FRUSTRATIONS OF A CITY SURFER
Being a landlocked surfer comes with a whole host of frustrations
By Kylie Griffiths
Mainly being so damn far away from the sea, and the ability to pursue your hobby. I’ve always been known to put a lot of pressure on myself so balance has always been a constant struggle – you have limited time on your boards so when you’re by the sea you end up putting undue stress on yourself to surf as much as possible. This isn’t always a bad thing but can be a hard balance to strike.
My main piece of advice to deal with the frustrations of being surrounded by concrete is just up and go. I know you’re probably thinking that’s easier said than done but you’d be surprised at how close the surf is in the UK (and Europe!).
The swell is closer than you think in England – when I started exploring the British coast I was amazed by the amount of different beaches we had that got surf and amazing surf at that. This fact continues to blow the minds of a lot of my friends when they find out how good the surf can be in say Swansea or Cornwall. Take Cornwall for example, granted it’s not the closest, but if you can duck out the office on an early lunch one Friday, you could be surfing some waves by sunset, and still be back at your desk on Monday am.
The first time I surfed here I truly couldn’t believe I was only 4/5 hours from London. Another favourite spot of mine is Saunton Sands, in North Devon, a little closer up towards London, this beach stretches for miles and has mellow, breaks that are a favourite for longboarders, another beach that will blow your mind and make you struggle to believe you’re still on the British Isles.
Cornwall has an abundance of amazing beaches – some of which I’m still discovering, and some of which look like you could be in Thailand. The UK has a terrible reputation for having murky brown water and painful pebbly beaches, but take a drive down the A30 to the South West and that stereotype will be wiped from your mind. Take Gwenver for example, a beach break just up from Sennen, this tiny mecca of surf heaven, took me hours to find but was well worth it – you park up in a local’s garden, pay £2, and then stroll down a stairway, to what can only be described as beach heaven. The water’s turquoise, and your chances of seeing seals are high.
The next hurdle that there is overcome is flexibility, if you have limited time to get in the ocean get flexible – commit your weekends to grabbing your board and get in your car down to the coast. When I first discovered my love for the ocean, I was driving down to Croyde at 6pm on a Friday night and sleeping in lay-bys to make the sunrise session. Give up your weekends and learn to be flexible is my biggest advice. If you have limited time and you live far away, that teamed with the unpredictably of the swell means you need to learn to be able to up and go. Me and my mum now share an iCal as she can never keep up with where I am!
It definitely isn’t easy being a landlocked surfer, but with the right mind set and enough miles on the clock, you can definitely get in the sea a lot more than you’d first think. It’s hard not to let the miles between you and the ocean get you down but the key is to make the most of the time you have when you get out there, and in some ways it’ll make you push yourself harder!