Surfing Cornwall Walls with Nick Evans

Nick at Harlyn Bay-1IMG_7019

This is a photo of Nick Evans at some secret spot on the west coast of Cornwall. Well, maybe it’s a secret; but the photo Nick’s cousin, Frances, sent me (at my request, several of them) labeled it as Nick at Hamblyn Bay. Wait; I may have misspelled that name; the photo may have been mislabeled; and, anyway, I don’t live in England, and, even if I did, I’d probably miss these conditions.

Now, if I captioned the photo, it’d have to be “Nick Evans bottom turns into a Cornwall wall.”


Oh, I just checked, while adding the additional photos, and it may actually be Harlyn Bay. Hey, I have a bit of trouble pronouncing old world English. When another surfer from there, a few years ago, whipped out a map after I’d told him I get most of my surf forecasting from Magic Seaweed, which, evidently, comes from somewhere where they actually are in the same time zone as Greenwich (Green’-witch, right? No) Mean Time; I pointed to ‘Bude,’ mentioned occasionally on one of our favorite (favourite maybe, to ya’ll) PBS imports, “Doc Martin;” said, “Yeah, Bude;” and he corrected my mistake of thinking it would possibly be a one syllable word. “It’s pronounced ‘Be-ude.’ ”

Also, I should say the other photos may not be Uncle Nick, but photos taken by him. Just to clarify, though, the surfers do seem to be in position on waves I’d love to share*.

I actually almost met Nick, his obvious coolness revealed by his not donning the hood along with the gloves and booties, when he visited his niece and her husband, Morgan, at their second home high above the bay at Pulali Point in Brinnon, Washington, one of the fingers of the Hood Canal. I was there for a meeting in connection with bleaching and refinishing the place, just for informational purposes. Nick was asleep, resting after a trip up to British Columbia to surf the Canadian (still closer to England than we are) waves at Tofino. I’d pronounce it ‘Tow-Fee-No,’ correct at will.

It may be just too too obvious that I’d be very happy to have a few more eyes on from the British Isles (is it okay to call them that? It’s not like they all get along). My mother’s family came to America from Wales. My family name, Dence, dates back to middle English, first used on the Northeast side of the island, and evidently means ‘The Dane,’ and, I like to say to pretty much anyone who would still be listening, “And not in a nice way.”

Vikings, just another group wanting to conquer and rule. Or maybe they just wanted to share; as in, cruise around “Doc Martin” territory, share a few waves with Nick and his surf buddies, head down to the local pub, throw back a pint or three. “Throw back,” would that make me sound, you know, local? What if I wore a tweed coat? Forget it, I don’t even fit in here.

Disclaimer: If it suddenly gets crowded with Yanks (Yankers?) at your favourite surf spot, please don’t blame Nick Evans. Blame his Americanized niece, Frances. “Frances?” “Yes, like the country.” “Okay. Frances.”

*share- (Erwin’s definition)- to catch all the waves I can, often calling for the second or third wave in a set so others can get the first ones. As far as sharing a wave- okay if you’re WAY out in front.

The First (Highly Forecast, Hyped, Anticipated) Swell of Fall, and…


…and all that entails. This is a photo sent to me by my friend, wandering Hydrosexual (explained in an earlier post), Stephen Davis. It’s a point in Northern California, and the image may belay the size (and hide many of the rocks in the lineup).

My most recent conversation with Stephen, the day after I shared the road to and from the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and the parking area, over the weekend, with pretty much every surfer in Washington State who has a computer with the capability of picking up Surfline, Magic Seaweed, or any other surf forecasting site, or, maybe, heard about a ‘high surf warning’ on the TV weather, or maybe a friend who used to surf a lot gave people a call, and/or…

Okay, I’m not going to whine (any more than I already have) about surfers trying to surf. When I found out Saturday, with waves out of control on the coast, the swell didn’t really move far enough north to penetrate and wash the points and coves with four-to-six foot peelers, I thought, if I got up early enough, I could get a few of Sunday’s bigger, cleaner… second ‘Okay,’ I did get waves to myself while many of the surfers camping in their vehicles were still sleeping or making breakfast on grills that, magically, were pulled out of the back of SUVs, and others were watching the four longboarders floating around on the ‘I’d-be-exaggerating-if-I-said-kneehigh’ lefts. I got a lot of waves, actually, little rights, with at least one ride to add to my memory bank, one of those where the chances of making the first, then the second, then the third section were less than assured; swoop and lean harder into the wall… and make it.

So, I did fine. I’m not sure everyone did. I hung out on the beach a while, chatting with surfing power couples, a guy who remembered me from an earlier session, who said he was trying to contain himself, with visions of overhead waves, on the way to… okay (number 3) some of the waves were a bit over knee-high, and there was always the hope the swell, 16 second intervals, would move just a hair farther north, the incoming tide would bring that fabled ‘push,’ or, maybe, at some other cove or point, maybe not with the easy access, there were those (again) fabled Straits peelers.

I checked one of those spots on my way back home, still, if I didn’t doddle, in time to watch some of the much-anticipated Seahawks/Cowboys football game. There were as many surfers making the trek out to the lineup as there were in the glassy waves, and as many tired surfers making the return trip to their vehicles. And then there were the surfers, as I was, dressed in their on-land clothes, hiking out to check out a spot a friend of mine asked me not to mention, as if it is a secret.

I will return there; the waves were definitely worth it; on one of those non-weekend days when the forecast is a little bit ‘iffy,’ the hype a bit… probably no hype at all. Hopefully everyone driving up and down Surf Route 101, out on Highway 112, on the sideroads heading north from their, on the paths and beaches, hopefully everyone caught at least one memorable wave; drop, lean, rise, swoop, blown out the end, clean.

And I have to go, but I’ll get back to the Stephen Davis story… always more, always something coming. As for the Seahawks, next weekend, man.

Cheater Five

Cheater Five

Since I check out magic just about… no, every day, I was struck by this image. Tagged as “Crouching and elegant,” the photo was taken at Cote des Basques, France, by McSnowHammer.
The image is striking in it’s balance between black and white. It’s a well-surfed little tube; might be equally pretty in color, softer.
There are some differences between the drawing, free-handed on scratchboard, and the photo.
Actually, the more I look at the photo the more I wish my drawing could reveal a little more detail. It is, after all, merely scratches on a smooth-but-blank surface.
Yet, we all seek to capture or recapture a moment; a little unexpected inside power pocket.
I may go back, do some more scratching. For now, Thank you McSnowHammer, thank you Miss “Crouching and elegant.”