Thursday 22 October 2009
I'm feeling a bit down at the moment; we seem to have crossed the border between the end of summer and the beginning of winter. Last week was one of those rare classic autumn weeks, swell sunshine and light winds; this week the tides and wind have been against me so I haven't been able to get in before work and it's been colder and wet.
I felt cold for the first time in the water on Sunday, my 3/2 is getting pretty thin and holey and I just couldn't seem to stay warm no matter how much I paddled around, only a month ago I was still wearing my shorty. The prospect of getting my Snugg out and having to wear it for the next six months is not helping - I'm going to try and squeeze a few more weeks out of the 3/2, but the walk back to the car is starting to get unpleasant. It's funny how you forget about how much more effort surfing in the winter is during the summer, how much more stones and gravel hurt your feet when they're cold (why is that?), the struggle to pull off the last bit of your wetsuit when your fingers are stiff, not to mention the almost-overwhelming desire for a nice bacon sandwich and a cup of tea when you're huddled up against the wind out back.
With all this in mind I'm thinking about doing a photography project looking for the joy in winter surfing. Because despite what I've said above I do love surfing in winter. There's nothing like a good clean groundswell on a clear winter's day; yes it's cold, yes getting caught inside and taking the whole set on the head is enough to make you want to turn around and paddle in, but the waves are quiet, the winter scenery is every bit as beautiful as summer, and most of all every session is a small triumph over adversity. Surfing in summer is easy, surfing in winter takes dedication. Now how to capture that on film?