Last week a large swell hit Newquay and everyone was getting excited because the waves in September had been…errrr…pretty lame. The evening before the bigger swell was due to hit a couple of us went out and surfed Fistral beach. By sunset waves had increased from shoulder high to well overhead. As we left the water a tow in jet ski was in the water and The Cribbar (Britain’s biggest wave) had already started to break.
The next day the waves picked up more, and by late morning the jet skis were out. There were around 20-30 people armed with cameras to capture the moment and in spite of really strong winds (which made using a video camera pretty tricky) a couple of teams managed to surf the wave and a picture ended up in The Sun – see photo
The Cribbar gets a fair bit of attention due to its mystique of being a big wave in Cornwall and not breaking often but at the same time many other surfers were catching some pretty chunky waves a few hundred metres away – some were getting some great rides across from the edges of Little Fistral bay, all the way across to North Fistral beach.
Here is a montage of some photos I took and video shot that day. The music used in the video if by Icelandic band Sigur Ros (for some reason their music just totally works over shots of mother nature being dramatic).
About The Cribbar
The Cribbar breaks on rare occasions, as it takes a big swell to get it working. When it does break, it breaks over reef and the wave size can be anything up to double (or more) of the size of the beach breaks nearby. The Cribbar was first surfed in 1966 and the surfers who took it on paddled into the wave (which at the time was breaking at around 20 feet!) The full story of that famous day when those 4 pioneering surfers took on the Cribbar can be found on Roger Mansfield’s website here.
The Cribbar wave breaks off the end of the headland that runs off Little Fistral. I’ve seen it marked in totally the wrong place on a few drawings so I’ve done my best to point it out as clearly as I can on the map below.
Other places you can read about The Cribbar:
Surf Nation by Alex Wade
I would very much like to know, what the cribbar looks like underwater. It is called a reef, so I assume there is a bar of rocks and corals ?
Yes it breaks over rocks