Some things I’ve learnt about Morocco in the last day (what with me being a first timer and all).

It’s hot. But it’s a nice hot. Not too sweaty. But that’ll sun will fry a pasty Brit if given half a chance. The locals don’t feel the heat and rock jeans like it’s no biggy where I’m going with the shortest shorts I own for some welcome breeze.

It’s not as cheap as I’d assumed. Well. Casablanca where I am isn’t at least. A Bucks will set you back more than at home and a small beer from a hotel came in at £6. Ouchy. So I’m going with the local flow and going teetotal for the rest of the trip. Which is just as well …

As the food is incredible. The comp crew, WSL judges and muggins here are eating dinner in a restaurant next to the hotel (Le Lido, which also does a mean breakfast buffet, especially the pancake slash crumpet things served with a dollop of thick honey) and it’s a buffet to end all buffets.

Numerous tempting salad things but I skipped those and the soup to head straight into the meatballs, myriad veg, meats and various other damn tasty fare. The puds are also awesome. I’d hoped to come back from this trip a bit trim. That ain’t going to happen. No sir.

Comp wise the guys are up to Rd3 and the girls Rd2 featuring our Peony Knight and Lucy Campbell is on tomoz. The swell is a bit big for the beachy, making the paddle harsh, but there’s some beltable sections and if you get the right one it’ll be a long whackable wall. There’s a few highlights from today above. Only bugger is as it’s big it breaks a long way out. Which makes shooting a balls. The swell is slowly waning so might be a bit more better for stills tomoz. Anyhoose. I’m off to work on my foot tan.

Words and clip by Sharpy



Anfaplace Shopping Center, Casablanca – Morocco (Thursday, September 15, 2016) –The Quiksilver Pro Casablanca and Roxy Pro Casablanca resumed today in clean four-to-five foot surf at Anfaplace Shopping Center to whittle the fields down further and gear towards an action-packed weekend of high-performance surfing in Morocco.

The women’s field was dominated by recent winner of the Azores Airlines Pro pres. by SumolJustine Dupont (FRA), 25, who claimed a near-perfect 9.50 for a two-turn combination on a good left-hander. The French surfer kept the ball rolling and her motivation running high from the thrills of a second victory this season.

“I didn’t have priority for that wave and stayed a little bit on the inside, it just stood up perfectly for me and I managed to do two good turns; I love it when it gets a little steeper like that,” she reflected. “I’m simply having a lot of fun competing at the moment and it seems to be working well, I’m confident in my surfing and I learn a little bit from each heat. I’m in touch with my coach Christophe Mouginot all the time and he continues to help me with all the work we’ve done up until now. I also have my family, my boyfriend and everyone around me just supporting me which makes me very happy. Countless work hours with my physical and technical trainer Nicolas Fernandez and the brilliant boards Rob Vaughan shapes me help a lot too!”

In the men’s, Reunion Island’s Jorgann Couzinet (REU), 22, secured the day’s top performance to make his way into the event’s third round and continue his bid to become the newest European Champion. With the current regional Top2 surfers absent in Morocco, Couzinet will look to collect a strong finish for a chance to overtake Jonathan Gonzalez and Joan Duru.

“I hadn’t had a really good feeling in my free surfs before today, but thankfully I managed to turn this around and make a good first heat so I’m happy with this performance,” he said. “I want to solidify my rankings and hopefully enter the Hawaiian leg this winter so I’m focused on trying to get more points here. It’s only the first heat for me so I’m not getting too excited either but hopefully I can make a couple more heats.”

Current QS N°10 Bino Lopes (BRA), 28, was another strong competitor on this third day of competition as the Brazilian is looking to rebuild momentum towards the end of the Qualifying Series season.

“I’m pretty happy to be here for my first time in Morocco, I’m traveling with my family, my father, mother and sister have come to support me on this European leg and it’s a great vibe surrounding me,” he stated. “Conditions were really fun, we all got a lot of opportunities which was great so I’m stoked to get going and hope to make a few more heats like this one. The last three events haven’t been great for me but I know I’m solid in the rankings and my goal is to get a spot on the CT so this would be a good event to get motivated again before Cascais.”

Reigning European Junior Champion Nelson Cloarec (FRA), 20, dominated his Round Two bout as well and advanced alongside Uruguay’s Marco Giorgi, unfortunately eliminating older brother Tom Cloarec in the process.

“With that lighter wind and still a little bit of size I found the waves really good this morning, it was a difficult heat as Tom and I had two tough competitors to try and both make it through,” he said. “I was probably a bit luckier and got more waves, we were all sitting close by but it’s a matter of only a few meters to get in the right position so luck is definitely involved. When one of us is out we always support each other for the rest of the event, Tom is a great coach and I’m sure he’ll help a lot for my next heats.”

Other notable performances included South-African Matthew McGillivray’s solid 16.43 total for his ticket to Round Three.

Event officials have set the next call for 9:30AM Friday to potentially re-start both the men and women’s events depending on conditions.

MagicSeaWeed, official forecaster for the WSL Europe Qualifying Series events, calls for “Swell continues to fade but a more local wind swell could fill in on top. This’ll maintain that head high or perhaps larger range but with a lot less structure. Local winds continue to look predominantly onshore.” for Friday.

The Quiksilver & Roxy Pro Casablanca are scheduled from September 13-18, 2016 at ANFAPLACE Shopping Center, Casablanca – Morocco. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to

The Quiksilver & Roxy Pro Casablanca are supported by Anfaplace Shopping Center, Quiksilver and Roxy, the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Surf, the Office National Marocain du Tourisme, the Marocaine des Jeux et des Sports, Red Bull and MagicSeaweed among others.

Heat 1: Ian Gouveia (BRA), Caetano Vargas (BRA), Victor Bernardo (BRA), Lucca Mesinas (PER)
Heat 2: Imanol Yeregi (EUK), Samuel Igo De Souza (BRA), Keoni Yan (PYF), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
Heat 3: Thiago Guimaraes (BRA), Lucas Silveira (BRA), Lliam Mortensen (AUS), Frederico Magalhaes (PRT)
Heat 4: Miguel Blanco (PRT), Jackson Baker (AUS), Rafael Teixeira (BRA), Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 5: Bino Lopes (BRA), Jorgann Couzinet (REU), Pedro Henrique (PRT), Marco Giorgi (URY)
Heat 6: Ian Costa (BRA), Raphael Seixas (BRA), Vehiatua Prunier (PYF), Nelson Cloarec (FRA)
Heat 7: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF), Halley Batista (BRA), Flavio Nakagima (BRA), Julen Egiguren (EUK)
Heat 8: Jackson Giles (AUS), Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF), Miguel Tudela (PER), Jesse Mendes (BRA)

Heat 1: Pauline Ado (FRA), Garazi Sanchez-Ortun (EUK), Bailey Nagy (HAW), Ella Williams (NZL)
Heat 2: Lucy Campbell (GBR), Peony Knight (GBR), Freya Prumm (AUS), Lucia Martiño (ESP)
Heat 3: Justine Dupont (FRA), Ashlee Spence (AUS), Melanie Giunta (PER), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 4: Carol Henrique (PRT), Ainara Aymat (EUK), Tessa Thyssen (BLM), Camilla Kemp (PRT)

Heat 9: Bino Lopes (BRA) 14.20, Ian Costa (BRA) 11.34, Charly Quivront (FRA) 11.23, Abdel El Harim (MAR) 10.30
Heat 10: Jorgann Couzinet (REU) 16.67, Raphael Seixas (BRA) 11.16, Yago Dora (BRA) 8.60, Chadi Lahrioui (MAR) 6.74
Heat 11: Vehiatua Prunier (PYF) 12.67, Pedro Henrique (PRT) 12.24, Paul Cesar Distinguin (FRA) 10.40, Bruno De Andrade Maia (BRA) 5.70
Heat 12: Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 14.40, Marco Giorgi (URY) 13.83, Tom Cloarec (FRA) 8.40, Nicolas Vargas (CHL) 8.16
Heat 13: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 16.43, Jackson Giles (AUS) 14.77, Manuel Selman (CHL) 9.27, Tommy Boucaut (FRA) 8.24
Heat 14: Halley Batista (BRA) 10.23, Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) 10.07, Yuri Goncalves (BRA) 9.84, Adil El Harrif (MAR) 6.90
Heat 15: Miguel Tudela (PER) 12.74, Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 11.93, Oney Anwar (IDN) 5.50, Jao Errera (FRA) 4.46
Heat 16: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.60, Julen Egiguren (EUK) 9.76, Gabriel Farias (BRA) 9.33 Shane Sykes (ZAF) 8.53

Heat 5: Justine Dupont (FRA) 16.67, Ainara Aymat (EUK) 8.10, Lorena Fica (CHL) 7.27
Heat 6: Melanie Giunta (PER) 9.97, Camilla Kemp (PRT) 9.67, Mariana Assis (PRT) 9.03, Lee Ann Curren (FRA) 7.96
Heat 7: Carol Henrique (PRT) 12.27, Ashlee Spence (AUS) 10.07, Denver Young (AUS) 4.83, Ninon Mattei (FRA) 2.57
Heat 8: Tessa Thyssen (BLM) 15.50, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 13.00, Emma Smith (ZAF) 5.70



It may seem weird but I’ve never been to Morocco.
Yep. You read that right.
Much as it’s a key part of European surf travel lore and the first trip many British surfers take to another continent I’ve just not got round to it. Had a few false start trips that never amounted to anything but that’s as close as I’ve got.
Never been to South Africa either, but that’s more because of the bitey fish. I’ve done the Algarve loads and a good few stints in the Canaries, so I’ve been ball park close to Africa. Just never balls deep.

Today I’m breaking that duck and finally en route to the land of endless pointbreaks, minty tea and rugs you never knew you needed.
‘Bit early in the season innit?’ I hear you cry.
Well. Mid-September. Who knows with the Atlantic anymore. Old certainties are certainly out the window.
Driving to Heathrow the temp was 32.5C. Which ironically was hotter than my destination. And the hottest September day in Blighty since the war.
Swell wise plenty is on tap for the week, which is just as well as my trip was a junket from the nice people at the Maroc Surf Federation and Anfaplace Shopping Centre in Casablanca who are, for the second year, putting on Morocco’s only stop on the world tour; alongside them nice folk at Quiksilver for the Pro Casablanca.
The fact Brits Peony Knight and Lucy Campbell would be competing is what swung it for me, as you’ll know the QS grind doesn’t demand much media attention, but with some Brit ladies making rounds it seemed a good time to do some reportage (not just go on a jolly for a week of sunshine huh? Ed) and catch up with two of our brightest stars before they disappear for the winter to warmer climes…

Heathrow Terminal 4 is offensively bland. It’s not got the glamour of the shiny new T5 or the shabby, constantly being renovated retro chic of terminals one through three. It’s the beige middle child. Or more accurately the brushed aluminium and exposed pipework shopping mall slash airport child.
But it does it’s job, the bar has given in and now sells interesting beers, Sam Adams and Punk IPA if you’re wondering, and was thankfully quiet.
A few hours and one tray of strange Royal Air Maroc chicken chunks and just peas, nowt else, later I landed in Casablanca. The legendary city which, as a Twitter friend thought, isn’t just a film.

Passport control anywhere in the world is never a barrel of laughs. What’s really not fun is when your plane is neary an hour late anyway, you’re knackered and you queue for 45 minutes to get to the man and he asks you for your form.
‘What form?’
‘What form? No one said anything about a form?’
‘Form!’ said with a stern face and pointy gesticulations to the back of the room.
Which is when your heart sinks and you wish the airline folk had actually mentioned you needed a landing card. I’d checked the entry and all I’d seen was Brits get visa free easy entry.
So. Off I trot. Of course there are no pens. So I gingerly asked for one in one of the side rooms where they interrogate folks. Pen acquired it managed ’Sha…’ before going to pen heaven.
So again. ‘Soz, stern customs man, your undoubtedly marvellous pen is a bit not working. Can I have another. Merci.’
Then I’m queuing again. Forever. All the while imagining the folks supposedly picking me up have given me up as a lost cause.
Not that I could communicate as my £20 phone credit vapourised the second I turned the thing on even with data for everything but email turned off (£6 per MB, 35p per text if you’re wondering?!). So I couldn’t call or text and was hours late. Awesome start.

I finally got through passport control, before getting searched and accused of being a professional photographer. ‘What little old me with ten grand of camera shite in my backpack? No sir. Not I. I’m just on me holibobs innit.’

Having finally escaped the confines of the airport all I wanted to see was a little laminated sign being held with an approximation of my name on it.
There wasn’t.
Forty minutes of fruitless wandering, even with a copy of Carve coyly wafting from a paw, rendered nothing.
The internal thought process was something along the lines of:
‘It’s 11:30pm, I’m in a fascinating new country, it’s raining, I’ve no idea how far the hotel is, no bugger’s come to pick me up, the passport folks really need to work on their signage, their attitude, and perhaps buy some pens, and screw this … screw this all to hell.’
I might have even booted my luggage petulantly. Thrice.
But this is travel. It’s hardly the first time I’ve gone to a different continent with promises of being picked up and been abandoned. This certainly wasn’t as bad as the time I landed in Hawaii late eve to get a, ’Sorry, we forgot, we’re partying now so no one is a in a fit state to drive to get you.’ And had to sleep on a wooden bench for the night with one eye on my camera bags and one eye on the hobos. That one got the folks involved on my shit list indefinitely.

So when all hope is lost you do the one thing you dread and you resign yourself to talk to the taxi men. I couldn’t even by arsed to haggle. They quoted £40. I knew the hotel wasn’t exactly close and feared the hotel might be shut by the time I arrived so just slumped in the back dejectedly and watched through one eye as my driver skilfully warped time and space to fit his car through holes physically not big enough for a people carrier.
Driving standards here are, let’s say, “informal” or “relaxed”. Those white lines on the roads are more guidelines than anything else and driving in anything appearing to be a straight line is apparently frowned upon. Getting your car as close to the others is a sign of good driving. Horn usage and light flashing is most important. Especially when you’re a psychic taxi driver that gets flashing when the lights are still red to let the car in front know that green light is oh-so-imminent. But. All credit to him, my guy was fast, F1 fast. Which was a blessing. He also seemed REALLY happy with his 400 dihrams so I’m guessing I got porked. But. At midnight. Who cares. I’m all for injecting funds into local economies.

The hotel thankfully was open and the crew here are awesome. I slept like a lamb. Even though I couldn’t get the question out of my head: why put the bidet in a different room to the actual toilet?
It’s now day 2. A fine breakfast has been consumed. I’ve high-fived Peony and bro Taz Knight, who are thankfully staying at Le Lido hotel same as me and the comp site is a few hundred metres down the beach. The surf’s solid, heavy and not inviting but apparently it’s way better at high tide which is lunchtime.
So. I’m going to have a post brekkie snooze. Got to sleep off the omelette and crumpet slash pancakes…

PS: An email did get sent when I was flying to look for a certain transport company on arrival. But obvs didn’t get it due to no free airport wifi ever working and phone mobile credit inferno. 

Words by Sharpy

The Pros & Cons of Autumn


If you live in the UK like we do then being obsessed with the weather is something you’ll appreciate. It’s something to do with the British trait for actually enjoying disappointment.
This summer, as usual, has been a bit ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Sure there were the odd sunny moments. It wasn’t a 1 out of 10 grey bleurgh write off. But we ain’t exactly all rocking mahogany tans are we? It’s not a summer anyone will talk about.
So summer is done. Goodbye potential beach barbecues. See you snorkel sessions. Bye bye another year without surfing at home in boardies/bikinis. Hello overflowing CSOs, poopy seas and glum, damp tourists cursing their decision to staycation.

It doesn’t seem right, somehow, that it’s now officially autumn already. Or Fall if you’re not from here. The season made for surfers. A season where nature puts on a colour show of true wonder. All those lovely autumnal tones in the foliage. For a day or so before an ex-hurricane comes through and blows them all off to block up the drains. Still. The Atlantic seems in a spicy mood so hopefully the surfer’s season will live up to expectation. It rarely does so it’s about time we had a belter.
As a diversion from any pressing work here are our autumnal pros/cons…


•Roast dinners
•Proper swell (crosses everything for more hurricanes as it seems pretty active this year)
•No crowds (hopefully)
•Water’s still warm.
•Parking restrictions end and car park prices drop
•Nature’s free bounty collected and converted into chutney
•Getting to play with high explosives without getting in trouble
•Dressing up as zombies
•Getting to surf the deep shelter spots again
•The pros showing us how France and Portugal are meant to be surfed
•Not having to dodge tourists
•Riding shortboards
•More roast dinners
•European surf trips
•Watching SUPs get rinsed trying to paddle out when it’s over a foot
•Not wearing boots or gloves. Yet
•The zing of frosty morning sand between your toes
•Bacon sammiches
•Coffee steaming in the dawn freshness
•Lines to the horizon
•Farmer’s tan
•Being able to park
•Craft microbrews (summer is cider/prosecco season)
•Overhead waves
•Getting snug in the back of a van
•Nature’s colour show as the leaves turn
•Few more roasts for good measure, as you can never have too many roasts


•Restricted hours of sunlight
•Endless rain
•Beer gardens revert to being only for hardcore smokers/vapers
•No dawnies or lates
•Christmas schmaltz even though it was only summer last week
•Clothes smelling of bonfire smoke
•Wetsuits not drying
•Ruining wetsuits by drying them by bonfires
•Snow (don’t laugh, probably will in October)
•Frosty wetsuits
•Endless flat surf
•Freezing tootsies and fingers letting you know it really is glove/boots o’clock
•Finally admitting it’s time for the hooded suit
•Having to flush the lovely warm wee out and it being a heart attack inducing moment
•Getting see through bad gravy with a roast
•Admitting it’s not really cider and ice season anymore
•Farmer’s tan
•Not having enough bedding in van and so freezing
•Closed public toilets (year round issue tbf)
•Cheap firework displays
•A big storm blowing all the golden leaves off in one go #standard

Enjoy the golden season while you can. At this rate it’ll be winter by October…


How to go feral in France…


The Hossegor run is the default first overseas surf mission for most of us Brits. It has many bonus points but the main one is: it’s cheap. Well. It’s just got about 10% more expensive thanks to the ongoing Brexit inspired currency fluctuations but hopefully that’ll improve soon.

Educational establishments are thinking about shutting up shop for the summer so here’s how to do it on a bare bones budget. As proven and road tested by many denizens of our damp islands over the years. Before we get into the meat of it we’ll assume you have the following: access to a car, boards, a sleeping bag, a camping cooker and some Euros.


Obviously choice of vehicle is important as is occupancy. Two people in a small car is okay. Three people in a mid-size and four can do a big estate if you are really close. A van is the real winner but not something you tend to have when you’re young and doing your first teenage Hossegor run.

Make sure your vehicle is legal, sort out AA/RAC cover for Europe for the duration of your trip. Trust us, we’ve had a car blow up in France with no cover and it is a mahoosive and very expensive ball-ache and you can’t just abandon it down there as you’ll still end up with a knock on the door and a big bill from the French rozzers … or maybe if you’re really lucky Interpol.

Check the current list of things the French authorities require: hi-vis vests, red triangles, spare bulbs, GB sticker, drink drive testers, etc. It’s bonkers but them’s the rules and if they pull you over they can demand to see any and all of the above. The French Gendarmes are notoriously no nonsense so no cheek. Plus side once you have these things they will live unused in the boot of your car for the rest of your life.


Depends which bit of Blighty you’re coming from. The Dover end crossing is well cheap and quick but you’ve got a longer and way more expensive tolled drive from Calais. From Portsmouth is ideal, not as expensive as Plymouth and the ferries tend to be overnight and arrive at dawn for your drive down. The toll road from Normandy down was around €30 total we did it and is motorway nearly the whole way now. So check it out and compare prices for what works best for you. Of course the Santander ferry is the bomb but that tub is so expensive now even between four of you it’s crazy prices. Prices on the channel crossing range from under £100 to £400 depending on dates and route.


You can smash the Channel coast of France to Hoss’ in about eight or nine hours with a Maccas stop. An efficient motor is your friend here. Getting down there on one tank is totes doable in the right car. So you can get there and back for just over a £100. All French garages have awesome €1 espresso machines so the driver can keep buzzing his teats off the whole way.


Now you can stay in campsites. But that’s not very feral and quite expensive. Being feral is all about maximising number of surf days for minimum cash. So paying for accom is out.

‘But where will I sleep?’ you cry. Easy pard. On the beach.

A decent sleeping bag and the top of the beach at the edge of the dunes makes a lovely bed. Just think of all the shooting stars you’ll see. Just be sure not to get ground up into mince by the beach-cleaning bulldozers.

‘But what if it flipping rains?’. Ah, Padawan. Very good question. This is why we brought the car. If wet sleep in the motor. Like we said earlier two people in a little car is fine. Fold down the front seats and you’re be snug as. We spent a week sleeping in a Ford Ka once and that was fine. Three in a mid range two get front seats one the back and in an estate just fight it out and sardine in. Or you can sleep under balconies/buildings. Staying in the beach car parks is no bother*. The police shouldn’t bother you and there’ll be plenty of dudes in vans to pal up with. Don’t sleep in bins. You’ll get squished.

*Some years they get eggy. So can always pitch up in the forest instead. But obvs no trash. No trace.


So this whole deal is about not splashing too much cash. Eating is expensive. The classic surf fuel for feral surfers is ramen noodles. Cheap as hell, quick to cook so you don’t waste too much camping gaz and they tasty. The other classic French treat is the 10 pack box of pain au chocolate. Get one of those bad boys after your dawn surf and it’ll last you all day. For the truly ninth dan feral experience go bin diving through the skips out the back of LeClerc at the end of the day and see what goodies you can find. Rule of thumb: if it looks okay and doesn’t stink you can probably eat it. But don’t tell them we sent you.


Piss is über expensive in France. In bars at least. Beer from the supermarket ain’t too bad but the most bang for your buck comes from wine. Hell it’s the Bordeaux region of France, famous, and rightly so, for its wines. So sample the plastic bottle wines and find a fruity, drinkable number. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can score for less than two euros. You’ll also be winning as wine drinkers appear cultured and suave. Not a boorish beer idiot. That said the youth these days are too healthy to drink evil booze so I guess you can hang on to a super fruit smoothy or whatever it is you drink instead.


Obvs tricky when spending no money. Normal plan: get tanked on wine/cheap Lidl lager then head to the Centrale and hang out. This is where all the action is in Hoss’ of an eve. If you’ve got the green you can buy one beer and nurse it.

If you want to be truly feral then you can mine sweep but you need to be really careful that drinks have been abandoned properly; not temporarily as you might get a French fist in your teeth. Or roofied. The motherlode is hooking up with someone that’s got proper accom so you can shower and sleep in comfort.


No campsite equals no showers and shitters. You just need to scope out what’s available. There’s beach showers in season and there’s some nice bogs by the market place in Hossegor and those pay jobs are always a last resort. If you open and close the door and stay in for the wash cycle you can have a dump and a hose down for the same price. One modern essential for feral trips is the ‘wet wipe’. Yes. Those things festival goers use. Wet wipes are a great way to stay relatively clean without showering and if you’re in the sea every day how crusty can you get?


This is why you’re here right? Hossegor is just the focal point. The surf can be busy these so do some exploring. Check out north and south at low, mid and high tide. Knowing what banks are on is the key to maximising your surf time in Hoss’. There can be magical banks south of Capbreton and north of Seignosse with not a soul in sight. If you can borrow some binos from the ‘rents for the trip do.

As anywhere respect the locals, don’t drop in, snake or hog waves, in short stick to the rules of the road. It’s not like Britain where people will give you stink-eye at worst. French, and often Basque types, are more passionate than us Brits and are far quicker to speak with their fists if you cock up their surf. Bring a spare sled as snappage can and will happen. Wetty wise a 3mm is handy for dawnies, boardies and a maybe a neoprene vest is fine for the rest of the day.

So there you go. How to go feral in France. If you are really good you can do a month for a few hundred quid and get a zillion surfs under your belt in one of the best places in the world for waves. Too easy.

Words & Photos: Sharpy

France_Kerr_Ouch France_Batty04

The perks of being a grom…

When you’re a grom summer stretches out forever. Even when you’re verging out of gromhood into college or uni years you still have epic, long summers of surf.

Make the most of it as once adulthood kicks in those long weeks of dicking about in the sea will only be visible through rose-tinted glasses. Two weeks off in the summer is never the same as the months of fun you have as a grom. Seize every day there’s surf with abandon. Just to encourage you to make the most of it here’s a handy listicle of reasons why being a grom is the best of times…


When you’re a grom you’re generally a small human. Unless you are Angus Scotney. Who at 15 was larger than most full grown adult males of the species. If you are not Angus then you could well be a small person. This might not have a huge benefit when it comes to playing rugby but it’s amazing when you surf. For the following reason: ‘Small’ waves aren’t that small to you. Your head height wave could be nipple height on a big dude. And because you are smaller and lighter the physics of it all means you can rip small waves on a shortboard while the grown ups are struggling to get to their feet or resorting to riding longboards. And seeing as the summer is small swell time you’re killing it when it comes to rideable days.


As a grom you aren’t allowed to smoke, drink or drive a car. Three things that as an adult leave you very much out of pocket. Add to the fact you tend to be living at home rent free then any money you make from the shit-kicking evening/weekend job is all yours. Enjoy it. You’ll be richer as a grom than you ever will be once the real world comes crashing in when you leave the nest. Free to spend it on energy drinks you’re not really allowed and all the food that’s really bad for you because as a grom you can eat any old shit and burn it off without turning into a lard arse. If you surf of course. If you’re sat on the couch playing COD you’ll be off to fat camp before you know it.


No one likes bathing. Showers and baths are a bore. Being a grom, and hence keen as, you’re in the sea and sun all the time which keeps you a) nut brown b) sun bleached and salt mopped in the hair department c) kind of clean, you’re bathing in water of sorts so that’s enough. Just remember to flush your wetty out on the way in so you’re not known as ‘Pissy Boy’ to your mates.


Summer means exposed flesh and, if you’re a regulation grom, hormones soaring out of control. Heady times indeed. Everyone looks better with a tan and surf all the time you’ll be looking more buff than the gym bunny fools slurping creatine shakes. Mainly because your muscles are being toned rather than being pumped up. Make the most of it and of course be safe. Summer loving is all about fun so don’t be a twat.


At 17 you can get your provisional license and learn to drive. Which means freedom. So make sure you bag a slightly older friend. One with rich parents that will obvs get bought loads of lessons and a decent car by the bank of Mum and Dad. You then have a ride. The world becomes your oyster and eco-not-friendly as cars are it means you can surf all over the place. No more limiting yourself to your home break or wherever you can blag the ‘rents to take you. This opens up the next point:


Doing the legendary summer mission to Hossegor is a rite of passage for groms. Super fun waves, boardshort temp water and the freedom to sunbathe in the buff if you prefer. It is, in short, heaven. All you need is the aforementioned friend with a car, a sleeping bag, boards, camping stove, pan, box of noodles and some cash for ten packs of ‘pain au chocolate’ and Yop and you’re off on the surf holibob of a lifetime. Sleep on the beach, being sure to avoid being minced by the beach cleaning tractors, and if wet sleep in the car. You can go for a month on hardly any cash and as you’re sleeping on the beach you hit the dawnies before the locals and get the choice waves. Then there’s the legendary French night life. Even if you aren’t old enough to partake in an ale the Centrale is chock full of fun every night in summer.


Summer is awesome as school stops. College and uni stop for even longer. This is why it’s a good idea to go to university as you get three month summer breaks! Even more time to dick about in the sea. Even when in school it’s better than doing a job. Sure the money is not so hot but responsibility is zero. All you have to do is try and wangle some exams and be a thorn in the teachers’ backsides.


The most flavoursome cold food in the world IS summer. Eating it in the winter is all kinds of odd. It can actually help cool you down so it’s not only tasty it’s good for you medically. It’s like air conditioning for your guts. It does, of course, also power your surfing in the summer. And yes. If Ben & Jerry’s is on special you are allowed to nail a whole tub in one go … as long as you’ve surfed for at least five hours that day.


As a grom it’s your duty to be a pain in the ass. Whether this means jumping off harbour walls when the harbour master would rather you didn’t (assuming you’ve done the sensible thing and snorkelled the landing area to survey depth/obstacles, cliff jumping into the unknown is idiotic), skating where you’re not meant too or paddling rings round grumpy old people in the line-up. You’re young and fast on your feet. They have to catch you to punish you. Being cheeky is your divine right. Assert it. Once old it doesn’t really work.

Simple. Good mates are your wingmen, co-pilots and co-conspirators. Treat them right.


When you’re an adult you have to do your laundry yourself. As a grom you just leave your rank dirty boardies and crusty t-shirts on the bedroom floor and they magically vanish and reappear the next day smelling all pine fresh. No one is quite sure how this happens. It’s probably because science.

Same thing with food. It just gets served by that nice lady that lives in your house. The one that tuts and rolls her eyes at you. Saves you the bother of learning how to cook.


The only downside to being a grom in the summer is grom abuse from the older crew. It’s your duty to accept this as another rite of passage. It’s proof you are being grom enough and probably getting too many waves. Being hung upside down by surf leashes or strapped to the roof of a car is kind of fun anyway.

You’ve only got one grommet-hood. Seize it with both hands.


Words & Photos: Sharpy.

Starring: Stan Norman, Jo Morris, Seth Morris, Will Masterman, Bertie Norman and Barnaby Cox.

Car Sleeping Blues

car sleeping

There was a time, back in the day, when sleeping in your car was the done thing.
We thought nothing of rocking a down the Welsh coast for a surf, having a good session, then getting out at sun down before heading in to town to get fish’n’chips and a few tinnies of whatever Spar had on spesh for the evening.

After the deep-fried, fat-injection we’d truck back to the beach, watch the last wisps of the sun go down over a few cold ones and talk story. As the dusk turned to night we’d still be there, talking crap, drinking, by now slightly tepid beer, and chewing over the day’s rides. At some point, generally when the beer was all gone and the regulation Austin Power’s style overly-long slash had been unleashed, we’d assume our positions.
Sleeping in a small car is not ideal. Especially when there are four of you, the car involved is a very compact, glorified shopping cart Peugeot and it’s just started raining.
Some people, like Tim Nunn, can sleep anywhere. Many times we’ve been stuck in some exotic ferry port or grime-laden airport and he’s literally just laid down on the concrete, face-down on a towel and been snoring within a few minutes. It’s an impressive super-power, which makes your surfing life so much easier. Batty is the same, towel, floor, snooze.
For those of us not blessed with slumbertastic skill, us regular Joes, it goes something like this: get into car (cursing under your breath if you’re the unlucky fecker that drove and hence has to put up with the steering wheel and pedals) get awkwardly comfortable, put on a thousand-yard stare, wish you were home in your nice comfy bed and wait.
If, like your correspondent, sleeping in a sitting upright position is all but impossible this wait goes on most of the night. Yep. Can’t sleep on planes, trains or automobiles.
So. You grit your teeth, curse, fidget and generally wonder if this surfing lark is really worth such discomfort; whilst wishing a plague of nose-dives, drop-ins and nasty board-up-the-rectum style accidents on the snoring happy-campers around you. The smug bastards. Cosy as baby field mice they are, wrapped in sleeping bags with damp towels for pillows, they’re all firmly asleep, they’re all snoring and each corpulent body is intermittently letting off the ghostly gaseous remains of the deep-fried muck that masquerades for English cuisine.
In your wired, half-awake state you’ll swear each little parp is preceded by the faintest of smirks, hard to tell in the half light, but even in sleep they mock you, your nostrils and your unwelcome awakeness.
The hours pass. The car windows become a smear of condensation. You wonder if the judge would be lenient when you appear before the bench on three charges of murder.
After all, with everyone else asleep it would be easy. There’s just cause, not only are they all taunting you, smugly resting their surf tired limbs, but the straps tying the boards down, or to be more precise, the strap over your head only, is dripping rain water on your head … Chinese water torture, Welsh style.
A plan forms, smother the buggers in their sleep with your wet, stinky towel, chuck the bodies in the fierce rip at Fresh, drive home several boards richer and dive straight into the heavenly confines of your shower then bed. The bodies would be long gone, off into the deep Atlantic, pecked to bits by fish, seagulls and, if the salty old sea-dog fisherman down the quay is to be believed, sharks. One way of reducing the crowd at least.
The rain stops, and in time the drip stops harassing you, the grey light of pre-dawn gives the world ghostly definition. Still awake, but in some kind of ultra-tired trance, everything seems peaceful. You reflect on the guffing, snoring, bodies around you, stifle a chuckle at the faces people make when they’re asleep and watch almost hypnotised by the gravity defying bead of dribble hanging from the side of your co-pilot’s mouth.
As dawn struggles into the world you can just start to make out lines, the swell has picked up from the evening before; the wind is faultlessly offshore. Sneaky thoughts of slipping out of the man-stench pit for a crafty early surf cross your mind. Could get the whole place to yourself, whilst Team Snuggles snore on, dreaming they’re JOB dropping into Backdoor.
The choice is thus: a warm, but uncomfortable, smelly, damp car, versus getting into an extremely wet, overly sandy, painfully cold and down right nasty wetsuit. A tough choice.
You decide to wait a bit, let some more light creep across the land and maybe get half an hours shut-eye. Now that it’s nearly light your body relents … fitful sleep takes over.
You wake with a start, simultaneously banging your head on the window and stubbing your toe into the pedals. Drool is plastered through your stubble; it’s a winning look. Your brain synapses try to get going but keep misfiring, you try to move and ‘Ow! Shit, what the?’ your neck is locked in a spasm, due to sleeping in such awkward manner. Great. What a way to start the day. No coffee and a screwed neck. At least it’s time for a surf, as you gingerly turn round it becomes apparent Team Fart Squad have nicked off for the early.
Setting a new world record for the amount of times one person can swear in five minutes you suit up, cursing your mates, the world, your neck and the seagulls. The first hit of pure, green Atlantic snaps you out of the frenzy. The first duckdive washes away the sleep grime and bad mood. Rhythmically stroking out to the peak you see one of your so-called mates take off and pull into a feisty little keg, he plunges an arm into the face, stalling, gives you a fruity little wave from the tube with the other hand. You reply with a swift, but cheery, single finger salute and keep paddling.
Once out back your mates are in good spirits, they slept for eight hours, why wouldn’t they be? They didn’t wake you because you looked so peaceful, and we know it’s hard for you to sleep in the car.
Next set, the first wave is yours, snapping to your feet the neck spasm arcs pain through your whole body. Surfing like someone that can’t move his or her neck you gingerly trim down the line. The wave starts to bowl and double up, it’s gonna shack, you try and bend to duck into the tube but can’t. The lip hits you square in the side of the head and you get worked.
When getting mowed by a healthy chunk of Atlantic there is time for reflection, as you bounce off the sandbar you forgive your mates, your neck frees up and you look forward to another day of waves and good times.
As you get older sleeping in your car seems a bit undignified. You feel you need, or deserve, a B&B, hell a boutique coastal hotel that are all the rage these days.
That is, of course, crap.
As you get older, you get wiser, you also get a bigger car. Or a van. Plenty of room to stretch out in the back…

Words & Photos Sharpy