She was riding intuitively, riding on nerves and instinct, with no time for thought or rational assessment. It was all happening so fast – yet she’d been on this wave all her life. The stoke was unbelievable! Every manoevre better than the last, flying out of the turns and, well, just plain rad! Ooo-ee!! The boys would love this one! As the wave humped up, steepening for its final attack, Gran Slick marshalled all her faculties – and pulled off the best re-entry of her short career, a vertical magic carpet ride which defied description.
Correspondence Re: Offshore Wind Farm Proposal
I am writing to you to ask for information relating to proposed offshore wind park off the Dorset and Hampshire coasts and to the west of the Isle of Wight. I am a wildlife photographer and surfer who has lived on the Isle of Wight for most of my life. I am all for wind power and would welcome a wind park on the Island or off the coast but I do have concerns to the proposed location.
I am currently researching the history of surfing on the Island. The Island has been rich in surfing talent from surf board shapers, big wave pioneers, designers and professional surfers. The current British Champion is from the Isle of Wight. My concerns are that the proposed location of the wind farm sits directly in the path of any swell coming from the Atlantic that give us our waves on the south west of the Island. Can you tell me what impact the wind farm will have on swell. I have many some enquiries and have been told that because of the number of wind turbines and the size of the base of each one that there will be an impact but I have not been given any further information.
Can you also tell me if there are to be any direct benefits to people living on the Isle of Wight.
Eco-clothing super brand Rapa Nui have put their hand into their pockets in these austere times and produced brand new competition vests for the Isle of Wight Surf Club. The club has had resurgence over the last year with a brand new committee and winter surf league.
“Rapa Nui have been such an enormous help to us this, by donating the coloured vests we are able to run smooth and effective competitions on a regular basis” said Matt Harwood (IOW Surf Club Chairman). He went on to say that “We are an ambitious club that want to offer Island surfers a competitive arena, coaching of all abilities, a social focal point and a voice for island surfers in regards to the environment and our beaches. Rapa Nui has been instrumental in helping us with our web-site. We’ve already used the vests in our Frostbite winter surf series. They were well received by competitors and looked fantastic”
Rob Drake-Knight (co-founder of Rapa Nui) says “We are all about local projects and surfing and the ocean is a big part of our lifestyles. Rapa Nui is only too pleased to help the surf club. It’s just awesome to see our vests being used already in the winter Frost-bite series”
If you want to know more about Rapa Nui or the Surf Club check out rapanuiclothing.com and iowsurfclub.com.
Are you the first Champion from the Isle of Wight?
Yeah…I’m really proud of that. In the final the waves were so similar to what I grew up surfing in. I’m going to try and get back to the Island more this Autumn, and surf more. I really miss surfing all those spots. I’ve surfed a hell of a lot of 1/2 ft slop to win this title.
Matt Harwood won IW Surf Club Frostbite event and leads the series, after putting in a solid performance last weekend.
The Isle of Wight Surf Club team finished 4th in an agonising finish at the National Interclub Surfing Championships in Croyde at the end of October 2010. The team were Matt Harwood, James Ranson, Andrew Tyrell, Douglas Richards, Lee Sheaf and current British Champion Johnny Fryer.
In 1985 The Isle of Wight Surf Club produced a calender for sale to its members. It was pre-printed with all the years events, meetings and the tide times at Compton at the weekends. Highlights for that year were;
Thursday 3rd January – Slides/Talk by Roger Mansfield (Former UK Champion) 7.30pm, Sail Loft, Union Road, Sandown
Friday 18th January – Agm/Video, Teachers Centre 7.30pm
Friday 8th February – Fancy Dress Disco
Saturday 2nd March – Jumble Sale, Wilberforce Hall, Brighstone
Saturday 16th March – Swim Marathon
Friday 12th April – Surf Film/Video
Sunday 26th May – Longboard Contest 3.00pm and barbecue
Sunday 9th June – (Back up date for Longboard Contest) 3.00pm
Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd June – Camping Weekend/Compton Farm
Saturday 6th July – Open Day/Barbecue 12 noon onwards
Saturday 10th August – Paddle Race/barbecue 4pm onwards
Saturday 7th September – Barbecue/Frisbee Contest
Saturday 28th September – Shortboard Contest 10am
Sunday 13th October – (Back up date for Shortboard contest) 10am
Frday 15th November – Surf Film/Video
Sunday 15th December – Cracker Race
If you can shed some light on any of these events please get in touch. Some one told me that the IOW Surf Club won the Cracker Race in Sandown? 3 years in a row???
The sport of Hawaiian kings originated using huge Redwood boards is now practiced on a lighter more manoeuverable piece of equipment , made of plastic and fibreglass, and the challenge is as great as ever. The greatest surf is found where the final issue of the storm at see expends its might; the steep sloping beaches of the world. The beautiful North Shore of Oahu, the middle Hawaiian Island. The rocky Pacific coast of Peru; Australia’s Queensland coast-noted for cyclonic surf; the misty California coast. The Basque coast of France where the gulf of Gascogne leads the continental shelfto within a few miles of the land capturing swells from the North Atlantic depressions. Here are the Eigers of the surfer. Here men can still play a dicey game of catch with nature itself, ptting coolness of mind and fitness of body against the inscrutable wrathchild of storm and sea; the wave.
The most sought after wave is the long lining glass green swell held steep and smoothed by an offshore wind. It peels fluently along its length as it is tipped by an underwater point, a reef or sandbar. Good spots where the sea bottom disciplines the swell correctly are not common and are well known throughout the surfing world. Their names are often poetic. The aboriginal beach names of Australia: Avalon, Cronulla, Narabee and Dee Why point. Hawaii’s Waimea, Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. California’s urbanely tagged beaches – Los Angles 42nd Street, Pacific Pallisades, Huntingdon Pier and further South the Spanish names of Malibu and Rincon del Mar (Little Corner by the Sea). This wave, produced by storms thousands of miles distant, smooth, regular and powerful is a far cry from the local wind swells for which a surfer has no love. Especially if the wind is still blowing on-shore the wave is rough, flat and slow. Meaning to the surfer no speed, no place to go – the wave breaks everywhere.
Let us go to the home and paradise of surfing; Hawaii in the winter. In the North Pacific storms are churning angrily, like big hands dipped in the sea they send out gigantic trains of swells. The swells march south and waiting for them is the coral-volcanic bed of Sunset beach. From the south the Trade Winds blow over Monaloas blunt peak. Milleniums ago a fault formed a deep channel at Sunset which runs directly seaward. To the right of the channel the swells are refracted and concentrated on the under water point. They are peaking four hundred yards out. They tremble, hiss as the offshore wind tears spray back off their tops and finally collapse, hurling their burdens forward. The waves are tubing as they break, trapping a tunnel of air which compresses and blasts a cloud of water vapour out of the tube. From the shore one hears a continuous roar punctuated by canon shots from the outside reef. The surfer is standing on the beach, his 11 foot board under his right arm. He is scared – this is big even for Sunset.
He waits for a lull – throws his board in and paddles hard. If he is caught in the hard breaking shorebreak, board and body can be damaged. A rip current is running from the right to the left, hitting the channel and runninf out to sea at four or five miles and hour. He paddles into it. Waves seldom break in the rip.
He strokes out until the waves are breaking inside him. He paddles further yet. He is familiar with the bluebird or loomer twice normal size that sneaks in and plucks him from his board. The resulting ‘wipeout’ may throw him twenty or thirty feet under water leaving him starved of air as the rest of the ‘set’ of maybe five waves repeats the process, then there is the swim in.
Now he examines the ‘line-ip’ carefully. Watching the waves as they peak up, feather and crash down. He must position himself in the Lion’s mouth if he is to take a wave. Now is the time when he must really desire to ride a wave. If not he will certainly call discretion the better part of valour and paddle in. The noise is tremendous, the wvaes obscure the horizon, as they march in. The people on the shore are no bigger than sand crabs. As he gingerly paddles into the line up from the channel, he rises and falls as a set goes through and explodes inside. Outside the sea darkens in four green lines and the horizon shudders as if shaken by an unseen hand; it is the top of the biggest wave of the set. The first wave rears , its face wind hollowed and sheer, to fifteen feet. It threatens to crash down on him. Judging that the wind will hold it he paddles across to the point through which the peak of the crescent swept through. The wave holds and collapses ten yards inside, drenching him with spray. Number two is his wave – it lines up like number one but it is bigger. Some fourteen seconds behind number one giving him just enough time to paddle out ten yards to meet it. He swings round to face the shore. Prone on his board he paddles for all he is worth. Now the critical seconds – the surfers moment of truth. A glance over his shoulder tells him that he is well lined up, he feels the swell lift him, strokes down the face. Suddenly he starts to drop – almost free fall. He has swung to his feet. He hits the bottom of the wave and leans right hard; the board sweeps into a turn and the wave drops where he was a second ago. The wave is peeling fast and below him. The wave threatens to break ahead, the surfer walks two paces down the board and crouches into a ball – he accelerates through. He walks back and kicks off the now flat shoulder of the wave. He screams with exhilaration. The initial thrill of surfing won’t have worn off yet, he’s only been at it for five years.
This is Surfing. Skiing a fluid mountain carved for you only once by nature. An avalanche on a moving mountain of green glass. A unique experience – no two waves are the same.
Mark you it is not always like that. Sometimes conditions are bad. Sometimes the waves are small as to be puny. This is when surfing becomes more light hearted fun. No crushing wipeout to fear. No half mile swim. Now the surfer concentrates on hard turns, a radical style of surfing. Walking on the board, noseriding – controlling the board from the front tip; touchy and fun. So surfing has chameleon moods and surfers talk the common language.
It is hard to capture on paper the ethereal excitement and poetry of surfing. But if you want tangible proof, take a surfer down to the sea on a good day and feel his pulse. Better still, take a board and join the club. You’ll never look back; there is no such thing as an ex-surfer.
The Isle of Wight Surf Club
About a year ago six or seven young people on the Island realized the possibility of surfing locally with Malibu boards. They formed the Isle of Wight Surf Club on April 11th. Roger Backhouse was chairman and his surfing fiancée the club’s secretary. Rodney Sumpter the British champion accepted an invitation to become the club’s honorary president. He has brought much prestige to the club by becoming 5th in the World Championships at San Diego in California. The founder members were John Ainsworth, Colin Burgess, Geoff (Ned) Gardner and Rusty Long. Now only 8 months from its conception the club numbers at a cool 74.
Every Friday the club meets at Clare Cottage, Springhill in Ventnor, but now they face the task of finding new premises as the cottage is required by its owners. Any suggestions? The meeting is invariably held in audible enthusiasm whilst Roger clinging precariously to the chair reads the weeks correspondence and outlines the coming weeks business. From time to time there are films. The last met a full house of eighty (in one small drawing room!) The rest of the meeting is not “organised” and generally one can find members chatting about the past weeks surf, the possibilities of the weekend to come, wrangling over the finer points of board design or recalling ‘hairy’ wipeouts. When it comes to shop talk surfers leave golfers and sailing types cold.
Many of the club are planning trips abroad to surf and viable targets include France and Ireland. The U.S. is on the list too and some members have had good fortune to surf in South America and South Africa.
‘Surf’s Up with IW History on Film’ by The Isle of Wight County Press
A DAZZLING display by surfer Johnny Fryer won him the open title at the Quiksilver British National Surfing Championships in Newquay.
Johnny, 26, who lives in Newquay, but grew up in Shorwell, surfed consistently at the Fistral Beach event in the small but contestable surf.
He beat around 60 other surfers to take the title and it builds on his victory in the English Championships last year.
To win the British title the former Carisbrooke High School pupil demonstrated good knowledge and a competitive spirit.
He was presented with a Gibson Les Paul Studio guitar as the champion’s trophy.
Johnny said: “It was a fantastic feeling to win the British Championships because it was something I dreamed about as a kid.”
“Winning the English Champs last year was brilliant, but this tops that.”
He now has sights on winning the Euro Championships and the UK Pro Tour.
Johnny, who has travelled back to the Island to celebrate his win with his family at Shorwell, has been surfing since he was six years old.
He surfed mostly at Compton, but had no lessons and none of his family were surfers.
He now travels the world to take part in surfing events.
Talking about the Newquay event, Joanne Hillman, of the British Surfing Association, said all the competitors had helped to put on a great show.
“Every year the event just seems to be getting bigger and better,” she said.
A great shot of Lennie Parker was used in the Isle of Wight – Island breaks 2000 official guide. Len now lives in Florida but regularly gets back to the Island and catches up with a family and friends.
Isle of Wight County Press IW Men in New Zealand whale rescue TWO NEWPORT men have been part of a desperate struggle to save a pod of pilot whales beached on New Zealand’s South Island. Former County Press employee Paul Blackley, of Caesars Road and Richard Harvey, of Field Place, were driving with friend Richard […]
Johnny Fryer made cover for The British Surfing Magazine Wavelength, issue Sept 168 in 2007. The article to go with the cover shot was entitled ‘The Magnificent 7 ride’. It was a piece about a boat trip to Indonesia with a selection of Britain’s best surfers Oli Adams, Gary & Danny Wells, Isaac Kibblewhite, Matty […]
Guestbook for ‘The Exhibtion of Surf Photography’ at Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater Bay from the 15th – 31st January 2010
Congratulations on your exhibition – from Andrew Turner MP I read with interest the recent article published in the Isle of Wight County Press regarding your photographic exhibition at Dimbola Lodge in Freshwater and I would like to take this opportunity in congratulating you on the exhibition. I am pleased that the exhibition, showing some […]
‘Best be Ready’ from Tube News “I’ve seen it good here. I remember, it was an August Sunday, one of those days when it seems everybody goes to the beach. This place was packed. The sky was that deep blue you associate with a clean and dustless atmosphere; it was sweltering, the sun a fireball, […]
This is a piece written by Steve Williams for Tube News which was published by Wessex Surf Club in 1985. A Pre-Gran Slick Era Report From Sea Area Wight by Steve Williams Winter on the Island was confined mainly to the first three months of the year. A reasonable menu of waves – from ankle-snappers […]