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4 Days of Pembrokeshire Surf

4 Days of Pembrokeshire Surf

Sod’s law dictates that whenever you schedule a surf trip a long time in advance then you can guarantee that your local break is going to start firing for those very days. Sure enough the Wittering surf forecast was promising a big groundswell with light winds on the third day of our trip to Prembrokeshire but, to be honest, as eye-rollingly typical as it may be I’ve never been less bothered. 

I’ve surfed a lot of places around the world, in fact I’ve surfed a lot of places in Wales and somehow never explored the Pembrokeshire coastline. But with a birthday to celebrate, access to a very nice cottage and some local knowledge from Phillip I was pretty pumped to see what it had to offer. February is notoriously bleak and for a month which even has the decency to shave off a few days it still feels impossibly long. So cruising down unfamiliar lanes with the prospect of good waves and the sunshine daring to poke his head out the clouds made for pretty high spirits in the van (or maybe it was just the Haribo). 

The session on the first day immediately felt special and on reflection I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t a dream. 6 hours in the van and we suited up within 2 minutes of arrival. The view down into the bay revealed teal waters and perfect 4ft peaks and no one out, this view marked the first of many involuntary noises to escape our mouths over the next 4 days. It was a session that had just about everything; a friendly seal, a rainbow, a hail storm, bowly peaks and a pushing tide which only made the wave better with every passing minute. Not to mention it was sunny. Good lord, how good does the sun feel on your face towards the end of winter? Needless to say that we didn’t have it to ourselves for much longer than an hour but, still, plenty of screaming and hands on heads and very fun waves. Grins and spaghetti arms all round.

Day 2 delivered big swell and tricky winds leaving only one south east facing beach as an option and boy did it turn out fun. It never ceases to amaze me how much our tides impact the surf. At this particular spot it went from completely flat at low water to gorgeous 3-4ft a-frames on the pushing tide with offshore winds beautifully grooming the faces. The waves were so pretty I debuted my underwater camera housing that I bought on eBay for £30. Truth be told I’m pretty pleased with the results from the water.

We scored pretty much everyday on this trip and it served as a very pleasant reminder of how simple I am. I mean, it definitely helped that the waves were good but we did very little other than get in the sea, read and eat good food with friends and it was perfect. Exploring somewhere new, even somewhere in your own country feels so liberating. For me there’s something so life-giving about the unfamiliar, I find that as comforting as home can be there can often be something claustrophobic about the parameters of our everyday lives. Stretching your legs and going down new unknown roads feels akin to the cold side of the pillow. I’ve always been wary of over philosophising surfing, there’s a clear and present danger of sounding like a complete twonk but perched on a piece of fibreglass under spectacular cliffs in the pouring rain with just 3 friends and clean 2ft waves left me quoting Yvon Chouinard from our screening of 180 Degrees South: ‘You know where I want to be right now? Right here.’ Surfing doesn’t always make me present, but its often pretty effective and in a loud world of bottomless video and an insatiable appetite for attention I’m not sure I can think of a better marker of success than momentarily not wanting to be anywhere other than where you are right now.