Terasu have a series of my features up, including this one about a place full of fond memories.
One of the two friends who had lived nearby was killed, a tragic accident on a bike in London. His parents asked me to scatter his ashes in the water at the point, and with chicken skin running up our backs we watched as it came to life and we all surfed in his honour. After that, when I surfed there, he was there too.
My connection with it grew stronger over the years as I found more and more peculiarities in its character. I got to know the rocks underfoot, knowing where the channels were to paddle out, how to hide behind the jump rock when a big set flooded it. I learned which path to take down the cliff at any stage of tide, knew each section of the wave from end to end. Each year I would try to beat my record ride, past the hill and down through an inside section that might never link up again. There was a very small devoted crew, amongst a wider community of longboarders who thought they were locals. Three or four people who were really on it, and we were rewarded with some epic days, rides that seemed to span forever, kicking out a mile from takeoff, looking back at the lines feeling their way down the estuary. There was a time where I started to love the place, and the inevitable crowds on the forecasted days got me down. It somehow seemed a place beyond all of the stuff that comes with crowds, and I expect it still is, though I do hear stories of aggro and a full car park.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever find my way back there, and ignite the old devotion to it. As a place it has exerted more power over me than any other, yet of course it is no different without me. Whether I catch those sneaker swells with a hint of north bent, high period and not too big to draw the attention of the many, with the bar settled and the small birds dancing through the fishing cove, in the shadow of the hill and the mountain of the Stepper showing the pulses, waiting for the first set to come over the Doom Bar; it will run on and on.
There’s something in this connection to place, this deep map that every surfer builds. It’s strange now to think of all of those lines traced and the patterns they form. I expect I’ll get back to it, one of these years.