I have just come back from an amazing week in Cornwall. Probably the best holiday I have ever had thanks to a combination of heaps of surfing, exploring new places, awesome eateries and some great weather!
I have never been able to surf so much in a week before. Usually we book a week and have these great ideas about how we will surf every day, and then the wave gods laugh at us and either present us with a sea of calm or shit onshore conditions and howling winds.
This time, they must have taken pity on us and decided we deserved a break. Four surfs in a row later and my arms are like noodles, my dodgy shoulder is sore, I’m knackered but my god I feel totally stoked!
On the journey home, I reflected on each of the surfs and wondered which was my best session. It followed on from a conversation I had with Amy from Mellow Waves the previous day – what is a good surf anyway and how do you quantify it? Like when you hear someone say they had an awesome surf – what made it so great?
For someone like former world champion Carissa Moore, it’s probably getting an epic two wave total in a heat final resulting in the first place spot on the podium. For one of the awesome surfers I saw at Fistral last week, it was probably that epic air that he landed. But for me, surf goddess of the white water, is it wave count, stand up ratio, pop-up ability (without going to my knees), long cruising rides, turns, surfing with new people, the stoke of surfing a new spot, surfing under bright blue skies and in perfect conditions or just the stoke of being in the sea?
All of these factors played a part in last week’s surfs. Not all at the same time or in one session but each surf was what I would class as good for different reasons. The first day at Watergate Bay I had a fantastic time surfing under bright blue skies on my mal which I hadn’t surfed for ages and it was like a renewed love affair. I honestly thought after the stabilty of riding a longboard for the past few sessions I would struggle to get to my feet. But I didn’t and I was stoked on some pretty long rides. It was also third time lucky for us at Watergate – the previous two surfs were non starters.
Surf number two was at Crantock – a new spot for us and we were joined by Biff from the Surfing Sumo. Blue skies, long cruisey rides, the best wave I have ever ridden (on the Hobie longboard) and swimming and duck diving under waves added a new dimension to this session and I got out feeling totally exhilarated.
Then the stand out moment I had been waiting for – the first of two private lessons with British surfer Corinne Evans. I’m saving most of it for my next post but Corinne’s enthusiasm and encouragement, my high wave count and some very positive feedback from the lady herself on an empty Fistral line-up gave me a massive hit of stoke. I was buzzing for the rest of the day.
The second session was less about the wave count and more about confidence and conquering fears. Under a very menacing looking sky at Fistral I didn’t catch as many waves, but pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and overcame a fear that has overshadowed me since my panic attack at Praa Sands. Win win!
The magic formula
For those of you reading this looking for the magic formula of a good surf, I’m sorry to disappoint you. The truth is there isn’t one because it differs from person to person. It all depends on what level you are at, what you want to get out of your surfing and also your perception. A good surf is what you make it and for your own reasons – you don’t have to quantify it to anyone.
And at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter if you have a good surf or not as it’s all about having fun. The time to hang up your wetsuit is when you stop enjoying it.