Sunset at The Cribbar

Sunset at The Cribbar

posted in: Feel good, Newquay, Surf | 0

Geoff Tydeman took these photos – how he manages to coax such light and colour out of them when the evening was so dusky I’ll never know, and I’ve actually watched him editing photos before. I can’t get my head round it and certainly can’t replicate it with any RAWs I take.

I remember this one well. I'm to the right; the guy to the left snapped his board and three of us got washed in nearly to the rocks. My fortune was on making the drop and holding on as the white water bulldozed shoreward.
I remember this one well. I’m to the right; the guy to the left snapped his board and three of us got washed in nearly to the rocks. My fortune was on making the drop and holding on as the white water bulldozed shoreward.

This November just gone has been a real treat. Shorts and t-shirt weather (out of the wind) for most of the month – yesterday I went for a very slow run with the dogs in the late afternoon and was sweating cobs, it’s hardly rained and for the past week the wind’s been offshore. On Saturday we had what was probably the best day of the month – dry, warm, loads of swell and a lovely sunset.

How far would you expect to travel to find a wave like that, with light like that? Newquay in winter definitely has its day.
How far would you expect to travel to find a wave like that, with light like that? Newquay in winter definitely has its day.

The car park at Little Fistral became a proper little hangout. Low tide was at 4.40pm so there was no rush to get in, and the afternoon sun coupled with the lack of summer bustle meant just hanging around outside was very comfortable. The car park is free this time of year, it was one of those going-back-in-time moments. I wonder what a visitng surfer on their first day in Newquay would have made of it? Pumping surf, warm, no crowds and friendly. No need to go any further.

I'm going right (to the left) and Josh Hughes on the yellow board is going left. Just look at the light coming through the wave.
I’m going right (to the left) and Josh Hughes on the yellow board is going left. Just look at the light coming through the wave.

My dilemma (and it was a good problem to have) was whether to go out at higher tide South Fistral and surf some nice long walls or to save energy and wait till the tide dropped out and surf a potentially more shapely North Fistral, or even the Cribbar. The risk was that you can’t see into the future and by that time the wind could have come up, the swell died, a massive rip might have appeared turning the waves to mush, any of a number of factors that affect our surf.

This one stood up a bit longer.
This one stood up a bit longer.

After a bit of phoning around to see who else was up for it I discovered Josh Hughes was keen for going out at the Cribbar. It’s not really a place to surf alone, so as soon as someone else is ready your decision is made for you. I had a bit of a slow start, the tide was a bit high for the spot I usually sit on to work, but as the water level dropped away with the sun, the right started working.

Nice steep drop on this one, always surprising that the board holds in :)
Nice steep drop on this one, always surprising that the board holds in 🙂

When you look at the latest photos of the UK boys Andrew Cotton and Tom Butler over in Nazare, Portugal, you can see what the current interpretation of big wave riding is really all about. It’s another world entirely. Paddling into these waves at the Cribbar though is always exciting; the way the tail of the board pitches up and the wave suddenly jacks up taller, it’s unlike Fistral or Watergate when they get big (and usually turn into close outs or big mushy walls). A session at the Cribbar feels very different to one at the beach a couple of hundred meters away, to me it almost feels like a different sport.