Croyde // Winter Surf Trip

It’s been 84 years…. well not quite, but it had been nearly six months since I had last submerged myself in the salty goodness of the Atlantic Ocean. It was time. I did try over New Year, but a slight issue with the Airbnb meant that myself and the family had to abandon ship and head home, also the conditions were terrible which meant going in the sea was not favourable, think sand whipping up your legs and in your face.

So a mid February trip west was just the thing we needed. I checked the forecast and could not believe it. The weather was going to be decent, above 0 degrees and sunny, AND there was swell on the horizon. WHAT! The stars and the moon were aligning! This happens rarely.

I bought a new board in August in Portugal, a Chilli board. I used it in baby waves, which is partly the reason I bought it in the first place. I wanted something that I could surf in small or rubbish conditions, but also gave me some paddle power in bigger waves. I had tested it in the smaller waves, now it was time to test it out in some bigger waves. I was excited.

I headed west and arrived in the dark. Got a Maccas on the road, yuck. I think I could eat a cardboard box and feel better. The next morning I woke up feeling horrible. Headache etc, so I tried to sort myself out with yoga, hot water and lemon, good brekkie and a decent coffee, but it took until the afternoon for me to feel myself. I then went for a surf.

Croyde at low tide. Fun. Actually it was pretty fun, I got a few smaller waves! And I felt salty which is always great.

The next day was big, I got up early to meet my friend Rae for a surf. I got a beating on the way out, I’m not that surf fit at the moment since its been a while, but I did get out to a decent sized Croyde, and got one beautiful wave! One wave in two hours… it was that kind of session. It was big, the sets were a good size. People were frothing and there were some really good surfers out there.

The third and final day was a little smaller. I had to cut through some holiday park and over some barbed wire fencing to get to the beach as the foot path was under construction, which made me feel like I was on a proper surf trip exploring for waves. When I walked up on the sand dunes, the sun was rising behind the hill and shining down on the line up. The lines were stacked to the horizon, it was the most amazing sight.

I paddled out with only one duck dive – a little different to the previous day! I got loads of waves and had all the fun. I was getting into the groove of my new board and where my weight needed to be depending on the size of the wave and so on. I caught a beautiful left in right to the beach and called it a day.

So, overall the new whip. I still love it! I got on waves that I might not have got on, especially after not surfing for a while. I had to move around a bit, stand more forward to get into the wave but then if I needed to turn more like on a shorter board, I needed to step my back foot back onto the tail pad. This is all new to me as since I’ve been able to ride a short board – I’ve ridden a short board. This board it a 6’4” and I found it a lot more effort to duck dive. My triceps were screaming at me on the second day. On some of the bigger sets, I checked around me and when I was on my own, I would throw my board – I know – but no one was there to get it to the head.

A great little surf trip to Croyde and in great conditions! I didn’t even get that cold thanks to my Mystic Jayde 5.4mm wetsuit. I only got flushed in my hood either side of my face twice, and on the same hold down ha! That stung my ears a bit…

Great trip and I’ll be back soon!

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