Words and photos by James Renhard
“Pack your winter suit.” read an email that landed in my inbox earlier in the week. “The forecast is for 30mph winds and six degree water! See you Saturday.”.
In theory, Autumn is the best time for a UK surf trip. The water still holds the warmth of the summer months, but the increased off-shore winds make the waves bigger than those in the summer.
The very tail end of the season is quite a time to put the age-old theory to the test.
I meet Alex, a fellow surfer who, along with myself, makes up 50 per cent of this four-person surf adventure. We throw our bags into the back of the S-MAX and begin our six-hour journey, through the crowded roads of London, and down to Cornwall. As the typical Friday afternoon gridlock on the capitals roads chokes progress, the idea of escaping to the waves is all the more sweeter.
We while away the time swapping stories of surf trips gone from the warmth and comfort of the car, as wind and hail whip across the Cornish Moors at night. “Back in Australia, me and my mates invented a game called Surf Ball” utters Alex nonchalantly. “One day Laird Hamilton spotted us playing, so dropped by for a game” he adds. When it comes to swapping stories, it’s a strong move.
It’s one in the morning when we finally arrive at our hotel in Penzance. The thought of sleeping in the parked car lingers in my mind for a little longer than it sensibly should. Instead, we steel ourselves for the quick dash from the safety of the S-MAX, across the weather beaten car park, and into the hotel reception. With a full morning of surfing ahead, Alex and I head straight to our rooms for some much deserved sleep.
It’s Saturday morning, and I’m woken by the window in my hotel room rattling in it’s frame, such is the battering it’s taking from the weather outside. A quick check on my phone reveals that the forecast for 30mph winds was inaccurate. They’re blowing at nearer 50mph down on the coast, and the surf promises to be nerve-janglingly massive.