Friday, 27 December 2013

Dark foreboding water and I only lasted about ten minutes in the mountainous seas. Despite a neap tide with two and a half hours before high, the water was already on the ridge and a heavy backwash was kicking up. It was neither particulary safe nor enjoyable, so I quickly got out to ensure no one else made the same mistake. Sometimes its best just to return to the safety of your family, a warm house and as much chocolate as possible.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Huge tidal surges, gale force winds and even the odd bit of sunshine. After almost 2 weeks of unrelenting storms and wave bouy readings continually in double figures, its time to put the kit away; at least for a few days.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Even in all the mad conditions, there are always places that the swell is small enough and the wind in the right direction for a quiet little session.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Had my yearly catch up with Will the Guru, and have to say he leaves me inspired as ever. His light and positivity seems to transcend everything, and massive thank you for all your energy. Directly after dinner I booked up our yearly ski trip, and the prospect of travelling over the six weeks of summer has left us bubbling with ideas.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Mired in controversy, I have had some of my most enjoyable surfs here, and it still baffles me in its unpredictability. After surfing here the last three days, you might have been lulled into a false sense of security. Just when you feel you have a handle on it, conditions build or change quite dramatically, not to mention if the wrong crew are here. Tales of diving knifes, slashed tires, fan belts cut and plenty of on the water aggression is still a reality. That said, sometimes the risk of such a spot is also the lure, although for many it still remains most revered if not respected.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Finally shaken off the cold, to get back in the water and on my own home turf too. No one other than my old reliable friend; The Bear to keep me company. His natural affinity to want to save people, meant he paddled out to the breaking sections, and once he realised I was staying he barked and barked and then paddled back in.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

If you haven't seen the Moonrise Kingdom then you will miss the reference, but its Wes Anderson movies like this that make life seem that little bit more eclectic and interesting. Things that are so very dear to me, when I am trying to convalesce in a house full of children, and deadlines for work looming.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Had to share this as its such a great little short, and it's getting me psyched about a special little place we  surf tomorrow. Cold easterlies, and so much blue sky has made the run of small clean swell all that much sweeter.

Friday, 22 November 2013

After last week and a forecast of winter coming, I really had no expectation of yet more angry winds on their way. Instead mid week, we got bone chilling/arm wrenching Force 7+ in pretty amazing conditions. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Its been another week of wind and swell and yet more sessions at GS, and to complete our run of luck, perfectly clean shoulder high swell over the weekend. Sunday morning was literally all to myself, and I got to spend some  quality time on a new Hydrodynamica Fourke (courtesy of Rich Unsworth), so big thank you. I first took this board out a couple of weeks back, and it felt like there was too much volume at least for the wave size that day. But in the head high and under category, this is great fun. Like so many of the mini simmons shapes, this is fast in slack conditions, and it really makes an average surf so much more. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

WHEN THE SEA CALLS from Ant Sullivan on Vimeo.

Bumped in to Ant Sullivan on Tuesday who sent me this link to his movie. I usually only bump into Ant in the water, hence hard little/no idea of his talents elsewhere. Enjoy the clip. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Its been pretty inspiring lately seeing so many loops (forwards and backwards), on almost every session over the last few weeks. Dan seems to have somehow got the perfect stall going on, Ian's clear control and precision, the Sauntonians as always high and fast, whilst Tim's are so smooth you forget the complexity. Having had a run of broken boards, and my fair share of bad luck,  I haven't been so hungry for needless impact. That was however until the RRD quads loosened up my sailing. Feeling comfortable is a necessity, and things feel like they are starting to flow again. Of course, endless wind and back to back sailing also helps, but nothing more than a few words spoken by a friend seemed to be the biggest lift. Many thanks today for your momentary pearls of wisdom, they took me just that bit closer to landing/sailing out, as well as putting a big smile back on my face.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Quit work, drop out and surf more; Will Brawn you are an inspiration !

Monday, 4 November 2013

It's an odd sensation gybing in perfectly flat water on the inside and then picking endless peeling lefts, off the point. Fully powered on a 4.5 and sailing such a beautifully remote peak was definitely made better by sharing with a couple of friends. Thank you so much for today, I think its time to start sailing here a lot more.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Its been a pretty amazing week, endless surf/windsurf and depending on your work/life commitments, you could pick and choose what time/conditions you wanted to get out in.  This shot of Luke (taken by Glyn Brackenbury) gives you some idea of the ferocity of yesterdays condtions, which I reckon was the strongest wind/rain over the past ten days. Luckily both today and yesterday delivered some blue sky moments amidst all the rain, with today's early sunday (wind) worship feeling quite genteel with a WSW force 5/6. Hopefully the next 24 hours will see some respite, and then Tuesday a trip to our hallowed point break to sample the returning strong westerlies.  Massive thanks to Ivan for introducing Roy Riley to the windsurfing fraternity, I am sure Matt and Nick will be forever in debt for Tuesday's shot in the Times. 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The early blast just before the storm really kicked in. This was mellow compared to how the afternoon unfolded; 70mph plus with local opinion claiming the biggest seas they had ever seen (Fairway Buoy - 21ft).

Friday, 1 November 2013

Have long been a fan of Galicia and if we manage to align our plans, I am hoping for an extended sojourn here next summer. Albeit to a somewhat smaller break, as even with todays pushing tide in the fading light,  just overhead seems heavy enough.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Was pretty shocked to see our session on the front cover of the times yesterday. MTC in full glory going for a suicide landing whilst pondering the merits of the RRD Wave Cult.  Today was a more mellow affair as my timings finally coincided with high tide at GS, and shared a wave or two with Jem, and the Team Lobato. Forecast looks even bigger for the upcoming weekend, so wonder how the media will cover this, or maybe they can actually report some news this time.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Another perfect session at the beach, winds a little gusty ranging I am guessing between 25-35mph and even a little sunshine thrown in.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Got out for a half hour or so, just to see what all the fuss was about. No real storm here yet, but the amount of water moving around was pretty unsettling as the sea seemed to be boiling. Slightly unnerving when no one else is out.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Its not so long ago that when I started this blog, the name wind addiction came to mind. Peculiarly, the past few years have seen a tail off in my obsession, but its with recent sell offs of climbing and cycling kit, that I can firmly say I am ready to re-dedicate myself as an addict. Crossing the bridge to day with fellow wind disciple; Mark and I head up the unique unit of the ginger brotherhood. Southerly winds, and lots of friendly faces made the dark foreboding skies, nothing more than a nice backdrop to a fun little wave. The next 24 hours will be the tell though as the swell starts to wind up. Massive thankyou to aussie Tim who brought down my newly acquired RRD WAVE Cult Quad 75, and the kind words of Jon Shaw.  

Friday, 25 October 2013

...and so it continues. Back to back swells, (with a lot of really great windsurfing in between) with a severe storm warning for Monday. The obvious point break will be the go for monday, but the severity of the storm is still in the balance. It's been hailed the 26 year storm, which makes you think this might have some bite. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Just read the sad news of the passing of Chops Lascelles. Had the pleasure of working with him a few years back, and couldn't help but admire his magnetism and charisma. He has definitely touched a lot of peoples lives, and no doubt will be greatly missed by many.  

Thursday, 3 October 2013

At 60+ Aussie Tony is one of the guys you will consistently find at the beach come rain or shine. As long as the swell is decent and the wind is offshore, he can be found waxing his beloved Mark Neville design in eager anticipation. Always happy to 'share' a wave, and an elder statesman advocating peace and diplomacy over aggression.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Picked up a 5'7 Channel Islands Sperm whale yesterday, and had one of the best surfs I have had in a long time. My journey with boards has been an interesting one, and whilst I try to avoid spending on fancy kit, sometimes buying quality really pays dividends. Obviously Al Merrick is one name synonymous with highly efficient surfboard design, so why has it taken me long to ride one of his boards ? The reasons are many fold, but after yesterday, today and no doubt the rest of this week, the affinity with this board will just grow. At c. 30 litres its fully submersed whilst I sit and wait out back, but when paddling the design is incredibly efficient, that it paddles like a board much bigger, yet still duck dives like a small short board.  In essence I would describe this as where mini simmons meets shortboard, and something so very different to a fish. Quite how is not so simple to articulate, but its five fin setup, and sharp rails seems progressive like so much about its design. Whilst I loved the 5'10 Bing mini simmons, this craft is a serious step on, and one I will be keeping for much longer. Whether I will successfully template this and copy will remain to be seen. Currently I just want to ride it till its dying day, and mine for that matter.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Days like today, make everything seem perfect in the world. A truly great session with a lot of big smiles going round.

Solid 4.0 meter conditions, and MTC hit this nice back loop on his first run out. It's been so long since we have had some solid wind that it took me by surprise somewhat. The wind veered through the day to finally end with more westerly, but still enough south to give perfect jump and gybe ramps. Today looks like more serious side-on from the North west, so no doubt the usual reprobates will be rigging as the sun rises.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Change is definitely in the air and it was nice to get out in the brisk Nor'wester today for a windsurf. Blue skies and fresh breezes are turning the blackberries to perfection at the moment, so am not too bothered if the wind or swell isn't to full strength. Its clear that it won't be long before the winds return and we will be sheltering in the warmth around an open fire. Can't wait for Autumn.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Picked up a 7'2 Bing Swee' Pea today, and took it out for it's inaugural surf. It was 2-3 and pretty messy, and all was good till I sliced my toe. Water is still so warm and great to be in just shorts, so it was a shame to cut it short. I really wanted to review this and get some idea of its performance, but first impressions were still positive. At 7'2 it was not really the length I wanted, but  I love anything Matt Calvani shapes, and this wasn't any different. On the odd peaks I managed to catch, it flew and was very drivey and felt pretty much as Tom described (the guy who sold me it). The plan will be to template this and make a 5'8/5'10 with a slight difference, but this will remain to be seen, as I am not sure that I actually want to get rid of it just yet.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

If you get the chance or know of anyone wanting to learn SUP (apologies) or just wanting to try it (for some unknown reason), Carl at Go Watersports is the guy to speak to. He is friendly, professional and he kindly snapped me with my Iphone in our pre work dawnie.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

What an amazing day ! Its been great to come home, see so many friendly faces and then get to surf twice in the same day, and yes even a windsurf (although the wind disappeared temporarily when I rigged). This guy,was ripping on a quad fin and it was pretty inspiring to see everyone out in what appeared like 3/4 mast high waves and cross shore southerly. Good times, and great to see so many smiles from effectively a miserable day. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Its been a couple of months since getting the RRD Wave Cult Quad fin, and I have recently decided to take the brave decision as using it as my one board (at least for long journeys and travelling with kids).  So with car space at a premium I made the seemingly bizarre decision to pack this 92 ltr board (AKA the 'big board'). I hate being underpowered probably more than anything, so having a slightly bigger board seemed like a sensible option. Now the law of averages would suggest that as soon as you agree to leaving the other boards behind, you can bet that they would be what you actually need in your time away. I of course always try to remind myself of this , but its of little solice as Tarifa is a very windy city in August !
Hence you could have brought any board and it would have been right on certain days.
Winds of 40knots one day, then dropping down to single digits the next means you have plenty of down time, but it also can potentially mean limited time for sailing.
In our own circumstances, this trip was a family holiday not a windsurf trip, but that said I still had clearance for the kit.
So turning up at the beach to sail in 18 knots one day and then 30 the next, has been a real joy considering its been on one board. Speed and control has been the key, and even when conditions were light it was still very throw around and you can really slide the fins out too in an attempt to freestyle. I even scored some rare summer wave conditions and the board of course comes alive in this. Essentially the board never seemed to overpower even when my sail did, and the edge of quads over a single fin is far too apparent to be ignored. In Tarifa I noticed a lot of thrusters coming through which seems to be a Naish/Mistral thing, and they no doubt work. However  nothing is quite like a quad, as they still seem to retain the looseness of a twin fin, as opposed to a thruster which seems to be more like a single fin. If you are in any way tempted by a Quad, then I suggest you just buy one. I certainly have been amazed by the RRD wave cult.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Took the kids bodyboarding this morning in the mellow shore break of El Palmar. Most locals don't hit the beach till two, so we enjoyed some relatively quiet beach time, whilst most people slept. By the time they were done, I even managed to score some much needed chest high action in relative tranquility and just a pair of shorts.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Its day three of the windy season here in Tarifa. Levante has been blowing up to 35 knts, and its been fun, certainly more fun than I ever remember. Years ago, this place had a special feel and it still seems to retain a lot of its charm despite being well and truly discovered. Windsurfing in just a pair of shorts in 26 degrees at 10 am is a pretty nice feeling, and whilst some say this is boring due to its lack of waves, they need to take a good look around at all its attributes. Both its unique position next to Europe's largest forest and some of the most stunning beaches more akin to the Caribbean will always keep me coming back.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Having sold the Bing, it was nice to get back to this old board with a little more chunk and possibly more compatibility with the dying swell. Its strange how such an amazing shape produced by Matt Calvani seems to make such a difference, only to return to your own hand shape and somehow still find it relevant and very effective. This morning's dropping swell was still an awful lot of fun with only one other in the line up.