Saturday, 6 October 2012

Back home

I am now back home after an excellent few days at Newquay, I got home yesterday afternoon after a 4.5 hour drive, which included traffic queues at the M5/A30 junction at Exeter and at Ferndown and an argument with Red Funnel ferries at Southampton after the gits wanted to fleece me over and above what I'd already paid for the return crossing for going on a slightly earlier sailing than booked.

I had a further 1 to 1 session on Thursday, again at Towan, and made further progress. I am getting up faster and more consistently. One of my problems was my stance not being wide enough, i.e. my feet too close together. With that sorted I was making great progress. My balance is also improving. Now all I need is time in the water, surf permitting.
The tide was going down (mid tide and low tide are the best times for surfing there, high tide is no good) and, when the tide is low, you can practically walk to the line out. That way, I got longer rides without resorting to paddling. The downside was that the shallow water made for often painful wipeouts. One such wipeout resulted in my left lower back/hip area hitting the sea bed so hard that, two days later, I have severe pain in my sacroiliac joint on the left side and can barely sit for long or move! I don't think the 4.5 hour drive helped, either, but it should improve over the next few days, with plenty of ice and pain killers.
My favourite wipeout, though, came at the end of a good ride with a perfect stance. Unfortunately, I slipped and fell across my board, banging my nose and twisting my ankle. No harm done and it was pretty funny; I wish I had a photo of it. I also got tumbled, along with my board, several times. Funnily enough, I quite enjoy being tumbled...but, that said, I doubt I'd enjoy it much in huge surf!

My aims are now to get consistent, and better, on the big NSP board and then graduate to something smaller. As I've said before I don't see myself charging on a very short board but I'd like to eventually get something in the 7 ft to 7' 6" range.

I'm not one to advertise, usually, but if any UK-based beginners or improvers are reading and want instruction, then you can do no better than the Rip Curl ESF Surf School at Newquay Activity Centre. There were friendly, helpful and brilliant instructors (Shaun and Dale - I had Shaun on Tuesday and Thursday and Dale on Wednesday) and they were also kind enough to look after my board for me until I picked it up yesterday morning, which saved me keeping it in my car or wrestling it in and out of the B&B's board store. Thanks to Rob Barber and his colleagues there. :-) I am now planning to go to one of their surf 'boot camp' weekends, maybe in spring. I also still have plans to go to a surf camp somewhere warm in the winter (never did catch up with Errant Surf as I never got round to it, although I still plan to book something with them).

Looking north-east along Great Western and Tolcarne Beaches.
Fistral Beach in the evening. It was largely blown out when I was there, so I went to Towan instead
Towan Beach at high tide.
While I was there, I also spent an hour taking photos of other surfers at Towan on Thursday afternoon. Photography is another interest of mine and I'd taken my Canon 7D and 100-400 mm lens with me for that reason. I am a better photographer than surfer!

I got a couple of nice sequences. This bloke gets up and wipes out almost straight away, which is what I did a lot of!

And a guy on a nice green board, which I like very much.

And then he's gone.

I have some more photos of other surfers and I'll put those in a post sometime over the next few days.