As if to Confirm My Last Post...
...yesterday's one star, one foot surf forecast on Magic Seaweed meant that I nearly missed the unbelievable blue sky, clean, overhead conditions at The Gate yesterday. The beaches must have been firing all over the North Devon coast with the line-ups emptier than they might have been due to the misleading swell forecasts. Where the hell did the swell come from?!
This snap I took on the way home doesn't do justice to some of the sets that were coming through. At one point I got caught on the inside and the whole bay was closed out with a 5-10 minute wait for a lull to get back out.
This was, for me, a big experience in many ways. I quickly rediscovered the limits of my surfing: ageing shoulders (limits that can easily be forgotten on small / logging days) and, though my duck-diving technique has improved a lot recently, I just can't duck-dive deep enough when an overhead wave breaks just in front of me.
The tiredness is the worst. I watched a young (early 20's?) surfer, who I see out all the time, paddling all over the bay catching tons of waves. A couple of good surfers, older than me, smoothly choosing their moment and enjoying the fine swells with grace and technique. I sat, chronologically somewhere in between, but without either the energy or skill to make the most of the conditions (gimme a break though - I've only been surfing 15 months). On the bright side, during my first hour out I dropped into - and rode - about five or six large waves. On the biggest - turning into and punching through the wave as it closed out. I was stoked and quite proud of myself. As I popped-up on the largest of them and felt the rail grip as I dropped in I remember clearly having the thought that when I started I didn't really see myself ever surfing a wave like this - and, essentially, what a curious position it was to find myself in!
Then after getting caught on the inside for a while and a few duck-dives I couldn't help myself and just sat too far out. In my heart-of-hearts I knew that my energy had lapsed below the required level for properly taking part in waves like this - but it was nice to stay there for a while paddling about. I caught one more big old wave, which closed out so I surfed the whitewater in.
What a day though. A day that came from nowhere...