Not every week is perfect for SURF!

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Not every week in J bay is a great surf week. The past week or so proves this. Mixed wind conditions and small swells have all but put pay to getting in the ocean to surf. Sure I should ride all waves, the big and the small, the good quality and the poor, but when you have had loads of “GOOD” it does not seem so viable to surf the “BAD”.

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So we have been doing the “Tourist” things…. and there is loads to see in and around J bay. Looking for wild life is one of the fave’s, but so far not really seen much, Monkey’s ….Yes, big Tortoise….Yes, but apart from that, only cows and horses!! We have spotted 4 Giraffes on a local Game Park, through the fence….but the were about 1 mile away, so can’t really count those!, and we have spotted a “Rougue Zebra” hiding amongst a herd of cows…. all very weird.

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I find it difficult to discipline myself not to eat too much, when there is plenty of surf, it does not matter, but when there is little or no surf to burn off the calories….Oooops! additional inches soon appear!…. So a strict eating regime has had to be introduced…. so No good waves….AND no good food!…. I am not a happy bunny right now.

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Experience has taught me that this happens all over the World, the dreaded Flat Spells…. one just has to learn to get through them. Experience has also taught me that some places are better than others as far as swell consistency and weather conditions, and as I am in one of those “Better” places…. I “Know” it will not be long before the good waves come…. let’s hope I am ready for them!

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7 Good Days

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It is nearing the end of January 2019 and I have been in J bay for just over 1 week, and had 7 good days of surf.

The SA Summer is not known for it’s big swell, but compared to the UK, it is still Very Good….. not to mention Warm Water, and Hot Air Temps…. it is the African Summer after all!!

The waves have been mainly in the Shoulder to Head high range, with one bigger pulse…. and the winds have been mainly light off-shore, with a few on-shore afternoons. The weather has been fantastic…. Hot and Sunny most days, with a few showers here and there.CIMG8693

The water temps of the ocean at this time of year are perfect, sure you still need “Some” rubber, but on the sunny days, a shorty is just fine. The daylight hours are long, not quite UK mid summer long, but you can easily get in 2 or even 3 surfs….if you are fit enough. As the waves tend to be long in riding length, tiredness is a major factor, there can be a lot of paddling….I have only managed 2 surfs in a day up to now.CIMG8664

Not all the sessions are “J bay Perfect”, some times the tide and the swell are just not quite right, but still the waves are good, and much better the the majority of sessions I get back at home. I feel that if one is truly “Hardcore” then the UK winter is possibly better for actual waves than the SA Summer, but for me…. J bay in the summer is close to Perfect.

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“Short” or “Mid Length” ?

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Mid Length is the new bye word for all those boards that are not “Short Boards” and definitely not “Long Boards”, possibly not Mini Mals, or retro boards either….. so what are they?

Well….. my view is…I do not really know, and nor does it really matter.

I have always maintained that surfing is about FUN, and not what board you ride. So many guys want to “Label” you, as a result of the type of board you ride…..I think that at last, these “labels” are a thing of the past.

I am not really known as a Short Board Shaper, but I did do plenty of Bear Wombats, back in the day, and this is the type of board I am happy to shape now as a “Mid Length”

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The “Old Wombat” was a great board, and I have incorporated much of that “Flavour” into my new Mid Length boards…. but the are not only Mid Length, but Mid Width and Mid Thickness too.

Plenty of “Float” is what is needed for a Mid length board, easy to catch waves and stable enough to allow for easy Pop Ups, and with the 10″ centre box and side FCS fin “Combination”…. easy to turn to boot.

Length should be in the 6’6″ to 6′ 8″ area for this type of High Volume board, any longer and it just becomes more like a Longboard, due to the wider tail dimensions!CIMG8510

One of the other nice traits of the Mid Length is almost all of them seem to have a nice Colour Job… so the sky is the limit on this one….. trawl the internet to see just what colours you like, and choose a design… then give me a call.

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Coming home is good…. .

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All too often, coming home after a good surf trip can just feel S*!t. Cold air temp, no sunshine, colder water temps, and surf just not as good as where you have come from.

BUT it isn’t always bad.

The North West facing surf coasts of the UK turned on recently, and luckily…. I was “Home” for it.IMG_0111

Home for me is “Newquay” and my local beach is Fistral, As it was High tide around 10.30 am. most of the action was at South Fistral. Luckily for me, my daughter Katy was on hand to capture a few images, and as Katy was not in the water…. most of the shots, for a change, were of me…Yippee!

As “South” can be a little “Fat” on take off, I chose to ride a longboard…. a good call I feel, as it made the take off more easy…. things did get a little “Hectic” on the inside…. overhead waves, breaking hard whilst paddling out on a 9 footer can be interesting…. very interesting.IMG_0116

I had a few “Bombs” and also paid my “Dues” a few times… trying to rail turn “Hard” on a 9 foot mal with only a single fin can lead to a few issues, and this did lead to a “Zip Down” Wetsuit wash-out on one occasion…. Brrrrr! wow, that was a shock.

All in all it was a Top Day, it is not often that my home break rivals my “Surf Trip” locations…. but this was one of those days.

Woah! That was cold. "Zip Down" wetsuit wash out!!

Woah! That was cold. “Zip Down” wetsuit wash out!!

Life is what you make it, i was feeling a little down a few days before these shots were taken, and had to “Stop and Think” just how lucky I was…. and Wow, the next day…. cracking surf. I feel “Charged” again, and cannot wait for that next adventure….. what-ever it might be.

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The Last 10 Days

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Well, what a difference a day makes…. or 10 to be precise!

The past week (or so) has again been good, and Good in J bay is the same as “Perfect” in most other places!

Plenty of swell, loads of Off-Shore winds, all accompanied by warm weather and sunshine….What a place.CIMG8324

The final day in the 10 day spell was just EPIC, I am as keen as it is possible to get for surfing good waves (allowing for my advancing years) and I lasted until lunch time.

It is hard to get your brain around the fact that your body is no longer able to function properly, just too tired. The waves are still perfect, you can see them, and yet when you try to ride them, you cannot turn hard, you miss judge lip speed and cutback angle and the list goes on…. but you still stay out there just “Flapping” around as if in some sort of mind boggled state. All very strange.CIMG8333

It is not until you come in, sit down a reflect, that it all seams to make sense…. only then do you realize you are “Surfed Out”. An old fashioned term, that is used all to quickly these days….. it does not mean you are “Happily Tired” from riding a couple too many good waves, or you think you need a “Latte” and an open topped sandwich to get you fit again to return to the ocean…. it means you are unable to function properly as a result of going way past tired….CIMG8290

The only way to re coupe…. is to call it “A Day”, and try to remember the best waves.

I have been “Surfed Out” in a few places in the World…. Morocco in those early days, Indo on various occasions, but most frequently in Jeffrey’s Bay…. ‘cos when it is “Good” here it is amazing.

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Another 10 days in J bay….

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Well…. what a contrast from the previous 10 days, only a handful of surfs over the same period of time. (I surfed over 20 times in the 10 days before)

Still good on a few days, but the swell has been small, and the weather conditions erratic.

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We have had plenty of On-Shore winds, and quite strong too…. ripping the perfection of J bay to pieces, BUT I do have a secret weapon…. my “Kite”. Just a 1,000 metres from my place, in the other direction is the “Lagoon”, and when the wind is On-Shore, it creates the perfect conditions for Kite Surfing…. which I also love to do.

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The really cool thing with Kite Surfing is it is “Action” all the way…. no down time, no sitting around chatting, just speed and fun the whole session…. 1 and 1/2 hours of this and you really are knackered.

As long as I “Get Wet” I am happy.

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The end of a great 10 days…..

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Well….. what a “Top” 10 days. Swell has been up and down, but the conditions have stayed the same….

Mainly Hot and Sunny, with off-shore winds, the occasional on-shore spell, but I have surfed every day except one, and often 2 or 3 time a day.

I have surfed more distance in this last 10 days than the whole summer back home.CIMG8159

Even the small days have been good. Longboards have been “The Go” for me on most of the days at “The Point”, but even I have needed my trusty 6′ 8″ “Indo Fish” on a few of the bigger days, but “Supers” has been firing most of the time…. but the testosterone level is way higher up there, and I am not fully “Surf Fit” if you know what I mean.Big J Bay

The “Big” day was the one, it has been the best swell this year, according to the locals…. how lucky was I, arrived 2 days before it kicked in, even though I did not surf J bay on the big day…. I went looking for “Smaller Perfection” …. it is hard not to be mesmerized by it’s majesty. It is hard to imagine surfing waves this big and perfect for 200 metres, but that is exactly what the top guys were doing…. Hat’s Off to them….Ball of steel!

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Here I am again!!

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It is not that time of year yet…. I do not usually come out to SA until after Christmas, but the waves have been so poor in the UK this Summer, I needed some surf….

So a quick look on the internet revealed some cheap (ish) tickets, and Hey Presto…. J bay here we come.

And what timing, lucking into the best swell of the year in South Africa, 20 odd feet at 15 second interval…… WOW. A week long Wave fest. Too big for me on the big day, but there are “Round the corner spots” if you are prepared to drive.CIMG8025 Like Miller’s Reef in Port Elizabeth…… very nice, especially when the J bay alternative is 4 times head high!!

I did venture out at J bay (The Point) on the next day…. still BIG, and lots of paddling, to get out and get back to the line up, when the swell is this big, the Longshore Drift is immense!CIMG7972

The waves were sort of crowded, mainly as it was a “Predicted” swell, and everyone wants a slice of the J Bay pie, plus it was a Public Holiday, but still there were plenty of wave to go around, especially on the 2 BIG days, strange how there are not so many takers when it is that size!!

Weather and water temps are OK at this time of the year, it is sort of like the UK….. BUT with the best waves. I do love J bay!!

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The “Big Boy” Traditional Nose-Rider

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The new “Big Boy” Traditional Nose-Rider is finally ready.

At 9′ 4″ x 24″ x 3 1/4+”, this is a Big Board, but I have tried to keep a little “Sexyness” in the tail so you can still turn it.

It is as close to the Old Skool nose-riders as I can get…. lots of roll in the bottom, right thru’ to the tail along with super soft rails, again, all the way thru’…. so should be “sticky”, allowing for those longer, glide style nose-rides, that I am trying to achieve.

I have only put in a single box, so no options on fin set ups…. just a good old fashioned Big Single Fin

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To make this board a little special, I made a Multi Layup Tail Woody, with some Resin Tint in-between the Hardwood laminates…. I think it has come out really well.

I have been trying, on and off, to get the traditional Nose-Rider correct over the past few years, but I personally still tend to go for a more Performance Nose-Rider…. I am thinking that as I am soon to be a “Surfing Pensioner” ….collecting my State pension in a couple of months…. it might be time to slow it down a little….. so hoping that this is the board. As always….testing will say “Yay or Nay”!

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Dreaming Time…..

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It has been a good Summer…. for weather, but not so great for waves.

So the “Dreaming Time” has started early this year.

August is not yet out, and already I am looking at flight prices… I just need “My Fix”

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I need Sunshine, AND Waves. I want to feel that optimism of sort of knowing that tomorrow will probably be good for both! In the UK now, it seams more and more that if we get both…. it is an “Epic” day, regardless of how the actual waves are breaking.

So…. I am planning more time in J Bay this winter…. why not join me?

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My house is only a “Walk” from the photo’s in this post, that is correct, no car ride to go and check, just get out of bed…. look at the ocean, count how many guys are in the water and decide…. surf now or after breakfast?

To stay with me will cost you LESS than the local “B & B”, and you can use my boards. I will even pick you up from the Airport (Port Elizabeth).IMG_0087 (4)

I plan to be in J bay for the Cold Months….so…. Jan, Feb, Mar and Apr. It will be South African Summer, so Hot and Sunny, sure the waves are bigger in the SA Winter, but all the photo’s above were taken in the J bay Summer

I have plenty of room, my 4 bedroom house often has only myself and my wife in it, so stop dreaming, and get in touch with me.

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