Wooly Winter Wonderland

Posted on February 13, 2012


Main Beach

Winter surfing defines us as a surfing nation. Everything is cranked up a notch; the waves have more power and that combined with the extra rubber of a winter wettie make the paddle-outs long and hard – but the rewards are, of course worth it in an even more obviously clichéd way than this opening paragraph. The truth is that winter surfing is a completely different ball game and to thrive and enjoy these rewards you have to be on it and fit, if summer surfing is a walk in the park then winter surfing is camping on Neptune’s moon, Triton.


Like Triton, which incidentally is the only large moon in the solar system to travel in a retrograde (backwards) direction around its primary, winter surf can be dark and lonely with endless onshores and that just about sums January up.  (Or it was “shit” in surfer speak). However the weather changed and for three days at the start of  February while the rest of the country played in the snow, we in the south-west had the first clean swell of the year. Chilling easterly offshores howling from the steppes of Russia across a frigid beach covered with a very bright coating of methane frost, hacked into the batteries’ life and also froze my bits off.


A hardy crew of locals helped themselves to a generous portion, took a few pastings and generally relished the joy of being a Brit in the bleak mid winter. Water temp 8ºC, air temp 2ºC, stand out surfer,  the super fit Nick Thorn (who swims to Lundy for fun). Being the best and being the fittest could be connected is some way.

Click on the pix to have a better look.

Canon 1D mk2 c/w 600mm f4 IS & Canon 5D c/w 70-200mm f2.8 IS

Disclaimer. Triton has a tenuous atmosphere of nitrogen and methane, it is inadvisable to go there without proper and adequate equipment (and support from NASA probably) and this blog in no way endorses such reckless behaviour, well not often anyway..

Nick ThornMain beachWilly's RightsUnknownSetJosh WittsNick ThornUNknownThorndogStream

Update 30/3/12: Issue 132 of Carve Magazine has just hit the selves of the UK’s 7/11 stores, (you know the one where you buy your lotto tickets). Five shots from the shoot made the Mag. and strangely even though I’ve worked for Carve since Issue 1 way back in 1993 they have credited one pic to ‘Estpix’ my bona fide, by-line credit and four others to ESTER, who ever that is (isnt that a womens name?) Just goes to show how important the hogs who provide the shots for the Mag are in the scheme of things. Any how if you’re a typical surfer and have to spend all your money on petrol and not surf mags, (interesting editorial by Sharpy); here’s the rest of the shoot, you’ll have to guess which ones made the cut.