It’s Not Always Grim Up North

I’ve been a bit unmotivated on the surf front recently, only getting in the water once or twice since my trip to Morocco. Partly down to work, partly down to not having a wingman to surf with anymore I decided that as soon as I got the chance in the new year I would be on it. Only a few days in to January and I was loading my car up to chase a decent looking swell heading to Scarborough.

The journey is pretty much autopilot to me these days and was very uneventful, but the sun kept poking out and the wind didn’t seem too bad so all in all it was looking favorable. I pulled upto Cayton Bay first and walked to the headland, it looked to be about 3ft from the top but a bit messy and inconsistent, but still there was surf! I watched a few sets but decided to check the town beaches before committing.

South Bay was almost flat, maybe 1ft, 1.5ft max so I carried on round to North Bay where some nice shoulder high waves were breaking. The crowd was probably close to 30 people, a lot for January, but the waves were breaking in a few separate places allowing the crowd to spread. I rattled off a fair few shots before biting the bullet and getting suited up myself (whilst downing a coffee for warmth).

North Bay 2

North Bay 6

North Bay 7

North Bay 8

 

The pictures show just how good the waves were, what they can’t show is just how cold it was. Paddling out took a fair bit of effort and once I’d made it past the breakers I had a few minutes to recover and have a look for the best place to catch a wave. I was only out for around 45mins – 1hr and probably caught 2 waves, I’d seriously over-estimated how warm my fin socks were (turns out 3mm just doesn’t cut it in Jan). However the waves I got were good, with a bit of power behind them, and it was nice to be out in the water again, even if it wasn’t for long.

By the next swell I should have my new Go Pro mounted to my board to give you a spongers eye view of some chocolate brown Scarborough surf.

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.