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16 October 2014
Wales Surfing - Learn

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Kooks preparing for battle

Kook Confessions

These brave souls have offered to bare all, some of them literally! Please look away now if you're easily offended...

Jerry: "Well on Boxing Day this year I was a super kook. Just finished surfing down at Rest Bay and it was 2 degrees, hammering down with rain and I was getting changed outside in the rain. I quickly pulled my wetsuit down only to find I'd left me booties on and couldn't get me suit off, over them. I had to roll around the carpark trying to get them off (in the rain) in just my underpants, as my wetsuit was wrapped firmly around the ankles"

'Over the border Al': "I often nose dive while popping-up, leading to a Superman dive. Falling off the back of the board while attempting to turn can be accommodated into a stylish move where you roll into the wave face, as if done intentionally. Pitch yourself over the front edge of the board in a violently uncontrolled fashion after catching a rail at speed. This is often accompanied by a satisfying 'slap' which leads to winding, a stinging face and a feeling that you narrowly avoided breaking your neck. A real crowd pleaser! That's as far as my surfing's progressed to date."

Bicmiester: "Dude, let the geek speak! cos' I've been there on numerous occassions! Most recent examples include - surfing a wave towards the rocks and riding to the beach on my belly. I then got out of the rip and jogged back up the beach to re-enter the water. Trying to look cool & composed jogging past totty like a true 'He-Man' I tripped on my leash and fell flat of my face.
I also left my board in the car once on a hot Summers day... I went down for an early session next morning and found my wax had melted all over my boardbag. Out came my toolkit and I ended up with a stanley knife cut all the way down the side of my board bag!"

Kev child: A good few years back, I went down 'Gennith on a freezing Saturday afternoon, got to carpark and realised I'd left my board behind! I'd decided to rent a board off PJ and left my credit card and my wallet with him as a deposit. I went surfing having locked up the car including crook lock and had a horrible whitewater filled couple of hours. I got out, went back to car and found I'd locked my keys in car. No worries, I walked back to PJ's to my retrieve card and wallet (containing spare car key) but realised it wasn't mine! Identical but not mine!
Someone else had rented a board, done exactly the same thing as me and PJ had given them back my wallet! Luckily they'd left a mobile phone number. PJ phoned them, only to find that they were in an Indian restaurant on the Kingsway. So, still suited up, I got a lift into town, walked into the restaurant (met by total silence - busy Saturday evening)retrieved my wallet and got another lift back to beach. I finally got home about 9 hours after leaving the house with borderline hypothermia. The ex-wife was not impressed!

Surfing Squirrel: I once told a hireshop guy that I didn't need wax cos' I wasn't that good a surfer...I then waxed the bottom of the board. I've also bought pink surf gear in late 1980's......and worn it into the early 1990's.

Henry: One of my first surfing experiences was surfing Newgale in Winter in howling onshores. I had a dayglow 'Typhoon' long john wetsuit and didn't know that boots and gloves existed. Instead I wore my green flash trainers and a pair of 'Marigold' gloves. I still wear the gloves now and again as I hate wettie gloves!

Please note - some of these surfers have subsequently improved over the years!


Turner from South Wales
My dad thought surfing was so dangerous that he used to make me and my broher wear helmets and life jackets over our wetsuits. Just to top it all off he would tie a length of rope to the life jackets and stand on the beach so he could pull us back to the beach if we got out of our depth. We were 15 and 17 years old.

C-Low from Wales
Going back 15 years or so when me and my mates were beginners I would often be seen down one of our local spots wearing a flurescent yellow and pink Gul wetsuit topped of with a pair of Reebok pump basketball boots. My first board was a completely unsuitable 6ft Willis Brothers competion board from Hawaii with phasar bottom which barely floated me. My mate (K) used to wear a day glow pink baggy shorty with booties so there was a big gap where the bottom part of his legs would show. After suffering with cramp because of the cold he then decided to wear another wetsuit underneath. Unfortunately because of all the holes it would fill up with water causing him to sink like a stone every time he wiped out. My personal favourite was trying to look cool walking past the lifeguards at Southerndown. The previous week we had all been nailed on the rocks trying to find the concrete jetty in front of a nice crowd of spectators. K even bailed his board and crawled up the rocks on his hands and knees dragging his board by the leash. Unfortunately we spoiled any chance we had of not looking like complete kooks by another mate (Hix) shouting over to me to ask which foot your leash goes on while K had managed to let the howling onshores whip his board from his hands. Lukily he had managed to to keep hold of the leash turning his board into badly flown kite which repeatidly slammed into the ground. Happy days....

crafdee urchin. Hereford on sea.
Bought my beautifull 10 ft Woody in florida and within 2 hours was trying to use it to hold back an overhead shore break. Rule 1. never get shore side of a 10ft by 2ft plank in a big shore break. Rule 2. If you buy a classic looking board exect people to expect of you and see rule 1.

Paul van Jaarsveld from J Bay, South Africa
I think I am still much of a kook at the moment. I have a few stories but these two should be entertaining I think: After going out for three hours at Point and not managing to catch even one wave with a board that is way too short for a beginner, I decide to bail and go home. I am a sound engineer and had a band practise and thought I would leave and go and set up. As I was paddling to the shore, a huge set came through and I caught my first wave for the day. Well, my arms were jelly so I basically just did the belly thing. Suddenly the rocks came closer and I tried to dodge them but the wave that turned into foam behind me just pushed me right over the razors. When the board got stuck, I flew off the and effectively donated the skin from my hand palms to the sea creatures. Needless to say I was late for the practise and it took me forever to get out of the wetsuit. My surfboard and car was full of blood stains and I really looked bad. I am sure the crowds were amused. The other incedent was on 1 Jan 2007 when we had HUGE surf in J Bay. Very big for summer over here. I checked the forecasts for the whole week and everything looked perfect. I got another board that is more my size and had a bit of practise. It turned out that the surf was so huge, I made 6 attempts to get in and got washed out a few kilometers North every time. I jogged back to the channel every time and tried my luck. Eventually I gave up and went to get grub. In the afternoon I was back, and actually made it to the back line in one piece. When it was my turn, I caught one wave and it formed a barrel before I could even align properly. I got sucked into the rear wall and went over the falls. Washed out on the beach like a piece of laundry and discovered my new board had a huge crack in the nose. At least I caught my wave. :-)

Dave from Wales
Where to start still very much a Kook in the white water with a board that is too short and too narrow and manage to fall off all the time. but then everyone has to start somewhere....and on the odd occasion that i stumble to my feet in a variety of kook's styles then I'm just stood there waiting to fall off...

Mao From the South Shore
I love Bics, And hanging out in my speedo. To get psyced up I listen to Kraftwerk or Culture Club. When theres no surf I go rollerskating.

Helen B
Getting scabs on both nipples after surfing naked in San Diego!

Pablo Diablo in Vietnam
What I want to know is where did you get that picture of Billy Davis (ex Kingston Poly) at the start of your main feature. I know his wetsuit says he is hot but that is all propaganda. The last time I saw him in the surf was Tolcarne in about August 93. He was a real Kook cos he went out pubbing and nightclubbing in his dayglo lycra rash vest covered by a Captain Sensible mohair jumper. Everytime you came into contact with him the static electricity produced from the mix of exotic garments gave you a belt.

Ben, Reading
I managed to impress my girlfriend with a trick I don't think I'll ever be able to replicate again. After a spectacular wipeout at Putsborough - which involved me nose-diving, banging my head on the sea-bed, and swallowing a pint of the Atlantic - I re-surfaced to find my board gently resting on my head and the 3 fins neatly surrounding my snot-covered face. A photo would have, no doubt, made the front cover of Carve magazine.

Kookmeister from Hell
A few years ago i insisted on wearing my 2-1mm shorty/longjohn from the 80's as long in the season as november. Yep, wearing booties too! But the best was my long term (ab)use of my ancient Mistral brand wetsuit with polka-dots on one half of the suit! It rawked! Oh and I used to sing in the line-up... acadaca.. thunder rah rah rah rah! and yes, when waiting around in the line-up I would play the air-guitar! The fact that having so much fun in the line-up kooking-out meant I wasn't dropping in on the "hard-cores" which aided my interaction with them considerably. Many actually enjoyed the comic relief and still refer to my more acrobatic skills, such as the el-rolo-face-loop with industrial-water-intake-up-the-shnaz! it's good to be the kook!

Chuck Carlsbad, CA
Me and two friends were going to paddle out at southside jetty in Carlsbad, Ca. The surf was about head high and pretty clean. We thought we would be cool and jump off the end of the jetty and save some time and energy. First guy (more experienced and not a kook) cleared it. The next guy got to the end of the jetty and I was the last behind him climbing down to the jump off spot. The guy in front freaked ass as a head high + wall of water came up on him, he through his 6-10 pintail (huh?) into the water and sat down clinging to a rock. I was about 2 or 3 feet higher on the jetty and about 10 feet behind. I kind of held my (not mine-a loaner) 6-5 on my right side and braced. He screamed. Next thing I know the he is on my lap, and his leash is caught up. We looked at each other in the eye with panic and hugged until the set ended. My board bumped a rock and received a nice vertical gash on the rail. I sat on the beach for the remainder of the session holding my friend’s board, not wanting it to get waterlogged. It looked like a fun day. I did get to watch as my buddy pearled over and over again. Then there was the time I was walking it out at Cardiff Reef at low tide on a small day. I stepped in a hole in 2 feet of water as I pushed my board in front of me. I fell on my face, and the leash shot the board at me. I got a fin to the brow and bled profusely. I still surfed but it was hardly worth the effort.

Tim Doyle from Perth, Western Australia
I remember one session with my friends at the local beachie, thought it was small and was saying "oh, yeah, i'm gonna get the best barrels man," (it was offshore), but what i had forgot is that the winter swells round here have a bit of kick to them, so the first wave i caught i got worked, came up to see another set behind me and gave up. I was eventually washed into the shorey and dumped on the sand. I came in sniffing like a girl. What a kook!

Maegusuku- South Wales
Ok im blonde but that's got nowt to do with it... just a beginner who's clueless. Last year I wanted to go surfing so badly I drove to Rest Bay against the advice of my surfer mates.. ( thought they were just being fair weather girls)... It was really windy!.. I got changed in the car and could see two surfer boyz in the water so thought "eee yeah it must be ok, ummmm bit windy but I'll be fine"... I get my board off the roof to the amusement of a couple sat in their warm car drinking tea. On the way down to the beach I dinged my board on every possible stair rail and once on the beach got blown to the coast line, it took all my effort to hold onto the board. The waves loooked huge but not one to take a hint and not wanting to go home empty handed I get in only to be chewed up and spat out by the first any my only unforgiving wave!!!.. ouch!.. Decided I'd bit off more than I could chew and trying to walk before I could crawl..I head back to the car but by the time I do so the wind is much stronger and so imagine a kook crawling up the beach clinging to her precious board for dear life!!.. the moral of the story is indeed don't be stupid and know your limitations!!.. thankfully I'm a bit more realistic these days.

jimi - somewhere nr manchester
took a week long trip to newquay straight after sitting gcse's (13 yrs ago !). hired boards & went straight to watergate to go 'surfing'. Needed a place to stash our bags containing cash/ciggies/towel/change of clothes etc etc & spotted a big rock in the middle of the beach. Threw the bags on top of this big rock & then paddled out as far as our 15yr old weak arms would allow. spent next 45 minutes swallowing salty sea water + the odd turd. almost drowned on a number of occasions & soon had no energy left to carry on. Imagine our shock & surprise when we headed back to the beach to find the rock had amazingly disappeared ?????? it was there 45 minutes ago - where could it have gone ?????? have since learnt about the effects of 'tide'..still cringe to this day when thinking about that 1st classic kook holiday. oh, we found our bags washed up on the beach covered in seaweed after a lenghty search.

cam, newquay
what is justin dow on, firstly we have our own big wave surfing in europe including tow in, ever heard of cribbar reef, or hossegor ya nonce, secondly what do you mean you ca\nt paddle into anything overhead i have seen video footage of jake boex, kelly slater, nick parsons and a whole number of other surfers paddling into 20-30 foot plus monsters and sticking it, thirdly popping a thirty foot air is impossible thirty foot is the height o two double decker buses you would need to be going like 80 miles per hour and you would need a lip so thick and twitchy, how big was this wave that you needed to be towed in ya poosy, theres only one kook here and thats you, surfing is about personal experience and not big heads who think there something when there not, come to cornwall and surf and we will show you the true essence of it, back of ya knob and chill out.......!!!

Alex Dickson (Lairg)
I was getting changed on jetty on the North Shore of Scotland when, just I had removed my wetsuit, my board took flight in the gale force wind. So I chased it down the jetty in the buff getting pelted by high velicity hail stones when my unsympathetic mate stole my clothes. I am going to move to Kookney!

Jase - South Wales
My first time at Rest Bay was on a bogie board, (back in the good old days of 93) and got caught up in the rip and was getting trashed on the rocks. I screamed my head off like a girl and luckily my longboarder mate and guru, was close enough to come over and rescue me. I had to hold onto his feet as he paddled me back to safety. Wot can I say, any beach cred that I thought I had up to that point was rudely and harshly shattered as I climbed out of the breakers blubbering like a fairy... Second time, and I thought that now I was ready for (proper) surfing, so with my newly aquired pop out with a Rusty sticker on for maximum coolness, I ventured the 4 foot surf at Rest Bay. I floundered around like an arthiritic turtle for about 2 hours, and then a big set hit me, came off my board, stood up and whack!!! my trusty pop-out had sprang back on it's leash and smacked me on the side of the head, splitting the skin apart and leaving me dazed, with pints of blood pouring down my face. Staggered back to the car-park, and not knowing where there was a hospital (was new to the area at the time) proceeded to knock on car windows, where all the grannies and families with kids were sitting eating there lunch. No one would wind there window down, as I soon realised that I looked like a crazed psycho with blood all over me and my face, (I would not have opened the window to me either) Anyway to cut (scuse the pun) a long story short, eventually found my way to the Prince of Wales hospital in Bridgend and two very lovely nurses sewed up my head (with 7 stitches), and in true KOOK style, I then told them that I caught a ten foot wave and had a mean wipeout. They were dead impressed!

Silvia13 South City, California
I was out to experience my first thrashing. I was at Linda Mar in Pacifica. I was using my friends board and took the kook experience to the fullest. I could not even get on the board. What was even worse is the fact that I had the board between myself and an oncoming wave. And when it hit it slammed the board against me and knocked off my feet. I got rocked so bad I ended up with a beautiful bruise on my ribcage. Nothing like learning from your experiences.

I agree with Scott,, Justin Dow what a tit!

One time I noticed everyone looking at me In the water after falling of my board particularily harshly, couldnt really work out what was wrong so I carried on for about 15 min. After a while I rubbed my face only to find that my mouth was gushing with blood where I had been hit in the mouth. Ive also had my board blow away in the wind, got tangled in my leash and trip over it and fall over trying to get out of my wetsuit its all part of the fun though!

Byrdster from Gower
On my 50th birthday had two lessons with the wonderful Tracey Boxall, loved being in the water, stood up and fell off with monotonous regularity but after reading some of this site I'm not sure I can ever face getting back in again. I'm perfectly happy to be a kook for the rest of my life but it now seems such a complicated and hierarchical scene!

Monkeystyle, Australia
In the dim dark days before the Superbank reared its ugly head and turned the Snapper, Rainbow, Greenmount, Kirra stretch into one rediculously long wave, I caught a wave at Greenmount, slowly turned up and down along the face for a hundred and fifty metres (these were the waves of your LIFE at the time!), got washed into the beach and walked back up the point to paddle back out, on the way I kicked a bluebottle jellyfish, it stung me so badly that my glands swelled and my leg muscles cramped. My kook moment is that I caught the bus back to our holiday apartment in nothing but a pair of boardshorts, crying my eyes out with pain (15 years old...)... ahh the joys of being a young learner. The other stories are much more humiliating, all the older guys calling us kooks cause we covered our boards in stickers... being told that the learner beach is aroundthe next headland when I was planning on paddling out... wonderful stuff.

my first ever session i was 17 and had borrowed a bodyboard to give it a go and see if i liked riding waves. My mate and i wisley left our shoes by the shore at rest bay and for safe keeping i put my mates car keys in my can guess what happend when the tide came in, much to the amusement of the lifeguards. We ended up having borrow 10p to ring my mates old man and sitting around in wetsuite's for an hour or two..all i remember is my mate saying to me "i should hit you for this really!!" glad to say i stuck with it and 13 years later i am still surfing regularly..everyone has to start somewhere so stick with it, its well worth it in the end! by the way..looking forward to the guys below called Justin Dow's DVD coming out..those 30foot ariels he pulls sound amazing..or perhaps its a wind up..hmm i wonder!

Scott, South Wales
Does anyone else think that justin Dow from Georgia (see below) sounds like a right American tit?! Come back down to your sad reality you summer-surfin' kook.

Jon in Japan
Ok I'm the only caucasian surfer amongst hundreds of very very good Japanese surfers. Because Im foreign they always think Im from Hawaii (if only they knew I'm a brummie!) and the beach comes to a stand still as people wait to see me in action. Last Saturday in the car park a crowd formed as I was suiting up. I could hear them saying, "look a foreigner!" and the usual pressure was on me. Unfortunately as I pulled my wetsuit up to my waist I realised that I had it on back to front. Rather embarrassingly I had to take it off again whilst still trying to look reasonably cool. Not clever!

Jacque Chirac from france
First time , I tried to surf in wales, first time I tried my board, first time I wore boots (on top of the wetsuit of course) and first hole in my £5 second hand wetsuit! Apparently I was at the wrong beach at the wrong moment. I was with 4 other kooks in the water. When I left the sea without taking a wave, twenty surfers came and surfed like I'd never seen before. In brief I will spend more time watching and understanding surfers, the beach and weather.

Elliot Jay - Merewether
I once got a hole in my wetsuit and thought my friend was joking when he told me.

Darrel Lewis
Hey this is Darrel, This one time I thought it'd be funny if I waxed the bottom of my board and tried to surf it upside down. Funny aye bro. My Kook-ie Sayings: 1. That's me (in response to the mentioning of 8 foot waves) 2. Flippin' shallow isn't it? (after landing on dryrock) Anyway I better hit the road. I might DROP IN later with some more stories and sayings. You guys can go home and tell your grandkids cos youve just met Darrel Lewis, featured in Tracks July 2004. See you in the line up.

Closing the car boot to find my board was in right - broken nose - nice

Lolevs - Kooksville, Tennessee!! (Llanelli)
Worst surfing day ever!!! Kkoksville, Tennessee!!Where to start??.....Anyway, decided to pop down Llangennith yesterday (11.30ish) haven't had the chance to get wet for a couple of weeks so thought what the hell - it's windy but at least I should get some wave! Okay, so Llanelli wasn't that windy but 'gennith was! I'm still a kook so had a particularly bad afternoon - still got a lot to learn. Decided to call it a day when my leash detached from my board, wave comes in - long walk back looking a TW@T with leash still strapped to my leg and nothing strapped to the leash!!! It goes on - after a nightmare walk back to the car park - wind blowing me and board everywhere - finally get to car. Put board down to open up board bag and...yup- you guessed it.....board decides to lift off and fly 40 feet through the air rolling and tumbling across the car park with a wetsuit clad idiot chasing and swearing after it!!!! Okay, get to board, by the way it's absolutely pissin down, and as I turn to get back to the car my board bag almost knocks me out as it flies past!! Manage to get board and bag united only to find it extremely difficult walking against the wind to get back to the car! I dread to think how I looked!! Anyway to cut a reeeaally long story to just a long one - board is messed up, bag is still full of sand and i will never, NEVER..go surfing in such windy conditions again!!! Thank you and goodnight!

john platt omagh co.tyrone N. ireland
I have been surfing as much as i can on the ANTRIM coast over the last two years and i can stand up on my board and ride the smaller foamy waves competantly but recently i've tried catching the bigger waves further out the back and as i started to paddle in as this wave came through as it picked me up on my board i popped up onto my feet but as i started falling down the face of the wave i got pitched over the falls head first into the wave with the wave lip coming down on top of me it felt as though i was some laundery in a spin wash cycle and seemed as if i had been held under some time even though it was just seconds quite scarey that was my first wipeout.

during a spell of cold weather and changing into wettie at home last winter, running out of petrol on M4 by Port Talbot and having to thumb a lift for petrol and back to car doah

Brian H
I like the 'numb big toe' kook, which I accomplish almost every time I forget my booties in Winter! It's when the big toe on you front foot goes numb but you don't realise until it's too late. On the bottom turn, it's like that sucker's not even there!

Tell us about your own kook experiences!

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