Various articles are doing the rounds on social media and the internet again, lamenting the state of surfing, the crowded-ness of waves, how surfing ‘isn’t like it used to be’ and, with summer peak season on its way, the tourist honey pot that is Cornwall, my home, gets set for the annual invasion of Emmits – a word we use to refer to tourists (it literally means ‘ants’ due to their swarming nature).
However, loudly and proudly going against the grain, I – along with almost all bodysurfers, I am sure – love sharing the ocean and waves with fellow Whompers. Drop Ins, Party Waves and Sharing the Stoke take on a whole new meaning when your art of wave riding is sliding prone down open faces. After several solo spring sessions followed by hours of boring the ears off my girlfriend, Brogen; discussing my waves down to the minutest detail, the feeling I felt, the tricks I attempted etc etc – a very one sided conversation – I decided the time had come to instigate a major change. It was time to get Brogen into bodysurfing!
Brogen is lucky enough to have her birthday in mid-summer, leaving me almost 6 months to the day between then and Christmas to cajole, coerce and generally persuade her to come around to my style of thinking, save all the money I needed and then buy her the wherewithal to join me on every bodysurf. A wetsuit, fins, a cheap handplane and a trip to the South West of France for the Quiksilver Pro soon followed (selfless aren’t I?!)
Smashing all my expectations, Brogen soon outstripped me in the sea, progressing from her plastic lump to making her own wooden Otter Handplane she now has a quiver with the newest addition being a beautiful SeaGlass Handplane. The elegance, finesse and, for want of a better word, beauty that Brogen brings to bodysurfing is something I will never reach – can you tell my words are laced with a hint of jealousy?
Years of dancing and swimming competitively seem to have combined to form a natural stylish grace that belies relatively no experience! From heavy, dredging Biarritz barrels to hollow, long, sucky Supertubos and then on to lumpy, wedgey rides at Watergate – our favourite and local beach. The stoke is more evident – a glow surrounding her after a session and that same enflamed passion when discussing every single wave with no droplet of water out of place. This all culminated in Brogen being hooted into little, sunset, Cornish barrels by none other than Big Wave World Champion Greg Long!! (Another story for another time).
The stoke that I, so generously, past to her, she has now past on. We run Watergate Bay Surf Life Saving Club and, for an end of season celebration Brogen organised a free-surfing bodysurf session, collecting and distributing as many handplanes as she could get her hands on – and the children bloody loved it!! Several of them even went on to get handplanes for Christmas.
The moral of the story – believe in Karma; sharing waves and passing on the stoke is always rewarding!!