Archive for the ‘Porthcawl’ Tag

A Day By the Seaside   2 comments

Seems a bit crazy to want to spend time in the sea in mid-March but that’s the kind of thing I like to do. A decent surf forecast saw me and THO, accompanied by TBF plan a day in the surf in South Wales.

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The weather had been appalling all week but Sunday was bright and sunny if a little windy and cold. Rest Bay is our usual hang out but it was open to the wind and the waves were a bit scary. After a very fine breakfast in our new favourite cafe we headed to the Town beach behind the harbour wall where the waves were more manageable.

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Safe to say we didn’t stay in long even though we had some superb long rides in pretty much prefect conditions. The beach was very busy as was the Theme Park and we finished the day off in style with Waffles and Ice Cream on the sea front before the rain returned.

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Perfect except for the fact that the water was staggeringly cold.

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This was especially noticeable when taking a dunk, water cold enough to make your head ache and feel rather light headed.

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Regardless of activity and the pains to achieve it, I always enjoy a spell of outdoor fun and it most definitely clears the head of any lingering post work lassitude.

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More surfing planned but maybe when the water is not quite as close to freezing!

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Posted March 25, 2019 by surfnslide in Kayaking, Surf Kayaking, Wales

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Down By the Seaside   12 comments

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A weekend of storms, high winds and heavy rain put pay to a plan for a weekend with The Hairy Oatcake down in the Gower for some kayak surfing. Instead Sunday looked better so we planned a day out. High quality weather forecasts let us down as always and Sunday dawned just as wet and miserable as the previous couple days but we went anyway. After a lunch in Porthcawl the rain stopped and there was tentative sunshine. The waves looked especially promising and into the water we went

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It turned into a wonderful afternoon. Offshore winds created near perfect waves and eventually we were treated to abundant blue skies and warm sunshine.

Kayaking selfie

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THO in action on the waves

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Taking a break under blue skies

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Hard to believe the torrential rain we’d driven down in a few hours earlier. Fickleness of the British weather never ceases to amaze me.

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After a cracking afternoon riding some of the best waves in many a year, time to return to the THO camper van for a brew

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And some fine late evening shots across the Bristol Channel to North Devon and along to the Gower

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Oh I do love to be beside the seaside (and on the sea)

Posted October 24, 2018 by surfnslide in Gower, Kayaking, Surf Kayaking, Wales

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January on the beach at Rest Bay   4 comments

After all the fun and games of Christmas and New Year the last few days of the holiday are always a bit flat. The guests have gone home (thanks GM for coming to see us) and its time to take the decorations down. What we all need to raise the smile count is a jolly excursion. But where to in the dark depths of January? Why the beach of course! Madness I hear you all cry but not a bit of it. Read on.

Rest Bay

Our nearest patch of sand is on the South Wales coast around Porthcawl. Just up the road is the splendid little beach of Rest Bay. Being on the estuary the water is, well a little, murky but when you have a family the beach is the beach. It’s a nice spot with lots to keep the kids interested with water to dam and razor sharp rocks to come a cropper on.

Rest Bay

Rest Bay

Rest Bay

Despite it being January it was not in the least bit cold and I’m sure I’ve had colder days on the beach in the summer. The kids were well chuffed with this surprise day out on the beach and had a cracking time digging in the sand, making treasure trails and watching the waves crash onto the beach.

Rest Bay

Rest Bay

Rest Bay

At this point I should sheepishly admit the real reason we were here. I had an urge to take the kayak out for a surf and having checked the forecast it looked like conditions would be good. So in reality it was more a case of me saying “I’m off to the beach for some surfing, do you want to come?” than anything else. The waves were indeed excellent and apart from nearly riding my first wave straight onto the aforementioned razor-sharp rocks I had a rather excellent afternoon and caught some superb waves

Rest Bay, Surf Kayaking

Rest Bay, Surf Kayaking

Rest Bay, Surf Kayaking

Rest Bay, Surf Kayaking

Still everyone was happy and during the afternoon the sun even came out. We got some lovely photos of the kids at play and I got some nice video footage of me catching the waves. I have to say it was rather surreal floating in the calm water beyond the waves in the low sunlight in January. The water was cold when I got a dunking but otherwise I was actually quite warm.

Rest Bay
After we’d all had enough (it was pretty much dark by the then) we sat on the wall in the car park with a cuppa watching the sun go down. It really was rather pleasant and surprising to sit outside at this time of year and not be cold. Remarkable (as David Coleman might have said).

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A couple of videos, one of the kids antic and one of mine, hope you like ’em

Surf Kayaking – Rest Bay June 2012   8 comments

While Jane and the kids were away I cheered myself up on a dreary wet afternoon by treating myself through retail therapy and bought myself a dry-suit for my kayaking adventures. For the uninitiated it’s a total immersion suit that you put on over the top of normal clothing to eliminate the problem of stripping off a cold wet-suit exposed to the elements, easily the worst aspect of British watersports especially in the winter. I tried on a couple but the majority have a zip that runs across your back which is pretty hard do up on your own. I eventually chose a Palm Cascade as it has a zip across the front and was as easy to put on as these things are i.e. not very!

I bought it mainly for winter gear when a wet change is pretty unpleasant. Seeing as the weather was pretty wintry anyway I thought I’d head down to the beach to try it out. Rest Bay is about the nearest bit of coast to where I live and I can be parked up in about 1.5 hours from home.

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When I left and most of the way down it was pishing with rain but when I got there, it was blue skies all the way. It’s a pretty nice spot with a broad strand of sand (well mud/sand anyway) backed by low limestone cliffs.

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The views are unusual in that there is vista all the way across the Bristol Channel to the Gower and eventually to…. Port Talbot Steelworks! Still the grassland above the cliffs is very pleasant and the nearest town, Porthcawl, has been done up very nicely.

As the beach is very fine sand/mud, when it’s choppy like it was today the water looks disconcertingly brown and mucky. Still can’t waste good waves so I pulled on my new dry-suit over the clothes I drove down in and went in.

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The waves were very broken and choppy which isn’t always great for surfing and bloody hard to paddle past the breaking waves. However I got some surprisingly good, long and steep rides made all the more enjoyable by the warm and unexpected sunshine. It felt very odd in the dry-suit as opposed to the wetsuit I normally wear, much colder without the neoprene insulation that the wetsuit provides.

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Strangest thing is that when you capsize the air trapped inside becomes buoyant and the whole suit floats on the surface. Must look pretty comical!

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After 3 hours of hard work and high quality fun and thrills, I called it a day and went back to the car to see how “dry” I was. Amazingly, the thing works. I had on my fleece suit I use when winter skiing which along with my socks was bone dry. Only problem was obvious, in warm sunshine you sweat and in a total immersion suit there is nowhere for that sweat to go. The cotton T-shirt I had on was damp but it definitely wasn’t salt water so the suit had done its job. I’d need something that doesn’t soak up the sweat to become damp and clammy in future. Well pleased with the new gear option but definitely an for winter rather than a shock, warm sunny summer afternoon – still a wetsuit for those conditions.

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I headed home in glorious sunshine, a fine day out on the surf. Enjoy the video footage

Boys and their toys – Update   2 comments

I’ve now had time to play at being a film editor with my Go Pro HD Headcam footage from Porthcawl. I’ve been using CyberLink PowerDirector 9 to put it all together and it’s pretty easy although takes a bit of practice to choose the right output file and retain the High Definition footage. The clip is below and I’ve also added back into the main blog entry

Hope you enjoy it!

GM is now in on the video editing act. I’ve added his masterpiece to my Skiing blog from January but here it is if you can’t be bothered to scroll down

Posted March 17, 2011 by surfnslide in Kayaking, Surf Kayaking

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Boys and their toys   2 comments

Surf Kayaking – Porthcawl – 12th February 2011

I was supposed to be going to Scotland this weekend (and last) for some ski-touring in the Cairngorms. The weather forecast looked pretty poor and its a long way to drive from Hereford to sit and watch it rain so decided to bail out. Fortunately the forecast on Magic Seaweed looked good so I thought it was time for the first surf of the year and the chance to play with my new Go Pro HD Helmet Hero camera. It’s a small camcorder that you can fit to a head/chest harness or to a helmet or to a surf-board or boat and comes with a waterproof shell. I’ve had it a couple of weeks and been dying to give it a go. I’ll post a full review when I’ve had a few goes with it and I can do it justice.

I was heading for Rest Bay a couple of miles NW of Porthcawl on the South Wales coast near Port Talbot. I tried it out last year and it’s a really nice spot with some great waves (although the water is a bit murky). There is a limestone pavement right on the beach and extremely sharp rocks they are too. The tide comes in right up to the rocks making surfing an edgy business at high tide. When I got there the tide was indeed full in and there was a surf competition in full flow. Combined with the fact the waves looked huge and scary I decided to give the main beach at Porthcawl a try.

Porthcawl main beach

Porthcawl main beach

A good decision. The waves were much more manageable, big enough to give some sport without being so big they would capsize me or make it tough to get past the breaking waves. Despite it being near the town the beach was quiet with only a few other surfers out and no-one else on a kayak. It was a lovely sunny afternoon so it was time to get kitted up and hit the waves

I have to admit I was a little nervous using the new camcorder for the first time. Is it as waterproof as the makers claim? Will I lose it in the waves? How big a  clown do I look with a small camera stuck on top of my helmet. Shouldn’t have worried. The camera is indeed 100% waterproof and the adhesive that sticks the fittings to helmet is bomb-proof. Had a great time catching some lovely clean waves and playing with the camera. The water is pretty cold this time of year but apart from numb feet I was never cold, not even sitting on the beach taking a well earned rest. After the grim weather of late it was great to get back into the outdoors on such a lovely spring day. I’ve got the surfing bug bad again now so I’ll be watching the forecasts with keen eyes. J, D and L thought it would be too cold to come with me but they would have been fine and there were quite a few families enjoying this fine day.

When I got home I was well pleased with my film-making efforts. Apart from positioning the camera pointing a bit too high the results are great and the HD picture amazing on my TV. It will need some practice to get the angles right and using the alternative fixing methods (on the front of the boat, chest harness) but I’m really looking forward to capturing my efforts. I hoping to try and do some clever stuff with the video clips, putting soundtracks on etc but in the meantime I’ve posted a short clip up on YouTube:

I’ll put up some more footage in the next few weeks as I earn my video editing spurs

Later Dudes!

Posted February 13, 2011 by surfnslide in Kayaking, Surf Kayaking

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