I’m not a betting man, but I’ll take a punt on a little luck and long odds over meticulous planning and “sure things” any day.
In a world where knowledge is a mere click away it has become the norm to know where to go and when to go with consummate ease. The problem is that this carries expectation, and living up to this can be almost impossible. Minimising expectations and reducing the time spent in front of a computer screen planning opens the gateway to surprise – and that is something I believe we should all seek a little more often.
My wife and I got married on a beach in West Cornwall in the last week of September. Oh yes, we knew it was a gamble, with huge parts of the day left in the lap of the Gods. I know I said I wasn’t a gambling man but we did leave a lot to the fickle hand of fate. However, fortune favours the brave or the sun always shines on the righteous – choose your own cliché – but we were blessed with wall to wall sunshine and solid clean swell for one last dawny of bachelor freedom for me. The same would apply to the honeymoon. A hired camper van, a vague direction on the open road, an open mind and an open road map was all we needed.
Picking up our temporary mobile home we hit the back roads of Brittany and gunned it straight for the Crozon Peninsula.
I couldn’t tell you a lot about this thin finger of land, but I’d been told there was potential for surf and it would be pretty quiet
I couldn’t tell you a lot about this thin finger of land, but I’d been told there was potential for surf and it would be pretty quiet. A first glance at a tourist map showed ample opportunity for exploration with wafer thin headlands exposing themselves to the Atlantic, offering shelter from almost every conceivable direction. Where should we go first?
At a supermarket checkout a surf school flier acted as a beacon. A quick beach name check and we were off – no expectation, a morsel of knowledge and lady luck on our side. I don’t need to paint you a picture, our destination was that good that even my wife couldn’t resist getting in the sea. It was an absolute winner. I’m sure there were other places that would have been even better, but that simply isn’t the point. What mattered was that this was our slice of paradise, a million times better than we could have expected.
The week followed a familiar pattern, exploring and enjoying each and every revelation as it presented itself. Beach after beach was discovered
The week followed a familiar pattern, exploring and enjoying each and every revelation as it presented itself. Beach after beach was discovered. Sure, the locals would argue the toss the quality on offer, but for me, virgin perfection. Walking breath-taking cliffs and spotting a sheltered bay seemed the best approach to study the beach equivalent of the form book, I was on honeymoon and had marital duties to tend to.
I surfed a number of spots, helpfully directed by welcoming locals and a sense of adventure. Each and every session was beautiful; an unexpected dip in turquoise brine at a beach I didn’t even know the name of. Since my return when I’ve been asked where I surfed, my only reply has been, “the Crozon Peninsula”. My geographical knowledge is still next to nothing, but my excitement for this place remains and I think there is a lesson to be learnt.
My advice would be don’t let the clear and obvious dictate your direction. Go with the flow and enjoy whatever is put there in front of you. You could spend a lifetime trying to get one spot on the exact tide and swell that the internet told you was optimum, to what end? Surfing is fluid, so be fluid. Walk the coast path and enjoy whatever huey chucks your way. Sometimes it’s the timing and what brought you to the beach that makes the session magical. Lune de miel en Crozon is implanted in our memory as an odds-on favourite. So our tip is trust to chance, go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
Words by: Steve Hagan
Wedding image credit: Nikki Blee Photography