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winter-wonderlandSeptember sessions here in Cornwall are normally the best of the year, but this year the surf was pretty dire. But just when it seemed like it was going to be one of the worst autumns I can remember, October turned up with the goods.

The last three weeks has seen some epic sessions go down. From tow-in barrel-seeking sessions in giant waves at Fistral to shoulder-high peelers perfect for longboarding, there has been something for everyone. Many classic spots that lie dormant for much of the year have been working – they’re packed with the mandatory crowd, of course, but if you keep your eyes open, quiet sessions can be found.

After three weeks of great waves, usual transmission has resumed. Howling westerly gales are forecast for the next week, the balmy late-autumn temps are fading fast and the dark nights have drawn in. So it looks like it’s time to batten down the hatches for winter.

Embracing the changing seasons helps you bond with your surroundings. It’s not hard: winter comes with many bonuses… The opportunity to surf spots that don’t work the rest of the year; stormy days spent seeking out that elusive spot you always heard about, followed by a pint in front of an open fire; the lower crowd pressure and open space, on land as well as in the water; expanding your quiver to surf winter’s more powerful swells; long, dark nights that give you more time to work on projects and, when it all gets a bit much, plan trips to far-flung places in search of sunshine.

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  • Ed

    I hear you Mark, I do. I find myself questioning surfing more in winter too. Sitting on some South Coast spot, when it just isn´t quite right, its cold, there is no one around, my girl is mad as hell for me dodging DIY again and I always begin to question if it´s worth it. I can´t feel the key and I´m unsure whether my fingers or the lock will give first as I turn it, that sensation has lost its poetry for me somewhere back. But there´s always that evening when it´s a bit better and the face is clean enough and the clouds give way and the stars come out, I find that really life affirming, but you have to work for it don´t you!?!?!

    This year for the first winter in many years I find myself away from Penwith. I´m in Peru, with the whole reverse season thing and a pretty different set up all round. There are some amazing waves, great left hand points and warmer water, incredible quality in the waves. There are also maniac drivers, bent cops, no grass and not enough bushes to go behind. But a daffodile spelling a false hope of spring or that feeling I only get in the dead of winter, tired and cold after teaching all day and still duck dive that first one and look out from Sennen Cove at the end of England and the Atlantic taking over. There isn´t a sight like that here and I forgot that for just a second. Enjoy your winter, I´m looking forward to my next one.

  • Ben

    I hear that.

    I just got out of the water, I was the only one in, It was waist-high and clean, with a slight cross-off wind.

    My local break is Bamburgh, and by this time of year, your lucky to find a decent window of swell+wind+daylight to warrant the dropping temp.

    I wore gloves for the first time in a year today. It was awful. I kept slipping off the rail. They felt awkward.
    I hate them.

    But they did facilitate the required dozen or so sliders that came my way.

    I know at least once this week I had thought about putting the wetsuit away for winter… getting the snowboard out, cleaning it and booking some flights to france… but i know it will stay out. I cant help it.

    Come January, we’ll not remember what sunshine was, the warmth of it on your skin. Gloves and hoods will be the norm, and feel comfortable again..
    And then it will all start again, cycling once more.

    hurrah. 😀