You booked your flights way back in July and you are about to board a plane to the Southern Hemisphere to escape the cold and make the most of that almost guaranteed wind. Head to logo high waves, virtually everyday, will be what greets you, yet the ominous fact that your wallet is considerably lighter may be a little unsettling on that return flight. So is it all it is cracked up to be? Well, first hand experience certainly says yes but there is a time and a place for everything, and choosing the right time to go calls upon almost Herculean powers. Predicting weather 6 months before it happens isn't exactly easy, but in some cases there are few who may well poses such powers. One such person may well be Jony Price.
Yeah, I'm looking at the forecast, I think Cornwall will be a mess as it's so big, but some fickle reefs in deepest darkest Wales will be all time! Going for a look..
The 2013 UK amateur wave champion had a crucial decision to make, stay at home, finish his studies and risk the chance that 100 days of snow may strike or head south. It was, and is, the former that he opted for and so far the rewards have been so rife that he may well have scored more sessions than anyone south of the Equator, albeit with as much rubber protection as he can muster.
We caught up with Jony late last night whilst he was squatting in a few hours studies at his University library in Cardiff, Wales. Before packing his beloved 'van' and heading right back out to the wild wild west for today's mighty storm he left us with this comment - "Yeah, I'm looking at the forecast, I think Cornwall will be a mess as it's so big, but some fickle reefs in deepest darkest Wales will be all time! Going for a look..". We wished him well and promised him a feature before he returns home today.
Now, don't mistake us, we certainly favour the warmth here at Boardseeker but when it's going off, temperature is rarely a factor worth considering thanks to advances in wetsuit/drysuit technology, more on that soon. What's more, when it is happening in your home ground then it can be really hard to beat it. So without further ado we go over to Jony on what is unmistakeable the best festive season 'since-records-began'*, and let's face it, today only confirms that 'fact' even more.
* - we don't have conclusive evidence of this but something tells us it is pretty darn epic!
So a couple of months ago I was faced with the dilemma – Cape Town or home (in Ireland) for Christmas. Most people might think that's a no-brainer, but on a student budget and with work piling up for exams in January, I decided on another Christmas at home.
I left Uni in Cardiff mid December, the same day my mates were flying out to Cape Town. The forecast was looking great though, so I wasn't too bothered. I took my time getting home – the whole coast of Wales was going off, so I was in no rush to catch the ferry. Myself and Jim Brooks scored a fickle point break up the west coast of Wales and sailed it until it was too dark to find where we launched. It got me pretty excited for the trip back to Ireland! A couple of full power sessions at Rhosneigr before catching the ferry were a great warm up for the swell hitting Ireland over the next few weeks.
Back over to Ireland and this place is always fun to sail. With Magheroarty being the most consistent spot for windsurfing, I scored quite a few fun sessions there over the few weeks I was home. The waves were always there, but some days the wind was pretty frustrating. This is probably my favourite spot to sail as the huge bay provides a relatively safe environment to push yourself to learn more in the waves.
Katie McAnenna and Finn Mullen joined me for a few days, and my mate Geoff came over from England to have a look too.
The swell got pretty big some days, and the weather was everything from warm and sunny to lightning and hail, but it was great craic anyway. It was here, this time last year, when I first got a taste of some proper big waves with the late Mikey (Clancy), giving me all the encouragement to go out and give it a go. I think I owe him a lot as I haven't stopped searching for decent waves since. He has certainly been on all our minds this Christmas.
The great thing about the UK is the variety of conditions we get! I even scored some sick sessions on the East coast of Ireland on my smallest sails.
It was soon after that that I noticed the swells started coming in much further south than usual, with the South of Ireland and Cornwall looking like a much better option, so I decided to head to Cornwall to spend the last week of my holiday there and it didn't disappoint! A few days of logo-mast high cross off, and even some starboard tack jumping practice made for a very fun week to finish my Christmas break. The great thing about Cornwall is there's always plenty of people to sail with (including the likes of Steve Thorp - mastermind behind K4 Fins) and the atmosphere at the beach is great. We even went to have a look at sailing the Cribbar at sunrise on New Years day, but it was a bit of a blown out mess – probably a good thing as I hadn't slept in 3 days.
My exams are next week so I think its time I focused on them! The charts for Monday look like the whole of Europe will be firing though, so maybe I can hit the water for just one more quick sail...