Way up along the humble shores of England's north, the swell's been pretty divine. Waves have been sent ripping to shore with long, drawn out walls of oceanic boom, courtesy of those storms that are squeezed between Greenland and Scotland -- and then flick south-wards down into the North Sea. Which means, for warm water enthusiasts, this is not your jam.
Heck, even the hardiest of cold water crushers – this still isn't your scene. Heavy, yet frigid, silt-laden choco waters are probably best left for the locals. And they've been having a time of it.
“So far January has been a pretty mild weather wise, with lots of swell kicking around which has been sick,” says local shredder Louis Thomas-Hudson (an introduction to this legend, here) “Having said that, the water still feels icy when you get caught on the inside. The reefs have been lighting up and there have been good vibes in the water with everyone trading waves. Looking forward to what the rest of winter has to offer.”
“The swell seemed to have a lot more punch behind it than what was forecast,” said local legend Sandy Kerr. “The first day so much water was being drawing off the reef it was making the takeoff almost impossible on some of them, I took off on one and before I knew what was happening, I slammed on the reef which sidelined me for the next day.”
When the light fades early and the water plummets to an inhumane level of cold, it's easy enough to turn your attention to water warmers. But for these locals, there's no place like home – a statement true to just about anyone that lives next to a surfable stretch of water. And that's a mindset that Gabe Davies can attest to.
“It’s easy to sit online and dream of warm water zones once the Northern Hemisphere clocks go back,” he said. “ But between the temperature dropping and the dark weather windows, there have been some golden moments.
“Europe has been smashed by swell. I’d say every corner, on every coasts, has had its day. Epic sessions have gone down. I was lucky to score the tail end of the late Fall swells in Hossegor, but came back to the UK during a lull in the action.
“That changed coming into the New Year, with a couple back-to-back groundswells running down the coast. We had enough primo days to make it feel regular. Some days, which on the charts looked incomplete, came in above expectation.
“It’s been a blast getting to reconnect with the wider surf crews at some of the best sessions. After so many months and years of blurred forms of isolation, this continued good run has been a real boost to morale. The consistent run of longer period swells, has also helped us spread our wings a bit, and allowed us to surf some of the more off beat spots, that you’d not risk if you only had a tide or two to surf. If it stays like this, we won’t be craving warm water, any time soon!”
Amen to that.