Isle of Wight Surfing.
By Jason Swain.
Returning to a familiar theme for this blog, and probably for most people who ever done a bit of Isle of Wight surfing too, the old ‘you should have been here yesterday’ routine.
Over the last 20 years I’ve built my life next to the sea and the West Wight in particular, with the simple (and now not so secret) aim of leading a quiet life and surfing whenever possible, as well as trying to avoid hearing that dreaded sentence so often heard in Isle of Wight surfing circles ‘you should have been here yesterday’ as much as possible too.
But sometimes life has other plans for you, and after a few weeks of niggling broadband complications and lots of support calls and emails (involving a long boring story of telephone exchanges being upgraded to ADSL+, a ten year old router not being able to keep up with the change, and then a mystery line fault that pretty much seemed to me to have lots to do with a very windy and rainy night) i couldn’t really be out when the engineer was finally scheduled to come and test the line and put me out of my misery. I wanted to but couldn’t really hang a ‘gone surfing‘ note on the door and hope he would come back later (why don’t BT introduce that as an option when you sign up?)
Of course the only time-slot available on the morning of Friday 16th December, coincided with the biggest swell in weeks, and of course it was also the only day the wind blew offshore after endless days of howling onshores.
So, the day after triple overhead clean sets were reported as being ridden at my local break (from reliable local sources, who wouldn’t exaggerate the conditions) Saturday morning found me at Freshwater bay bright and early, full of hope and excitement for what i might find. Inevitably the classic conditions from the day before were long gone, and to be honest what was left looked pretty unappealing out there with the wind now blowing cross-shore and the swell not really doing it with the sets barely head high.
BUT… remembering my last blog and how i ended up kicking myself for passing up what turned out to be the last waves for a few weeks, this time i didn’t hang around in two minds and encouraged by a couple of hungover locals, pacey & sam, who turned up for a look too, decided to get in there and blow away a few cobwebs anyway.
The good news is that the swell picked up a bit and although it certainly wasn’t anything like the classic conditions of the day before, we had a few overhead sets, and a few bumpy but fun rides, and of course, its always better to have been in than sat around thinking about it.
After a quick surf and to make the most of the morning, i grabbed my camera and headed up onto the cliffs and got a few shots from a different point of view (away from my old favourites of the cabbage patch or right in front of the albion hotel) Whilst Andrew Court, Matt Harwood, Ian Pacey and James Ranson made the most of what was left before it really did get a bit windy. Even managed to get a few shots of some local birds and a random fishing boat in the line-up to complete this little episode of Isle of Wight surfing.