Archive for the ‘surf’ 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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“Didn’t we have a loverley time……”   8 comments

As I mentioned in my Nether Wasdale post we have a few gatherings every year of all my old university friends and families. Every July (first weekend of the school holidays) we all meet up at a campsite we’ve discovered on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales. It’s a large site and the facilities are quite simple but it’s a no fuss sort of place, very relaxed and the lady that runs it is really friendly and welcoming. Most people camp in a large field where there is plenty of room for games and for the kids to run about and there is always a nice relaxed friendly atmosphere.

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The Jones family canvas home

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Lunch in the sun

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"The Next Generation"

However the best bit is the beach, a cracking sandy spread that’s just a 10 minute stroll across the site and fields.

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Our own private cove

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Where's the kitchen sink?

Whenever we go to the busier coastal areas you have to plan a day out with military precision; packed lunches, all the beach paraphernalia and timed so you get a space on the car park. Here we can just wander to and from the beach as we please and if your forget a much-loved bucket a sentimental spade or you’ve just brought the wrong-shaped biscuits you can just pop back and get them. For me not using the car is an absolute god-send and it’s a real chance to just chill out and relax. I’m extremely lucky that I’ve been to some stunning places but this particular weekend with my family and my friends in such an unassuming place is my favourite holiday place.

Needless to say the kids just adore the beach. It’s the perfect mix of clean sand for building castles and playing sports, rockpools with loads of fish and crabs and rocks to scramble on.

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Fun in the sun

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Fun in the waves

The kids all get on famously so the adults can just sit back and relax (apart from the youngest who even though he’s only 4 still insists on climbing the steepest, sharpest rocks much to his parents despair and fear)

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D practices his coasteering techniques

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EWO goes fishing

Building a sandcastle and then watching the tide try to wash it away it also a big favourite. I missed out this year – everyone stays for the week while I have to go back to work for a few days.

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It's a serious business

It’s all hands to try to build various walls and towers to divert the incoming tide and it never fails to make me smile at how middle-aged professionals (like me) instantly become children again with beach spade in their hand and take the whole business so VERY seriously. I’m not in my second childhood, I’m still in the first one. I hope never to grow up and be a serious adult

This year the weather was stunning and warm so there was plenty of chance to swim, play in the waves and with the various boards and inflatables.

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The simple pleasures

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Inflatable fun

Even the adults are allowed in on the action. Mind you I suspect that ED (Beating the Bounds) may need a slightly more robust surfboard to support his ample frame. If you enjoy the image check out the video footage in the slideshow at the bottom

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Drowning with style

Beach sports are also a great way to expend some energy. We had some great (if rather unskilled games of cricket – you’d think some of the adults had never caught a ball before). Me, EWO and his daughter E are also big fans of beach tennis – I find it much easier to play without the distraction and inconvenience of things like nets and lines.

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Sport played at the highest level

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It's here that future champions are born

It was also warm enough for an evening BBQ on the beach. Tell me if there is a better way to spend an evening than sitting on the beach with a cold beer in one hand, burger in the other watching the sun-set while the kids enjoy the simple pleasures of sea and sand. Magic

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Feeding the hungry mob

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Toasted Marshmallows - always a hit with the kids

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Eating is also a serious business

Just like every year this holiday was one of the highlights Even though we’ve since been to Provence this is still my fondest holiday memory of the year. Can’t say more

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Peaceful

Enjoy the slideshow below and if you want to check out an alternative perspective, head on over to Beating the Bounds and his beach related post. Further posts on our walk on the Nantlle Ridge and the local Carn Fadryn to follow soon

Posted September 29, 2011 by surfnslide in Family Trips, Llyn Peninsula, Wales

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Wipeout!!   14 comments

As promised here a few more photos and an extensive collection of video footage of my surf kayaking  antics taken when I was in Cornwall earlier this summer (the more genteel family photos are here).

 

Me and GM went primarily to Perranporth where almost all the footage and shots are taken. The first couple of days the weather was pretty awful but the waves were clean and easy to catch making for some long rides. Later in the week the wind picked up and the waves were bigger but messy making for short but more bouncy rides in the sunshine.

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We also had a day at Crantock although due to a serious schoolboy error the batteries went flat on both cameras and I forgot the spares. We did catch some decent waves and found a handy spot on the extreme north side of the beach where we could paddle out without being hit by the waves and then pop out from behind the rocks and catch the surf.

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I’ve now fixed up the attachment on the kayak so these are the first clips of yours truly in glorious action and I have to admit I think they are pretty cool. The shots are much better than those with camera perched on my head as the camera is a long way from the water and you get exaggerated movement so it looks a little unnatural.

Still need to iron out some problems with the camera. How to stop the lens misting up in warm sunny weather when the water is cold (same problem with my waterproof camera). How to stop the camera being pushed over by the waves. How to set and frame the picture. Still all part of the fun.

Love the surfing, love the camera, love the footage

Posted September 19, 2011 by surfnslide in Cornwall, Kayaking, Surf Kayaking

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Surf, rest and play   3 comments

I needed a holiday! It was already June and apart from a few weekends through the winter and spring I hadn’t had a break since August last year so I was ready. The Jones family like to make the most of holiday time so within a couple of hours of shutting down my laptop on a Friday night we were off to Cornwall. First night spent in the Premier Inn in Liskeard so we can make the most of the first Saturday before heading to our Caravan home for the week.

We spend most of our time on the north Cornish coast so for a change we decided to take a look at the south coast at Looe and its a splendid place. The quintessential fishing village with a cracking beach. We had to dodge some serious showers but they did create some memorable views as we strolled between the squalls across the beach.

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Looe Harbour

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Looe Beach

There is also a really good play area down the river which the kids really enjoyed. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of J making a complete fool of herself on the rope swing!

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Tarzan Jones

We headed over to our caravan at the Perran Springs site in Goonhavern. A lovely quiet site with really friendly owners who always make us feel welcome. The site has some fishing lakes which double as a nature reserve and makes a nice spot for a quiet wander at the end of the day. GM also joined us for a few days (he’s the less than handsome chap in the photo below) to join me in some surf kayak action (click the link for the post with photos and video)

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Our holiday home at Perran Springs

On our first full day the weather wasn’t very summery but we did have a very pleasant walk on the coast at Porth Joke – no joke – it is a joke – Porth Joke. We were lucky enough to see a couple of seals playing in the surf.

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“Sammy” Seal

Porth Joke is a lovely quiet beach well off the beaten track between Crantock and Holywell Bays.We had a great time exploring the rock pools, nooks and crannys until persistent drizzle drove us back to the caravan.

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J having fun

Perranporth is one of the major tourist beaches on the north coast and one of the kids favourites as well as mine. We spent several days there as its easy to park next to the beach and it has all the ingredients needed (sand, river, caves, surf). J got some bodyboarding in while me and GM surfed the kayaks

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J having fun and posing for the camera

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Showing off now!

The south end of the beach has a whole host of caves and arches which the kids (and me) love to explore. One goes right through the headland and out the other side which makes for a great adventure.

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Chapel Rock which sits in the middle of the beach has one of those old Victorian man-made pools which the kids normally like to swim in but it was just too cold.

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Perranporth Beach and Chapel Rock

When we mentioned to the site that we were staying in another hotel at the end of the trip to make the most of the weekend they very kindly let us stay in the caravan an extra night at no charge. This allowed us to make the most of the Saturday and we went for a stroll along the Gannel estuary in the morning. The river runs onto Crantock beach and when the tide is out you can walk along the sand. The houses of Pentire in Newquay overlook but it’s a really quiet spot and one of Newquay’s best kept secrets.

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Gannel Estuary

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Gannel Estuary

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Crantock Beach

After a picnic in the dunes overlooking Crantock beach, I sat and snoozed after a hard weeks surfing while the kids played and J bodyboarded. The kids had a great time running the dunes

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The river Gannel creates a great environment for crabs and we spent the last couple of hours plucking them from under the seaweed and then watching them swim downstream. L in particular loves this and Crantock is one of the best beaches I know for crabbing (It’s worst feature is the tide goes out for the best part of a mile – long walk with a heavy kayak)

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Who needs Attenborough!

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Teamwork

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“Freedom!!”

The weather had been promising to clear for a couple of days and on our last day it finally delivered. After packing up and leaving Perran Springs we headed to Treyarnon Bay up near Padstow. It was windy but hot and from nowhere the waves were huge. Treyarnon is too narrow for the kayak but its superb for body-boarding so me, J and “Isabelle” (One of L’s dolls!) had a great time

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Anyone can body-board

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Showing off again!

There is always a decent burger van on the beach so we had a nice lunch on the cliffs overlooking the beach

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Treyarnon Bay

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Constantine Bay

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Treyarnon Bay

At low tide there is a superb natural rock swimming pool on the beach and we all had a great time swimming and jumping. It’s a great place to get the kids used to snorkelling in a nice clear calm pool and there is loads to see. It had the added attraction on this day of being about 3 feet from the massive atlantic breakers just below

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D enjoying the natural rock swimming pool

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L enjoying the natural rock swimming pool

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Now who’s showing off|!

I also decided it would be good to sit on the rocks and watch the waves crash onto the rocks from close up. If you watch the slide show below you’ll see the video clip of what happens when you get cocky! I also took some underwater shots with the new camera (Panasonic FT3) – very nervous about using it underwater for the first time but it is indeed as waterproof as claimed and great fun.

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Finished off the holiday with a pasty and chips in Padstow harbour on warm sunday evening. Cracking finish to great holiday.

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Cornwall has it’s tourist fleshpots but if you make a bit effort there are plenty of spots where the crowds are bearable and at places like Porth Joke pretty well unspoilt. I’ve put together a video & photo slide show below or you can look on YouTube – looks better in HD if you have a decent broadband connection and my photos are here on Flickr

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.

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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.

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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.

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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