Been and Gone and Dawnied It...
I'm not an early riser so even surprised myself by managing to get out of bed at 5.30am this morning. In the water by 6. It was pretty exciting, heading off with the headlights on and finding some nice, clean, 3-6ft waves at an empty Woolacombe. The whole effort was wasted as I quickly got back to form and hung around on the outside - missing wave after wave. From what I've read surfers can be a bit scornful of this kind of thing; of people like me bobbing about and not catching any waves – but it's not for want of effort or risk. It just seems to be part of the slow progress: learning to be in bigger and bigger surf along with all the other watery variables. (And learning to deal with feeling like a bleedin' idiot, who ought to be tucked-up all toasty in bed and instead is dealing with piles of freezing foam dumping on his noggin!)
There was only one other (very good) surfer who paddled in, to show me how it should be done, before I got out – so the advantage of an early morning surf was immediately clear. It was certainly colder first-thing, however, that won't be an issue in summer when this painfully difficult technique of sleep deprivation will be pretty essential.
The whole experience was rather surreal: home and helping my daughter get to school before 8am and struggling to feel like I'd actually been out in the water - like I'd dreamt it.
Oh - and if anyone's got any tips on how to do this without infuriating your wife, who would much prefer an undisturbed night's sleep, then suggestions are very welcome!