Sunday, November 27, 2011

That was a week that was....

.... a bit of trial at times as Sue and self tackle the sort of problems that many in these troubled financial times have to face. Many obviously way worse off than ourselves.

Throw in the Pirates losing so painfully at Bristol last Sunday, and then again up at Doncaster for the first time since 2002; the combination of which does little to enhance the mood.

Thus a trip to Praa after the nod from Gav this afternoon was just the tonic. Wasn't it just?!

On a perfect late autumn afternoon giving further evidence of the unusually mild season we've been having; we had a very enjoyable hour and a half to no doubt provide entertainment to the loads of promenaders walking up and down the beach. They themselves enjoying every last minute of daylight as the evening approached.

I'd gone for the longboard to give my confidence any re-assurance it may have needed after the leash moment last month. Although the belly was on standby if needed. It required none and the latter remained on the back seat as a decent enough sized, but not over heavy wave greeted our arrival.

I managed to hook up a good half dozen good lefts and a similar amount of banzai late take offs before returning to shore. While Sue banged in some good rides of her own as she completed her latest ever surf calender wise with a grin that outweighed the chattering of teeth. The extremities reminding her that despite everything, this was still nearly December.

Bottom line was a mellow couple ready for their supper and a glass of something nice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For the Ultimate Personalized Bellyboard....

...why not visit our chums at Traditional Surfing from Sennen.

Teaming up with Sue, a package has been designed to provide unique 'caricatured' boards to stand out from the crowd.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Return to the Sea

For a variety of reasons it has been a day short of four weeks since Sue and self had immersed ourselves in the ocean.

On the last occasion I'd managed to get myself separated from my board and had that Guardian Angel moment provided by a local seal. True, it'd been a pretty lively swell, but it was a timely reminder of the mortality thing.

This consequently may have influenced my decision to join Sue on the 'belly' for this occasion; the conditions being as lively if not livelier. There is a chance after all of a window of opportunity for a go on the log tomorrow. Given the break since I've been in this felt the wiser choice.

That said, it's been a while since I've been prone and with the mild and pleasant weather blessing this part of the world today; it seemed the perfect ante dote to the worries we'd had with Emma over the last 48 hours or so. OK it may have been the desire to have a ride in an ambulance and test Ben's fatherly aptitudes, but given the rough ride she'd had during labour three and half weeks ago; it was still a great concern.

Happily, she was allowed home this afternoon and so hopefully, life with lil Claire Tamsyn can now begin to evolve properly. Ben btw passed with flying colours his parental tests! ;o)

As for the waves, well, great fun was had by us both. I managed one or two cover ups and plenty of 'along the face' action. As did Sue whose wave count was as high as ever.

I'm exploring new envelopes too with the board and experimenting with moving about when hooked up to a ride; shifting the weight forrads and backards for example.

Lo it was a soppy couple who emerged from the sea and hour and a half later; hand in hand; to make our way back home and to look forward to our Saturday evening repas.

Life doesn't get any better than this it seems...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

One Good Turn...

.....deserves another so the saying goes.

It's been a week since we got back from welcoming our grand-daughter into the fold up country; two since we've even seen the ocean, let alone got into it for some waves.

On the last occasion of course I experienced that 'guardian angel' moment with a local seal. Something not easily forgotten even if it wasn't as it seemed when filtered through a human mind.

Today though we had no inclination to go surfing, being just glad to get to Godrevy, to bound the hound and get some fresh sea air into our lungs having been couped up all the day before. We'll ignore the day to day 'joys' of trying to balance the books in such trying times too!

Once Charlie had finally negotiated the pathway up to the lifeguard hut at the north end of the beach, with his usual nasal thoroughness, we couldn't help but notice that there appeared to be a young seal beached at the waterline.

Other beach users and the lifeguards had clocked this as well and were keeping a watching brief. There was nothing else for it but to take a closer look ourselves.

The Seal Sanctuary at Gweek had been alerted and were on the way we discovered when reaching the scene. The pup it was clear was not a happy chappy, although not in any immediate danger, so when concluding a very pleasant conversation with some visitors from Crowthorne, we continued our walk in the direction of the lighthouse. The ebbing tide being a fair way out already from shore.

Wandering back, we could see that two individuals were now in attendance of the stricken marine mammal, and so decided to see how things were going.

As it turned out, the poor thing had, as suspected taken a battering in the heavy surf. It'd also taken a bit of stick from another creature un-identified, and had it seemed been parted from it's mother. And not as I'd thought already been weaned and looking out for itself.

The decision had been made to take it back to Gweek and the feisty fellow had been secured in a rather nifty carrier, ready for transporting back to the National Trust car park. A fair trudge from this point too. So, yours truly offered some brawn, to help carry it back; load it into a more secure cage, and into the back of the awaiting seal taxi. The least I could do I thought.

Charlie wisely kept a safe distance all the way, and maintained such once the tricky process of transfer from pouch to cage to car began. Wise too, given the sharp pointy things the young un had at the mouth end. Something I knew but still briefly forgot when trying to manoeuvre the cage inside the vehicle, but luckily got away with as pup was distracted elsewhere!

Karma satisfied then and with the full quota of digits!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Sunday began just like plenty of others. Well, the day began by tuning into the second RWC semi between the Kiwis & Wallabies, which hadn't happened before. So technically it wasn't the same as previous Sabbath dawnings...

Ben and I had exchanged a couple of texts, as is not uncommon, about the choice of Haka and 1 or 2 of the opening plays. When suddenly the subject matter changed with the announcement that Emz's 'waters had broken'. Claire Tamsyn was on the move. Ignition sequence had begun!

The kids were advised to head to the hospital around 4pm for a check up, and so there was no need to postpone heading down to the beach as planned that afternoon. There had been some small swell the day before but we had decided to stick to the original plan of leaving it until Sunday, as the forecast promised something more to play with.

On arrival it was clear there was and, what's more, the weather was a darn sight better than promised, with a little more of the 'Indian summer' we'd had a fortnight earlier. The swell was indeed bigger with plenty of whitewater on the inside; but it looked managable and so the log was given the nod.

The paddle out too was relatively straightforward, but it was clear that even at the current low water stage, there was plenty of 'lump' out there with plenty of water shifting about.

As a consequence, I found it very difficult to get in sync' with the conditions and had to ultimately settle for only a couple of half rides before getting nailed by a rogue set. Dramatically too, upon re-surfacing it quickly became clear that there had been a leash failure; thus my board was beachwards bound. Not that I could now see it!

There was nothing for it but begin the 300m swim for shore. not an easy task given the heavy swell, but nothing that gave cause for alarm.

More so, when I became aware that I had a seal for an escort! Guardian Angel? Who knows?
Back home and the latest from Ben was that they'd returned home as things seemed to have been a false alarm.

How wrong we were!

Things had taken a dramatic return by around 10pm and the pair of them were back at maternity for what transpired into being a marathon process that never concluded until just after 6pm on Monday!

Whether it was the threat of a 'c-section', forceps or the utilisation of my husbandry skills will never be known; but the bottom line was the safe arrival of our first grand child. And what an absolute sweety!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Landmarks galore to celebrate or otherwise, as Sue and I get wet for the first time since Sunday week ago.

Sue beat the encroaching gloom and mist to stretch out a 45 minute thrash in a lively shorebreak. While I paddled out on the log for a bit longer in some very clean shoulder high stuff.

Of course, this was the first time I'd surfed as a if it would feel any different!! But then why would it? Plenty of 'geris' in the lineup for as long as I've been surfing and, if anything, it proves to be an inspiration still.

Similar if not more so in the bellie zone! But I'll let Sue elucidate if the need arises ;0)

So, the nights draw in and inevitably with it goes the chance for an apres work surf till spring. For now though there's a grin on the face as the curry bubbles, knowing there's a chance of some more waves over the weekend; it being rugby free. Sort of. Duty done superstition-wise anyway as the Pirates turn out at Nottingham tomorrow night. Pre match surfs always seem to deliver a win.....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SAS sewage alert

Sewage has just stopped discharging at Godrevy. Water quality can be affected for the next 12 hours.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just as well.....

......the weather and waves are forecast to be pants tomorrow.

...... Sue and I took the bellies down for a very pleasant couple of hours late Sunday afternoon then.

Ended up being the wise choice, as our wave counts were far higher than the board surfers who vainly tried to make something of the small, clean wave on offer. Made for some interesting looks on their faces as joined them in the lineup....and often resulted in a face ride and cover up.

Method in the would seem. ;o)

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Post-Work Surf

A balmy Indian Summer evening....what better than to cast away all your sweaty work clothes, don damp rubber and take to the liquid gold that is the sunset-lit sea? Mind, you it was a spring tide and a high one so I didn't bellyboard for fear of being flung onto unforgiving pebbles. I sat on the beach and admired the scene, took a few photos and sketched.

There were a few folks about. A chap got out with his canoe and sat watching the action for a while before leaving.

Gwithian at high tide is a mere sliver of itself and that is mostly large pebbles but that didn't deter people from coming to enjoy the last rays of a warm day. The lady sitting down had a rather nice floppy-brimmed hat but sadly removed it as I started to sketch.

Woll's out! Time for tea!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Slash Goes the Dainty Ankle Look....

....When you take off on a steep face to ride one in because you've spotted the missus propped up against her 'belly', and reckon it's about time ;o)

The result was a short, banzai ride before the nose dug in and deposited it's mount into the flight path of the fins underside. Contact was made with the right ankle and, for the second time in five days, yours truly was to find out how sharp they can be.

More so this time, as the post surf clean up in the shower revealed a reasonably deep cut with slivers of skin awaiting a trim, or stitching back on.

Not that this detracted from a fun surf in the bay at Newquay, and the opportunity to hook up with Parky and his lad, Lewis, for the first time in a couple of moons. We ended up surfing off Tolcarne, while Sue just went around the corner to Great Western where she bumped into Laura and Amy by chance, from Junior Ladies heat 4 at the Worlds three weeks back. Talk about a small world.

Had a much more fun time than Tuesday with feet (pre-slashing) spending a lot of time planted on the deck this time. One left and a couple of rights stood out, but these made up only a fraction of the regular rides nabbed to sate the appetite.

Sue too had a ball with plenty of wave action of her own, sealing a satisfying first ever surf for her, on one of the town beaches. Actually it was the first time I'd tried Tolcarne and, allowing for the inevitable crowding at times, I'd give it the thumbs up.

Now...where's that needle and thread and some 'anaesthetic'? ;o)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More Poo!....

.....well there was.

SAS have just ended the alert at Godrevy that began last night around 9.20pm.

The 'hounds' were called off at 11.30 this morning, after I presume the half inch of rain that fell yesterday proved too much for the system at Reskadinnick.

A mere 14 hours of discharging raw sewage then.....

Thought we lived in the 21st century!!!!......

Surfing is Dangerous...and you Get Wet

As yesterday progressed, the breeze as forecast dropped sufficiently and early enough, to give the green light for an after work surf.

Sue reported that, through the increasingly misty conditions, there was indeed a wave. Thus the quick turnaround 'drill', so practised after I get in from the days toils, swung into action; to the bewilderment of a visiting friend, not used to such things.

Not unsurprisingly given the fact that it was now raining, she declined the opportunity to come see what all the fuss was about. Wouldn't want to get wet etc etc. Why would we???

Some folks just don't get it eh?

The conditions were obviously still in the process of improving when we turned up at Godrevy; a mixture of swell was though being dominated by one single source. Thus I opted for the longboard, and was pleased with my efforts to get out through some insistent white water.

An hour or so later though and, having had an exhilarating time and plenty of paddling practice to keep on the limited peaks, I came to the conclusion that it had been the wrong choice. In terms of fun that could have been had, given the lack of tangible 'feet on deck' time, that is.

Sue on the other hand had had plenty of riding action and chance to work on the tricks again. Throw in a nailing on the way in, where slight contact with fin drew blood from a cut on the hand; a trudge back to the car in persistent rain and a soggy, steamed up ride home. Then maybe the 'why do we it' thing could have crept in.

No! I don't think so either!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cream Tee anyone?

Don't let anyone tell you we don't indulge in anything 'touristy', as Sue proudly displays our World Belly Champs 'cream tees'; picked up this morning from the National Trust hut at Godrevy.

We'd reserved them at Chapel Porth on the day itself but hadn't taken sufficient cash. From that point the powers that can, did, to get them to us.

OK, we'd have preferred the blue version, but it wasn't an issue as we have a satisfactory momento of the day itself.

Roll on the 10th Champs next September. we can't wait!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just the Tonic...Gin optional

Lack of sleep last night made for an irritable morning at least at work, where my usual amiability was noticeable by it's absence.

Varied reasons, mostly connected with the strained finances, but primarily waiting for the sharp intake of breath from the MOT mechanic after the jalopy would surely fail it's annual test. By some margin I feared, if last year was anything to go by. Oh and the bill! Just what we need.

Well there was at least the consolation of the promise of some surf at last, post work. Katia had passed over earlier in the week and, looking at the camera yesterday evening, things looked promising. Although we declined going down then, conscious of this looming test I guess.

With the breeze in the SE and light, we could hope for it staying that way before the forecast of it increasing to 'moderate' came to fruition. Even so, the mind just wasn't on it right up till lunchtime and the dreaded news.

Quel surprises then, as said MOT mechie gave news of a positive nature! The heap had passed with nothing worse than a couple of advisories and a bit of tape rectifying the otherwise offending rear indicator casing!!! Get in!!

And 'get in' we did with an F1 style loading up process as soon as I pulled into the drive helping matters as ever, after a far more 'me mood' in the afternoon.

It doesn't get much better than this, as a late summer sunset surf rounded off a day that screamed a small victory for us. The waves were playing ball too and were longboard heaven.

The dry hair paddle out was rewarded with a couple of quickly taken waves; both lefts, that were as mellow and carvey as I'd dreamt of since the Nissan had been given a 12 moon reprieve. In all there were a half a dozen notable rides in the hour we were in; one in particular, a right, that incorporated the most confident 'stippy-step' of my surfing career to date. It just felt so natural and boy has that been a long time coming!

Sue too had some fun on the Belly, finding ample opportunity to practice some of her tricks in readiness for the 10th bellies a year hence. There were a couple of short walls in the set to, to set us up for a mellow evening with fish pie and a glass of something as a treat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

World Bellyboard Championships- the sketches Part 1

Much nicer than photos... the sketches! 

 The Bellyboarders assemble, 'weapon' of choice to hand......

Enter your board into the 'best board' competition. Prizes for best artwork, patina, vintage and paint job.

 Some are just happy to sit and quietly mull over their strategy.

Some wear fancy dress for the occasion.....

More sketches to come! 

I will admit to a bit of a cheat though on this occasion, as these were done afterwards, using photos as reference because the bad weather made it impossible to sketch in situ, which I much prefer. It's actually much harder to sketch from photos I think; you tend to want to pick over details and they lose their scribbly freshness. But I think I have managed to get around that by setting time limits to each sketch.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years On...

Well, I did go surfing for an hour or so this morning and was looking forward to reporting on it. Somehow though, in view of the events in the U.S. this afternoon [UK time], this all seems rather hollow. As a small and futile gesture in the face of such mindless barbarism, please allow me to dedicate to the victims of this tragedy, my best ever wave and ride at Skeg' taken today in a mood of tranquility. God Bless! :o(

posted by woll at 6:20 PM

How could such a perfect day be so sickly tainted?

The conditions weatherwise and wavewise had, it later transpired, mirrored those across the Pond. I remember returning home in a very mellow mood and ready to do some work, only for that to be transformed so horrifically.

In the aftermath one image will always stand out if only I could now locate it. It was taken from a beach in New York state by a surfer/surf photographer and was published in the Surfers Path magazine soon after. It depicted a perfect morning with some nice waves thrown in, the sort we'd all dream of bar one thing. In the distance are the pillars of smoke with it's eerie signal that something is wrong. Very wrong.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to Earth...

....after the high of the World Belly Champs on Sunday and the more mundane life of a surfing couple not used to the 'bright lights and media attention' of such an event.

Well to a degree ;o)

Conditions and circumstance since the weekend haven't favoured a swift return to the water until this evening. And even then it was probably more a case of if we don't now, then bang goes the chance of so doing till after this weekend, given the arrival of another deep low from tomorrow on.

As it transpired we only stayed in at the 'bay' for an hour or so before the need for sustenance took hold for once.

I'd opted to take the longboard out this time knowing a stiff paddle through the lines of whitewater would test any weakness; mentally or physically. And yet I surprised myself by managing reasonably easily with a bit of patience and a couple of barrel rolls. But with the tide now receding fast and some pretty large hollow sets looming reasonably frequently, I suspected it was only a matter of time before I got nailed on the inside through some slack spotting.

Even so, for the half hour I was out there I did manage a couple of short rides and one absolute stonker which Sue witnessed (for once!) from her vantage point in the shallows. The inevitable quick spin and rinse followed soon after and, after riding one in, I spent the remainder of the session sharing Sue's belly.

How ironic then I should catch a couple of satisfying walls that would have easily put me in the mix at Chapel Porth only days earlier. Honestly (blush).

Sue scoffed at the notion naturally, still crowing no doubt about the 0.03 of a point drubbing she'd dealt me in da Champs. But hey; it's the old "you shoulda been here yesterday" thing.

Isn't it? Come with me here ;o)

Monday, September 5, 2011

World Bellyboard Championships

The day was warm and balmy as we parked the jalopy up at Wheal Coates car park, up on the cliff near Chapel Porth. No parking actually at the beach, as it's a very small car park and totally taken up with exhibitors tents and vehicles and the tea/registration tents. Bellyboards clutched under our arms, plus the paraphernalia required for a full beach day and in the company of a lovely chap in his 80's, who was on his way down with his board, we descended the steep path to the cove.

There's the engine house of Wheal Coates tin mine that clings to the 600ft cliff close to the edge. A lovely place for a picnic....but not today! We had other fish to fry. And ply to fly.

What brilliant hammocks someone had erected! They are sectional and can in theory go in a car boot!

John Isaac's jalopy is even older than ours and much prettier. He had serious misgivings about driving it, later on, when the heavens opened, as it has no windscreen wipers! Fab boards propping up the radiator grille, too.

Sally Parkin's Original Surfboard stand, very stylish and displaying some lovely boards. I particularly like the stripey zebrano boards; very tactile!

Hurricane Irene had sent some heavy swell over the pond to amuse us, but at high tide it was just a bit too feisty for the bellyboarders and the lifeguards deemed it safer to wait till the tide retreated a little. No matter, the sun was out and there was time to relax and take in the beauty of this stunning little cove.

National Trust folks were on the ball, directing competitors to the registration and tea tent (free tea before your heats and after, to warm you up!)

People were taking their boards to the judging area to be judges for best artwork, patina, vintage, etc. Can you spot mine?

Lots of boards arrived as people turned up and I couldn't fit them all in the picture! No prize for me, but I got lots of nice comments about it and the one that won was right in front of mine in this pic. See the wicker bellyboard lying down against the propped up ones (it has a white shape on it)? Talk about lateral thinking... and Woll said he saw it being ridden in a ladies heat. Brill!

The chap here is holding one of my favourite boards, all done in laundry marker pen then varnished. Behind him is the Traditional Surfing stand, some stunning ply there on display. The awning, on loan from Christian Surfers was to come into it's own when the rain rolled into town. Gavin and Tamsyn kindly sheltered us from the storm.

People coming down from Wheal Coates

So many fellow bellyboarders to chat to; they're such a friendly bunch. 

Some wanted a higher viewpoint. This is Sky Sports, I believe.

A home from home! Seed surfboards's dinky stand. So civilised! (I'm loving the occasional tables inside the van!)

Soon every woman and her dog were waiting for the action to start.

Checking out the heat lists.....Mr Woollatt in Junior Mens heat 4

And Mrs Woollatt in Junior womens heat....4.

This chap had co-ordinated swimtrunks and board!

And here's a touch of days gone by...

Swimming in a wool costume would trouble me; so much scope for a 'wardrobe malfunction'!

More knitted goodness...

...and some decidedly iffy. I'm told that certain cheeky areas were exposed by the wave action!

The photoshoot. With about 345 entrants it was hard to get us all in the same shot! My and Woll's boards waving at the back! (Mine 4th from the left, Woll's 6th)

The Ladies expression session....everyone in at once! That's me just about to enter the water in the black cozzie. (6th from right)

I'm in there, the blonde about 4th from the right, walking back into the surf after a ride. The water was surprisingly balmy. You believe me don't you? Well it was. ;-)

Woll waiting for the chaps expression session. 2nd from right.

The above 4 photos with the kind permission of Alasdair Lindsay

It started to spit with rain as we emerged from our heats and within a very short space of time......

"I want to go HOME!"

"So do I!"

"We're off!" (Great transport solution!)

The gusting heavy rain dampened proceedings slightly and totally prevented me from sketching; my paper was wet and my hands so cold I had trouble getting changed out of my cozzie. Shame....but I may work up a few drawings from the photos I took.

Fortunately the skies cleared in time for the awards ceremony so everyone was able to gather to applaud the winners. 

What a great day! I can't wait for next year!

Many many thanks to the WBBC crew, The National Trust people and all who made this event such a success.


My campervan handwarmers from my Secret Santa ......oh what a godsend they were!

And my poor shoes....soaked through!