Summer Storm..Two Days, Two Coasts and Two Tacks

Andy King is at it again, scoring some more incredible conditions in the South West of England. Whilst he may not be competing with the other top British guys, Andy shows absolutely no sign of holding back on the water or slowing down just yet…

It’s been a while since my small board and small sails have seen the light of day so it was a real surprise when the second week of June delivered with a full day of ballistic wind and waves.

Andy King
Andy King at Marazion - credit Matthew Burridge

I started late with a visit to Marazion mid afternoon and was greeted by some pretty ferocious seas.  On my drive down the radio was broadcasting a message from the coast guard warning members of the public to stay away from coastal areas due to gale force winds and heavy seas and to avoid going to sea unless absolutely necessary.

Fortunately this session was absolutely necessary as gale force winds don’t come around all that often in June!

I haven’t had a good sail at Maza for some time so this session was well over due.  Andrew Fawcett and Ian Black were already out and making it look easy in side onshore winds that must have been gusting 40 knots plus.  Digging through my van I finally found my 3.7 Goya Eclipse flat packed at the bottom of my gear and was quick to rig in order to get out there whilst the tide was still low.

andrew fawcett
Andrew Fawcett - Thursday afternoon at Marazion, image credit Matthew Burridge - 5 oceans sails

The onshore winds of earlier in the day had created waves that were logo to mast high out the back and these made for some pretty decent ramps when fully powered on a 3.7m.  The weather wasn’t great with heavy grey skies but that in some ways this just added to the atmosphere.

The storm was creating a sea that was angry, full of energy and which was almost predatory in the way the waves were trying to catch you out and swallow you whole.  I really had to work hard to override the urge to resort to survival sailing and forced myself to launch off some pretty erie sets way out back near to the rocks of St Michael’s mount.  These conditions certainly tested the Flymount that thankfully kept my Go Pro HD attached to my mast.  Unfortunately, the tide put pay to the fun all too soon and after getting dumped dry on the single I decided to pack in early and head to the North coast.

Andy King sequence image credit Matthew Burridge - Five Ocean Sails.

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On route the grey skies of the south coast seemed to clear leaving bright skies illuminating the blustery coastline of St Ives bay. I had already heard that the south westerly swell was struggling to get into the bay leaving many frustrated sailors at Gwithian that morning but I was confident that it would pick up as forecast by bigsalty.co.uk.  Nick Moffat and myself opted to launch at Upton Towans Caravan park and my first hurdle was to get past the security on the gate.  

Andy King
Friday afternoon at Marazion - credit Matthew Burridge

 

The campsite does allow public access to the beach car park at most times, but my problem is that it is a dog free caravan park, so the two rather large dogs filling the passenger seats of my van were going to put pay to a decent sail unless I could come up with a cunning plan.  Thankfully I had a double seat cover which was easy to remove and although the security guard looked slightly puzzled by the bulging, wiggling camo North Shore cover and the protruding Dalmatian tail he didn’t put two and two together and raised the barrier – game on!  

I then spent the next three hours until it was dark fully powered on my 4.2m Goya Eclipse and Goya Quad 78.  Hitting ramp after ramp and finding wave after wave.  This wasn’t a big wave session but it was simply so much fun.  Perfectly powered up on small kit, in good company with side shore winds and fun sized waves in one of the most beautiful locations in the UK….

Come the next morning and I struggled to wake having been up till 4am watching the ASP event at Cloud Break going off in insane 20ft barreling waves.  Yet the forecast on bigsalty.co.uk was looking great again and having coughed up for a babysitter for the day I was off.

I had spent along time deliberating between Marazion or Bigbury, both spots can be excellent but likewise both can be equally frustrating.  In the end I stuck with Cornwall and headed West as fast as the summer traffic would allow.

Andy King
Friday afternoon at Marazion - credit Matthew Burridge

Arriving at the beach I was greeted by sunshine and side shore westerly wind blowing at around a force 6.  There were waves showing even with the tide just dropping from high to mid so all looked good for a fun low tide session.  The afternoon timing of low tide was a little frustrating as I knew that the swell of yesterday would be disappearing fast, however the conditions although not classic didn’t disappoint with plenty of ramps to hit and waves to ride whilst nicely powered up on my Goya Quad 78L and an Eclipse 4.2m.  It was great to see so many sailors out all enjoying some of the most fun sailing conditions Cornwall can offer, with a nice sandy low tide beach, steady side shore wind and nice clean head high waves.

The level ranged right from the likes of locals Ian Black, Andrew Fawcett through to those getting there first taste of wave sailing.  I sailed right through until the tide eventually rose to put pay to the waves.  As I derigged I noticed that the wind had come back round to WSW so I quickly formulated a plan to make the most of the wind that looked set to disappear for a week or two.

Andy King
The Bluff. Image credit Debbie Kennedy.

A call from Jan Sleigh confirmed my hopes that the Bluff would be sailable, so I swapped coasts and joined him and a few others on the water at Hayle.  The waves were around head to logo high pushing in on the incoming high tide.  The stormy winds were easing so I opted for a 5.0m and bigger wave board to make sure I was going to be powered up.  It was a gentle way to unwind from the hectic winds of the last two days and the sailing seemed real peaceful even though there were still some great jumping and punchy wave riding to be had.

 

Andy King
Andy King The Bluff. Image credit Debbie Kennedy.

There are very few places in the world where you can get quality side shore wave sailing conditions on two different coasts, on two different tacks, the same day with in a 15 minute drive of each other, for two days straight …..I guess that’s just part of what makes Cornwall so special for windsurfing!

Andy King is sponsored by:

Goya Boards and Sails

Mormaii Wetsuits

bigsalty.co.uk

Amex rigging solutions

Pat love Accessories

Flymount Camera Accessories

MFC Fins

For more about Andy check out his other features here on Boards.


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