Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Just one..

wave was all it took today. The forecast was pretty much accurate with strong offshores making the the 3-5 ft wave standup pretty nicely. As a result, I think I got my first ever beach break barrel, or perhaps it was more of an over head closeout. Either way it was incredible to feel the power, not far off what you might expect at low tide Croyde. Great to see Carl in the water, and check out Dan in this months copy of Boards (as guest tester). Welcome back team Excel !

Monday, 28 December 2009

Magic Lie

Yes indeed. Magic Seaweed lured the masses with tales of three/four feet and 8 second interval. However it was more like 1ft and an interval of 90 seconds. Still it was great just to get in and work my tiny fish against the longboarders.

The return of a legend.

Hanging with an old friend today made me think of the last time he graced our shores. I have never met anyone quite as at peace with themself, and his serenity and kind heartedness remain unmatched. Come back soon Ben, you are very much missed.

Cold and Windy

North Westerly was in full swing and a great session for an hour or so. Here's a shot of MTC who was suffering from some serious numb hands.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Trail of the Lonesome Pine

New sails are set to arrive any day, and the wind and wave forecast is due to return from tomorrow. In the meantime I have been hot on the trail of attempting to classify one remaining pine at the bottom of the garden. It seems it may be the Monterey pine (first borught here in the 1830's from California), and I am going to try and search out some replacements of this magnificent tree. Apparently they love wind blown coasts and have a taste for salt air, guess they aren't alone.

Monday, 21 December 2009

The next trip.

Since I found this video on YouTube, this place has been high on the agenda for a visit. Check out the sets towards the end fo the film.

and on that same trip...

I found this old video that I put together a few years back. Thanks to Laura for the camera work.


When it just gets too cold to get in the water, I tend to drift off to places I have been before. One such place was Moledo on the West coast of Portugal and a lesser known spot to surf/wsurf. Just by chance, when I first drove past this amazing beach, it was cranking a Force 8. Three hours later, I scored my best sail of the year on a great little reef working half a kilometre offshore. Found this video to share the spot -

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Das Cribbar

Looks like the Cribbar has been acting up again, and the weather looks to be travelling up the coast. South Westerlies for Monday, hopefully a few degrees warmer too.

All mixed up

Temperatures seem to have dropped and so has the swell, wind and everything else. Feel a little bit green (with envy) as friends head off to the mountains and my wife resolutely says 'no' to Heli skiing or ANY other mountain trip. So for the forseeable, its watching the forecasts, attending interviews and generally tending to the house and kids. Many thanks to Luke for helping us to progress with our plans for the new home, and sad to say I missed organising a proper christmas send off for Steve 'the beer'. In the meantime for any of you who can be bothered to make the trek, please drop by for a sample of the christmas home brew.

PS - check out a very local chilling tale .

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Random acts of kindness

Many thanks to Matt from Columbia Beach, Vancouver Island. Last week Matt sent me an email, saying he enjoyed the pictures on the blog and wanted to send something he couldn't use in Canada. I have never met the guy before but and it all seemed very random, but true to his word, a little parcel arrived today. What a great surprise to unwrap an electric boot warmer/drier, so am waiting for the forecast to change so I can test on my wetsuit booties.
Thanks again and I will endeavour to pass on the random act !

Monday, 14 December 2009


Season of giving is near and if I had my way, I would be buying each and every friend a quiver of some of these puppies. Sadly these don't come cheap but they are the ultimate investment, and if you get the chance, see if you can get a 2009 for cheap. You won't be disappointed.
Happy sailing !

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A nice day

My hands were tied with babysitting duties and I had to construct an excuse to lure the little people to the beach. I could literally here the surf pounding, and was desperate just to snap a few shots, but I needed a good plan of attack. So, armed with a carrier bag, I suggested we go collect litter from the cliffs and make a collage (Blue Peter style). This worked perfectly, and as the two artists searched for inspiration (and cleaned the beach) I managed to score a couple shots.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Post Jordan

and still keeping the faith. Surfing is never quite so fun on your own (particularly when your wingman has flown to warmer climes) but it is a real test of commitment. Keep charging Luke.

Down Tools

Yes, thats right. The surf is on and I barely even noticed it. In fact I am so fresh out of my bout of sickness, that when Parko arrived for work this morning, we raced to the top of the tower to check out the monster swell. Shortly after this, Parko was claiming he didn't feel great : ), and was in need of some beach therapy.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The stoke

I love surfing for what it brings to people on a cold, wet and miserable day at the start of December. When words like 'interval' and 'bouy reading' ignite smiles, and distant eyes filled of hope. Today is just one such day when despite the weather, something really good is happening for those that can be bothered.

PS - It's so nice to see Lundy again. It feels like ages since we last saw this steadfast little island, and I can barely believe its still there after the storm action over the last month.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Weston imports

The Super mare crew were out charging, and they put the locals to shame. Thanks Andy for getting some shots, I was just one of the many locals missing another Ho windy day. Please comment if you know who it is - I reckon it could be Matt.

Friday, 4 December 2009


When winter draws in, the number of sailors seem to dip quite significantly. It's never quite so enticing to get out on the water in the depths of winter. However there are still those who make the effort, perhaps not looping sky high, but always charging whatever the conditions. Its these guys who aren't necessarily the youngest, but perhaps the ones with the greater stamina, and not afraid of the cold. Its these guys that often create a positive atmosphere at a spot, and will always have a smile, offer any help and even the odd mug of tea. So if there was ever a local club purely for windsurfing, and if there was ever a yearly award, this guy would be my choice for windsurfer of the year. Thanks Paul !

If it looks cold

...thats because it was. However the guys who did get out to windsurf, still weren't as covered up as the guys in Northern Spain (La Coruna), who are now sailing totally clad from head to toe in neoprene. I think this is in part due to the lack of gulf stream, and perhaps just not as burly as their northern cousins.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Have been reading through the blogs and dreaming of blue skies and thermal winds. Somehow the onslaught of winter just doesn't seem so appealing anymore, and even the smaller clean surf, just doesn't seem to entice. Hoping to reignite the flame (and my camera) later in the week, with a trip out west and a visit to the labs of Home Blown. Can't wait to see what these guys have been upto.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Blue skies

but the temperatures really seem to have dropped. Had some surf reports over the weekend, about poor swell, cold water and tonnes of people. Never a good scene. It wasn't that long ago, that winter time guaranteed quiet in the water. Still, I thought a picture from of the beaches on Vancouver Island, and what they have to endure, might put things into perspective.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Storm Chase

If you missed this movie a few years back, and enjoy windsurfing in the great British winter, put it on your present list. I have a copy which I just lent out, and even though this link doesn't do the 'Storm Chase' full justice - it gives you a flavour. The section on the Danish beaches is fairly unbelievable, and the fact they even got in the water is beyond words.

Britain's Finest

Just found this on - and had to share.

Long live the King !

A good call

I had a great opportunity to visit a lesser known surf spot today, but after watching the squalls we decided the 45 minute hike in, didn't really appeal. So the friend (who shall remain nameless) made the executive call to paddle out off the rocks on the main beach. As I watched on (and glimpsed the windsurfers closer to shore (shot above)), I was amazed at his patience, waiting and waiting for a break in the sets. After an hour of standing on various rocks, taking the full force of the whitewater time and time again, I was really relieved he decided not to go in. So I guess what I really appreciated is, it doesn't matter how good you are, there are times to go and not to go. Whilst these indicators are set often by the external forces (friends/conditions/camera), it should always be you that makes the call.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


I just can't believe how windy it has been, continues to be, and is in forecast into the coming weeks. Of course you can't start wishing it away, but I know more than a few people (predominantly surfers), who are begining to get a bit hacked off with it. In the meantime, a few good locals continue to charge everyday and make sure I update the blog with at least some record of the amazing conditions. If you get a chance, buy this months Windsurf and look for the North Devon update, then try and imagine the task of condensing the November upate into just a few brief sentences. Any suggestions would be gratefully recieved.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Gettin' High

Thanks Stuart for the shot, or to be more precise, thanks Mrs Stuart. I seemed to have missed everyone today, but was met with stories of broken boards and 4m conditions. The swell was possibly at its peak, and some of the more wisened of the fraternity described the waves outback as 'frightening'. I haven't heard anyone use that adjective here, to date.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

South South Easterly..I think ?

Apparently the torrential rain put a lot of people off today, but those who made it out; 'looked to be charging' (according to my contact on the Burrows). I am still house bound, as i ripped out a fire place yesterday and kind of blew my recovery. So if anyone has any shots, please forward as the swell looked a nice size too.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Huge Swell

Despite the shot being taken at low tide, it's a fair indication it would have been enormous. Whilst the photo doesn't do it justice, I love the Long Horns.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Still blowing...

but I don't think anyone made it out. Just a lone kiter...and that hurts me to write that. Swell forecast looks to be so huge that Saturday could prove very interesting.

Friends don't let friends..

kitesurf. Whilst I hate the term 'extreme sports' I think kitesurfing sits quite well in this category. I will let you decide if you think its a good thing or bad. I have no real desire to do it, however nailing loops on a big day will forever have my attention.
Thanks Luke for the link, who amazingly is usually involved in rescuing these guys when it all goes wrong.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Wind just won't back down until it breaks each and everyone of us. The forecast looks savage for the next few days and and it was nice to have some company (on the beach) today. Dan was cranking the loops and the sideshore Southerly looked fairly uninviting with walls of whitewater chasing down the others. Will do my best to keep the updates coming.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Support your local shaper...

but make sure you ask for a biofoam (Home Blown) blank. Just got in from a great meeting with North Devon Plus, and a new initiative to support the production of green surfboard technology. One aim is that shapers will move away from importing toxic blanks and actually start to embrace the less toxic (and non carcinogenic technology of MDI). Not only is it produced within the UK and actually stronger than traditional imported blanks, they are more resistant to pressure dents and if dinged, don't take in water. It is hoped that Chris Hines (SAS/Eden Project) and numerous others will be attending the next meeting, but even if the exercise just turns out to be a lesson in communication, its clear that we, the consumers - can make a difference.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Where the heart is

I have waited for so long to capture this view, and am so relieved to finally have a home.

Saturday, 14 November 2009


Instow was the place to sail today, if you weren't up for the drive to Daymer Bay. The main beach looked so huge and even the most seasoned of sailors were looking for alternative venues. Many thanks to Ed, for taking such a great shot.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Abbotsham Werewolf

In dark times, when I am too ill to even hit the water, its time to get creative. So as the cruelest months draw in, the birth of something of sinister is near. Yes it the second coming of Abbotsham Werewolf. This time with a slight variance of brewing technique, under the careful eye of Steve 'beer' Beer; we have included demerara sugar. Be warned this is due for go live in the early part of December and I look forward to sharing.

Moved House

No internet, just boxes and boxes everywhere. We were also facing a 4 week delay for broadband, so I plucked up courage and bought mobile broadband. Massive storms over the next 24 hours and still not sailing due to sickness, hopefully take some decent shots in the meantime.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

So the wind continues...

I continually like to check out what my old friends have been up to on Vancouver Island - so I check pretty frequently to see all the shots in and around British Columbia. Occasionally I like to post up some shots of our conditions and show that England isn't just about rain, bad teeth and no wilderness, as our North American cousins like to stereotype. The most consistent question that comes back; is how do we actually manage to sail in these onshore/cross on big day ? How do we get out etc, and I think this shot demonstrates perfectly. You grit you teeth, you power up and you jump your way out of trouble, all the way to the outside. Dan scores some North North West action on a cold and bright Sunday.

In search of fire.

Travelled to a big bonfire in South Devon, and caught up with friends and family. The wind howled, the rain poured and it truly felt like Nov 5th.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Call to arms.

Found this on 'God save the Wind' - and reckon we all need to start thinking about this.


No break in the wind here, just some serious daddy-daycare time. Winds howled last night and I wondered if the house we are moving to, will still be standing. Forecast looks set to continue, and perhaps if I pack enough boxes, I will be let out just for a few runs.

Greenough Windsurfs !

If you can't handle the retro surf track, scroll through to half way (1 min 20 secs) and listen to the words of wisdom from the legend. The man who changed surfing forever, invented the 'dolphin fin' , and experiments in glass than still leave many astounded. All this, and he windsurfs too. His words really resonate with me !

Thursday, 5 November 2009

North Westerly - Brrrrrr

6/5 suit with a hood was very nice today. Really fun bump and jump session in the mess, and Andy B kindly took a rare photo of me on the water. Great to see yet more new faces, and confirming we have over 30 sailors regularly sailing here (just never together).

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

First in flight

More of the same, and I couldn't bear sitting indoors any longer. Its been over 6 days of sickness now and I just felt I had to take the chance and see if I was up for a sail. A further group of 'work shy' (see previous comments) friends lead the charge and it was somewhere around a Force 6 with some big tidal surges due to the spring tides. Really great to get out and sail in blue skies, and see so many smiling faces. Feel so much better now.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Windsurfing lives !

Just when the winter starts to set in, and most folks are huddling behind their desks avoiding the fierce winds, there was a healthy crew on the beach today. There was also mention of a solo trip to a secret spot with potential, but in all fairness onshore isn't all bad. In fact the intrepid Weston trio had made the two hour trek just for the conditions. Which proves that you can become blase with a great beach on your door !

Still can't get in the sea, and bumped into a local ripper who had just scored the point. It looked really brooding and pretty treacherous, can't believe he surfed it on his own. Despite some strong south westerly winds in the day, the wind veered and went offshore by late afternoon and the beach (see above) started to work.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


With my head full of cold, and a fairly painful chest infection I sat (in the warmth of my car) and watched everyone out charging. The three light weight amigos made it way out back, and I could really appreciate the difference in the size of the swell. However as they tacked into position for the marching lines, the margin for error was greatly reduced by an enormous rock stack sat down wind, and the reef now fully exposed. I winced everytime someone fell in, as I knew that within seconds, they could be drifting into an extremely dangerous situation. I blasted off quite a few shots only to realise I had left the film behind. This was the only shot I managed to score as a result (of the inside) and I guess that Spot Y will remain a mystery for a little longer.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

JB shapes

Apparently Jake (JB) doesn't shape any more, he moved to Australia and just glasses.
Believe me, after my first session on this 6'4 Quad fish - this is a great, great shame.
Come back Jake, your country needs you !

Perfect clean 3ft wave and got my confidence back after my trip to the narrows. Stayed in for way too long and got to rip on my new JB quad fish. What a board ! Just so sad I never got one to call my own, until now.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

No limits vs Know your limits

The morning brought a great swell with which to test myself on the coast a little closer to home. As a first session, it felt heavy and the offshore winds started to hollow out the faces making it so completely different to the beach. I definitely felt on the edge of my limits, as the currents swirled around malevolent looking rocks, and the reef was continually in the back of my mind.

However after an hour or so the wind continued to pick up, and as my paddling dwindled the potential for a sail was ever improving. By the time we got back to the beach, Ed revealed that conditions were 'interesting' and despite rigging up, with what seemed to be the wrong board, I watched with fear as Ian, Ed and Dan snuck out through the gaps in the sets. As my free time was coming to a close, I sank back behind the camera and recorded some action. Dan definitely scored wave of the day, although when the sets pushed through they all looked intimidating.

Shepherds Warning

Amazing forecast this week, and looks like some the guys on half term are going to finally get a chance at some decent swell. Hoping to paddle into some new places so watch this space for reports.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sunday bloody Sunday

Yes that's right, I missed all the action because Saturday was the day. Swell was big, in fact very big, and the wind was just a little too light for those of us who actually carry some weight. Of course Team Light Wind (you know who you are) had lots of smug grins as they raced past and generally got out past the continual pounding mush. I really struggled with my new 30'' lines (again) but can't really complain as it was still fun to get out and play.

PS - The Gruffalo rocked !

Friday, 23 October 2009

It's been a strange old week, and I really hate not participating when conditions are on. I usually find my energy is a little messed up afterwards, and feel a touch emasculated, as I have been here many times before. Hence counting down the final days in our tiny home and preparing for our move, I can't help but feel anxious for just about everything. Anxious for the job hunt, anxious for the move, anxious for the South Westerly wind tomorrow, the swell height and enduring the Gruffalo and an afternoon with screaming children. So thank you Mikey at Loose fit for sharing a coffee, your time and generally cheering me up.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

My eye...

is so sore from all the camera action yesterday. In fact I am pretty sure I have brought on a sty and in the process; almost exceeded a personal best, of over 1000 images. So I apologise right now, but I am going to have to post a few more shots.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Locals only

Punished in the shore break I thought it better to sit behind the camera for the rest of the day. Of course slashed tires, broken fins, dog crap smeared on your door handles and a gnarly set of locals is enough to prevent you from paddling in.

First Light