A Sweet and Sour Surf

Got up at 6.30 this morning to get down to Combesgate early. The waves were bigger at 'the Pipe' than Combesgate so I decided to go out there. (I call this break 'Martinis' to myself, because it's in front of Gin Cove).

There were some pretty big sets coming through - I know I've got in trouble before by mentioning sizes but I think there were definitely some waves of about 7ft, from trough to feathery peak. But immediate gloom: as soon as I started to paddle out I could feel my left shoulder was really weak and hurting. Guess I've over done it surfing every day for the last few days.

First wave I went for I caught my biggest ever wave. It felt different - its heftiness was almost like surfing a bit of landscape rather than water! I scooted along it nicely - surprising myself that I was in some control even though it was a bit choppy. It reminded my of my windsurfing days as the board thudded along the water. As I cut out of it I was halfway up the wave before my eyes got over the lip. I was ecstatic. Mainly because I had caught what was for me a 'breakthrough wave' and I already knew this surf was going to be cut short by my pathetic shoulder.

Next wave I missed. I know the mantra: don't go for the first wave in a set. But I did. Then I got munched by about five massive waves (my first duck-dive wasn't nearly deep enough!). I've sketched this cartoon to show what it felt like:

When you think about it learning to surf is a pretty cartoony experience: "If.. I... I... c-can just reach my board... Grrrrrrruggh!!!" etc.

I paddled straight in to the beach knowing that was it. With a feeble left arm there was no way I could sensibly compete in sets like that. I tried Combesgate for twenty minutes because it was smaller, easier. It was also a lot choppier and unbelievable that it was only a couple of hundred yards from where I had been. Felt a world apart. I quickly gave in. It was the best of days and the worst of days: pride and excitement in properly riding a pretty large wave mixed with utter disappointment in my decrepit shoulder joint.

It was nice to look back though and see a few surfers having fun though!


  1. I got Downend Point by myself....but it was lumpy and bumpy.

  2. Ah - 'Downender' eh?! Hope you had fun. I'm not good enough yet to venture off my straightforward local breaks. I can think of a couple of places that people probably went in the southerly wind that were pretty damn good that day!


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