Good Vibes by Dan Crockett

I felt the need to write about an experience at a little wave in North Cornwall. I don’t want to give away too much about the spot. It’s no secret, but I subscribe to the idea that the more times a place is mentioned the greater the impact on that place becomes. Suffice to say, it’s an estuarine pointbreak more suited to longboarding than shortboarding due to the slow curl and slack bottom tension. Depending on the water flow, swell size throughout the year, and dredging in the river the bank varies, but on the whole the place sees more dangling toes than busted lips. Because of this, the place has a mellow, friendly vibe from the car park right up to the rocky outside section.

This last weekend was very predictable. Slack winds, small tide, big swell, good bank – you didn’t need to be Tony Butt to see it coming. So the crowd was to be expected, and there’s no problem with that. I’m sure grim weekday mornings in February won’t arouse the same response. It’s a beautiful place, and I’m glad people get the chance to share it. However, on 11th October, there wasn’t a great deal of gladness or sharing going on. Instead? A flotilla of insta-locals intent on taking everything they could. I wasn’t involved in any of the altercations, shouting or hassle, but the anger of these moments swept me up and I had to leave the water.

I just love this particular place, and what it represents. It arouses a strong protective instinct in me. As an interloper to Cornwall, I don’t have this for any other spot. But I’ve put my time in at this one, wasted countless hours checking it and getting skunked, and scored it all-time with nobody about. I scattered the ashes of a good friend in the water here after he was killed, with his family watching from the bluff, and felt chicken skin run up my back when the waves miraculously turned on. The spot means a lot to me, as I’m sure it does to many people, and the good vibes in the water are a major facet of that.

I’m not the first person to have pleasant surf bummed by a crowd. But, in years of being devoted to this place, I’ve never experienced a sour vibe there. So, I wanted to note it down, in the hope that some people pack their patience next time. When you are surfing somewhere new, as many fledgling surfers are for the first time this autumn, please be humble.

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