The interweb’s forecasters are shrieking about the one day swell expected on Saturday. A medium sized affair fanned by moderate off shore easterly winds is just what the doctor ordered. Low tide at 9.00am brings to mind a whole array of spots that could light up. I’m hoping that my favoured point break will attract some of this vaunted swell. Given that the tide is low at this relatively early hour I may just get to share the spot with only a few others. “So what’s the problem” I hear you say dear reader?
Well there is n’t one….except there is. The thing is this point break lends itself to a variety of craft. It is a slopey thing that peels at an even rate with the occasional walled section and even more occasionally a hollow inside near the rocks. A conventional short board works well here on the good days but I much prefer to surf it on fish shaped boards. The squirty lateral speed from my quads or 2 1/2 fin is downright addictive. Why hit the lip when you can float and climb over any crumbly section that the wave throws at you? “So what’s the problem” I hear you repeat in that exasperated way you have. Remember my description of the end section of the wave made a mention of rocks. Well there you have it..or not quite…it would be better if I explain.
The wave breaks over and in front of a wave cut platform. The platform is uneven and riven by deep gullies and ridges iced with barnacles. There are a couple of keyhole entry and exit points but both involve duck dives into extremely shallow water after the mouth of the gullies have been navigated. I do not wish to exaggerate these hazards or overstate the risk of entry. I have surfed the spot for more than 10 years and never injured myself in any way at at all. Even on the bigger days the force of the surges up the main gully has not intimidated me in the least.It is not a scary break.
“So what’s the problem” I hear you scream volubly with eyes bulging. Well let me see, it’s this. This spot with it’s uneven and encrusted gullies has been responsible for damaging more boards than I can account for. Crushed rails, snapped fins, shattered noses, pierced bottom hulls and de-laminated decks. The cost has been high. In the manner of one that learns from repeatedly banging one’s head against a sharp object , I modified my behaviour over the years. These days I only take my old boards there. The ones that have had their day and are beyond renovation. The two things they have in common are they are yellow (because surfboards should be yellow) and they are dinged beyond redemption. The one I am most fond of is my 6 foot Gulf Stream quad. Not an instant hit when it was new. The curved speed dialer fins did not work for me but like the proverbial swan shedding it’s feathers, the quality of the board shone out when the fins were replaced for a more conventional set. It has given me more fun since than a block of foam covered in resin has a right to do.
I pensioned it off this time last year with a replacement I have called ‘Pretty in Pink‘ for obvious reasons. Exactly the same as my original sled in all details excepting two aspects . Colour and thickness. Now the colour does account for some glances I get when I walk down to the waters edge at Croyde for a multitude of reasons. I will not dive down that particular rabbit hole here (praise be:Ed) but it is a sure thing that this characteristic does not effect it’s performance in the slightest. The increased girth though has certainly had an unwelcome effect on some of the properties of this board. Putting it on rail at the bottom , mid face or lip of a wave is down right difficult. The extra floatation intended to ease me into old age has not paid a dividend.
The quandary I now find myself in is do I introduce ‘Pretty in Pink’ to the gullies and hasten the Darwinian forces that the gullies exact on surfboards? Or do I nurse this curvy but charmless dowager into unloved senility?The yellow quad still flies.
Seven hundred words to not decide what board to surf on. I must seek a life.