The First Big Swell

Report by Lee Harvey: With all the hype surrounding the first big swell of the year hitting on a weekend, the masses made the drive down to West Cornwall.

Friday saw lots of people out windsurfing and myself and Smiler on the kites at Gwithers for a warm up with 3-4ft waves and 20 knots of south-west breeze, picking up to 40knots in the horizontal rain squalls. It was by no means epic, but good to get some cross shore for a change!  Friday night and David Braine on Spotlight was giving it ‘extremely squally with damaging gusts’ for the first time this season. I loaded the windsurf kit in the van and left the kites in the garage!

Saturday first of December and we awoke to 22.5ft at 16 seconds westerly swell along with westerly winds between 20 and 35knts. Turning up at the Bluff to honking 4.2 weather (mast high but with the tide too high) we went to get some Pasty Power returning to more torrential rain only for the wind to drop right off and go really fluky.

With the swell not really wrapping into Mounts Bay the Smiler and myself along with a couple of others, just could resist getting on a few so went for 5 metres. Walking down the cliff the wind picked up again allowing me to plane away from the beach, jumping over the first two waves of a big set only for it to totally disappear as a mast high wall of white water closed down on top of me. A small swim and I was out the back snagging the first biggie of the day, managing one turn before a big boom as it closed out. Over the next three hours some of the small ones were more rideable and occasionally one of the bigger sets would hold up just long enough to get a couple of hits.

With the wind up and down, the bigger waves closing out from the swell breaking too straight onto the sandbank and the wind flicking from cross shore to slightly on, add in a hell of a lot of water moving, quite a few swims and hold downs…it was tricky sailing but worth it for the few good rides we had. With the masses (including most of the locals and a whole bunch of students) sailing at small and squallie Mazza a good day was had by all, though not really up to all the hype!

Sunday dawned and with more swell wrapping into the bay and the wind flicking slightly west/north-west, Mazza was the only real place to get some action. With the wind, yet again, up and down by massive amounts any sail between 4.0 and 5.3 was the right choice at some point. As the tide dropped some nice little waves made for a fun day of jumping and riding without the risk of massive hold downs and long swims!

With the swell not forecast to drop below 10ft and some south-west winds, the rest of the week looks like producing some better riding conditions down here in the Far West and they’re forecasting a bigger swell again for the weekend!  YEEE HA!

Lee ‘Pasty’ Harvey is sponsored by Airush, Severne, Freeriders and West. Check out his riding style and mug shot on the left!

Photo Credit: Joe Cockle


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