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varkala-openerI haven’t written this blog for weeks now, caught up in a variety of projects, articles, plots and schemes, whilst also becoming snagged on the snaggle-toothed edge of a writer’s block. I just couldn’t get motivated to sit down and write, and I’ve got plenty to be getting on with – an article for the Sunday Telegraph, a piece for a surf mag, some business plans… So what happened? What dragged me from the mire? What hauled me from my stupour? What prised me from my lethargy? Waves. Pure and simple, the waves returned.

They’ve woken me up, filled me with vigour, charged me with positivity, put some lead into this jaded writer’s pencil. Since NYE the swell dropped. It’s been waist high at best for over three weeks — January is the smallest season — and although it’s been rideable everyday the waves have been breaking shallow and fast, too fast for me to beat the curl as section after section after section dumps tantalisingly just ahead on most waves. It’s been fun on my fish – it’s always good to be in the water and it’s still great to be the only one out – but I needed something more.

Then it came.

A 3.5-4ft south-westerly swell with a 14 second period, which on this coastline produces a 6-8ft face on the sets. Much of the main beach here closes out, but I hadn’t been idle. Time spent on GoogleEarth and scouting missions on my scooter threw up some spots with potential. A potential now converted into head high reeling lefts from some rocky point headlands. I’ve been fizzing with excitement to be surfing these powerful lefts on my own, an excitement ready to burst out of me in a squeal as I arrived at a small muslim fishing hamlet on my scooter, my board shabbily strapped with frayed coconut-rope to the side. Walking down past the mosque to the beach I could see that the potential I had noted from one of my scouting trips had been realised as beautiful, rumbling lefts broke just ahead of the rocky outcrop, peeling into the scimitar shaped bay. There was a gaggle of local boys playing in the shallows on the inside, and fisherman snoozing in the shade of their boats after a night at sea, but not another single tourist for miles and miles. No resorts, no hotels, no foreigners. As I paddled out the boys became interested, and as I picked off wave after wave my backhand surfing momentously and significantly came of age, whilst the boys clapped and cheered my every ride. Some of the boys moved to stand on the rocky prominentary and whistled as sets approached. One team calling me in to waves, another team onshore applauding those rides.

Team Surf. No – Team Ed.

Surfing lefts had, until this day, been ungainly, like writing with my left hand, yet today it became almost fluid, almost dextrous, natural and joyful. Yet above and beyond even this rapture was the germination of a thought, a quiet voice from within. ‘Has anyone ever surfed here before?’ it whispered. Of course there’s every chance that a wandering surfer has snagged  a few here, but this is the first time that I have ever gone completely off-piste. The Surfing Swamis and their guide to surf in India didn’t mention this spot, the Stormrider Guide’s new India section doesn’t refer to it. None of the websites, forums, books or guides I consulted before surfing here name this place. The thought crept over my mind that there was a possibility, however slight, that I might just have made a discovery. My very own surf spot discovery.

Hmmmmm…. Deep in thought between sets, knowing that my lookouts would warn me of approaching waves I set my mind to the task in hand. What will I call this break?

Could I just call it “Ed’s Wave”? Probably not, there must be some convention to this break naming business. “Ed’s Left”? Still too egocentric for an awakened being like me. Perhaps “Templeton’s”? It gives it a certain respectability don’t you think? Does anybody know what the rules are for this kind of thing? Does it have to relate to the surrounding environment? I could call it Poop Point after the squatting, smoking fishermen amidst the rocky outcrops that I initially mistook for spectators, or is humour not allowed? Seriously, does anyone know about spot naming? In fact if anyone has any good ideas, message me on this blog and I’ll decide which is the best before I have the brass plaque engraved.

Team Ed soon got bored of my gaudy display, or had to go to school or watch a freshly painted wall or something, but I soldiered on alone. I surfed it all morning until my shoulders ached, until the on-shores began and blew for four days on the trot and the swell dropped. And in the afternoons I started writing again. And at night I slept a deep contented sleep.

“Where is Ed’s Wave?” I hear you cry. That would be telling now wouldn’t it… But perhaps I’ll take you to it if you come to my surf and yoga retreat here next season…


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