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;

DCIM100GOPROG0030232.

DCIM100GOPROG0200765.

DCIM100GOPROG0210796.

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.

Advertisements

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.

20150326_191958_V2

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.

DSC_0009_V2

Taken Before The Stampede.

DSC_0027_V2

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.

North Bay Selfie 1

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

DSC_0133_V2

DSC_0134_V2

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

DSC_0094_V2

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.

DSC_0148_V3

Steam Train From Pickering.

Summer Surf

So the surf on the East side of the country has been absolutely pumping for most of summer, something that doesn’t happen all that often, even in deepest winter. Social media has been full of forecasts, predictions, status’s and most of all photographic evidence of all the sessions that have gone down, so here’s mine:

DSC_0537_V2

Longboarder At South Bay.

DSC_0564_V2

Shortboarder At North Bay.

DSC_0640_V2

No-one Out. Not Scarborough.

These pics show the great diversity the North East has in surf, and they were all taken on the same day. Unfortunately, as much as I would’ve liked to stay in Scarborough most of the summer I’ve had to work, and my days off have usually coincided with the rare flat days. So when a chart was showing promise I was up at 5.30am and made the most of it. The end result; totally worth getting up for.

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.

DSC_0029_V4

Cayton Point, From The Cliffs.

DSC_0164_V2

An Empty One Rolls Through.

DSC_0184_V2

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.

P069-393-256-279-10081

Paddling Out.

 

P068-372-256-355-15073

 

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:

DSC_0044_2

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.

The Cold Weather Approaches

The North East of England is a great place to be a surfer. There are hundreds of breaks scattered all over the coast, some well known, others are not. It’s highly likely that there are still some to be discovered or at least ridden for the first time. Few places in the world have the awesome point and reef setups available to East Coasters, and a couple of nice beach breaks too.

However the problem is that the majority of the good surf hits between September and April, a time when the weather is cold to freezing and the water is particularly numbing. 5mm wetsuits are almost considered the minimum here, hoods and gloves essential, heated or thermal vests are a good idea and a flask of something warm in the car too.

Even with those pretty big negatives in mind whenever there is a good swell you will see surfers, sometimes upto 20/30 at the more popular breaks. The reason is because when it does arrive a good East Coast swell is an awesome thing. Heavy, fast, hollow. Waves that dreams are made of. Some UK surfers I know will travel from down south if the charts are looking good for certain breaks, showing how good they must be if people are willing to drive 8hours each way and use well over £100 of fuel!

So with winter approaching I’m looking forward to some of the more dormant spots waking up and pumping out some great waves.

With a little more swell, and a higher tide this spot could be a fun sponger wave.