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:

Cayton Still 7

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Cayton Still 5

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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Shooting Shorebreak

When I first started getting into photography some of the shots that inspired me most were those of empty waves breaking onto the shore. I’m not 100% what drew me to this type of shot but it has remained my favourite type of surf shot, and is something that I have been wanting to try for years.

The problem with this type of shot is that you generally need a good DSLR with a fast shutterspeed and a decent lens. On top of that you need a waterhousing for your camera. Now the camera and lens can add upto anywhere from £500 to £2000, then add on another £1000 or so for the waterhousing and you can probably gather why I haven’t been posting many shorebreak shots.

However, since the launch of the GoPro and it’s subsequent upgrades the price of shooting in the water has gone down. The quality of the GoPro isn’t quite the same as a DSLR but it is pretty damn good, and some surf mags have even run GoPro shots on their frontcovers so the quality isn’t far off.

Since I didn’t have a spare £3000 knocking about I got a GoPro Hero 4 Silver for Christmas and have been slowly getting to grips with it.  I made a DIY mount to make it easier to swim with and last week I finally got a chance to test it in the open ocean.

I’d gone to Scarborough with the hopes of catching a few waves but the reality was different from the surf forecast. Instead of just turning round and heading home I decided to just swim out with the GoPro and shoot some empty waves. I put the camera on burst mode and rattled off around 900 images. Some of them turned out ok;

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I’m really pleased with the results, they may not be as good as the photographers I look upto (Clark Little & Tedford Mahiko) but they aren’t a bad start. Hopefully I’ll get a few more chances to practice before the Autumn swells start hitting and some great waves will be lighting up the East Coast.

Two Swell Days

January has been a pretty great month for surf almost worldwide, hardly a day goes by without news of some form of big swell appearing on the usual social media outlets, with videos and pictures appearing hours after the swell has vanished.

Places such as Jaws, Mavericks, Belharra, Nazare and Mullaghmore have been featured in the mainstream media, Instagram and Twitter have gone mad with uploads, and the live webcast of the comp at Mavericks was the talk of all the mags websites. Basically there’s been a lot of quality surf to be had.

Personally it’s always a bit of a mission, combined with blind luck to get good surf. I work 5 days a week so for either of my days of to coincide with good swell is rare, however, so far this January the East Coast has been pumping pretty much every week with most days offering up some sort of wave, so I’ve been able to get in twice, scoring great waves both times!

The first session I scored was the 11th Jan, the forecast had been looking good all week and I intended to get there early to miss any crowds, but after a few beers the night before I overslept and didn’t get to Scarborough till about 1. A quick drive round showed that the tide was too high for North and South Bay, leaving Cayton as the only option.

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Not A Bad Option.

With it been the only place surfable the crowd was pretty big, around 40 people, meaning it was pretty much impossible to get a peak to yourself, still the waves were consistent and by sitting a bit shallower than the stand-ups I managed to pick off a few of the ones that had slipped them by. My thoughts on my new board were also confirmed, it’s fast! I could get a lot more speed down the line, letting me make sections that I’d not been able to before.

Unfortunately I’ve not got any shots of this session as I travelled solo, and I was keen to get in so didn’t really shoot any other surfers either, just this parting shot after a great session:

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Post Surf.

My next day off also coincided with some swell, and this time I had a photographer on board, Steph had the day off work too so we made the trip upto Scarborough.

When I’d been in December with Mike, we had seen some people surfing a break we didn’t know about, so after a bit of Google Maps detective work I think I’ve found it, so myself and Steph parked as close as we could and went for a walk to explore it. It’s a nice looking peak, breaking on a rock bottom, the waves looked good but there was no way I was surfing a new spot completely on my own, so we took some pics and headed off to North Bay.

I’m really lucky to have a girlfriend who doesn’t mind standing on the seafront in questionable weather conditions, camera in hand, whilst I go surf for an hour. She managed to get some great shots of me:

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Walking Down To The Beach.

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Shoulder High And Fun.

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Nice and Clean.

I had a great session, I caught a few really good waves and the water wasn’t too cold, it did sting a bit doing duckdives though.  There was probably only 10 or so people out, with 3 defined peaks meaning there were plenty of waves to go around, always a bonus.

Steph also managed to grab a few decent shots of the local surfers:

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Good Waves Were Had By All. 

Hopefully this run of good swell will continue and some of the more less known spots will come to life. Fingers crossed!

Cayton Point

A pretty decent groundswell hit the North East coast this week, it’d been hyped up on Facebook and Magic Seaweed for a few days prior so all those keen enough had a few days to get the excuses in to skive work or abandon spouses.

Myself and Mike headed up on Monday afternoon, but the journey took a little longer than expected and by the time we got there the Sun was starting to set. We headed over to one of the more low key spots just to have a nosey before dark and were surprised to see several vans parked up, a couple of surfers walking up and about 5 in the water surfing the seemingly playful point until the Sun disappeared.

With the point working and the swell looking good for the next day we had a quiet evening and an early night, although, sleeping in the back of a van is never exactly ideal the night before a surf!

We woke up and could see waves at Ravenscar beach, a rarity, so headed into Scarborough to check out the bays. With a tea in hand we watched nice waves at North Bay, but the tide was wrong so it would’ve been sketchy at the least with the backwash off the wall. South was mellower but still had nice sets running through, leaving a lot of hope pinned to Cayton Bay.

After parking up I grabbed my camera and we decided to head down to the beach to get a proper look at the waves, it wasn’t perfect but a quick glance at the point revealed a few surfers out and some fairly clean lines heading in. We headed over straight away for a better look but the tide prevented a straight path there, meaning an exhausting run upto the cliff tops, through the woods and back down a pretty treacherous path.

The waves looked about shoulder height and totally makeable, stark contrast to the usual waves of consequence associated with the point. However as we got there it started to die off, making a run back to the car (which would’ve taken around an hour to get changed and back down with boards) seem pointless, so we just watched and I snapped off a few pics.

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Cayton Point, From The Cliffs.

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An Empty One Rolls Through.

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Dropping Into A Mellow One.

 

After watching such nice waves at the Point we were frothing for a surf, unfortunately North Bay was like a zoo and South wasn’t much better, but I fancied my chances of grabbing a few clean set waves at South more so we suited up and went in.

The session wasn’t anything special, a few good waves came through, but next time I see a hint of swell on the Point I might just head there instead!

 

Dusting Off The Cobwebs

I’ve been working a lot lately, with very little time off, and the days off I had always seemed to coincide with flatspells, so when I had a day off, and a nice little 3ft swell was showing on the charts I just knew I had to be there.

It didn’t matter that by the time I got to the beach for the evening session the swell had dropped off, it didn’t matter that the tide was too high for a couple of other nearby spots, my friend Mike put it in perspective as we were checking the waves, “could be a lot worse, look at where you are, better than work!”

He had a point too. The waves may of been tiny, but, there was no-one else out so we paddled out anyway, we’d driven nearly 2hours so it would be a shame to miss out.

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Paddling Out.

 

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Waiting For The “Bomb” Set…

 

P063-389-256-289-14066Tiny, But Better Than Nothing.

 

Is It Winter?

After working pretty solidly since the start of November and every day off coinciding with a lack of swell it’s been a long time since I’ve paddled out for a few waves. However checking the charts for this week and seeing that there was a small swell with good period heading for Scarborough on my day off got me excited.

I kept checking it for days beforehand, it barely changed, things were looking good, so the call was made and I had a partner in crime for my first surf mission of 2013. The best tide was around lunchtime so that even meant a little lie-in (which is a bonus on a surf mission day) before going to pick Mike up.

It was an uneventful journey there, the shock came when I parked up at North Bay. Check out the line up:

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Bare in mind that it’s January, in England, on the North East which has very cold water temps.

 

I couldn’t believe how many people were out, I’d not seen it that busy in ages, and the swell wasn’t even good. So as it was so crowded at North Bay we headed up to Cayton Bay. To my surprise the water wasn’t actually that cold, I think I’d built it up in my head how freezing it was going to be (especially after spending last winter surfing in warm water) that when it came down to it, it actually wasn’t bad at all, even get tumble dried in a wipeout wasn’t anywhere near as hellish cold as I remember.

Cayton was pulling it’s favourite trick, 95% of the waves were closeouts, still much more fun pulling into those on a boog than a stand-up board. No barrels, but it was still a fun session and nice to be back in the water after so long, although next time the forecast is like that I think a stand-up board would be the better choice for a mellow North Bay session.

Good Clean Fun

Last Thursday (13/09/12) was up there with the best surf I’ve had in England. The swell wasn’t big but it lined up well and was nice and clean. Also, as it was a Thursday the line-up was pretty small with everyone getting plenty of waves.

After around 20mins of shooting (see last post) I got suited up, passed my camera over to Tom and paddled out:

Nice, clean, and most importantly, empty.

 

A bit less clean, but still fun.

 

Mike Crompton trimming down a clean face.

 

Mike squeezing into a sponger sized barrel.

 

Cayton Bay, not closing out for a change!

 

 

 

Was a good session, hoping for similar conditions in the next few days. The only problem is I’ve still not fully adjusted to the frigid North Sea, guess I got used to the good life when I was travelling.