I've been lucky enough to have spent the last couple of months in Central America, surfing, you'd think, perfect waves. It's been a complete corker of a trip, but...
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 40 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 15 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. El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama.
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.
Without wanting to sound like too much of a whinger, I've been unlucky with the waves. I've calculated that until last week, I'd only had half a dozen days that were better than an average-to-good day at Gwithian.
If anything, my desperation to find that perfect, uncrowded heaven has probably given me less decent surfs. I'm sure if I'd have stayed at any of the beaches I've been to for more than a week or so, the waves would have turned up, but impatience, crowds and a small brain have all contributed to my running away from waves I came here to find.
Despite knowing this, I decided to move on to El Salvador. This had to be the spot. Everyone was spreading the word it was a really dodgy country where you run a high risk of getting murdered.
This, and the fact that there are something like 17 right hand point breaks within 20 miles of coastline convinced me that here, finally, I'd find empty perfection. Ok, that and the fact that the Stormrider Guide says "Here you'll find empty perfection!"
Not a bad view
For the first 48 hours, I was packing my pants. I get scared if someone looks at me in a pub, and here I was facing imminent death. But, after the panic had subsided, I realised that locals were all exceptionally friendly, no one was hassling me to buy some touristy necklaces. I was completely at ease and happy in the knowledge that I, Thruster, eat dodgy countries for breakfast.
The only trouble was that, of the 17 right hand point breaks, only 6 are any good, and each had between 40 and 60 surfers on them all day every day.
Four days into my stay, I was just settling down to a sweaty night's kip, when the hotel started shaking quite a lot. It was an earthquake. I'm having to force myself not to exagerate here, but the windows rattled and I swear I saw the curtains move a bit. Ten seconds later it stopped.
The next morning buoyed by my resilience to the worst one the hardest countries in the world could throw at me, I decided that, rather than paddling out with the masses, I'd tame a nasty reef called KM59.
Thruster's chin severs board
By the time I got there, it was quite onshore, the tide was a bit low but it still looked do-able. I caught a couple of ok ones and was feeling even more cocksure of myself.
Another biggy came through, it had a little bump on the face but nothing major, so I paddled in, took a freefall drop but somehow managed to land with both feet on the board. Legend! The downside was, my front foot instantly slipped off the side and my face fell towards my board almost as fast as my board was flying up at my face.
The result was a 1cm deep hole in my chin, 6 stitches and, worst of all, a broken nose on my surfboard. How's Gwithian? Small, mushy and 200 people out? Bring it on! (On a swellboard, obvioulsy)
last updated: 09/07/2008 at 13:13