Monday, 28 February 2011

SWA Cardiff Wave

This weekend delivered the goods for a great student wave event. The forecast was looking very dodgy for wind all week but with a good westerly swell with a good period, so surfing was always on the cards. On Friday morning just before I left the forecast improved to 17 to 20 knots cross offshore for Trecco in Porthcawl on Saturday! I managed to somehow get 2 wave boards, a surfboard, 2 masts, 2 sails and a boom all in a Fiat Punto and made my way to Wales. There was meant to be wind on Friday so me and Stef headed to Porthcawl for a windsurf but ended up having a surf at rest bay in very foggy dark and rainy conditions! The waves were a bit dumpy but had a good size. We ended up heading in when we couldn't see the beach anymore due to fog and were surfing infront of the cliffs guessing if the tide had come in or not! Not the safest... Friday night we met with all the students and had a few drinks until 3 in the morning at the Union.

Saturday we all got up pretty enthusiastically bearing in mind the night before and got to the beach for just after 9, for pushing tide. Worried the waves would completely flatten off with dropping tide like the day before, me and Stef got out straight away in really light wind. A little too light really. But the wind picked up and the waves got better and I had a really good 3 hour session! I only came in because my arms had given up and the student competition was under way. The sailors did great, there were some dodgy drop ins on the surfers waves (which weren't too pleased), and some aerials from the top sailors. The winner was Southampton's SJ, second Seb Willis from Cardiff, and third Carlos from Cardiff.

Everyone celebrated in the evening after HUGE pizzas-literally the biggest I have ever seen! at the Union again, all dressed as circus theme-LOTS of face paint!! Sunday we dragged ourselves down to the beach again and I had a really nice clean surf at Coney beach, which was a little too busy, but it normally is. Nice cross offshore wind held the waves up but I got cold really quickly. I had an awesome weekend and it is great to see so many keen students going for it and throwing themselves at the waves!

Here are a few photos from Duncan Dumbreck's camera taken by Javier Choi, not so many from when I was sailing as the students were still arriving at the beach!:

SJ and James checking out the waves!

Me and Mike with our Simmer Icons

Catching some waves:

Helping judge the competition with my sponsor Jim from Puravida:

SJ the competition winner:

How many people can you fit in a bus?! 5 apparently...

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A little surf at East Witterings

Its pretty hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed and drive one and a half hours to the beach when someone calls in the morning waking you up. This is what happened this morning. SJ called at 9 (not early I know but its my first day off in ages). He said the witterings webcam was looking pretty amazing (for witterings) and he would be on his way soon. I checked it out-it did look good, but pretty busy. 3-4ft at 16s apparently. It took me a while to decide if it was worth it before driving down from Surrey with my 6ft retro fish. On arriving it looked a bit of a spectacle with loads of surfers and a lot of the public screaming when the waves broke against the wall and splashed them all! And as clean as I have seen witterings at about head high. Only trouble was I was a bit late and the high tide made the surfable waves dump on the beach and you had to dodge the groins! I saw some guys taking a chance and surfing over them then landing on the beach as the wave sucked up and the better ones diving off before hitting them. I decided to wait as the forecast was meant to be ok all day. Me and SJ went to a fish and chip shop in our wetsuits, spent some time with the heating on in the car and sitting around the beach-quite normal for a Sunday?! The waves got worse and worse, smaller and smaller much to our frustration. I had driven all the way from Surrey and SJ Southampton so we went out anyway. I caught quite a few waves but they were tiny (now about waist) so it wasn't the most successful session after seeing how big it was when we arrived.

Big shorebreak at high tide

A guy surfing the shorebreak where most wouldn't...

...and exiting before the groyne!

Our surf in the afternoon, pics taken after I got changed!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Boom Surgery! and Camber Sands

After breaking my boom in Brazil I searched for a 135cm boom to fit my 3.4 sail. Considering many companies sell tiny sails, there are hardly any booms out there to fit! I did find a few, but I wanted a hybrid, skinny boom for a reasonable cost! I ended up buying a Prolimit hybrid 145cm boom-really nice, stiff and light. Here are some photos of the shortening process:
3.4 rigged on 145 cm Prolimit boom. The clips were so tight they couldn't be twisted off so 10 cm of the boom arm was cut off.
Due to the nature of the clips you couldn't hold them tight to twist them as the clips would be pushed into their holes. Therefore I had to saw a section out to be able to get the aluminium out.
It was pretty hard, especially the second cut as the saw kept diverting! There was a little damage to the plastic in order to saw through all the aluminium.
Finally the extra piece came out, I could crush the tube and twist off the clip. The old piece was used as a template for the new holes.
Marking and cutting the holes accurately was the hardest part. They had to be exactly in the right place vertically and horizontally before hammering the clips back on as they couldn't be moved again. As you can see I didn't do the first ones so well and had to file the holes a lot bigger to fit the clips. After a few hours the boom was finished, now 135cm! The clips are a little stiff as the alignment isn't spot on but it does the job!

Camber Sands:
I decided to sail Camber Sands on Friday with Ed Chapman as I'd never sailed there before and heard it was good! I have to say-I wasn't massively impressed. For a 1 hour 45 drive it was much like onshore witterings but with a big rip and more mushy waves. It was still fun though and really good for jumping, it would be good to go back again when it is slightly less windy. I was told not to judge it on that day though as it was 3.4 weather and can be amazing apparently! Having only sailed once after Brazil (due to working the whole time when it seems to be windy), I sailed pretty badly to begin with due to so many layers, the cold and being gusty 3.4 weather! I got a bit better towards the end getting some good jumping in. At one point the clew on my boom broke-luckily not to far out and I managed to body drag in. I found the knot on one end of the clew rope had come undone and pulled through-how that happened under tension I have no idea! Anyway it was a fun session and I'm looking forward to more wind. Unfortunately I couldn't make the most of the rest of the weekend as I had bar shifts to do! 6 weeks until Maui!!!