Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

Pre Christmas Surf

Jason swain and Chris Court enjoy a pre Christmas surf at Freshwater Bay yesterday.


First Official Isle of Wight Surf Club Trip

The very first official IoW Surf Club trip was to Newquay at Easter in 1967 just after the club was formed. It seems like the Stone Age now.

The thinking was it would be relatively warmer by then and it would be a chance to surf some proper waves. It was the only available time off work so ferries were booked. Sleeping bags were bought from the army surplus store and old tents dug out as no one could afford a hotel then or even a guest house, that’s if they would let us in!!!!!!!!

The chance to use the newly acquired ‘MALIBU’ boards in Cornwall was too good to miss. Rudimentary wetsuits were acquired over the winter, being diving based or just sleeveless tops. Beaver tails were all the rage, being early examples of neoprene up to ½” thick, ideal for being slammed into a sandbar.

Of course there were some who had surfed all winter without one and didn’t think much of these new fangled things, ‘what’s wrong with a thick woollen jumper!’, Ned was a great exponent of this philosophy especially after a few pints.

The boards were bought in the autumn of the previous year, at the end of the season sale at ‘The Paint Spot’ which was located in the Diggey, an old area of Newquay which is now the Co-Op behind Towan beach. They were ex-hire boards and ranged in size from 9’6” – 10’6”, single fin jobs, slightly heavier than today’s slithers, almost resembling aircraft carriers, but when going would really fly.

These boards were a huge advance on the heavy wooden boards in use at that time, plywood traditional belly boards used with swim fins were soon obsolete and Malibu long boards were the thing with one downside, no leashes then, probably a good idea as one of these boards tied to your leg would have caused quite a bit of damage.

The enthusiasm for going to Cornwall was all wound up with the emerging surf culture, Bilbo’s surf shop and factory where a board would be made there and then to your spec and meeting Rod Sumpter who had just come back from California coming 5th in the world championship!!!!!.

So the Thursday before Easter soon came round and arrangements were made. We were to meet up at the pub in Crantock not far from Trevella camp site in the evening, as some could finish work early and get a surf in before dark, while others were still travelling down having to work till late.

A far as I can remember there was myself (Rog Backhouse), Sue Ellis, John Ainsworth, Rusty Long, Colin Burgess, Geoff ‘NED’ Gardener and Kev Digweed, but as they say about the Sixties ‘if you remember it you weren’t there’.

What a motley parade of antiquated cars there were from a Mini, a Standard 10, an A35, and a Hillman Minx, all with strange wings attached to the roof. Today we take it for granted, dial in the post code set the nav, select the play list on the whatever, load the drinks holders and off you go, 4hrs max. Not then, just getting off the Island was a complete pain following the directions of the British Rail staff onto the old tea tray of a ferry running at that time. Rough waves would come right through the car deck and out of the stern. There were far more rusty cars on the Island than anywhere. On foreign soil, the great north island, which way to go?? Head west on the A35 not quite Route 66 but that’s all we had, no dual carriageways, roundabouts, traffic lights and endless little roads going right through the main towns all the way.

Dorchester, Bridport, Axminster, the tunnel at the top of Charminster, and on to Exeter, occasionally the road became three lanes, with a suicide lane for overtaking, scary. And so onto the moors and Launceston with its really scary left turn round the castle walls. Fish and chips in Bodmin and pray it wasn’t foggy over the last bit to Indian Queens and then the relaxing bit into Newquay, knowing it wasn’t far and waves were waiting.

You might tell that I’ve driven this route many many times, driving down after work on Friday and coming back Sunday late, through the construction of the many bi-passes and motorways over the years. The worst drive ever was being stuck in Exeter on a August Bank Holiday when it took 18 hours to get home.

Were there waves? Of course, Great Western was really going off and we dragged our weary limbs down the beach and caught some really good right handers at high tide. If you know it, you’ll know what I mean. After a good surf, down the town to get something to eat and dry the wetties in the launderette at Towan and a look at the new boards at Bilbo’s.

There was and probably still is only one pub, ‘The Sailors’ in Newquay and many a story was told in there and plans hatched for trips all over the world as this was the time of the Hippie trail to India, and new discoveries and no boundaries to limit the new found freedoms.

Off to Trevella to put the tents up and get ready for the night and then to the rendezvous at Crantock where we said we would meet to discuss where to surf in the morning. There was no such thing as a surf forecast then, no Magic Seaweed or mobile phones, just a hunch or a quick look at the back page of the Telegraph newspaper for their Atlantic pressure chart.

After a long wait Ned eventually arrived and had a quick pint to liven himself up and told us about why he had been held up. Not knowing the road that well he had to take evasive action while taking the infamous corner in Launceston, and guess what the constabulary were waiting for just that occasion. After greeting the officer with his best imitation of Neddy Seagoon, “Evening Gilbert” a long conversation took place about where he was going with that strange thing on the roof, and ‘next time be a bit more careful son’. Whew !! at least the officer was a bit more humane and interested than official!!!!

After a long day it was time to get some sleep, some sleep was not what we got. Every half hour a tremendous roar was heard and a large aircraft barely made it over the camp sight, what was happening? Are we at war? Have aliens landed? Eventually all the noise died down and a little bit of exhausted sleep was had, but it was freezing, Easter in England!!!!!!!.

Soon the noise started again and to add to the discomfort the wind got up and there was a heavy squall with hailstones and sleet, retreat to the cars was the only option. Morning eventually came, a cup of tea and off into Newquay for breakfast and to check the surf out, but considerably slower than the day before, a sort of malaise had set in.

Fistral was big and exposed to the wind so back round to Towan and some nice shaped waves, others were already out making it quite crowded, 6 people. After parking up, donning wetties and lugging boards down the beach, the tide was going out.

A confusion of coastguards, police and council workers descended on us. Were we illegally parked? Had ‘Neds’ encounter the night before stirred things up? Were we being invaded? We were told quite forcibly to clear the beach immediately, but why?

Someone eventually told us what was going on, the tanker Torrey Canyon had run aground in the Scilly Isles and was spilling thousands of gallons of oil all along the coast. Answers to all our questions, the aeroplanes that had kept us awake were Long Range Shackleton Reconnaissance planes flying out of RAF St. Mawgan. A long way to come for no waves perhaps the little old Isle of Wight waves weren’t that bad. This was to turn out to be the worst environmental disaster to ever hit Cornwall and even the whole of the South West, of course the Government had no idea of how to deal with it.

This was a serious wakeup call as spraying had an even worse effect on the environment eventually leading to the bombing of the wreck by Buccaneers of the Navy. Although pretty depressing, it has lead to more stringent rules and regulations being introduced over the years, with protest movements having great effect over authority. Yet time and time again it has happened and probably will in the future.

A long drive back through the Easter traffic and a final catastrophe, I had lost my return ferry ticket!!!!!!!!

There was a lull in visits down west, but after a couple months the beaches were deemed usable and trips continued through ‘67. But a slight hic-up came, my future wife ,Sue, refused absolutely and completely forever ever to go camping in a tent ever again which lead to the purchase of a split – screen 1200cc, 6volt Volkswagen, under-powered or what!!!!!!!!!!! Porthtowan for the National Championships, Aggie in the badlands and good old Crantock.

Throughout 67-68 surfing equipment was evolving at a rapid rate, with the influence of the Aussies, V-bottoms, shorter boards and new ways of attacking waves but that’s another story……


Early Winter Waves and Xmas Fun

Cathcing up with some action back in December and here is a short movie from the 16 December 2011 at Freshwater Bay with Lee Webster, Joe Truman, Andrew Court, Will Rome and others enjoying a nice swell. Below are some great images of the boys getting in the Christmas spirit in costume – Santa, his Reindeer and Elves catching a few waves.


Tales from Wales By James Ranson

Wales a land apart - page 4

When we arrived at the launch site I was informed that the wave was about a 30 min boat ride away, it was at this point that it sort of dawned on us that, being winter, we actually only had about 2-3 hours light left. A frantic panic ensued to get the boat and Si’s ski launched and as the boat was ready first, Gill, Lloyd and I jumped in and we started to head out of the harbour. As we left the little inlet where we had launched we met two guys on a ski coming in. ‘You’re never heading out there in that thing?’ One of them chuckled. ‘It’s Fu*king massive out there,’ said the other. It was at this point that I noticed they didn’t have any boards with them. It turns out that they had been caught out by a set and lost two brand new tow boards off the side of the ski before they’d even ridden a wave. It was at this point the little voice inside my head, something that rarely ever gets any attention, started whispering, ‘this is a bad idea, it’s not too late to turn back, you’re driving, if you say no then they’ll have no choice.’ Obviously I ignored it and off we went.


IOW Surf Club Frost Bite Event No 4

The Isle of Wight Surf Club held the 4th event in this Winters Frost Bite series at Ventnor on Sunday. Conditions were difficult and wave selection was a quay part in scoring highly in heats. The semi finals saw Al Reed, Chris Mannion and Jamie Whittle get knocked out as the competitors found it hard to find high scoring waves.

The final came down to Matt Harwood (current leader in the championships standings), Joe Truman, Josh Jupe and Mark New. It was another closely contested final with Mark coming out the winner, with Josh 2nd and Matt 3rd. Congratulations to the Isle of Wight Surf Club and all the people who helped make this another successful event.


IOW Surf Club Frost Bite Series

IOW Surf Club Frost Bite Series – by Oliver Harvey & The Isle of Wight Surf Club

The first ‘Frost bite’ competition of six being held this winter, sponsored kindly by the boys at Rapanui was a great success.

Greeted with pretty grim onshore head-high waves at Compton, first up we saw the groms test the water. Both Robin & Dylan snagged plenty of waves each but Robin gradually took control with a couple of good waves to take the first event. The waves continue to prove challenging for the mens Open, as the pool of 16 riders entered the water in 4 man, 20 min heats.
Julie Tortajada, in the first quarter final, took the Ladies title getting several fun waves. From the first round the following progressed into the semis:

Heat 1:

1.Richard Gray

2. Jamie Whittle

Heat 2:

1. Nick Whittle

2. Foz Heat

Heat 3:

1. Jo Truman

2. Al Reed Heat

Heat 4:

1. Doug Richards

2. Matt Harwood

Semi One saw Douglas Richards start to show his quality, making some nice aggressive turns , and following him after a somewhat slow start, Jo’s local knowledge paid dividends, hooking into some good little rights, his smooth style saw him up his wave count and into second place only 0.5 points behind Dougie & just ahead of Rich who surfed well in both his heats.

In Semi Two, Matt, keen to progress, started with a bang – getting several scores on the board in quick succession. Al also posted some scores whilst Jamie & Nick, who both showed good form earlier on, were quiet until the last quarter, when Nick started to make a come-back, but too little, too late saw Al & Matt progress into the final

The Final was closely fought battle , the waves failed to improve, which saw the judges favourite going into the final, Doug, making a subdued start. We did see glimmers of his solid style, but the waves just didn’t go his way. Matt, with a great high scoring first wave, continued to post some respectable scores, streaking ahead on wave count alone, Al found a solid right all the way into the inside, showing some style with cross-steps & smooth cutbacks. Jo’s consistency and nack for finding those fun inside walls, meant he edged ahead of Al into second and Matt taking the top spot with skill & tenacity.

Final Scores:

1.Matt Harwood 11.83

2. Jo Truman 11.53

3. Al Reed 10.16

4. Doug Richards 9.63

The IOW Surf Club would like to say a big thank you for all turning up to make it a great little event. Hopefully we’ll see even bigger competitor numbers, in the next round in the IOW Surf Club Frost Bite series, as what seems like a 1/3 of the IOW surfers return from their Indonesian adventures! Boys, you missed out today !

A big shout out for all girls & groms wanting to get involved. I’m sure Julie, Robin & Dylan would love to beat you in heat & there’s hoodies, t-shirts & other prizes to be won !

It costs £2.50 per comp for existing members

£10 for non-members, which gives your Isle of Wight Surf Club Membership also including your BSA Membership www.britsurf.co.uk/bsa-membership

And that brings me to a last big thank you to Rapanui , who are very generously sponsoring every event of the Frost Bite Series.

For those who haven’t heard of them, Rapanui are an award winning Eco-Fashion company based/born’n’bred on the Isle of Wight.

They make some damm tasty ethical clothing using natural organic fabrics and manufactured using renewable energy in a Fair Wear Foundation audited, wind powered factory. Check them out:

www.rapanuiclothing.com/about

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All images coutesy of Emma Powell and Nick Martin


Alan Reed

Soon after this Al was surfing Porthleven with Dean Winter when he went too deep and got smashed into the reef. Al ended up quite battered and bruised and with broken ribs. A Pregnant Julie and Al had already decided to move back to the Island and at that point Al was desperate to get as much surfing in before they left. So even with broken ribs and feeling quite sore Al continued to surf, paddling into waves with one arm until they left for the Island.