Cowabunga, dudes! The Smith family (Diana, Tris and myself) are out to hit the waves at Polzeath, not as famous as Newquay a few miles further along the coast, but better. We check the tide timetable and decide that five o’clock, a few hours after low tide, will be the best time, and that coincides with the best of the sunshine according to the weather forecast. Perfect.
We load the two surf boards into the car (two? For three people? What?) plus towels and dry clothes and head for the beach. In the school summer holiday period, the beach car park usually fills up, but by the time we get there it has emptied out a bit and we find plenty of space at the front, nearest the water. And at this time, parking is free.
First thing is to buy another surf board, and there are several shops selling them, but we know precisely what we want, from which shop, so that’s done quickly.
The next thing, having changed, is to lock the car. I can’t just press the button on the electronic key, as usual, because then I would have to take an electronic key into sea water which seems a really bad idea. But there is a solid metal bit I can pull out of the electronic key unit and turn in the lock, and being solid metal, it is okay going into water. So I lock the car using that key and it doesn’t operate the central locking so only the driver’s door locks. I lock the three other doors from inside and then lock the driver’s door. That leaves the tailgate with its own lock into which the metal key will fit, except that it doesn’t. There is a blockage, the key won’t go in. So I lock the whole car with the electronic bit, open the door with the metal bit to put the electronic bit inside – and the alarm goes off. I stop the alarm, which unlocks all the doors. This is starting to look desperate. Will we all be able to go surfing, or will someone have to stay out with the car key? One final go: I use the electronic bit to lock the car with the driver’s door still open, put the electronic bit in a cubby hole in the car, then lock the driver’s door with the metal bit, and the alarm stays off! Excellent!
I pin the key inside a pocket in my swimming shorts and we head for the water.
How did you reach the shorts through the wetsuit, do I hear you ask? I’m glad you asked. Every body else in the water is in wetsuits, but not us. We is hardcore: swimsuits and t-shirts. We only use body boards, none of this fancy standing up, but we do it hardcore.
It feels cold walking across the beach and colder walking into the sea – the anticipation of that first wave hitting your genitals is like nothing on earth, except when that first wave actually hits – but once immersed it isn’t too bad. It even starts to feel warm. Tris and I walk out to where the water comes well above the waist and attempt to catch waves there. Diana stays in shallower water. I launch into several waves and get nowhere, but then I catch one and travel several yards before subsiding into the water. I miss a few more, then catch one again. This is fun. Even the mouthfuls of salty water don’t spoil it. I see Tris and Diana gliding into the shallows with satisfying frequency.
We swap boards around because the green one is worse than the two blue ones and it’s not fair, man, for one person to have to use it all the time. The first time I try it, it bends. It bends so much I immediately check it for a break, but it is still in one piece. It just bends. That’s probably why it doesn’t perform as well; I’m sure there is a reason that surfboards are flat rather than banana-shaped.
After something over half an hour, but less than an hour, we have had enough and return to the car. With the key that I haven’t lost from my pocket I unlock the car and open the door. The alarm goes off…
By the evening I ache pretty much all over, but the next day we do it all again and I discover it is possible to ache more than ‘all over’.