Archive for the ‘surf kayaking’ 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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Two Men and a Kayak   2 comments

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As part of my efforts to keep active while not walking, a trip to the coast with GM to play in the surf with the kayaks was in order. Rest Bay near Porthcawl ticks all the boxes being close to home, easy parking, a short walk to the beach and great surf (and a great cafe with cookies to die for)

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A grey day so not much in the way of photos

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The surf forecast wasn’t great but as it turns out the waves were excellent. One of the best days in the surf I’ve had for a while

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A great day out and another where I finished the day tired, exercised and without knee pain although I did collect a few bruises for my trouble

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I didn’t have my Go Pro Camera so no video footage either. As a special treat a video from a couple of years back and a trip to Rest Bay in January – one of my better video edits. Enjoy

Posted November 7, 2016 by surfnslide in 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).

Rest Bay
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

Pembrokeshire – May Half Term 2011- part 1   12 comments

A bit behind the times with this trip which we took over a month ago. J and the kids went for the whole week but I was only able to join them for the two weekends. We are extremely lucky that J has a friend with a lovely little cottage in a place called Llangwm that she lets us have for the whole week including both weekends at a very reasonable rate. We pack alot into our holidays and I go photo and video mad so I’ll split the report into the two weekends I was there.

I travelled down with L late on the Friday night as J and D were staying at home to see Brian Cox at the Hay-on-Wye festival. It was a cold and windy day on the Saturday so we had a very brief wander about on Freshwater West beach looking for crabs and shannys (a kind of fish that seems able to survive out of water between the tides. We caught loads just by turning over rocks and it’s one of mine and L’s favourite activities together. She loves animals of all kinds and I’m like kid when it comes to hunting interesting stuff in rock-pools.

Freshwater West Beach

Local wildlife

Freshwater West

We moved on to the South coast beyond the Army Tank ranges to look at Stack Rocks. If you ever in Pembrokeshire this stretch of coast is a must-see. The sea has eroded the limestone rock into a series of isolated stacks, caves, sea arches and vertical cliffs and it’s truly spectacular. The sea stacks have been colonised by razorbills and guillemots (the largest breeding colonies in Wales) and you can sit on the cliffs and watch them noisily hop about on the rocks and fishing in the sea.

Stack Rocks

Stack Rocks

The “Green Bridge of Wales” is a truly spectacular sea arch. IT’s a shame that the coast 3-4 miles west of here is out-of-bounds as the army use it to practice bombing stuff. Why they have to pick one of the most stunning bits of Britain’s coastline to blow-up is a mystery to me. I’m sure there are more deserving cases that need some “re-design”.

Green Bridge of Wales

The weather had improved so we carried on along the coast which is non less spectacular.

A pretty decent day in the end finished off in style by watching Barcelona run rings around Man Utd in the Champions League final

J and D arrived overnight and as the weather still looked uncertain I convinced everyone we needed another walk along the coast, this time from Broad Haven South. It’s a lovely beach, backed by dunes with the same spectacular coastal features as those near stack rocks.

D on Broad Haven South

Broad Haven South

The walk along the coast is perfect for the family, level and with loads of interesting stuff to look at.

As you round the headland, Barafundle Bay comes into view. It’s a couple of miles from the nearest car park so it’s relatively unspoilt and absolutely stunning – one of the 10 best beaches in the world according to D.

Coast leading to Barafundle Bay

Barafundle Bay

We had a lovely picnic on the beach but the weather too a turn for the worse and started to drizzle so we headed back to the cottage after another day exploring this great bit of coast

The following day it rained on and off all morning but we decided to try to head for the west coast to see if there were any waves. We went to Newgale beach which is a huge strand facing out in to St Brides Bay. The weather improved markedly as we drove out so by the time we got to the beach the sky was blue and the sun was out although it was windy.

Newgale beach

The waves looked promising but they weren’t all that good. I did get out onto the kayak for a while but it wasn’t great. J and L jumped about in the waves and had some fun and I took a bit of video which you can see in the slide show at the end of the post.

J and L having fun at Newgale

After an hour we’d had enough and headed up to the cliffs out of the wind and in the sun for a picnic. We decided that we might get some shelter at Marloes, one of our favourite beaches in the area. By the time we got there the tide was full in so there wasn’t much sand left but had a nice couple of hours sitting in the sun at the end of the day watching the tide come in.

Marloes

D & L at Marloes

L in mid-air - Marloes

Marloes - tide in

We avoided the rain all day and it turned out to be a cracker. We headed back to the cottage and enjoyed the calm serenity of watching the tide go out on the estuary at the bottom of the garden.

View from the garden of the cottage

Unfortunately I had to head home and go back to work, leaving the rest of the family to enjoy further days out at Marloes and Oakwood theme park and I would rejoin them on Friday back at Broad Haven South. The second part of the story can be seen in part 2 but the full set of photos on flickr is here and a selection and some video is in the slideshow below.

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