This year though, I haven't needed to rig a sail bigger than 5.6m all the year through, and if you are into wave riding the latest generation of 4 batten sail has given us more power in a lighter and more manouverable package – meaning more wave sailing!
At the other end of the scale is one of the most exposed, and most consistent surfing spots in the UK - Freshwater West. Several miles of grassy cliffs and well formed reef breaks, along to a wide open sandy bay with an even bigger and heavier wave. We actually look to head there with a smaller swell as it can be quite a hand full over 2m and definitely for the brave. In the smaller swells with a south east cross-off wind the reefs can deliver some awesome hollow waves that are really predictable with stacks of power. Even the wind comes in a bit stronger than the rest of the coast. Low tide is best for a sandy launch, and cleaner wind.
A lot of other beaches work on the same conditions, but on a recent trip to Newgale with local boy Lewis Merrony and Pete Bird mid week, we decided the swell was too small for a decent challenge so headed over for a look at Fresh.
When we got there I grabbed a few shots of the boys. Newgale was only a foot or two when we left and 5.6m weather ish and Fresh was solid head to logo high on 4.7's! As the day went on the tide climbed nicely and the sets built to mast high, and more over on the beach. The shots you see of the boys are of the middle reef, and I made my way upwind to the reefs on the left in the scenic shots.
WARNING – Fresh West is a military Firing Range, and if the red flags are flying on the main road check points stay clear of the left end of the reef. If they have to stop firing you may well get arrested.....pro surfer Carwin Williams has been carted off 3 times for ignoring them! Middle bay down is fine, and the whole coast is fair game on the weekend and off days.......
We all had a great session with stacks of waves, and the odd rinsing inside at that size! If you pull off the waves early enough it's easy to get back out and there are often channels off the end of the main peaks. As the tide gets higher, you need to aim your landing well between the rocks or just come in on the beach – but beware as you hit the beach it is always a lot bigger!
After 3 hours on the reefs enjoying peeling left handers, Lewis and Pete had landed safely between the rocks. I couldn't quite spot my landing from out back so I trekked downwind to come in on the main beach. Just off the headland point peels a huge left hand wall right into the bay. It was so big I genuinely felt a little wary, but got stuck in on a nice mast high plus wave allowing 3 or 4 big drawn out turns before it threatened to close down – full throttle to safety and I was in on the beach without a spanking!
All in all a real sweet session considering the wave buoy was only showing 20 to 25mph SE wind and 1.2 to 1.6m swell. Lewis and Pete bagged loads of great waves and we're all looking forward to the next session at Fresh West