Tomorrow marks the start of (and yes I’m doing the ‘quote fingers’ mime here) the “British summer”.
It’s the meteorological one they use for easily understandable stats as opposed to astronomical one that’s connected to the solstice and what not, that longest day ain’t until the 21st of June pards.
Whilst the current British weather isn’t exactly classic “summer” for some: grey, cold, torrential rain, birds being blown backwards by gale force winds etc on the east coast, it’s a fitting day to run this.
Here’s hoping we get a summer not the standard warm, muggy and perma-grey skies that have been depressingly regular recently. Roll on boardshort surfs, warm evening beach parties, golden memories with friends and snorkelling NOT in a 5mm…
Just in case we do actually get a summer here are the reasons we dig it.
It’s simple science that even with the advances modern winter wetsuit technology has made shedding the five or six mil for the three, or hell even a two sans arms or legs (not both … are you mad?), is like adding an extra gear to your surfing. You’ve lost a few pounds of rubber so you feel lighter, springier and the flexibility with that sheer second skin. Man it’s almost sexual how connected you feel. Summer wetties also dry fast and due to the warmth don’t come with that sinister second session ‘putting on a cold damp wetty’ dread. Double dipping is an absolute breeze. Mad thing is this year it’s still boot weather for some even now. So hopefully summer will actually get to ‘no boots/gloves/hoods’ if at all possible.
The iconic surfing wardrobe item that we rarely get to use for its intended purpose; unless there’s been a few months of constant sunshine. Surfing in boardies in the UK is a badge of honour, something you need to do at least once (insert bikinis if you are a lady or a man that wants to surf in a bikini where appropriate for boardshorts). It’s refreshing if nothing else. Also you don’t feel like a dork wandering around in boardies in the summer, even if they’ve never actually been in the sea. Don’t scoff it is possible. Without hypothermia. Honest.
Whatever you want to dick about in the water is fair game. Macca’s trays, hand-planes, boogies, foamies, mals, retros anything that’ll work in the tiddly summer conditions. Float is your friend. It’s not about performance but fun pure and simple. Glide is your friend. Which can be eye opening when you jump back on the shortboard in September.
Face it when the sun is out everyone is happy … Apart from Vampires.
A simple thing, but how good is it putting out a rack of laundry in the summer and it being dry in about a millisecond. The nuclear inferno in the sky beats the shit out of an expensive tumble dryer any day. Unless it’s windy. In which case you can play the ‘find your smalls in next door’s garden’ game.
The one time of year you can eat salad on a daily basis without feeling like an overly devout clean eater. Salad is your friend. It also doesn’t need cooking. Which, in essence, makes it the ultimate convenience food. Especially the bagged stuff. To prepare: open bag, pour on plate, splurge some dressing on it, boom, done. It’s even good for you.
Conversely you’re allowed to eat far more burnt meat than any other time of year. Barbecue invites are backed up and it’s a great time to be a carnivore. Assuming you don’t get sidetracked by one of those ‘not quite cooked’ episodes that sees you sweating to death while turning yourself inside out. One thing get a decent portable barbecue. The disposable ones are a) crap b) an increasingly prolific beach blight. Th little metal bucket ones are far better at actually cooking your food and are a doddle to take home.
Andy Murray. We’re looking at you here. And Lewis Hamilton. Time to swing the balance back from Rosberg buddy. Not sure what else is going on. Is there some kickball tournament or global jamboree of sport happening this summer?
Now the best way to enjoy any band is in a dark, sweaty club with a floor that’s sticky and a smell of stale beer and cleaning products. The acoustics are better, the atmosphere more intense, the lights blinding. But there’s something about sunny outdoor gigs that, whilst the sound is blowing in the wind, just puts a smile on your dial. Even the big festivals on a prime summer day can transport you to bliss. We’re more spoilt than ever with every scale of festival and whether you dig the tunes or not they’re all fun.
Yes ladies, we have a word for it. Not sure if the fairer sex has an equivalent apart from ‘going commando’. But no under crackers and swinging in the breeze is a joyful way to be. Until the inevitable rub sets in and you end up walking like John Wayne. Those ugly little plum units are dangling there to be air-cooled, we’re just giving them what they want, nature’s very own AC. Sorry if that’s a bit TMI.
Summer surfing equals the brine drying on your face darn quick. The salty eyebrows, taut, dry, leathery skin and slightly crusty feeling you get from surfing all day in the sun is a sensation you pine for in the winter. It’s the manifestation of a day well spent.
Skatey, bike or walk. Leaving the car behind because you’re not slave to the weather is a treat. Cars are a mare in the summer anyway, roasting bleddy hot, your wax melts off and sticks in your seats/carpet and your sleds really don’t like being left in the car. It’s not just not dogs that die in hot cars … your stick can too. Parking is an expensive kerfuffle as well.
Skirts & Shorts & Sandals
There’s something so pleasing about not wearing long leg coverings and shoes. It’s like throwing off the shackles of authority. Flip flops and shorts/skirts rule. Whilst you ladies have a smorgasbord of choice for us chaps getting the right shorts is tricky. Don’t get sucked into the skinny short … down that road sweaty plums, as noted above, and exposed arse crack lies. And nobody wants to see your coin slot. Flip flops are a matter of what works for you. Be it the perennially classic Birkenstocks or your standard flip-flop. Just get a foot tan going on asap. White feet: them ugly. And men: cut those ruddy toe nails.
No Poo Head
Summer is the one time of year you can get rid of your farmer’s tan. Even that shit up a bit. Spring surfs leave you looking a bit of a muppet with the brown face/glowing white chest thing. Get an even bronze on (responsibly using creams, ointments, oils and tinctures as directed) and you’re literally golden. Just remember the after sun.
Do you open your eyes when you duck-dive? No? Well you should. The summer water clarity can be amazing. Not something we get to say too often on these shores. It’s actually worth going for a body bash with a mask on just to watch people surfing by. Just like Tahiti, but with less reef. The downside is of course for the fishes. They’re easily visible and run the risk of getting spearfished to the point of extinction by the more waterman style surfers amongst you. If it’s flat it goes without saying that a snorkel or free dive is one option to keep yourself in the brine.
Maximum daylight hours for the next few weeks so still huge amounts of time pre/post-work to get in the salt. Make the most of it as it’ll getting dark early before you know it. Sorry for the reality check there.
The UK and Ireland are home to some of the most beautiful coasts in the world. Especially when bathed in golden summer light. Can’t beat exploring your own backyard for a holiday. Cheap, easy, you know you like the food and you haven’t got to deal with the budget airline board costs. As ever, especially if you’re wild camping or vanning it, leave wherever you go as you found it. Never an excuse to litter.
Smart phones hate the heat and aren’t fans of sand. So much so they pack up and you’re left with a screen that simply says: soz, too hot, come back in a bit now. Which means you can put the damn thing away and enjoy the real world here and now with your actual meat space friends. Rather than tweeting, Instying, Snapchatting, FBing about how #blessed you are this #summer.
Summer is glorious, warm and fun (dear Mama Nature, please make it so). The longer it goes on the warmer the water gets for the real surf season. And every week of summer fun brings us closer to autumn. Fingers crossed this year’s prime time shapes up with plenty of hurricane swells and perfect conditions. We love you summer but we’re all about autumn and we’re kind of owed a decent one of those also. So get the sea nice and warm over the next few months so we can really enjoy the best month of the year…
Words & Photos Sharpy