Just like the Old Days!

Sea Breezes

I had some nice windsurf sessions last week. First was a session on Wednesday when a lovely NW wind kicked in. The temperatures were still in the mid 20’s and the sea was lovely and warm so no wetsuit was required. That’s almost unheard of here. Coupled with that, the high temperatures created a NW sea breeze which accentuated the underlying NW wind to create some pretty good conditions.

I went out on my 5.7m sail and 104ltr board. No one else was out so Morgan came to the beach to keep an eye on me. I could probably have got away with a 5.0m sail or a smaller board but there were no waves to speak of so I held onto the bigger kit which was probably more fun.

The fact that the water was so warm also meant that I was more inclined to try a few things I wouldn’t normally do. Body drags to cool off and the odd duck gybe rather than a standard carve gybe. All good fun in the sun!

Windsurfing Weekend

The weekend looked good for wind too with Sunday looking like the best bet. I got in touch with Steve and Simon to see if they wanted to come to the beach. Quite a few years ago there was a group of us that used to sail here whenever it got windy. That had stopped a little while ago and lock-down had finished it off. I thought it would be nice for it to be ‘just like the old days’. Steve said ‘yep’ and would be here Sunday morning. Simon couldn’t make it but did say he was off to Morocco in a few weeks time for a windsurf trip and asked if I’d like to join him. I nearly did but the flights were just a little too expensive for me.

As it happens, Saturday turned out pretty windy too so I headed over to the beach and met Alistair there. We both went out with 100ltr boards and 5.7m sails. I was on the water first and had a few nice runs with this kit but then the wind started to pick up. There was plenty for my new 5.0m sail so I quickly rigged that and an 85ltr board and headed out on that. This was so much better – sailing on smaller kit is so much fun!

Alistair stayed with his bigger kit and the wind did ease off again. Luckily I’d left my bigger kit rigged as well so it was just a quick swap back to that. Another good session in changeable conditions. Here’s a quick GoPro video edit from the first few runs of the day when I was on the bigger kit.

Floaty Jumps
Floaty Jumps

An Estuary Adventure

Steve turned up on Sunday morning as planned. Anna did say it was ‘just like the old days’ when she got up as Steve and I were sat in the living room waiting for the wind whilst watching windsurf videos (although these days they are streaming YouTube clips not VHS!).

The forecast had changed a little and the wind wasn’t due to pick up until late afternoon. We walked over to the beach and decided there definitely wasn’t enough. Steve had his SUP with him too so we planned a little adventure across the estuary to Aberdyfi instead.

We were soon on the water and paddling over to ‘the other side’. We made good progress. Steve was a little wobbly on his board and I had a super easy paddle in my ski. Once in Aberdyfi we headed upstream a little into the ebbing tide with the wind on our backs. A wind that seemed to be picking up! In fact, it started to feel as though there was plenty of wind for windsurfing. So, after about 40 minutes of paddling we decided to turn around and take a direct route back to the cars with the hope of going for a windsurf.

Heading Back

Now that we were heading into the wind it was clear that it had indeed picked up. Steve was struggling a little to keep his board pointing in the right direction and to make much headway against the wind. Fortunately there were plenty of sandbanks exposed so he could walk along those for a bit and then paddle lying down out of the wind across some channels. He also started getting cold so I gave him my cagoule.

The wind continued to increase so we decided I’d tow him across the next channel to the big sandbank and he could walk across the sand from there. Meanwhile I’d paddle around taking the longer route back towards Aberdyfi and then across the estuary into the main channel. At least now Steve was on dry land and making progress straight to the cars and I was able to paddle at a normal speed.

The weather kicked in a little more during this time with much stronger winds and driving rain. I was fine but I could just imagine Steve tromping through the sand, head down into the wind and rain dragging his board behind him. No doubthe felt as though he was on an antarctic expedition!

I met him on the other side and we packed up. Typically as we did so the rain stopped and the wind eased once more! There wasn’t much time left for Steve to go windsurfing now anyway and he was a little too tired after his estuarine exploits. Instead it was hot chocolates all round to warm Steve up and some chilling on the sofa.

Let’s hope the wind plays ball next time he comes, and that it’s not several years until that happens.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.