Summer’s Swell

Towards the end of September the swell gods smiled upon me, the forecast was 3ft, no wind and sunny on my day off; a perfect excuse to chuck my board in the car and head through to Cayton Bay.

Despite the sun shining the traffic was relatively free flowing on the run through, and once at Cayton the carpark still had plenty of spaces.

After a couple of coffees I suited up and headed down to the sea. Usually I would do a scout of the town beaches too, but a friend I knew off the East Coast Bodyboard Club Facebook group was already in at Cayton so I trusted that he’d done a check and headed down to meet him.

Now as it was a weekend the beach was fairly busy, with lots of newbies in the water on foam boards, not the biggest of hassles, but a touch annoying when a lot of them were unaware of surf etiquette and were dropping in on most waves.

I paddled out and snagged a couple of small ones before noticing Lee and swimming over to say hi. It was good to have someone to talk to in the water again, and I tried to get some decent shots of him with my board mounted Go Pro:

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Unfortunately I was just shooting video so the quality of the stills isn’t as high as I would’ve liked, but it gave me some good practice for positioning to get the kind of shots that I like.

We had a fair few waves between us, and while it wasn’t big or perfect it was still good fun. There’s a lot worse things to do on a day off!

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Steph was also on hand to get some shots from the beach. Her photography skills improve everytime, I’m sure she’ll get a shot the mags before I do!

After the surf I spent a couple of hours wondering round Scarborough with Steph, eating fish and chips and doing generally touristy things that I never really do on a solo mission which made a really nice change.

All in all it was a swell day at the coast!

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East Coast Getaway

Both myself and Steph had a few days off towards the end of March but weren’t too sure what we wanted to do with them. Various ideas were floated, Norway looked like an option for awhile, as did various other European destinations. However, in a bid to save a bit of cash (big adventure in the pipeline for the end of the year) we decided to stay fairly local and rent a cottage.

A couple of hours looking online and ringing round later and I had one booked in the small village of Ebberston, close to Pickering, Whitby and Scarborough, a really great location for some walking and, if the weather was in my favour, some surfing.

The cottage I had found was lovely, in a really quiet area but had access to a swimming pool and jacuzzi, as well as having a great wood burning fire. It ticked all the boxes for me, I enjoy swimming and any chance to play with fire. Steph was equally happy, mostly about the swimming, she’s not as big of a firebug as me.

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Nice To Have A Fire On An Evening.

Our first full day started out quite overcast as we headed over to Pickering. It’s somewhere I have been a lot, but not since I was about 14/15 so it was good to have a wander round again. There are a couple of old second hand bookshops and it’s quite easy to lose a bit of time in those. With a few books bought we decided to move onto Goathland, famous as the setting for TV’s Heartbeat.

The weather wasn’t great on the way there, we stopped to eat some sandwiches overlooking the Hole Of Horcum but the rain meant we couldn’t really see all that much of it. As we parked up in Goathland the sun started to peek out, and it stayed relatively bright and warm for a couple of hours as we walked some of the trails along the old railway line.

The paths were really nice, taking you into the woods and dropping you down by small rivers, the highlight though was seeing some wild deer run by. They were super close, pretty much heading straight at us when they realised we were people and changed direction rapidly. About 15seconds after the near-deer crashing experience a dog bounded past after them, obviously the reason they were running.

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Taken Before The Stampede.

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Just Off The Beaten Track.

After spending most the afternoon walking we headed back to the cottage for a pre-dinner swim. It was a nice quiet evening spent watching films in front of the crackling fire, can’t complain at that.

An early start on Friday morning led us to Scarborough. Upon arrival the surf looked good but I decided to leave it a couple of hours before getting in to give the wind a chance to die down. We spent some time on the beach at South Bay before walking up into the town and doing a little shopping. I picked up some new fin socks to try and stop my feet freezing like they did the last time I paddled out.

By the time I got my wetsuit on the wind had died down a fair bit so it seems I made the right call. The waves were 2ft max, but still fun. Quite a few people were out but I still managed to get my fair share. It was my first time using the go pro too, so not having to do any duckdives or suffering any bad wipeouts was good for my confidence in it.

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I Had The Go Pro On Constant Video, This Is A Still Pulled From It.

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Steph Was On Hand With The DSLR To Get Some Shots From Another Angle.

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Really Like This Shot She Took.

After steady drive back and another pre-dinner swim we walked to the pub across the road from the cottage for dinner. It was a touch overpriced but really nice food so I can’t really complain there.

Saturday was our final day on the East Coast and we spent in Whitby with my parents and Steph’s mum (her Dad was working unfortunately). The sun was again out and we spent a few hours strolling up and down Whitby’s side streets before heading to a Fish & Chip restaurant by the pier for some food. The portion sizes were massive, my plaice was like 2 fish had been battered together. Safe to say I was full by the end of it.

All that was left to do was the steady drive home.

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Steam Train From Pickering.

Moroccan Adventures, Part 2: Taghazout

Following on from a few days exploring the hectic maze of Marrakech we hopped on a bus and headed towards the coast, destination Taghazout.

After a pretty uneventful coach journey and taxi transfer we arrived in the small fishing village of Taghazout, a place not on most tourists radar but somewhere that surfers will almost certainly be aware of.

We found our hostel fairly easily, The Ocean Surf House, and checked in. The view from our bedroom window was incredible, perfect for an early morning swell check as Hash Point was less than 100metres away. However that was pretty much the only plus point to the hostel. The rooms were grubby, but I have stayed in worse, the shower though was something else. It was a small cubicle that also housed a toilet, with poor drainage and no seal under the door you had to make your shower quick or you’d flood the stairs. I’ll not even get started on the smell. Suffice to say I would not stay there again or recommend it to anyone.

The main point of the beach portion of the trip though was to spend as much time in the sun and surf as possible, not stay in the room so it wasn’t the end of the world.

Taghazout has a couple of beaches, the main village one, and another about half a mile away called Panorama’s. We spent the majority of our time at Taghazout beach, only venturing to Panorama’s for a walk when the surf was flat as it didn’t pick up as much swell.

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Hash Point.

The days we spent there were all very similar, wake up, simple breakfast, head to the beach, surf, grab a spot of lunch, back to the beach, more surf, then a quick shower and out for dinner at a lovely local restaurant for a couple of hours before heading to bed and doing it all again the day after. This might sound boring to some, but after the madness of Marrakech, and of course work back home, it was just what both Steph and I needed.

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Surfing In Africa!

The wave at Taghazout/Hash Point wasn’t world class, but with no massive swell coming through places such as Anchor Point and Killers weren’t working, so I spent all my time pulling into fun ones and dodging the odd tourist who got in the way.

The first day was definitely bigger than the rest of the week, and whilst waiting for a set I got talking to one of the local guys who was super friendly and a great sponger too. I wasn’t expecting any hostility, but much like Hawaii, I wasn’t expecting the local guys to be friendly but they seemed pretty stoked to be sharing waves.

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One Of The Bigger Waves Of The Week.

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I Took This One On The Head.

There was never a day with no waves, and I even managed to persuade Steph to have a go, pushing her into waves that were quite a lot bigger than they first looked! We both enjoyed our time in this often overlooked beach town but we had to head on out to Tafraoute to explore the mountains and see another side to Morocco.

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There’s Also The Odd Fishing Boat To Avoid. 

Exploring The Lake District

Ever since I was little I have always spent a lot of time at the coast. As a child I have great memories of family holidays by the seaside and day trips to Whitby. When I was a teenager several holidays to Newquay gave me my first taste of surfing, bodyboarding and beach life. At 18 I passed my driving test and whenever I could I would head off to Scarborough to get wet, and if I had a bit more time on my hands Newquay was usually a good option.

Spending all my time going to the coast meant that until recently I’d never been to the Lake District, but as Steph has moved up there with work, recently I’ve been spending a fair amount of time up there and I’ve got to say it is STUNNING. I’ve been missing out these last few years by ignoring it, that’s for sure.

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Thirlmere, Cumbria. Could quite easily be New Zealand.

 

There’s so much to explore there I’ve got a feeling it’ll take me awhile to see it all. So far I’ve managed to cross a few lakes off the list, a couple of waterfalls and a beautiful secluded beach. No fells as yet though, saving one of those for late this summer.

DSC_0375Walk On About 10mins From Aira Force And You Come To This. No Tourists In Sight.

 

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The Scenery Is Phenomenal.

 

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Not A Soul In Sight. Shame There’s No Surf Too!

 

Over the next few months I plan to see a lot more of the Lake District, do some serious hiking, a bit of wild swimming, probably some canoeing, and maybe if there is some swell snag a small wave (I’ve seen a pic or two so who knows…).

 

 

 

Surfing In Sagres

I’ve been lucky enough to surf lots of different breaks in several countries over the last few years and recently got to add another to the list, Praia Tonel in Sagres, Portugal.

During the week I spent in Portugal with Steph I surfed almost every day at this beach, the waves were fun and pretty consistent, it never went flat!

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Heading out for a sunset surf.

 

The waves weren’t big, but they broke cleanly offering a fun take-off and a nice section at the end. It’d been awhile since I’d surfed such clean and consistent  waves, the regular end section gave me a chance to try and learn a trick, and after several waves I’d managed to land a couple of El-Rollo’s. Nothing great, but, it’s the first proper trick I’ve landed so I was absolutely stoked with the result!

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Dropping onto a nice, clean face.

 

Depending on the tide the wave at Tonel could be vastly different. One afternoon I surfed for 6 hours, starting at low tide with nice peelers right upto high tide when the wave morphs into a wedge type close out, offering a chance of getting tubed but a definite pounding onto the sand.

By the time it had hit full high there was pretty much just me left in the water. Steph had been in and caught a few good ones but got a bit fed up of trying to avoid the beating as the tide got higher so got out and left me to it.  The waves were wedging up nicely for a decent take-off but it was pretty much pull in and hope you don’t land on your head. If you didn’t make the drop you’d get deposited onto the sand and if you did you’d get caught in the close out. I got tumbled dried onto the beach several times, much to the amusement of some tourists.

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Still peeling, so not quite low tide.

 

With the differences between high and low tide it never got boring surfing at Tonel, and managing to get Steph out on a bodyboard for a few waves was a real highlight. She looked stoked when she caught one, plus it’s always fun to have someone to share the banter with in the water, especially if there’s a few wipeouts going down.

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Steph about to get a good one.

 

Whilst Tonel wasn’t a peeling point like Pavones, it also wasn’t a death shorey like Waimea, it was a really chilled out place to surf allowing me a chance to improve and Steph a chance to learn, so all in all it was a great location and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back!

Chasing The Summer Sun

Towards the end of September myself and Steph headed over to Portugal for a week of sunbathing, surfing and good times. The weather forecast looked good, the temps set to be high, and swell on the way…. all of the ingredients for a great week away.

After a pretty tedious flight we grabbed our stuff and had possibly the smoothest airport transfer ever, our pre-arranged taxi to the hostel was waiting, taking away any bus/train hassle that I’d originally foreseen.

We checked in at Sagres Natura Surf Camp, and as we were being shown round it became obvious we’d picked some great accommodation. The staff were super friendly and helpful, and the whole vibe of the place seemed great, something you just don’t get at big chain hotels.

993711_10152253902198065_1204222890_nOur Room Was Just Above The Surf Camp Sign

We were staying in the small town of Sagres, which was quite quiet and relaxed. There was only really one main street which had a handful of shops, restaurants and bars, but what more do you need? The town had two main beaches, at either side of a headland, giving different options for where to surf and catch some sun.

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The Sun Setting At Tonel Beach. 

 

My favourite of the two beaches was Tonel, it was a longer walk from town but picked up a lot more swell, pretty much the main thing I want from a beach. We’d head down there most days and just chill out, with Steph topping up her tan and me mostly spending my time in the sea.

On a couple of occasions I even managed to persuade Steph to rent a wetsuit and board and come get a few waves with me. It was awesome fun pushing her into waves, and to her credit she didn’t back out on anything I told her to go for, the look of stoke on her face after was awesome!

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Heading Out For Some Waves.

 

After a long day at the beach the town offered up some great eating options, with all sorts of delicious food available. We ate in most of the restaurants that week, but my favourite was “Mum’s”, a cosy little place that did the freshest seafood I’ve ever had.

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Super Fresh Tuna Steak.

 

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Sampling The Local Beer, ‘Sagres’. 

 

Every place we ate in town did great food, if it wasn’t for all the surfing and swimming I’m pretty sure we would’ve both come back a little rounder than when we went.

Meal times in Portugal tend to last longer than back in England, so after a few hours of good food and beer it was usually off to bed to be ready for more of the same. Except on one night where the town bars were open so we headed out for drinks with some people from the hostel, a great experience you just don’t at hotels. We spent the night talking story with new faces, drinking beers and generally been amazed at the bartenders mixing skills.

It was a great week, that unfortunately came to an end all too soon. Our last day was spent chilling on the beach, catching as much sun as possible before heading to dreary England.

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Making The Most Of The Last Day.

Hawaii Dreamin’

During my time travelling I spent a close to a month on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, particularly the North Shore area famed for it’s world class waves. It was a great time, I got to watch John John Florence tear apart the Pipeline Pro and Jeff Hubbard shred on his bodyboarding during the Pipeline Challenge. I saw pro-surfers at the supermarket, got shown around by a senior photographer for Surfer Magazine and picked up hitch-hiking by a big wave hellman.

So recently I’ve been missing the place a fair bit, causing me to watch films like Riding Giants and Bustin Down The Door, read old mags with North Shore coverage, and of course flick through the photos I took whilst over there.

I found a couple that I was unaware I had, and seeing them brought back some great memories of meeting new people and hanging out at the beach.

 

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A Shorey More Intense Than The Famed Waimea, Ke’Ike.