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.

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.

 

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.

So That Was Summer…

So, summer is officially over, not that it ever really got into full swing. That said, it’s still been a pretty action packed summer with lots of road trips, some surf exploration, bbq’s and beer; which are all the vital ingredients to any good summer.

Sure the waves never arrived, but they never do until Autumn, so hopefully there’ll be a good run of swell through October so I can get used to the cold sea again and the brain freeze inducing duck dives.

A fair amount of time has been spent scouring the coast looking for new setups to surf.

Or hills to skate.

There was the odd formal(ish) party.

And a fair few BBQ’s (when the weather was on our side).

I found some scenic places in the country side…

No really, I actually did find some scenic places.

I even got chance to meet a relative from Canada.

So while the weather wasn’t great and the surf never really pumped I still had a great summer. Hopefully some of the spots we’ve been checking over the past few months will start coming to life giving me some nice, heavy North East gems to shoot.

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.

Cayton Bay Sequence

On Thursday there was some nice swell at Cayton Bay, it wasn’t pumping but there were some nice, clean waves coming through, and the offshore winds did open up a few barrels.

I got there mid-afternoon at high tide and shot for around 20minutes before getting my wetsuit on and grabbing my board.