Surfing Beauty No.9: Surfing's More than Surfing

Combesgate today was unbelievable. I paddled out, a bit daunted, into some thumping 4-5ft (looked like 6ft to me) clean waves. There were quite a few surfers out enjoying them. Good surfers. Good fun. After catching possibly the largest wave I've surfed and then being caught on the inside with a tiring bashing and paddle back out I considered going in. So glad I didn't.

As I sat in the silvery water, with the sun going down, to the chorus of bleats from the sheep on Morte Point, the calls of the Gulls and whoops of surfers, it was beautiful already...

..and then the mist snuck in.
It began by rubbing out Woolacombe.
Reference points began to vanish.
The white houses on the coast peered through as the darker landscape disappeared.
Spooky. We looked at each other and remarked on the spookiness.
The sun turned from blinding to a friendly white disc, gulls swooped past, a fish leapt out of the water in front of me, the moon was clear up above me in a patch of blue sky.
The waves welled up out of the whiteness like calm beasts.
We were in another world. Surfing is about being in a different environment but this was an unforseeable serenity.
I wished I had a camera on me. Some way of recording it.
When I scooted in and stood up in the shallows the mist was behind me. Clarity was back - everything had returned. Another surfer and I looked at each other as if we'd both just been on a trip to the moon.

Surfing's more than surfing.

(I took this photograph once back at the car. It might help give you an idea. Then again it might just undermine, a little, what I've written.)


  1. Went for a surf at Saunton. Pretty average but sunny. When I got home to Swimbridge, the sea mist had rolled in down the estuary. After rinsing out my wetsuit I could hear a chopper (presumably a Chinook) getting very close indeed in the thick mist, although I couldn't see it. The sound was unreal, muffled in the mist. It obviously gave up trying to land at Chivenor and buggered off inland again. Freaky.

  2. Beautiful, Just beautiful. So nicely put, and I can 100% relate. I am soo obssessed with this wonderful discipline.

  3. Hi Thos,
    love the blog just stumbled across it today. I was down on this morning bit later than this but surf was epic. How can I get in contact with you. Want to talk to you about Linking to our site.
    please email me


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