The Perfect Day

It is that time of year again when we are all hoping for some good autumal swells and it has got me thinking about memorable swells from my past. It was the Autumn of 1986 and everyone had been talking about this swell to come for a few days. I was in the Sixth Form at Carisbrooke High School, and I think I had been late back from lunch every day that week, because I would go to the Snooker Club in Gunville and would always stay behind after all my mates went back to school so I could see the weather forecast on Countryfile which would give you the weather chart. It didn’t get any more perfect than what they were predicting.

When it arrived it lived upto expectations, with no wind and beautiful sunshine all day everyone and anyone who surfed turned up at the beach that day. In my memory it was huge but in reality it was overhead and about as good as Compton gets.

I had a motorcycle at the time so had to scrounge lifts to the beach. My Mum had been brilliant for the first few years, taking me to the beach when ever I wanted to go surfing. But I had got to know Clive Richardson who lived near me and I started scrounge lifts from him. Clive had a VW Beetle with a great airbrush of a surfer and Crystal Voyager on each side. The engine in Clive’s VW Beetle wasn’t standard either and sometimes the trip to the beach got the adrenaline going just as much the surf. Clive was a big ZZ Top fan and I remember it blaring out of the cassette player on many occasion. On evenings when there wasn’t any surf I used to go round to Clive’s house for a cup of tea and annoy him constantly about surfing and when the next swell was coming or what board should I get next etc etc….

When Clive was away or couldn’t give me a lift I used to go round to see Steve Williams and scrounge a lift from him. Steve had a little van at the time and I would have to cram in the back with boards. I can’t remember who gave me a lift on this occasion but a big thanks for all those lifts to the beach and hope I didn’t annoy you both too much.

It was a day when you surfed until you just couldn’t surf anymore and your arms were like jelly. You would come up to the car park and grab something to eat and drink and talk about your waves until you couldn’t watch the swell rolling in anymore and have to go in again. It never seemed busy, only about 15 people in the line up at any one time but people surfed all day and into the night. Keith Williams was one of the guys who surfed all day on his Chapter Longboard, and was catching wave after wave right from outside the wreck right upto the beach, where there used to be a couple of lumps of concrete just under the waters edge at high tide. Steve Williams also stood out and seemed a master a riding Compton.

Ray Hutchings was doing amazing cutbacks and just knew exactly where to put his board staying right in the critical part of the wave. Clive Richardson got his fair share of waves too, going left or right seeming to always pick a perfect wall.

Jason Matthews was about my age and started surfing at the same time as me, but was a much better surfer than me. Jason was a goofy foot and would smash the lip on his back hand through to the inside at Compton.

There were many others out there that day Brian Hill, Rick Crutchlow, Jon Hayward, a guy with a Freebird, pintail, thruster (forgotten his name) and many others. I went home as it started to get dark and there were still 8 or 9 guys out in the water.

It was an amazing swell and one I won’t ever forget. If you recognise anyone in the pics let us know or if you remember this swell too, tell us what you remember.