Saturday, 13 November 2010
I've been revisiting something that I hadn't done for over a year and a half now, in fact it only got one mention just after I started this blog when I bought my 2nd board, a Circle One 9' 2" Longboard. I think I paid around £250 for mine which was a good price back then but they've really shot up in price since, the same board now has an rrp of £450!!
I decided to give surfing a try back in May 2008 and after the summer period when the surf wasn't very good I was out once or twice a week, sometimes more depending on my shift and the conditions. I hadn't really progressed past the beginners stage of surfing broken waves but a really bad bout of flu left me less than enthusiastic about getting back in the water and the smell of the board wax made me feel sick.
I find that if you're doing something on a regular basis you really miss it if you can't do it for a while but after a few months or so it's hard to get back into it again. I probably wouldn't have gone out had it not been for a guy who had recently transferred to my shift. I'd been working with Chris for a while but he mentioned about a month ago going on a surfing course while on holiday in Portugal and I suggested we take my boards and give the north coast a shot.
Sunny and Bright, but very Cold, I'm Glad of the Uniqlo Down Jacket
Compared to camping/backpacking you need surprisingly little gear for surfing. Apart from a board you need a wetsuit, you can get summer or winter weight but I find I can forget about summer weight suits. On the North Antrim coast the surf is generally poor in summer so a winter suit works for me year round. I don't like to feel cold so my suit is a Alder Plasma 6/5/4mm which is really warm even in the worst weather, I also wear boots year round, in this case 7mm Alder Plasma Split Toe, 3mm gloves (I'd wear thicker but they feel like boxing gloves) and a 3mm Hood complete the wet gear. Apart from that a board leash and some soft board wax and you're ready to roll, well almost, there are a few other odds and ends like a board bag and a few repair items/fins/screws etc. Of course you could buy increasingly expensive boards that promise all sorts of technical improvements but fortunately I'm old enough to know that it's the surfer not the gear, especially at my level.
Suited and Booted, Getting Gloves on is Tricky.
My Boards, A 7'6" Sunride Mini Mal & 9'2" Circle One Longboard
We've managed to get out 3 times the past 4 weeks, this week was definitely the best so far as there was no wind, the surf was clean and not too big (about 6') which meant we could try a catch unbroken waves for a change.
Uniqlo Jacket Again, This Time in Subtle Green :-)
The Hood always Looks Good!!!
It's interesting to see how some things that I'd associate with backpacking are also used in surfing, bamboo and merino used as a thermal lining in some wetsuits for example. I also found that some of my backpacking gear was suitable, my Chocolate Fish merino L/S top is nice when you're not totally dry but need a layer on quickly after getting out and my Uniqlo down jackets provide instant warmth but more windresistance than a fleece, in addition I've used the GoSystem Fly to boil water for hot drinks and instant pasta although Chris brings a flask just to get a really fast brew while waithing on the stove.
Not the Usual Camp Scene
I've really enjoyed getting out again, in fact I can't believe I had all but given it up, I hardly dare class myself as a surfer compared to other guys but I take some comfort from the saying that the best surfer is the one enjoying it the most.
That's Just Nice :-)
I have to thank another mate, Les for taking the photos, the ones on the overcast day, perfect way to spend a few hours getting frozen on a windswept beach while everyone else is enjoying themselves. cheers mate :-)
Below are a few links to local Surf Shops, Surf Schools and some other related websites.
TK Surf School
Surfers Against Sewage