Balancing surfing and fishing has always worked well and the love of the two is what inspires this very site.
This year autumn was a great time for my surfing from final placings in BUCS, scoring some great waves at home & France, along with even winning a contest at my local break. Let me take you back to the start of this wonderful season when we hang on to the last joys of summer and prepare for the good and bad traits of winter.
Generally from September surfing becomes my main focus. With fishing coming on the brain as soon as there is a drop of water on my home rivers, to bring the salmon on the take. Or conditions calm on the coast between heavy autumnal swells, allowing the water to clear and chasing Bass on lures to comense.
This September was different from the last few years, the usual trip to Ireland for an escape to the emerald isle’s breathtaking coastline traded for South West France’s exposed surf-beaten coastline.
I headed over to Hossegor for a week with a good friend that I lifeguard with Conor, along with meeting some other colleagues and friends over there. We were lucky to have good surf for the entire trip, and getting into the relaxed surf focused pace of life was just what I needed, after a busy summer of little surf and hours spent chasing Sea Trout often with elusivity…we were fortunate to have great accommodation recommended to us by a friend back home and Seb who we stayed with was a great host and certainly a popular face in Hossegor. I also managed to finally catch up with Phil Richardson (see the previous interview here) from Louvine in his Seignosse store. After a full day of surfing the incredible chicken burritos was exactly what I needed with, what I must give Phil credit for, was one of the most colourful and tasty salads I’ve ever had. The atmosphere in the restaurant was great and Phil really treats every customer like a good friend. Exactly the vibe you want when you walk into such a creatively furnished restaurant. You could spend your whole time in there admiring the clever ‘pun-intended’ artwork and graphics on display. A real must stop location for all future visits to Hossegor.
To summarise the week, it consisted of early rises for the clean ‘glassy’ mornings, bakery stops for pastries and fresh baguettes. Followed by afternoons lazing on the beach between surfs, or taking shelter from the midday winds at the accommodation, reading books and drinking coffee. Before heading out for an evening surf.
After returning from France it was back to University to begin my final year studying. This meant that BUCS Surf Champs, a contest that brings all universities across the UK to Fistral Beach Newquay to compete for university and individual titles. After a disappointing result last year I was pretty determined to make up for it this year, especially with it potentially being my last. Conditions were tough with strong gale force winds all weekend and near maxed out Fistral for the first day of competing. Never the less, feeling good in my surfing after France and some good swells back home, I managed to pull through to the final, bagging the second highest score of the event in the process at a 9. The final however saw me getting two average waves to open with and unfortunately failing to find any waves to build on those scores. Regardless I was still pretty stoked to come away with 3rd place, along with helping secure the Men’s University title for Swansea. A huge congrats must go to Swansea’s only female surfer, Emily Williams for taking the Women’s win!
Off the back of BUCS I had really got my froth back and with the river season closed, surfing became an even stronger focus. We had some great Autumnal swells and this led nicely for the build-up to what was one of the first local comps down my home break Langland for a long time.
The contest – Langland Loco, was the brainchild of local frother Owain Bancroft and consisted of a great night out in Cinema&Co to raise some money for charity and towards event costs. This was followed by a waiting period for 3 weeks over November and December to ensure we got some waves for the contest. The waves ended up being pretty average, however, despite the weather, the atmosphere at the event was far from average.
It really displayed the wonderful local surfing community we have here in Wales. With this atmosphere, it was hard not to be excited to compete and I feel it was this relaxed yet excited vibe that helped me in taking the win on the day. It was tricky conditions with a small dying swell, however, I guess all those days as a youngster surfing in all manner of conditions paid off and I was able to ‘grovel’ a few scores on to the board. Once again thanks to Owain for pulling off a great event, that for his first contest was wonderfully run and with some great core ideas, along with Globe and RVCA for sponsoring the event.
With some luck I hope 2019 brings some great waves and my surfing continues to improve and the stoke remains. I’ve also set my self some pretty serious fishing aims which I will touch on in a future post.