Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last 'Supper'

In the aftermath of the Christmas Day swim at Sennen, Ben and self promised ourselves that; regardless of conditions; we'd get in with the bellies at least once more before the Woll Jnr's returned oop north.

And so we did later on yesterday afternoon a couple of hours before dark.

It was as it has been for most of the festive period so far; blown out mush and too heavy for the logs. But that mattered little to us.

There was also the important matter of getting that all important photo opportunity for the latest Grom from the Woollatt tribe, to be pictured with her first ever board; courtesy of those generous folks at Traditional Surfing Co.

Time will tell of course as to whether she 'gets into it' of course. But it won't be without plenty of encouragement and example, so there's a fair to middling chance. Daddy of course, took his time before realising that actually, this is just one of those things in life that gives the perfect 'buzz'. And, even though he waited until around the 10-11yo mark before taking the plunge, he has the (not indefinite) luxury of knowing that he had (has) a 20 year 'start' on his Old Man.

As for this session, what more needs saying than plenty of fun was had in the hour or so we braved the hail, rain, blinding low sunshine and wind?


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

No point in denying it. There was a bit of apprehension in the lead up to my (our-Ben & I) first ever Christmas morning swim.

We had our 'sticks' to cuddle up to I suppose. But with heavy showers falling intermittently from the moment we woke, right up to the short journey itself to Sennen; it was easy to dread the worst.

Thus, 3 generations of Wolls cast a varied picture in the car park as the many hardy souls; both participants and spectators; began to arrive in their droves down the hill after us.

A beady eye was kept out for Gav and his family entourage, although any thought of remonstrating with the chap who'd 'trapped' me into coming in the first place; never even remotely threatened to surface. Just as well really, as their arrival heralded an unexpected gift for the youngest of our party; Claire Tamsyn. At 14 months she is the now the proud owner of her first Traditional Surfing Co belly board - Grandma's next board painting project for sure!

No time to ponder however as the Event engulfed us before there was time to think. A quick dash down to the beach and an even swifter removal of Robies and other warmth providing items meant Ben & self piled on to the back of the crowd as the countdown reached it's conclusion.

The sun even deigned to pop out from behind a passing light shower as if to provide a 'Sign of Good Luck'



The sprint in to the blue sea, that further out was providing plenty of action for the kite surfers, proved to be as 'invigoarting' as expected. Catching the first wave completed the job, but without the need for Vinny Jones to stride into shot with Staying Alive blaring out on his portable Bose.

Ben got a couple before riding in, while I stayed out a bit longer as I ....errrr...warmed to the task. Half a dozen more and I decided to head in to and hook back up with Gavin & his lad, Sam - in for the first time sans wettie. The guy had got in marginally after me and was technically out of the water before me. Not often then that I can claim a surfing victory over this accomplished all-rounder - so I will savour this one.

What's more. I think this open water swimming thing, particularly during less popular times; may have just 'bitten' me. Bring on more please!

Monday, December 24, 2012

T minus 18 hours......

...until Ben and I take to the water for the Sennen Christmas morning swim.

Got in (mit wetsuits) on Sunday to give boy a refresher course as he hasn't 'got wet' since April. We enjoyed an hour and a half of belly board fun in a fair sized, messy, but empty Godrevy.

Plenty of cliched questionning pre and post surf with regards to our sanity/water temperature etc from the promenaders with their (predominantly) Jack Russsell companions. But we didn't care.

We may 'care' a little after 11am tomorrow, but I am sure that armed with our Traditional bellies we'll brave everything the Atlantic can throw at us......

Monday, November 19, 2012


Not for the first time we seem to have had an enforced 'hibernation' surfing wise.

It seems odd how this can occur as, when last immersed in the ocean, any prospect of such seemed unthinkable.

It always does!!

But happen it has. A couple of sessions on the belly in the aftermath of the Worlds at the beginning of September still left October some way off in the distance. And yet here we are mid way through November and all I can report is a feeble attempt to get in at Pete's Point on Sunday!

The remainder of September passed with little swell/opportunity, which was frustrating as the chance of post work surfs began to run out with the shortening days. Overtime kicking in only added to this dilemma.

October came and went with only similar fortunes, although this was interspersed with a week long trip up north to visit The Kids and our granddaughter who was to celebrate her 1st birthday. That was a joy as Claire is already growing into a real character - knows how to pose for the camera too! Wonder if she'll get this surfing lark?

The trip coincided with the first decent spell of waves of the autumn and promptly disappeared upon our return. And so the wait had to go on a bit longer.

Until the run up to the weekend just past it transpired. Although the best of it - or so it seemed - had passed to by the time Saturday hove into view.  It still looked do-able though. But Sunday looked better. Against better judgement then, I dipped out of an ideal re-acclimatisation session on the former, in favour of something a bit more challenging on the latter.

I wish I hadn't. I just knew by the first glimpse of the lighthouse that this could be just too heavy for a return after two moons 'off'. A look at Godrevy only confirmed this and so Suz and I headed to the Sunset car park instead.

It still looked lively and, with the tide now receding quickly was bound to only get more hollow. I wavered briefly but decided to get suited and give it a lash. Gav's arrival boosted the ego and gave the opportunity to confirm my (and Ben's) intention to take part in the Christmas Morning Swim at Sennen.

Madness or machismo-istic or what?

For the time being though, my lacklustre attempts to get through the whitewater just about summed my current surfing status up perfectly. Below par.

I don't intend this to remain so!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

10th World Bellyboards..the celebrity boards

Photo courtesy of Mike Thomas

And this is what it's all about, folks! Sheer enjoyment, exhilaration and some good old-fashioned British Eccentricity! And speaking of eccentric, that's me in the photo, as seen in the Daily Mail Online. Probably the best pic I have of me 'in action', as it were.

As has been mentioned in the previous blog, I had a commission via Gavin of Traditional Surfing Co  to design and paint the two bellyboards he had donated, that the celebrities Rory McGrath and Will Mellor rode during filming of their part in this event. The boards were to be raffled off afterwards, all proceeds to the National Trust and the Bellyboards event.

Rather than go all prosy on you, here are some photos showing the creation of the boards with a few explanatory notes....


The brief was that the board should show a neck-down version of the old fashioned knitted costume that Rory was going to wear. The idea was that Will would have the board in front of him and a wig on, and would look like Rory. The brief specified the rotund form and skinny, hairy legs! (Rory's legs aren't at all skinny I think, but all part of the fun!

 I used artists acrylic paints direct onto the bare board. (Traditional Surfing boards are made of lightweight marine ply.) My own board was decorated over a year ago using these paints; no varnish protection at all. I've used it in all sorts of surfing conditions and the painted image shows no sign of wear.

 Waiting for the paint to dry a bit more, the board's propped up near my own board; you can see a bit of it in the photo. Time for a cuppa then!

 The finished board!

 I'd just done Will's board, when the call came to do Rory's board as well. The brief was that it needed to contain his favourite elements of Cornwall, he being a good Illogan boy, so I set to and arranged a series of images from pints to pasties.

Unfortunately I was running short of white paint and had no time to run into Camborne for more so I experimented with some acrylic lino printing ink I had on a scrap piece of wood. This was no good, it turned out not to be waterproof, so I decided to wing it with the acrylic I had left and work round it. As it happened the tube lasted right to the last brushstroke! Lucky or what....

 Late hours were worked.....

 Until finally.......

 Playing to the camera.... Will should have just stood and held the board beneath his chin, would have worked better, but never mind...............

Yeah, well, why not? Me n Rory...

 and with Will.....

 Looks cold out there.........

A bit of advice from an old hand

Rory to the left

Will's turn...he's looking nervous!

 A soak in the hot tub. I was grateful for them, after my event, too!

Monday, September 3, 2012

You Know You're Knocking on a Bit When...

..... recovery after some strenuous activity takes way longer than it used too!

And that's just what I am noticing over 24 hours after the 10th World Bellyboarding Championships...although it has eased as the day has progressed. Yoga beckons as soon as this blog is updated!

If you haven't been told; then you'll have probably guessed by the pic accompanying this article; the reason for the 'secrecy' Suz n self had to adopt in the run up.

Via the National Trust and Traditional Surfing, Suz found herself being honoured to get to customise Rory McGrath & Will Mellor's boards they were to use during filming at the event.

The chaps were clearly pleased with their 'rides' which drew plenty of interest & comment and were later raffled at the Prize-giving.

The bravado waned slightly, as the realisation that their 'moment of glory' drew nearer; particularly Will. But both entered the water with gusto and exited seemingly pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as cold as they'd anticipated. Not that the obligatory post surf hot tub plunge was foregone!

All bets too, had been off long before Rory's heat, as to how long his woolen swim suit would stay on in the gnarly conditions. How shocked we were to see it still in situ at the hooter!

Now we just wait to find out the airing date!

The event personally was better than our first experience 12 moons ago for a variety of reasons. Not least, was meeting up with several Facebook friends 'acquired' at the time; most notably Rosie, Paul & Alison. But also there were a lot more 'faces' we recongnised too; too numerous to mention.

Surfing wise we both had a lot of fun in the 15 minute morning 'Expression Session, and our 10 minute heat(s) before the Kernowcopia interlude.

The conditions, as alluded to, were bigger and messier than last year and did seem a bit borderline on occasion. But we 'dug in' as it were and made as good a fist of it as possible. Digging in ,being the operative word, as keeping feet was hard going at times with a strong rip threatening to up-end plenty enough!

Finesse had little opportunity to shine with just nailing the ride being the only option all too often. I did manage one 'trick'; a board reverse on one wave that wasn't engulfing me totally; but it was never going to be enough. Consequently I suspect Suz, who appeared to have the better heat, will beat me in the rankings again. Third time lucky it'll have to be!

Either way; as we ascended into the fog that had enveloped the Wheal Coates car park post event; the grins still overshadowed any grimaces of aches and pains. That waited until this morning and the return to the grind!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


T-minus 3 days before the 10th World Bellyboard Championships and the excitement mounts.

More so for Sue in many ways. Quite out of the blue, she has been asked to help judge the Board Design Competition. Maid is thrilled to bits with that honour...even if it means she can't now enter hers.

There is also something else of great interest to her...but we are sworn to secrecy until after the event.

Watch this space.

All this and the forecast of some reasonable weather and waves. Bring it on!!

Points to prove 'in house' and the quest for individual higher rankings too. Although having a lot of fun and coming back chilled do come higher.

Mebbe ;o)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Going for Gold

After all the waiting and the hype, the Games are now well underway.

Predictably perhaps, with all the hopes and dreams being so publically speculated upon; the media and the public between them, came close to undermining the required management of expectations as the flow of medals didn't pour in from the opening events.

As if they were going to in the sort of numbers the largest nations can more readily expect, given the size of the pool of talent available to them.

Then along came a young girl from Pz (and her team-mate) and suddenly, all was well with the World.

And there my friends is the secret to success and happiness: patience - perseverance - and looking towards the bigger picture.

But then Helen G has a raw talent that yours truly can...(could ?) only dream of possessing. In any sporting context!

That said. In the middle of a three day straight surfing spree last week on Tuesday - I am not that humble to admit coming pretty close to challenging that assumption in a session that by my own standard turned out to be sublime.

After weeks of waiting for a decent spell of consistent swell; let alone anything approaching summer!; all the signs pointed towards both changing for the better by the Monday. Hopes for anything sooner passed  the day before - although the weather at least obliged from the weekend onward.

Monday as it turned out, became a battle with the crowds and the subsequent positioning changes in a rapidly increasing swell. Sue too had been sidelined due to a short lived bug which had laid her low earlier; but hadn't prevented her going along to watch and relax. But waves were caught, even if the quality and quantity was lacking to a degree.

Wednesday brought along the final pulses of the swell even if it was more or less a case of walking out to the lineup for the most part! No wonder I dashed back to the car, to swap boards and finish off with a belly with herself. Oh and the sun disappeared behind some low sea mist for good measure too!

But Tuesday.....

That was something else for we at least. The size had begun to drop, but with glassier conditions on a beautiful July evening; it would have been rude to not take advantage!

I sensed something on the paddle out as I headed to a left peak more to the Gwith' end of the beach. Maybe it was the lack of bodies around this time?; as it was to stay for the most part; or maybe it was the more controlled nature of sets. Who knows for sure?

It mattered little as, from the moment I selected my first ride and pulled in; I just knew this would be stoke of the highest order. A right turn was perfectly achieved and quickly followed by a well executed 'drop knee' to the left. Trim was spot on and confidence to play around flowed.

Plenty more followed. So I won't bore with a repetitive monologue about the session from heaven; suffice to say by the time I finally paddled in - there was the daftest grin plastered all over my face which hung around for a while after!

Which made two of us as Suz had experienced her first proper cover up too on the belly. She though won't be growing any sideburns or donning the lycra for the foresee-able!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Finding my Feet

.....which is quite something given the stick they seem to get at the moment.

Well at least the right one!

Fin slash last year. A fungal infection that just will not grow out of the big toe nail (War has been declared on that!). And now this little 'baby' following an accidental spillage onto it at work a couple of weeks ago - be warned of the dangers of what in effect is nail varnish remover!

A couple of dunkings in the ocean has helped since the incident; the first last Sunday when I made the trip down to Godrevy solo, to have some fun in some lumpy, shoulder high, onshore waves to finally find some form on the log in 2012.

Suz had dipped out, in favour of what appeared at the departure time, to be some 'Time Team' action in the back garden. The hoped for archaeological 'find' turned out to be no more than a crushed gardening bucket, which disappointed her particularly as the chance of some bellying had been passed.

As for me, well; having waded out with the feeling of the damaged skin on my foot pulling away - rather like you get with sunburned skin a few days after it's grilling in the sun - and paddling straight into my first wave without the hesitation I'd experienced a little over a week before; it was fair to say the confidence seemed to be returning.

The complete re-wax of the deck I'd undertaken the Sunday before appeared to play its part too. Long overdue that was and may have contributed incrementally in my loss of consistency recently.

Either way this was followed up on Thursday evening after a long day at work when Suz and self headed straight to the beach and the beginning of summer as it appeared. The sky was clear and a lovely evening looked odds on to please the (relieved) forecasters as the jet stream anomaly finally seemed to be elbowed out of the away by the approaching Azores 'High'.

The waves weren't brilliant on the ebbing tide, but there was still something to play with on the sets. Good job that my form continued with its upwards trend and that the pop-up that had been plagued by the sciatica ravaged mindset since the spring, seemed more like where it should be. Mind over matter?

Hopefully we should be shortly headed back to the beach this evening, as not only the weather continues to play ball, but the promise of use-able waves through the week beckons. At the moment the cams continue to show little in the way of ripples, but there is always a chance that the first pulses may show before too long.

Of course it won't be a problem if it doesn't, as post work surfs will be easier this week with overtime off the menu. Monday through to Weds at least should be fun - maybe Thursday too.

Watch this space...

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Wave..

...OK so it's 24 hours after the event, but Suz n self got in a cheeky belly session at Sennen yesterday evening.

We'd already earmarked Sunday PM as a possible wave sess', and had been further encouraged by reports from Gav' of the chance of a 3rd consecutive belly heaven further west.

We'd bumped into him and his clan at Mazey Day the day previous; and got the heads up late morning.

As if charmed, the weather had brightened up as the afternoon rolled in, but did seem to be closing in a bit as we set off. Not that we were concerned anyway, as we pulled into the cove, the cloud parted properly to expose a clear blue sky to leave idyllic evening surfing conditions.

Not as good out back to be fair, although I'd have been tempted to paddle out had I had the log with me this time. But we were here to 'wet' the boards at their spiritual home.

We entered into a mid tide flood that offered a punchy little wave that welcomed us from the outset. Gav' and Sam arrived soon after although the old man opted for short twin fin to begin with. Though it was soon obvious that the belly was the way to go.

Suz wasn't sure if was the first surf she'd had here; memory as to whether she'd got in back in April 04 had long since faded. It mattered not, as by the time we followed the others back up the beach around 7.30pm she was well stoked.

Me too, as my intro to New School bellyboarding opens up exciting possibilities for the future....

Picture Credit - Gav Randall (Traditional Surfing)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weaver 1 Suz 0....

The gale that had blown for nigh on three days had at last subsided overnight and the new day had dawned with a strange, round and yellow object in the sky.

Gossip over neighbouring fences suggested this was something called the sun, of which little is known other than in ancient folklore.

Regardless. With the wind now only light to moderate, there was at least the chance of getting wet once again.

Little debate for self as to which surfcraft to use as the swell, what of it there was, was only weak and messy. Belly time.

So; once a light lunch had been taken in the garden, allowing time for the tide to turn and begin it's next journey towards the higher of it's tide ranges; Sue and I chucked the gear into the car and headed beachwards.

By 2pm we were in and getting in some early, mellow rides. Nothing spectacular or banzai you understand, but it was better than nothing. And certainly a refreshing change to being restricted by the unseasonably autumnal conditions of late.

I would have said pleasant to once again be 'bootless', only that wouldn't be the case for Sue who; not for the first time in our surfing history; seemed to attract the only Weaver in the village to her left hoof.

Not that she was really aware of this until we called time as it poo-ed out after an hour or so....after which the ouchy bit kicked in on the stroll back to the car park.

What is normally a pleasant enough 'mosey along the beach' turned into a recreation of the Bataan Death March. Or so it seemed ;o)

Application of a hot water foot bath back home soon did the trick. And I'm sure that glass of red will restore the brave soldier back to full health too!

RLW 1921-2007 Is is really 5 years this week just past since we bid you farewell? Miss you still Dad.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Belly Up!

....hopefully this is a sign of things to come in the coming moons...regular blogs reporting on things wave wise. Whether by Sue or me; longboarding or bellying; in or out of the water.

TBH, any thoughts yesterday I had about getting in today, seemed dashed from first thing as firstly the weather, and then that old 'Sunday' lethargy thing crept up on us as the morning progressed.

Bank Holidays on a Tuesday seem odd to the old system.

Either way, Charlie needed a stretch and with lunch done, we bunged the hound in the 'wreck' and set off to Gwithian. We'd talked about popping to Sunset to replace our knackered pairs of flip-flops and besides, I needed to stock up on some board wax in prep' for stripping down mine & Ben's logs to put on some fresh wax.

At long last! Well I'll re-apply mine for now. Ben's can wait till later when he needs it again.

So there we were at the small car park behind the dunes, attired for the less than early summer like weather that seemed set in, with a dog literally bursting for a dump.

The latter didn't wait for long to attend to his ablutions and so we were able to amble on pretty sharpish for once. Purchasing requirements didn't take long either and with time still to kill before normality sets back in tomorrow, the urge to get back into the sea again strengthened. The weather too looked to be lifting a bit.

Cue the dash back to base, ditch the hound whilst making sure Classic was tuned in nicely for him, and grab the wet wettie. The Bomb was still already on the back seat.

Sue declined the chance but I didn't and spent a pleasant hour plying the ply...

That's better

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting back up to speed.....

....after a 'need to get back in to the saddle after a fall' session.

It wasn't classic. Nowhere near the photo (left) taken last summer even. But there was a weak early flood wave to be had before the bay flooded too much.

The crowds just had to put up with me too on a pleasant sunny afternoon between weather fronts.

But it was a step back in the right direction and nice to reflect back on after the walk back to the jalopy.

Even nabbed a couple of waves on Sue's belly before she called time and wandered back with me.

'Twas nice just to stretch out after getting changed and just take in the view across to Hayle, Carbis n Snives for a bit before heading back to base. May pop down to see Gav tomorrow b4 a pre auction look at some art at Sennen. Wonder if it'll be worth chucking the belly in too...just in case ;o)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

First Surf since Summer Began

...on Friday evening after work in what appeared to be the ideal conditions after a long lay-off: sunny, pleasantly warm and with a light offshore.

You'll see from the previous post (9/4/12) the gap since my last dunking, although this has been down to commitments elsewhere, rather than injury or lack of opportunity. Overtime and dipping ever deeper into local politics with regards the stadium that Cornwall could really do with now have been the main distractions. The latter it seems has taken more of a toll than I realised mentally as it turned out after I'd paddled out.

Physically I was as up for a surf as ever and these weren't anywhere near the most challenging of conditions either. But it soon became apparent after wave after wave was missed that that magic ingredient was missing; that indefinable 'something' that hooks up all the relevant mechanics that results in riding a wave without really thinking about it.

Sue on the other hand was having a whale of a time, oblivious to my woes and fair play to her; what better way to finish a full day's work with 7 mile cycle ride thrown in for good measure?

Me? I had to settle for just the one notable ride in 90 minutes of surfing and a real downer that had followed on from the disappointment and irritation of our trip to Oxford to watch the Pirates not only finish runners up for the 2nd year running; but the manner in which all the off the field disruptions had taken their toll, and the snub at the post match presentations.

Even so, a couple of days later, and having chilled that bit longer, a way forward is visible. A summer of surf will go someway to seeing that to fruition too, as will the World Bellies in September, into which our entries have been confirmed :o)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Last Surf before Sleaford

...... for Ben at least.....well after he'd had his Sunday afternoon nap! ;o)

Poor chap obviously found the day trip to Cross Keys a bit too much, particularly given the Pirates' shock exit from the British & Irish Cup.

Moving on...

The tide had turned by the time we edged the beast that is the Almera onto the road to Godrevy, and was about at mid tide by the time we paddled out just after 4. A reasonably easy affair with plenty of water about to fill the channels before it filled the bay more than average. (High Spring Tides at mo)

But there was a decent enough wave to play with and the wind had held off longer than expected, with heavy rain and gales forecast by Monday.

All in all it was fun session with both of us picking up some rides to sate the need. Although with my easier access these days, I took the honours.

Ben though surfed (and paddled) with a lot more confidence than when last in these parts, but could do with a similar situation if he is ever to regain that youthful promise.

Even so, he displayed the old enthusiasm and found the energy to get out and swap boards for the bellie for a bit of banzai shore break action. Of course I had the key and had to ride one in and paddle back out again, but that mattered little as we made the most of his last chance in a while to get 'wet'.

Happy boys:o)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Claire's first visit to Kernow

April already and one or two dips since the last post.

Suz has begun work at Little White Alice and it seems to agree with her, as does the excuse to get out on the new bike at every available opportunity. Long may that continue, assuming it doesn't improve her fitness levels too much in time for the Worlds in September. Can't have the Maid out doing me again in the rankings.

Talking of the bellies, mine got an outing for the first time in '12, to coincide with Ben's christening of his 'Bomb' last Sunday.

Obviously this means that Emz and Claire are in town too; the latter's first visit of many to God's Country.

The beach on the whole is a mystery at the moment, but at least the weather has been clement enough not to discourage the lass too much ;o)

This afternoon it's a 'boys only' visit to Godrevy to have a blast on the Bomb's and clear out any cobwebs before we head into Wales tomorrow for the British & Irish Cup semi with Cross Keys.

Hopefully there'll be enough time for another surf with the logs before they head back on Tuesday.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Porthtowan surf-time

We felt in need of some fresh sea air today, so took the longboard and both bellyboards to Porthtowan. The air was remarkably mild for the time of year and as this was my (Sue) first surf of the year I was hoping the sea wouldn't be too cold either. Lovely hubby lent me his Chill Cheater to wear under my summer wettie, though which gave me another 2mm of neoprene and with boots and gloves, I was fine. (Although I lost my earplugs somewhere in the car park, I didn't need them after all.)

Lots of folk on the beach walking, and some had been roped in to do a beach clean too, which they seemed quite happy to help out with.

The tide was receding still and there was a reasonable swell with plenty of waves for me to play in, while Woll paddled out to the Deep End to try his luck. I'm not a great surfer or waterwoman, so all I can say is that I had a great time riding the white water; stayed in for threequarters of an hour and still wasn't chilly. I had 'waterfall' rides which are always great fun. It's when the wave you're on catches up with a wave in front and sends you 'over the falls' as it were, exhilarating!

Eventually I hauled out and got changed. In the car park I zipped up a fellow surfer into his wettie and back at the beach I grabbed a black sack and did a little beach-cleaning (my good deeds for the day!) before Woll emerged and headed for the car, to change. His session hadn't been epic; a case of too big a board for the conditions maybe as many of the waves were just too hollow for him. He did though, get wet, get feet to board and get a few rides, which is what it's all about, isn't it?

Now, back at home, showered, fed and stoked. Roll on the next session!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Broadsword Calling... end radio silence after a winter that has seen surfing put on hold for a variety of reasons.

Some of it good. Some of it not so, although touch wood; the worst of it involving Sue's sis-in-law, does seem to at least be under control. The long term prognosis may not be ideal but at least there is a viable long term now. When we made that hasty dash up to Southmead Hospital in Bristol back in January; such things looked very unlikely. A day that will haunt ad infinitum.

Work - or more rather the glut of it - at last; has taken its toll. Though to be fair with the shorter days, the always relished 'post-work surf', isn't possible anyway. After a lousy 2011, Sue now seems to getting a steady stream of commissions which began rather bizarrely in the week running up to Christmas! But hey! beggars.... We got to see our lil grand-daughter Claire in a better frame of mind :o)

The Pirates and the emotional roller coaster that can offer both on and off the pitch (aaaaagggghhh). Particularly off where one or two individuals insist with ignoring a clear mandate to get the stadium built, and impose their own bitter and twisted mandates which only serve to delay the inevitable and spoil it for the majority. Karma will prevail.

Lack of decent winter gear also has to be named and shamed. Maybe by the time next winter hoves into view that can be rectified. In the meantime, it wasn't until three weeks ago I finally took advantage of a window of opportunity on the Saturday morning of the Italy v England international.

It was clear, crisp and bitterly cold when compared to of late. But, the gear was chucked in and the board strapped on and there was no turning back. Catching my first glimpse of the ocean confirmed there was a mellow ride-able wave; let's hope the two plus month lay off hadn't allowed too much rustiness to set in.

Suiting up into the summer wettie with the Chillcheater underneath wasn't ideal and it was obvious that the log can do with a complete overhaul on the wax front. Never mind. Ear plugs-check. Hood-check. Gloves-check; they can be put on when I get to the waters edge. Hate using the things-always make me feel as if I've got a couple of cumbersome soggy weights at the end of my arms, but they do a job. Boots-ch...hang on...where are they?........Bugger!!

Too late. I'll just have to go in and hope I don't lose too much feeling as I'm not turning back now!! As it was; the worst bit was walking from the NT car park down to the beach, as the water temperature was a good 6-8 deg C warmer than the air's. But after an hour in, the need to keep looking down as I popped up became paramount; as I had to make sure the hooves were planted right. 'Feel' had long since vanished! But I had some fun if not as fluent as when I signed off back in November. And that's the priority.

And so to yesterday evening and my first surf after work of 2012. Again; not a classic session personally, but worthwhile. The relative inflexibility with not having a purpose made winter suit hinders; but at least aids the re-honing of the body's abilities. The hood rather innocuously helps with the neck too. But at least this time the boots had been packed. Even if they had little chance to be of use on the deck.

Conditions were OK, but with the offshore breeze picking up from the get-go and darkness setting in this session was always going to have a rushed feel to it. It was most likely a case of "you should have been here earlier". The paddle out was good though and I coped well enough with the late ebb rips that meant keeping on the peak was an effort at times.

I missed the first 2-3 while I got up to speed but then nailed a banzai ride after a late late take off which set the tone for the remainder of my time in. No regrets but the warmer climes and water can't come quick enough now. So sayeth Sue more so.