It does not matter what sport you are doing. Some days are going to be better than others. Then occasionally you get a day that is a real treat and when you have finished you look back on the day with a big smile on your face. This is what happened to richard and myself on our last day in the Algarve. We had been staying in Albufeira just up the road fromwhere Lee and Emma had been staying. They had flown back the previous day and after a week of chasing waves on the south and west coast of Portugal. Wedecided to have a relaxing paddle right off the beach where lee and Emma had been staying for the last month.
Richard took the above video while taking a drink break and applying some more sun screen.
We had been wearing a wetsuit all week while we had been surfing. Well sup and a waveski as the water in portugal in march is pretty cold. However as we were only intending to have a leisurely paddle. We decided to just wear a pair of board shorts and soak up the sunshine. The treat started when we got to the beach. We were treated to a chest high wave breaking in the exact spot where we were launching from. With the rest of the long beach being completely flat. So Richard on his waveski and myself on The starboard POD. Spent the next two hours catching waves totally on our own and just in shorts. This was the best SUP surf i had of the whole trip. Not the biggest or fastest wave we saw but the most enjoyable. This wave was what the sup was invented for. We both finished with huge smiles on our faces and went home very happy people.
The forecast said again that the wind would swing in to the NW by high water. On the morning though we kept looking at the windguru spot weather station on the Red house at Camber and it stubbornly stayed south of west. In the end we decided to give it a look anyway and we were so glad we did. We were presented with a chest high clean wave that was running left nicely.
Danger John was supposed to come down for a surf. He ended up at Folkestone though and talking to him later he had a nice clean chest high wave there as well. Richard had a cracking session on his waveski and said that it reminded him of the last sessions we had at Saunton just as the swell was dropping out. What he really meant was it was pure fun.
This session was areal treat. Easy to get out through the white water. A nice shoulder to play on and the wind dropped to nothing for over 2 hours WAHOO.
The forecast had been showing a lot of swell for friday the 12th all week. Also the forecast was showing the wind going NW. Which would bring some over head high clean waves at Camber Sands. High water up by the harbour arm looked the best bet.
On the day there was plenty of swell. The Greenwich light ship buoy was showing 14f at one time. The wind had dropped out and was light from the west. Richard gave me a ring and said he probably would not make it due to a bad back. A few ibuprofen managed to get him to the beach with his waveski though. He was so glad he did as he caught the best wave he had ever caught at Camber.
Tom from the kitesurf centre came out on his Starboard Pocket Rocket Unfortunately he bought a squally shower out with him. Just as the waves were cleaning up nicely.
Over all it was not the epic day the forecast had hinted it might be. It was however a great day to be on the water with the Sup.
It had been a while since Rich and myself had had a trip down to Saunton sands. We had been keeping an eye on the weather for a few weeks. All they had down the west country during this time were westerly onshore winds. We had been looking for a weather forecast with light offshore easterly winds and some waves. So that we could drop down to saunton in Devon and have a surf. Well a Sup surf for me on the starboard POD and to catch some waves on the waveski for Rich.
Then the weather did us a good turn and the weekend of the 15th and 16th of November promised some 4-6 foot waves and a light easterly wind. The Monday was supposed to be light winds and 2-3 feet that however turned in to onshore mush.
We got to Saunton about lunchtime on the saturday. To our pleasent surprise we saw Dave Gayda,s van in the car park and Rich joked about whether he would have his windsurf sails in his van that he had given him a couple of weeks beforehand to get fixed. Dave was already out surfing so we had to wait on that one. What a surprise when we saw Dave later and he did actually have the sails in his van. So Rich was a well happy bunney.
The saturday proved to be nearly double over head high surf and both myself on the sup and Rich on the Waveski took a battering getting out through the white water. It was well worth the effort though as the waves that were caught were some of the biggest i had caught on the sup for a long time.
The sunday did not disappoint either. The waves were a bit smaller and more manageable. Still maxing out at head high and a half though. It was however a bit easier to get out through the white water. With Rich on the waveski almost cruising out the back. I got a bit of a hammering in the white water again. It took me about 10 minutes to get the starboard pod out the back. Again there were some cracking waves to be had. With Rich having the fastest drop down a face of a wave that he has ever had and myself being goofy footed so i love going left. I did however have one of the sweetest rights i have had. With a lovely peeling over head high right and i managed for me 4 bottom and top turns all without any loss of speed. Dave had been using the rip by the rocks to help him get out the back. So that looks like the best bet for next time. He also said he had caught one of the best waves in a long time. So all in all a great weekend had at Saunton Sands in November.
The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo passed across the uk the day before. Producing some 3 to 4m waves as it did so. The wind had kept blowing for most of the night. So Richard and myself were quietly optimistic that there would be a chance of a surf over the high water at camber.
We got to Camber about half an hour before high water and got on the water at about high. The swell though had nearly all but died. There was just the odd waist to chest high sets left. They were however few and far between, We were about to call it a day when Rupert from the kitesurf centre came afloat for a sup. o we thought we had better keep him company for a while. To be honest as the water dropped from high water a bit the waves did get a bit better. Not good enough if you were on a surfboard but good enough for our stand up paddleboards and Richard,s waveski.
So all in all no epic wave riding to be had. However the weather was good the wind light and offshore and some fun little sets coming through. So again well worth getting the sup out and having a paddle with friends.
Monday the 20th of October. No work to mid afternoon, Checked the weather on xcweather and windguru and once checked the grenwich wave buoy which was showing 4.5 feet. It was time to give richard a shout, Load up the van with the starboard POD wave sup and head down to Camber sands. High water was 9.30 am so it meant a paddle at the grassy car park. Being well in to October this means that you can park by the gates as the car park is closed.
Well it was not an epic full on day. What we did have though for about 1 and a half hours was some small but great fun waist to maximum chest high waves. You could not get a great deal of speed on the waves there was though enough to get a half decent bottom turn. With the help of the paddle you could just about get a top turn in without stalling.
So for a sunny warm morning in the middle of October Richard and myself were more than happy to take full advantage of the conditions that we had at hand. The good thing though about stand up paddle surfing and the use of a waveski is that you dont have to have perfect waves to have fun. Even mushy waist high waves can still be great fun.