Getting caught totally off guard is rare nowadays, even on a shore as fickle as home. Mastering the art of the windsea takes long commitment... I'm not even close and I got surprised with no wetsuit and bittercold water.
Whilst the wind raged through the night I dug through a cupboard of wetsuit detritus. Two odd boots, a battered 3/2 and a thermal rashie. Merino wool longjohns completed the cobbled-together outfit. The next dawn there were trees down everywhere and just Michael at the beach with a pair of 7mm mittens for me to borrow. Fast moving swell ran oblique up the coast creating thick, hollow rights breaking close to the shore.
After scoring hard in the last few months and fresh off the back of a good Scotland trip this kind of flukey windswell still gets me so excited. Grey dawn, pissing with rain, Michael navigating on a lovely John Wesley board, trading little tubes... all unexpected and the sweeter for it. Surfing always feels lucky, the more variables the luckier I feel.
And the cold? Brutal. Finisterre make great thermals, wet or dry. I was also grateful to be sent a hat by a company called Grannies Knits recently. Hand-woven, by grandmas, it helped avert hypothermia today during the numb post-surf change.
The session set me thinking about what it was like before the Internet, what we gain and what we lose. Back on the beach the tide drops out and the swell recedes. Just like that, 15ft@6 seconds is driven away on the offshore, whipping away to light up some Norwegian left, to surprise someone else.