It's been a month for the big boards and kayaks both here and in France where i scored some fun size wave in boardshorts with the last pulse of swell. If you have never experienced the pleasure of paddling with bare shoulders, i can highly reccomend it!
The van, specifically the VW t4/t5 and to a lesser extent the Merc vito, hold a special place in UK surf culture. I think perhaps in a way that is different to their place in the rest of europe or the in US where the big pick up truck holds more "beach cool"
Maybe it's to do with our more inclement weather and the more fickle nature of our waves. Whatever the reason, it's a mobile home, kitchen , changing room, board shed, bedroom or sanctuary from the world outside, a good van is an essential to a fully realised British surfing life.
Mine is currently parked up overlooking some sweet French beach break while i ponder which of my toys to play with......
The gulfstream factory's store of sanding disks and rather randomly, odd wetsuit boots!
If you've never spent any time in a surfboard factory, it's difficult to explain just how dusty they are. Even ten minutes inside and the fine white powder finds it's way everywhere. There's something magic about the smell of resin and possibilities, the thousands of wave based adventures lying as potential within the stack of blanks, waiting to be unlocked by skilled shapers eye and hands and skilled surfers feet.
Surfing is a funny thing sometimes, the most fun sessions can come from the most inauspicious beginnings. Conversely sometimes the expectations of a great session are high and it just doesn't quite deliver.
Last time i rode my Mccallum mford was what i can best describe as a shocker! Lovely 3 foot offshore day but people everywhere, tired arms and i just couldn't get into a rhythm. Everywhere i sat was the wrong spot. I left the water deflated amid others joyous tales of fun waves.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and i sneak off after kids story time to catch the evening high tide glass off. Calling it thigh high would have been charitable and the tide dictated short sections and close outs. I grabbed the Mccallum again on a whim, expecting only the extra excercise of paddling a 5'6 instead of a 9'6 around. How wrong i was, over the course of an hour i hooked into quite a few tiny reelers with sections to race and spray to throw. I rushed home with the fading light feeling more alive and with the fire duly stoked. A timely reminder of the capability of the mini simmons platform to add excitement to junk waves!
Sometimes the most fun comes when you least expect!