Logged Some Time at Saunton. Got L.E.W.D.
Saunton, 18-5-2010, was busy and the inevitable ironic thought: it would be great if there weren't all these surfers about. Regardless, I was there to check out the "Saunton is a longboarder's wave" mantra. The waves were solid 2-4ft so it was definitely leash o'clock for me.
You know what - I was a bit nervous! An unfamiliar board at an unfamiliar break. What the hell did Robert August and Mike Hynson feel like then - that first surf in Dakar? Or Jeff Clark paddling out on his own at Mavericks?!
I immediately got an altered Smiths track stuck in my head as I paddled out:
I know you're loggable
You don't have to tell me,
loud and clear, loud and clear...
I couldn't shift it for the whole session! And, as the song goes, I was indeed wearing black on the outside.
But after my first wave black wasn't how I was feeling on the inside. My nerves disappeared as I surfed past Glen (who'd sold me my first board a year ago) with a wave and a little 'whoop' to acknowledge the sweet appropriateness of this chance meeting, in the water, one year on.
Then I got L.E.W.D. – Longest Ever Wave Day! Caught a great solid 3-4ft wave that built beautifully as I sped along it. Got my first real feel for the way this board feels as it glides along the wave: the speed constantly increasing, the movement of the board changing and the need to put my back foot nearer the inside rail to hold it in, the board came alive. Near the end of the wave I decided to go for the nose. Bye-bye nose - hello whitewater. Never mind, my getting to the nose the other day must have been some kind of small-wave-first-time-bravado-fluke.
The waves were peaking a bit all over the place for Saunton, according to one fellah I spoke to, so I don't think I got much of a feel for what the Saunton wave can be like. But, I certainly got more of a feel for what a traditional longboard can be like.
Logging is a different surfing experience. The sheer size and heaviness of the board makes every aspect of it more of an investment: from the purchase, to the storage, to the transportation, to the wave. It's more of a craft - in every sense.