|Sandymouth Oct 2005|
This shot was taken on a beautiful Autumn day in October 2005 from the clifftop high above Sandymouth near Bude. The surf was perfect and it was HUGE!
I was there with my friend Spex who was an entrant in the longboard division of the Roktober Surf Comp, conditions were challenging to say the least. At first glance this may look ideal, but believe me, when it's 10ft on the sets on an exposed beachbreak it's far from easy.
They did end up running the comp anyway - most were happy to just score a few inside waves. Paddling out the back was virtually impossible and the shorebreak and whitewater were relentless.
After Spex's heat we headed up to Hartland Quay where a headland offered some shelter. It looked do-able so we went for it. A rip running along the old wall provided an easy paddle out - but that sense of security quickly evaporated once out in the bay. The huge swell was causing massive water movement and even though the surf was relatively clean beneath the shelter of the cliffs, the currents were swirling through the bay like a rapid. It was a constant struggle to maintain position, any relaxation and the conveyor belt rip would carry me out and north into no mans land. At one point I was on the verge of panic when after 20 mins of concentrated paddling I was still drifting dangerously close to the exposed rocks of the north side.
Luckily I managed to catch my only wave of that session on the next set which took me back into the relative safety of the cove and I decided that maybe a pint and a pasty at the pub would be the better option.
Spex had to get back for the longboard finals at Sandymouth in the afternoon - which again were limited to battling the shorebreak for anything that resembled a wave (he got third). But we were both dissatisfied with our attempts at trying to get waves that day, so we made a dash back into Bude, hoping to maybe score something more reasonable at Summerleaze.
We got there at dusk and although it was still big, there were rideable waves. So we paddled out again, me for my second surf, Spex for the 4th time that day! We did manage to get a few finally, but the constant paddling was starting to take its toll. I noticed that Spex was getting sucked out and around the seapool by the rip. Then lo and behold I also got caught in the same rip and ended up being dragged around to Crooklets. As darkness fell and we stumbled back up the beach, thoroughly exhausted but equally stoked, we knew it was finally time to call it a day.