Archive for January, 2011

Perspective from Welsh surfers!

Posted: January 14, 2011 in articles
Myself, Bryce and Ugo hit the water

Myself, Bryce and Ugo hit the water

1st of January 2011 I found myself in the parking lot at Rest Bay, Porthcawl, Wales.  Around me were a heap of cars with a bunch of people putting on as much neoprene as possible.  It was as though a bunch of black Michelin men were walking down to the break with surfboards. I was not as lucky as the locals when it came to gear. I had a summer suit with holes in it, a decent pair of gloves and booties but no hoodie. I am pretty much bald as well so this was going to be interesting.

Joined by my Father in Law and cousin I headed down to the waters edge. Wales has the second highest tidal change in the world so it was amazing to see a vastly different beach compared to what it had been like earlier on the low tide. The waves were, by South African standards, average. 2 foot or so and not much wall offering space to run. This was going to be more for the experience! 30 minutes later I arrived back on the beach holding my head in sheer pain having had two sets roll blankets of ice over my entire body. I had one or two good waves so that was enough!

I wasn’t prepared for just how cold Wales is in the winter or how the breaks operate.  I wasn’t prepared for how cold the water would be. I also wasn’t prepared to experience a bunch of people who love to surf, will surf in anything and will never not get in the water! I suppose being blessed with sunshine and pretty good waves at all times of the day during the whole year sends me over there with a bias opinion of what surfing is all about. Here, if the ocean does not deliver, we simply drink coffee. There… they kit up and paddle out spending every moment of time in the water they can get!  To ‘not surf’ is almost not an option. Respect!  Every day up to 30 surfers would dominate one break, people of all proficiency getting stuck in.

Ogney break - 27 december 2010

Ogney break - 27 december 2010

In many ways I guess I stood on the shores of Porthcawl with the shores of Durban, South Africa as a frame of reference.  It was a no brainer that coffee was a better idea! But… the Welsh surfers drew me out of my comfort zone simply through their unbelievable commitment to the water.

Over there, to stand on the shore would mean to stand alone…

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