Surfing in Croyde Bay

So, this weekend Sarah and I went surfing in Croyde Bay, Devon. We took Friday off and took the outrageously expensive train to Barnstaple, followed by a bus to Croyde Bay. It only took about 6 hours door to door. Only. Ahem.

We stayed at Atlantis B&B (website, surreally, all about ‘Christine’s 40th’), which has the most amazing views over the bay, and had booked three lessons with Surf South West. Our first lesson was on Friday afternoon and at about 2.45 we were in the water. The surf was strong and within about 2 minutes I had hurt my shoulder. Trust me when I say that it’s advisable to warm up properly before surfing. I caught several waves in the 2 hour session, but still failed to stand up. Sarah, however, was more successful. Surf South West teach you to stand by going to your knees first, and this technique really worked for Sarah. I only got as far as my knees, though, and didn’t manage to get to my feet.

On Saturday, I was unable to put my t-shirt on or really move my right arm. I decided that this level of pain and lack of movement was probably not safe or sensible for surfing, so I sat out the Saturday lesson. Boy, was I gutted. Sarah, however, stood on her surfboard lots of times and I managed to take some pics. I sat, sadly, on the beach and tried not to feel sorry for myself as I read my book while Sarah surfed like an expert. Jealous, moi?

On Sunday, the surf was really flat and my shoulder still hurt. My shoulder was a lot better than the day before, though, and I reckoned it was worth the risk. Surf South West seem to take people out in any conditions, which while a little outrageous in terms of a lesson, was exactly what I wanted as I would much rather be in the sea than on the beach. There were so few waves that people 25 metres further out to sea from us were playing frisbee. Really.

The only advantage of having no surf is that you get to practice your paddling a lot, as you have to fight to catch any wave at all, and you get to practice sitting on a surfboard because there’s so long between waves. I took advantage of both of these elements. In the end, people started pushing each other in, on the only waves that were coming. This really helped because it reduced the need to paddle like a maniac. I caught a few waves this way and, yes, I stood on a surfboard. I decided not to bother with the knee method, because there wasn’t time for all the stages for that, and I’ve been practicing the surf jump. It paid off and I was able to jump to my feet in one movement. I still need to work on positioning my feet and making sure I keep my eyes on the horizon, but yes, I stood on a surfboard this weekend. Wow, was it great.

Croyde is a nice place with lots of places to stay and a few places to eat and drink. It’s not cheap, but it’s friendly. The only annoying people were some of the (other) visitors :-)