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why you should surf all year
Are you a fair weather surfer? Winter a bit too wintry for your delicate sensibilities?
At time of writing, mid-spring, in old money late April, the ocean temp out front of Orca Towers is all of 12C. Which is not what you’d call balmy. On the east coast it’s 10C. It’s what you’d call, sans twat cap, ‘Ooh sh@t my head feels like it’s imploding’.
Conversely in Barbados, where I got dragged kicking and screaming for a piece this issue, the wet bit is currently 27C. Now that is pleasurable. Even with the attendant sunburn and urchin risk.
I often wonder how different the surf culture would be in the isles of the Atlantic we call home if the temperature was that notch higher year round. Would we have world champions? Would the European surf industry have clustered here instead of Hossegor? Would it be impossibly busy? Or would we just be a more tan race of weather-obsessed, island dwellers?
There’s no question that putting on some boardshorts, or a bikini, and grabbing your board and jumping in the brine is easier, quicker and cheaper, than our rubber besuited version. But it’s the commitment to the cause that makes us different. Struggling into a winter suit is comical. Dancing out of a spring suit without filling it with sand is a ninth dan surfer skill.
Wetsuits are a double-edged sword: no one looks good in a wetsuit, but conversely they’re a pretty good all-body girdle, so if you’re a bit soft around the edges don’t be put off. They are, in fact, slimming. Hell they even make me look like I’ve got a six-pack.
Forgive the ramble, there’s been a vicious spring flat spell on the left side of the land recently, and I’m coming back off a winter long shoulder injury that’s kept me out the salt. It’s easy to take surfing for granted when everything is going well.
When you definitely can’t do it because:
a) your physio expressly forbids it, unless you really want your shoulder to turn to angry inflamed dust
b) you’re stuck inland
c) there’s been no waves forever
d) life just gets in the way
The frustration is hard to take. Which loops me neatly to the start of this tumble of words. Winter isn’t that much colder than summer. Spring can be just as cold as winter. It’s snowing in Scotland right now just to reinforce my point. You might as well surf all year. It’s better for your surfing, it’s better for you, and any time spent in the brine is a joyous escape from the stresses of being a land-based mammal in the twenty-first century. Take every opportunity you can to be in the sea. Whatever the weather. Trust me. You won’t regret it…