Monday, 6 February 2012

Surf gets up...

The venture into the world of sea paddling continued on the weekend. On Sunday I was fortunate once again to meet up with Taran, Andy and Stuart, along with Eurion for a paddle from Llantwit Major to Dunraven bay and back. (NB - Much better pictures on Taran and Stuarts blog sites)
Lovely sea kayaks waiting for adventure......

A surprisingly nice day given the weather the day before!
Our departure was delayed due to Andy having a real challenge getting out of the verglas covered streets of Cilfynnydd, which left us with around 30 minutes to get round Nash point before the tide turned.
Leaving Llantwit beach

heading for Nash Point

A quick blast through the surf at Llantwit and we were off. The St Donats lifeboat was buzzing around, and they seem to be hanging around Nash Point waiting to see if we'd make it! This was new kayaking territory for me and I'd heard how the tide around this area can get pretty feisty.

On virtually passing the lighthouses on the cliff at the point the water quickly changed. The boat was getting kicked about in strange ways, and an eye had to kept out for big waves which seemed to break further out from shore than expected. Progress quickly slowed and with a slog I got round the point. Eurion, despite recovering from the flu had powered ahead, with Stuart and Taran not too far behind. I lagged further, partly lack of sea kayaking experience and part not having as quick a boat as the others.
Beached after Nash Point for a breather!

Taran (whos headgear was soon to be lost at sea) and Stuart

Once round the point we regrouped on the shore, and once fed and watered we pressed on. Although still against the tidal flow, the effect is less fierce once around Nash Point and we make steady progress. Taran plays close to shore, buts its a game that needs a careful eye. The predicted 2ft swell is somewhat bigger and sudden walls of breaking water are not uncommon! One catches Taran is spectacular style, Andy starts to move to rescue but also gets blasted. In one fell swoop we have two swimmers – we did laugh!

As we approach Witches Point we end up in some pretty large swell waves. Eurion gives me some tips about spotting the break points. Its all pretty spectacular to me! On rounding the point Dunraven Bay is a mass of pretty big surf waves. Are we really going to land in that? Eurion shows his expertise, easily picking up some surf, and then comes back out. I venture in a bit. The rest of team catch up and then its shore bound.....!

My lack of surf experience shows and two rolls later I arrive on the beach! The rest of the team enjoy a great ride and stay upright! We don't linger on the beach too long – eager to get back to Llantwit before the tide covers the short bit of sand there (landing seaboats – especially glassfibre ones on a rocky shore is not good fun!) so we launch back into the surf.

The paddle out gives me a right beating, and as the breaking waves get bigger I attempt to tuck in and avoid the full hit, but it still feels a case of 'two steps forward and one back'. Another two rolls later and I'm beyond the break. Blimey that was a bit of a monster!
Gathering beyong the break after a good beating in the surf!

Stuart disappearing into the swell....

We then head out a bit to pick up the tidal flow and start being whisked back to Nash Point. We're in a big rolling swell and have big waves crashing in the Nash Sands on our right adding to the atmosphere.

The waters around Nash Point are lively and entertaining, but we're soon through and its then a steady paddle back to Llantwit. The surf is higher at Llantwit than when we launched, and again I mess up the surf technique and need a single kayak roll to arrive on shore still in the boat.... well the rolling is definitely coming along, but a few days working on the surf technique is definitely required!

A superb trip with good company. There is some serious adventure to be had along this coast – its a serious place though, and that certainly must not be forgotten.