#RideMore 4, 5,& 6. Summer 2016.

DimExcuses Surf

It took a while but after making a resolution to just #RideMore (bikes, boards and waves) finally I am out nearly every day. Unfortunately this has meant the blog has suffered and not seen enough updates. So with no more delays here is what I have been doing. A late improvement in summer weather saw me surfing Sker Beach within Kenfig National Nature Reserve. It was the usual hard walk to the remote beach I regularly surf.

How to get to Sker Beach

No photos of the beach this time, but here are some shots of the Nature Reserve.

Kenfig Nature Reserve

Since getting our French Bulldog, Boston Terrier cross, Molly my mountainbike riding has suffered. Her little legs, as fast as they are, can’t keep up with a bike for long. So instead of riding I spend most of my time walking the Gower beaches with Molly. Here she is.

Frenchton Molly

But in August I was able to get out on the bike in Pembrey Country Park. Here is the fine steed.

DimExcusesRide

Molly was not impressed that she was being left out of the adventures.

Dim riding for Molly

Pembrey Country Park is great for a bike ride as it is relatively flat and perfectly positioned on the Millennium Coastal Path, a fantastic bike friendly section of the Wales Coastal Path. There is a viewpoint you can cycle up to and see all the way across to Gower, Rhossili Bay, and Wormshead.

View of Gower from Pembrey Park

Even though Molly didn’t come on the ride she was still as tired as us when we finished riding.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

With a surf and ride under my belt my #RideMore plan was finally starting to come together. Next I headed to Newgale, Pembrokeshire with my girlfriend Sharon’s family. I have surfed Newgale many times, but this time I was teaching the kids and had my waterproof camera with me. Helping the DimExcuses next generation get the bug for surfing.

DimExcuses Surf next gen

Newgale is a great place to learn to surf, with consistent ride-able waves breaking into a safe sandy bay. The best way to teach learners is to push them into waves and let then experience riding the wave all the way in lying down. This helps the learner truly understand what the exhilaration of riding  a wave feels like. To catch a wave you need to be travelling as fast or faster that that wave is moving when it gets to you. Learners often can’t get that speed and a little push can get them on the wave.

Learning to Surf

The kids were keen to learn, look at the concentration on his little face below.

DimExcuses Surf School

It wasn’t long before they were catching waves all on their own.

Surf Newgale

With the surfing stoke passed on to the next generation we sat down to watch a fabulous Pembrokeshire sunset over Newgale Bay.

Newgale Sunset

So two surfs, one ride and a whole load of fun at the end of summer. I also intend to #RideMore as we get into Autumn and my favorite month Surftember, DimExcuses.

Mentro 2. Newgale, Pembrokeshire, 25th April 2015.

Surf Newgale

My second surf of the year was Newgale, Pembrokeshire. It was the second session in the Mentro21 project.

Molly Newgale

Molly and I headed for a cloudy Newgale where the 1 foot surf was suffering from a messy onshore wind.

Surf Patrol

Molly was keeping an eye on the changing conditions and also a watchful eye on our VW van.

VW Molly

A sudden change to a north westerly wind was cold but also produced offshore wind conditions that were resulting in some nice blue lines.

Blue Lines Newgale

The dogs were loving it on the beach, and Molly our French Bulldog was joined by Sadie the Spaniel and Rocky the Bichon Frise.

Dogs Newgale

At points we had the beach to ourselves.

Molly Newgale

There were literally thousands of little beetles washed up on the strand-line. I have no idea what these are or where they came from. I wonder if a swarm of them was blown out to sea? Maybe in the unusual winds we had recently that brought all that Saharan dust to the UK?

Washed up Beetles

It was incredibly sunny, but that north east wind was punishing. The dogs decided to steal some human warmth.

Sadie, Dennis and Rocky

Sadie acting innocence, keeping it calm, keeping it casual.

Sadie acting Innocent

I got an hour in the water, making the most of the hollow waves formed by the wind. There was a strong rip current out to sea, which combined with the offshore wind was quite hazardous. It was important to know where you were and check you weren’t drifting out to sea. The water was ok, but the changing out of a wet wetsuit in a wind blow car park was chilling. So we retired to the Duke of Edinburgh for some liquid refreshment.

Sharon & Susan

Even Molly had half a Guinness and black.

Half a Pint for Molly

The wind was still around on Sunday, colder and stronger, so no more surfing and we had another dog walk on the beach.

Newgale Dog Walk

So two surfs down in my #Mentro21 quest to go surfing twenty one times this year. You can read my first trip Mentro1 here. With May ariving soon there is no excuse to not get in the water more, DimExcuses.

 

Mentro 1. Newgale, Pembrokeshire, Easter Sunday 2015.

Newgale Pebbles

I have a project this year to get in the water surfing at least 21 times. I am calling this project Mentro 21, with mentro being Welsh for ‘to venture’. With a sunny Easter Sunday and a small wave predicted, where better to start the first surf (Mentro 1) than Newgale Bay in Pembrokeshire.

Newgale

We arrived to a lovely small one foot wave, but this tailed off towards the falling tide as midday went into afternoon.

Perfect Right

With a lack of surf adventure Molly was happy to step in for some action shots.

Baywatch Molly

She even brought some friends…

Molly, Leader of the Pack

…and made some new ones.

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The sand level was very low and the low tide was exposing some quite bizarre sand banks. The children were finding these sandbanks get new lands to conquer.

Sandbanks

The dogs were more interested in the rivers the sandbanks were creating.

New Rivers

Molly supervising Eddie here in some serious bobbing for pebbles.

Pebble Bobbing

We put Molly in the van for five minutes, to try and get her to take a break from charging up and down the beach with her mates.

VW Molly

She wasn’t happy.

Moody Bulldog

And was soon nosing out the window.

Nosing out the Window

So we let her back out on the beach…

Molly Newgale

…and in those sandbank rivers.

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Those who had struck when the iron was hot, and got in on the early tide had been rewarded with a lovely little wave.

Morning Surf

By the evening I was in less luck, but there was no way I wasn’t going to ‘mentro allan’ (venture out) for the first surf of the year. So I was a lonesome figure as I walked into the ripples.  That is me tiny on the right (Get your reading glasses on).

Evening Ripples

Here I am in the line up.

Evening Line Up

Well basically I was the line up, but I got some small waves and got my hair wet for the first time this year. It wasn’t too cold even though the water temperature is nine degrees at the moment.

Newgale

Mentro 1, the first surf of the year done. The next 20 hopefully will have a bit more action, like Molly here.

Splash

Whatever happens you can’t beat Newgale when the sun is shining like that and it was great see friends and family down on the beach enjoying it too.  We had left home at 9.30 am and we got home at 11 pm. One seriously great sunny day.

Newgale Beach

With a fantastic Easter Sunday in the bag, we are now looking at a sunnier Bank Holiday Monday. Molly is in a bit of an adventure coma, so I think a simple day at Oxwich, Gower for us today. You should get out too, DimExcuses.

 

Caerfai Bay, DimExcuses Beach Guide.

Caerfai Bay

It is all about the jet stream. The fast passage of air that ruined summer two years ago. Well it is due to move south and when it does this sun will go and in comes the rain. So make the most of South Wales beaches while you can. Take advantage of this second DimExcuses Beach Guide and discover Caerfai Bay, St. Davids, Pembrokeshire.

DimExcuses Walk Caerfai Bay

If you park at the visitor centre as you enter the ‘City’ of St. Davids, you can take the 10 minute walk down the road between the visitor centre and the car park to Caerfai Bay which is a sheltered bay just South West of St. Davids.

Caerfai Cove

You can just sit on the headland and drink in the picturesque blue bay or walk down to discover this tranquil cove.

Blue Caerfai Bay

The beach is not on the Pembrokeshire summer dog ban list. so this a great bay if you are visiting wild West Wales with your dog. Our surf French Bulldog cross, Molly loves Caerfai Bay.

Adventures Of Molly

She was straight in the sea with a gang of newly found mates.

Molly Caerfai

Caerfai Bay is a very sheltered and calm bay so is ideal for water sports. The walk down is tricky so maybe it isn’t ideal for getting your kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) down there. But it is ideal for snorkeling. I as always imagine there might be some perfect waves if the right storm comes in, but I always think that of every bay. Maybe a blog post in the future.

Snorkeling

So what are you waiting for? Get ahead of that rain and discover a Wild West Wales beach tomorrow, DimExcuses.

Abereiddy Bay, DimExcuses Beach Guide.

Wow what a hot week! I really should have been hard at work writing my DimExcuses Beach Guides so you would know where to go this weekend. Well better late than never, here is my first DimExcuses Beach Guide, Abereiddy in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

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On the all Wales coastal path, Abereiddy Bay is just North West of St. Davids. You can access the bay from a country lane that ends at the beach car park. It is a distinctly black sanded beach from the slate geology that makes up the bay. Molly, some friends and I explored Abereiddy back in June, on a sunny Saturday. If you follow the path at the North tip of the Bay you can walk around to the famous Blue Lagoon (Blue Pool), a flooded slate quarry loved by divers.

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Molly’s friend Bailey, the chocolate Labrador, is no diver but he was straight in Blue Lagoon to cool down.

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After Bailey’s dip we walked back around to Abereiddy Bay itself. Which raised the question – ‘which way to the acorn?’:)

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The black sand of Abereiddy Bay is a natural heat source in the sun, and the sheltered nature of the bay is a sun trap. Molly basked in the sun watching Nicola and Mark launch their Kayaks.

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Abereiddy Bay is perfect for water sports. Apparently it can get a surf-able wave. Now that I would like to see! This weekend the conditions were ideal for the Kayaks.

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Definitely a bay for people who like to get in the water or at least skim pebbles.

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So there it is the first DimExcuses Beach Guide, watch out for more to follow. Get out and explore them, DimExcuses.

 

Camping at Croesgoch near St. Davids, West Wales. June 2014.

Molly Camping

With the recent sunshine I finished work early and jumped in the van to head out into wild west Wales. There was not even a threat of a ripple in terms of surf so we didn’t even take a board.

Molly and Sharon

Obviously Molly and Sharon came with me. Molly loves a DimExcuses trip to wild west Wales.

VW Molly

We got a pitch at Llainpropert Camping at Croesgoch just outside St. Davids. Llainpropert Campsite is the birth place of Unsunghero surf company, who now have a new surf shop complete with coffee bar in St. Davids. Here is the Llainpropert Campsite website, and here is the Unsunghero website.

Molly on her Blanket

The campsite was our base to do some DimExcuses beach guides. Blogs will follow with beach guides to Abereiddy and Caerfai Bay. But disaster struck for our friend’s with us (Nicole, Mark, James, Mia and dogs Dobbie & Bailey), they bought a tent for the trip but on opening it they found the wrong tent but the right poles. A ruined weekend ahead was saved by Stephen from Llainpropert camping who lent them his tent! What a legend, and what a welcoming site!

Molly at Llainpropert

Bulldog beach adventures and DimExcuses beach guide photography can’t go un-fueled so we nipped to Porthgain which is only a few miles from the campsite for some awesome fish & chips in the Shed restaurant. The Shed website can be found here. Fish & Chips done we caught the sun setting on the Porthgain village fishing port.

Porthgain Sunset

The campsite is not far from St. Davids, so we stopped there on our way home. Visiting the Bench Ice Cream shop we discovered they do canine ice cream! Here is Molly tucking into a caramelized bacon ice cream complete with wafer.

Canine Ice Cream

Here is the website for the Bench Ice Cream shop.  Molly got a quick dip in the ford in St. Davids and then we were heading home.

Molly in the Ford

A great weekend, a great place and a great campsite. A good base for your wild west Wales adventures, DimExcuses.

You don’t have to walk tall around here, but you do have to stand up. SUP Newgale August 2013

Newgale

Finally this is the last of my blogging backlog from the summer.  You may have read in my earlier post that we did dabble with Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) last time we were in Newgale.  Well this time we had a flat patch with no surf.  Oli in the Big Blue Experience Shop had been keeping us up to date with the surf reports as we had no phone reception, pop in and see him in the shop next time you are in Newgale.  So with the knowledge there was little surf for a couple of days we rented a SUP.

DimExcuses SUP

This was my first real chance to have a proper DimExcuses go at SUP.  They are big old things, much bigger than surfboards and much more buoyant.  I suppose they have to be if you are going to stand on the things. First thing to say with SUP is they require dynamic (moving) balance, and as any sports science student will tell you that works muscle, in the SUP’s case thigh muscle.  Not my biggest muscle, which lead to much sideways wobble and a regular visit to Davey Jones.  As demonstrated here by Sharon Halpin, Splash!

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Now you quickly realise that falling on the board is worse than falling clear of it.  So at the first sign of falling backwards I developed the Flintstones leg dash, quickly running the board under you backwards for an ineloquent back flop.  But in the calm conditions you soon get the hang of paddling about and it is a great way to wander around the bay.  You certainly get some attention too, mainly in anticipation of you coming off.

DimExcuses SUP 2

This is what it is all about, picture perfect SUP cruising in wild west Wales.

SUP Cruise

The second day saw some choppy surf coming and the SUP experience got a lot trickier, thought I would say the learning curve is rapid and the boards are great fun.  I adopted a kneeling approach to get outside the surf zone.

Kneeling SUP

Once outback I was able to stand up but with a lot more wobble in the chop.  I was soon chasing waves…

…and nearly got one!  Great fun, I can really see why SUP is so popular these days.  If you want to learn more about SUP there is a great blog about the journey from beginner to fanatic at staceylovessup, have a read. As well as keeping you up to date with the surf report, Big Blue Experience can sort you out with SUP rental and lessons, so why not give them a shout next time you are in wild west Wales and have a go? Like I said ‘you don’t have to walk tall around here, but you do have to stand up’. DimExcuses! So all that leaves is this one last Newgale beach shot.

Pebbles

Walk & Surf Newgale Bay Pembrokeshire. May Bank Holidays 2013

Newgale looking NorthMy blog has been very Wales, but not wild enough or west enough.  I hope to make up for that with one of the wildest West Wales beaches you can visit, Newgale Bay in Pembrokeshire.  Driving from Haverfordwest you soon seen the spectacular cliffs surrounding the bay and then the massive pebble storm beach that acts as a wall between the beach and the land.  The bay then moves into a flat valley when there is Newgale Campsite, Newsurf shop, Sands Cafe and the Duke of Edinburgh Pub.  Click on the names to go to their websites.

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It is a beautiful beach.  You can walk along the pebbles of the storm beach or along the wide beach itself.  Watch out though the sea can come right up to the pebbles.

Newgale Pebbles

It can be quite windy too, as I said Wild West Wales!  But if that wind is offshore it can create some really spectacular waves.  Newgale is also a great base to explore Pembrokeshire.  St. Davids, UK’s smallest city because it has a cathedral, is just a few miles drive (or ride on the Puffin Bus) away.  Here are the Puffin Shuttle timetables.  There are loads of other bays to discover like Caerfai Bay below, but that is a different blog.  Go visit and explore, DimExcuses.

Caerfai Bay

Newgale is very exposed to the sea and this means there is always some surf.  It is an ideal place for the learning surfer (Newsurf offers a range of lessons) and the experienced wave rider.  This surf was a bit small on the end of May Bank Holiday but on the first Bank Holiday it was a real fun size and the sun came out.  We took a load of photos and I have edited them into this short film.  The music is by Welsh musician Gavin Butler from the acoustic album ‘Ghosts and Echoes’ with Neil Starr.