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57½ reasons why people surf!

57½ reasons why people surf! thumbnail

The American philosopher Jim Rohn once said that ‘reasons come first…answers come second’ and this idea lead me to a big question…why do we surf?

Is it for the adrenalin rush surfing gives you, or a pursuit for inner peace? Is it escape from the daily grind or the fact that you can enter into a sub-culture with its own fashion, language and style. So, in no particular order, here are 57 1/2 reasons why people surf – see if you can find the best reason for you.

1. To look cool amongst your peers
Shallow as it seems, image plays a big part in surfing. Unlike some of the other water sports, surfing is generally regarded as quite cool – but then these people don’t see you rinsing out your pee-stained wetsuit, or watch your nose drain seawater all over dinner.

2. It can help you get laid more often
Being a tanned rock god/goddess of the ocean can have its upside, as pro surfers seem to attract pretty hot partners. Hopefully a bit of that Kelly Slater magnetism can rub off on you…though obviously, there are no guarantees.

3. You’re having a mid-life crisis
20 years of working hard in the corporate machine has left you soulless and metaphorically washed up. These days you feel like the walking dead, ready to turn to dust and you’re barely 40. Life is ticking by faster and faster, yet there’s so much you haven’t done…grey hairs are appearing, your kids don’t think you’re cool anymore, your partner won’t sleep with you and has threatened to leave…its domestic hell, and lets face it, you’ve become fu*kin boring. Surfing, is probably the only answer.

The Surfer: A great British surf comedy

4. You want to tick it off your bucket list
If you haven’t been to Thailand, sky-dived out of a plane or run a marathon by the time your 30 you’ll struggle to fit in these days. Surfing is another ‘to do’ on many people’s bucket list. It’s such a ‘must do’ that even the British prime minister David Cameron claims to surf – though you might want to call it dick dragging.

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Surfers V Stand Up Paddle Boarders…Who’s Right? thumbnail

There has been a real surge in the popularity of stand up paddle boarding in the last few years. The sport has become more and more popular in Cornwall and perhaps nowhere more so than in Newquay.

With some talented local SUP-ers and shapers based in the town, the sport has gone from strength to strength. For some, this is a wonderful thing to see happening, but for others (including many shortboarders) it’s viewed with some cynicism.

As more and more people enter the line up to practice their new hobby on giant boards, can the shortboards and those on ‘big boards’ really live in harmony?

Image by Dave Young

Image by Dave Young

Accused of wave hogging and being a potential danger to other surfers, stand up paddle boarding is not without its critics. But where have all the SUP-ers come from? Have people really traded in their longboards for something bigger…have windsurfers traded in their sails for a paddle…or is it just people ‘giving it a go’?

Whatever the reason, stand up paddle boarding is certainly on the up. So whether you love it or hate it, there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to SUP-ing…here are the NewquaySurfer arguments, for and against.

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WARNING: Before You Buy Your First Surfboard Read this… thumbnail


How to select the best Surfboard for YOU!

Ok, you’ve had a lesson/s and decided your hooked on learning to surf and want to buy your first board. So what should you buy?…

Some surf shop staff will give you objective advice, others will sell you a board that they want to sell that will get them more commission…or even worse, you might end up talking to someone that may not know very much about surfing at all :-)

This article will aim to recommend a surfboard to you based on a few factors – how often you surf, where you surf and if you travel a lot. Though If you’re in a rush, here’s everything in a nutshell:

  • “I only surf 1-2 days a year” = Foamboard
  • “I surf about 5-7 days a year” = Foamboard, Longboard or Minimal
  • “I surf atleast once a month” = Longboard, Minimal or Magic Carpet
  • “I surf a few days a month” = Longboard, Minimal, Magic Carpet or Fish
  • “I surf every week” = Longboard, Minimal, Magic Carpet, Fish or Big Shortboard

Anyway here is an independent beginners buying guide to help you avoid the major pitfalls of buying your first surfboard.

Volume is everything…well almost everything. Selecting a good beginner board has a lot to do with making sure it has plenty of volume. Lots of volume in a board makes it float better and for someone learning it makes it easier to get to your feet and catch waves.

A mistake many people make when buying their first surfboard is not getting one with enough volume. Foam boards, longboards, minimals and magic carpets do have lots of volume. Fish surfboards and shortboards usually less.

Volume is measured in litres. A good beginner board would (in my opinion) be at least 60 litres or more in volume – the more the better. A minimal to longboard size surfboard could be at least 65-80 litres+ of volume. Lets compare this to a performance shortboard that say Kelly Slater might ride…he might ride something like a 6’1 x 18 ¼ inch shortboard. This would be around 24 litres in volume. To ride a board that small well you need to have a pretty solid surfing technique – plus you need the right waves to surf.

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photo montage of different sun screens

We’ve had a pretty sunny summer here in the UK.

I can recall summers past when it felt like I surfed most days and never got sun burnt, and I put this down to a/ crap weather and b/ my trusty factor SPF70 panama jack ‘surf and sport’ sunscreen. It did the job for years and at about £8 a tube, it was worth it. However now I have been informed the EU have banned the SPF 70 sunscreen and its no longer allowed to be sold in the UK.

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Another evening at Fistral beach thumbnail

The day before the sea mist crept in. The sky looked pretty interesting and it was the first decent surf for a few weeks in Newquay so there were a few folks on the beach. Photos taken on the 23/5/2012.





Sea Mist & Surfers  – Fistral Beach thumbnail

On May 24th in Newquay it was a warm spring day and for most of the towns and villages inland in Cornwall, it stayed that way all day. However along the coast it was a different matter…

At around midday a thick sea mist blew onto the coast reducing visibility dramatically. Most beaches were red flagged and many ferry routes cancelled. However a few surfers (familiar with the beaches) still surfed. Here are a few images from that afternoon.

When most people think of Iceland they think of skidoos, the northern lights and Bjork. I guess if you are a bit more musically minded, you may also think of  Sigur Ros too…either way surfing, is not really something people associate with Iceland.


I’ve visited Iceland before, but this October I was on a mission to get in the water and surf there, whatever it took. After a day or two of scouring the skate shops and sending a bunch of emails I finally managed to uncover some of the local surf scene. Believe me when I tell you that finding somewhere to hire a surfboard and wetsuit in Iceland is not easy. However I was lucky enough to meet Mummi who had just opened his skateboard and surf store JadarSport about 7 miles out of Reykjavik in Hafnafjordur. I whizzed over there to see him.

Xcel Wetsuits at JadarSport

It was cool to see that his store stocked a range of skate, wake board, kayak and surf kit for sale and hire. When I arrived Mummi had to dash over from sorting shipping orders of cod to the UK, but even though he was busy, he offered to take me out surfing and hired me some kit. The next day we headed off to surf a point break near the Reykjanes Penninsula in the south western corner of Iceland called Thorli.

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Big wave surfing video at the Cribbar Newquay thumbnail

The Cribbar breaks rarely…perhaps a few times a year… if you’re lucky…Unless you live close to Newquay and keep a keen eye on the surf reports the chances are, you could miss it. The reason it breaks so rarely isn’t (as far as I’m aware) about voodoo or spells, it is just that a lot of factors have to come into play simultaneously in order to create the right conditions.


Good surfable waves at the Cribbar are not just about a big swell, but also about the swell direction, the wind speed, and direction of that wind…all of these things come into play. Once you have all of these things happening, the next ingredient you need are surfers skilled and crazy enough to surf it!

On the 30th of October it was one of those lucky days.

When I got up I noticed that even the weather was exceptionally warm for the time year. As I looked out of my window I could see large crowds gathering up on the headland. I left the flat and was glad I bothered to lug a heavy camcorder and tripod up the headland, because when I looked down over Cribbar rocks mother nature had decided to conjure up near perfect big wave surf conditions.

30ft faces smashed down a 100m away, there were bright blue skies and the atmosphere was electric. People hooted and cheered, it was like a Cornish version of Half Moon Bay, this was our Mavericks.

And to top it all there were guys like Ben Skinner and Richie Sills, amped up to tow in to monster waves.

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Lots of people try out surfing and usually they get the bug and want to get better…perhaps hoping one day they might rip like Newquay’s Alan Stokes (pic above)

However not everyone lives by the beach, and not everyone can surf regularly. So a common question is ‘How can I improve?’

I believe surfing is different to some other sports. The amount of time you need to spend physically learning is quite high, so anything you can do to improve little by little is important.

Here are 7 tips on how you can begin to improve your surfing…

1. Make sure you have the right kit

If you are learning to surf you need to be warm enough. So to ensure you can stay in the water as long as possible, a good wetuit is a must.

In addition to this you will usually want to learn on a soft foam surfboard with lots of volume.

If you are learning to surf and weigh anywhere between 120 -200lbs you should opt to learn on a foam surfboard between 7ft and 9ft long for the first 10-20 sessions.

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