I was saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Watson, a Suffolk surfing legend. Alex Wade published an obituary in The Times, where this photo is from. I never spoke to Neil but to say hi, but I'm old enough to remember the epic Grey Juice and Surf East films that he made. The Lowestoft Surf Club scene seemed like one of those magic outpost crews, as anyone who has seen their newsletter will testify to. I dimly remember as a terrified 15-year old seeing these guys on actual surfboards, near home, really surfing. It was the most exciting thing ever.
One August day last year whilst I was working on a farm, I borrowed some boardshorts off my old mate Raven and headed up the coast after work with a good south swell blowing. Neil snapped the below shot, which a friend told me ran in Wavelength though I didn't see it. It was great to put a name to the face. I made a resolution to have a chat next time a good swell made its way up or down our coast. I never got the chance, but I'll remember Neil forever as one of those souls intrinsically linked with a place, a surfer who never fell out of love with it.