Friday, 2 March 2012


TUSS - good old Cornish insult, all the better for not being used very often.

I had a fantastic surf today and I really wasn't expecting to.

I finished work an hour early and on an impulse decided to go to Gwith, knowing the tide was dropping and the wind was picking up, but thought I'd give it a punt anyway.

For the hour that I was in the water it just all came together, the sun came out, the wind dropped and the banks were absolutely flawless. Waves kept pouring through and peeling off for a hundred yards across the beach. Chest to shoulder high clean green walls, one after another. I took a left that stayed fast and open while I tucked into the pocket and the lip rained down on my shoulder.

Bissful, but as can often happen with these golden moments, it was marred…

There's a guy who surfs this spot all the time, he's fit and he's a good surfer, gets lots of waves. But he gives off a weird vibe I've noticed and despite being in the water regularly he's not one for sharing stoke, avoids eye contact, never smiles. And he's greedy. Wants every wave and will paddle all over the line-up to get them.

At one point I was right on the peak, in perfect position for a nice left, he was sitting directly under me and could see the wave was mine. But he didn't move and instead just watched me as I paddled for it, then he turned his back to me, but still made no effort to move away. Because the waves were walling up, angled take-offs were in order and as the wave lifted under me I took my final stroke into it and he was right in my path, no intention of giving me any space. I just missed the tail of his board by less than an inch and felt his legrope scrape across the underside of my board as I took off, in fact I felt a little tug as it briefly snagged my fins. But I had plenty of inertia and the wave flexed its muscle and squirted me out and onto the face for another beautifully fast carvey glide.

I tend not to get hung up with other people's trips in the water - 'Don't rent out space in your head' is one of the mottos I try to hold fast. But that little act of arrogance ticked me off! It was unnecessary - I can understand an attitude of being cool and in control and being experienced enough to behave nonchalantly out in the waves. That's fine, but if you're going to claim that position then you should also take the responsibility that goes with it. But underlying his refusal to budge even one inch was a total lack of respect for others.

So, regardless of your level of ability and experience, you can still be a kook when it comes to common courtesy.


  1. Tuss...I have n't heard that for years. It takes me back to the playground probably where this guy still belongs.

  2. I've been encountering a bit of that recently and it baffles me no end. I'm so pleased you were able to still have fun and not let it get to you, though - that really would have ben a shame!

    "Don't rent out space in your head" is a good mantra though. I'l try and keep it close.

  3. I can totally relate to that little story, and I hate carrying negative energy from such events. I often just paddle away and find somewhere quieter, but I guess there are also times when you just need to face the Tuss down. Keep smiling though : )