This session was always going to have a bit of spice to it. You see, a system has been stirring in the North Atlantic for a few days now and finally dumped a pulse of swell straight to the shores of western Europe. But if you knew where to look, like, in the little nooks of the deepest depths of Cornwall, you may have been blessed by the full brunt of oceanic force.
There's a saying in good ol' Cornwall (that's Kernow, in the native tongue. Yes, Cornwall has its own language) that as long as there's swell in the water, there will be a wave somewhere. And while that may sound simple, it's mostly to do with the outline of the Duchy – crannies and crags everywhere, swell will fill into the north, south, east and west coasts and even provide shelter from the most unruly of storms; wind be damned. Or wind be the guide!
On Wednesday, the day before this session went down, if you were in the water on the north coast around sunset, that gentle south west breeze changed into a raging westerly in a few seconds, completely scuppering the session. By the morning, though, that wind continued to swing around, and shortly after the sun finally came up, it was a fresh northerly, and that means – offshore along the southern coastline.
Then, the swell came. A mid-sized south west uppercut that slammed into those fine, tin-mine laden shores. Not only setting off some of the more prominent AAA waves in Kernow, but along into Devon, Bournemouth and further afield, still. A full 300-miles of coast, gently ravaged by a blob of swell, lapping everything to shore from harrowing, stand up back-lit barrels to longboard only waves in the more shadowed areas. But with that much swell, and that much power, came the inevitable over powered areas. Reports from across South Devon suggested one hell of a paddle, even at the go to spots for a swell with some power to it.
Amidst the hundreds of people who took a dip across that entire stretch yesterday, was big wave surfer Rob Fowlie. Rob's been on a bit of a tear this season, having already successfully slayed England's big wave the Cribbar just a few weeks ago. Rob continued that streak, this time opting for a 9ft pink gun, instead of that 10ft Cribbar-winning board, for this swell-sucking, jewel of the west country, though a wave that is certainly not for the casual surfer.
As for Rob's approach: “ I tend to sit past the set waves and pick off the bigger ones outside the pack, which is squeezed in on the point,” he said. “The mindset stays the same whether it's the Cribbar or anywhere with size, I'm hungry to go on the biggest wave, as late and as critical as I can. Not making it doesn't phase me so much as it's all part of the deal with sizable surf.
“I enjoy getting feathers ruffled on the inside I guess.”
Surf on the UK's south coast has been slow this season, so far. The north coast though? *Chef's kiss!* Swell from this storm is still in the water, mind, so north east of the UK, get prepped to pull up your boots, it's about to go wild. Get your peepers on the forecast!
MSW's forecaster Tony Butt said this about the swell: "The swell that arrived on Cornwall’s south coast on Thursday was due to a complex area of low pressure that had been moving slowly across the North Atlantic during the previous few days.
"An area of westerly winds associated with a low centre on the southern periphery of the main system intensified west of Biscay during Wednesday, pushing swell into the Celtic Sea and the Southwest Approaches. At the same time, eye of the storm passed over Cornwall and then continued eastwards, up the English Channel. This resulted in local winds from a northerly quarter on Thursday, coinciding just after the peak of the swell."