Surfers discuss whose wave it was.
Gwithian Is Everyone's Local
After 68 years in surfing Thruster has come to the conclusion that Gwithian is everyone in Cornwall's local beach.
Facts about Thruster
Thruster didn't take up surfing until he was 19, but soon became hooked and was determined to let neither a late start, nor a remarkable dearth of natural talent stand in his way.
Now aged 39 he still sincerely believes it is only a matter of time before he becomes world champion.
Also obsessed with snowboarding, at which he is marginally more impressive (he can stand up), Thruster has been writing surfing and extreme sports articles for 14 years. His next journalistic challenge is to write a good one.
Home Break: Gwithian
Surf Trips: Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Philippines, Fiji, Indonesia, NZ, Hawaii, Australia, South Africa, Canaries, Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland.
Surfers' Ear Operations: 3 (but needs another)
Would love to live in: Galicia
Board: 6'4" x 18 ¾ rounded pin (and a 7'4" log when really desperate)
Standard: Easily one of the best in his cul-de-sac.
What follows is completely obvious. However, I’d never thought of it.
Now, I’m no Einstein, but a couple of people I know that read this column make me look like one, so I’m guessing they hadn’t thought of it either.
Before reading on, I should point out to sensitive readers that the revelation that follows is neither a happy one, nor one you can do anything about. It’s akin to finding out you’re the thickest kid in school, or your breath stinks. You just have to accept it and get on with life.
Despite knowing that the waves are usually a bit gutsier up the coast, living in Hayle, I always end up surfing Gwithian. This is due to a) lethargy and b) the assumption that the further east you go, the more crowded the waves become.
Just a few weeks ago I went for an early afternoon surf at Gwithers. It was well out of peak holiday season and most surfers would have been at school or work, but it was packed. At 3pm I counted 120 people in the water!
The next day I surfed Perranporth in identical conditions. I’d timed it badly, work and schools were finished and yet only 30 people were out.
Since then, I’ve made a metal note of crowd numbers on my rare up-county forays and every time it’s been way less crowded than an equivalent day at Gwithian. Why?
Here’s the obvious bit…Gwithian is EVERYBODY’S local!
Most of the swells Cornwall receives are weak, dribbly affairs forcing surfers to head to their nearest west facing North Coast beach. Now, whether you live in Penzance, St.Ives, Hayle, Porthleven, Camborne, Helston, or anywhere on the lizard, Gwithian is that spot!
As you head East there are still a few decent size towns, but even in Newquay the numbers can be diluted over lots of beaches just a few miles up and down the coast.
In summary, we’re stuffed and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.
No waves thus empty line up
Devastated by the discovery that I live next to the most crowded surfing beach in the universe, you can imagine my joy and surprise when, the very next week, I arrived at Gwithian to a perfect head high peak with just 3 people on. It wouldn’t last; people would surely spot it. I had to seize the moment.
In slightly less than no time flat I was in my suit and at the water’s edge. Being, in my early 80’s I need to do a few stretches before paddling out otherwise my take off is a disaster. In my panic to get these stretches out of the way, I bent down too quickly, put my back out, and couldn’t surf for a week. To make things even worse, my breath stinks!
last updated: 21/11/07