinciding with the high evening tide saw us out at Gwithian for 3 hours - Probably only caught half a dozen waves but they were worth it! I managed to pick up a heavy smack in the face on my paddle out as the board (C4) rose up to give me a kiss across the bridge of my nose and forehead - still hurts. Teach me not to knee paddle (ponce)!

Gavin gave his nice new Naish 10'6 a good seeing to - from the safety of 'way out back' I still have visions of his board squirreling skywards at a rate of knots only to be pulled back to earth by his leash other wise I'm sure that it would still be going 'Hope that he's not under that' I thought.

The semi step deck Naish has a nice, loose, performancey longboard feel - holds tight on the wave face as well - classy board.

As the sets passed through my biggest issue was paddling in - the wave-accelerated light offshore wind blowing up the face seemed like it was multiplied tenfold and felt like running into a brick wall - which made me try to go a bit later - this coupled with the closeout swell dredging sand as you looked over the lip made for an interesting 'stop or go' decision process. Most of the 'go's ended in a cheap little 'catch and kick off bottle-out as the waves turned themselves inside out - One notable journey down the face saw the wind get in under the board nose resulting in a total back flip. Full on aero lift of the board - just like Bluebird!!! Not my best surf - but an adventure all the same and not to be missed - ended up with a nice, long, set dodging, butt clenching ride to the inside - result.

Monday evening the swell had died a bit and with the later tide I had a fantastic session halfway down the beach - did myself proud I thought, the waves were perfect and held up nicely - so well in fact that I pulled off two of the longest backhand (left for me) nose rides almost getting the tail to slide and skid - magic. (My definition of nose rides involves me shuffling to within two feet of the nose).

Tuesday was much smaller but with no-one bar me in it was a relief to be able to moooch about and pick some mellow little waves after the previous few days.

The C4 seems to be getting a bit easier for me - still falling off - still only happy in glass but beginning to spin it about a bit faster now it is simply an amazing surfboard - highly tuned and not at all forgiving - but it inspires me to do stuff that I can't contemplate on my other boards.

Just ordered a board bag for it from the guys at Drift Board Bags I'll let you know how it goes.

So that's it for the moment - off to France next month - come on!!! Which will bring to an end my first year of SUP'dom - should round the blog off nicely - although with Costa Rica in January that might bring it all full circle - who knows?