#RideMore 2 & 3, Deeper into Kenfig National Nature Reserve.

Surf Kenfig

The plan back in January was simple, #RideMore this year. It isn’t going well. I have managed three surfs this year, all of which have been at Kenfig Sands. My first surf was #RideMore 1 at Sker Beach, you can read about that here.

To Sker beach

#RideMore 2 was also at Sker Beach which is at the southern end of Kenfig sands. Kenfig sands is a massive beach which runs along the coast of Kenfig National Nature Reserve. It is almost two miles long. Walking to Sker is a good mile too. Here is the beach in all its glory.

Sker Beach

It is a rocky beach but has consistent surf. It has similar surf to Rest Bay but doesn’t have the problem of crowds that Rest has.  Just like Rest Bay it is tide dependent and often gets too high on the rocks to surf at high tide.

Sker, Kenfig Sands

As you move up the beach from Sker, Kenfig Sands gets much less rocky. So for #RideMore 3 I headed further along the coast.

Kenfig Sands

Unfortunately that is a massive hike to undertake. You do get to take in the natural beauty of Kenfig National Nature Reserve as you walk. Moly is keen for me to say that it is orchid season and you can see a range of orchids at Kenfig. If you are lucky you may see a rare Fen Orchid. Here is a Southern Marsh Orchid Molly spotted further down the coast in Newton, Porthcawl.

Molly spots a Southern Marsh Orchid

Orchids aside, there is a haul road that runs along the coast from Sker Beach that can be used to access any point on Kenfig Sands, it all depends how far you want to walk. Kenfig is a massive sand dune ecosystem so dunes often block your view of the beach.

IMG_20160506_145323-01_wm

Luckily National Resources Wales has been doing some serious dune rejuvenation works in the area, digging through some of the larger dunes. This gives great points to access the beach. I went in here.

Kenfig Dunes

I caught it when the tide was too high, but it was surfable. It was steep like a French shore break. I would like to try and surf there several hours either side of high tide. The steepness of the beach at high tide meant that in about twenty metres you went from neck deep to ankle deep. Not good for your board, or body, seeing as I sprained my wrist in the shallows. An injury that has really set back my plan to #RideMore.

Kenfig DimExcuses

I am into three weeks of RICE (rest, ice, compression & elevation) and hope to be back in the water next weekend. In the meantime there is always orchid spotting.

Tongue Out Molly

The plan is to hike even further down the beach next time, DimExcuses.

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#RideMore 1. First surf of the year, Sker beach 20th May 2016.

Surfing Kenfig

Shockingly I haven’t surfed this year before today!  A cold spring and just a busy life has kept me out of the sea. Back in January several us decided that we should try and surf, ride and snowboard as much as we can this year. Replacing the #Mentro21 challenge where I set out to surf 21 times last year, this year there is no target, just an attempt to #RideMore.

Kenfig NNR

So today I did get in the water at Sker beach, Kenfig, Bridgend. This involves a half hour walk in a wetsuit from Kenfig National Nature Reserve Centre to the beach. So I can’t take any photo at the beach. So you just get these few shots at the reserve centre.

Kenfig Dunes

The weather was cloudy and surf a messy 2 foot on a incoming high tide. The water is warming, but a winter suit, boots and gloves meant the surfing was a hard slog, especially if you are rusty from a winter off. I basically had an hour long kicking from the sea broken up by three good rides. Plenty to build on as I get into my quest to #RideMore. I had better get back out there quick, DimExcuses.

Mentro 17. Even an end has a start, Sker Beach 25th September 2015.

Keeper of the Dunes

You can spot a rubbish made for TV movie by it having two names. “Terror at 30,000 feet – Flight 364GY” or “A bridge too far – the Jessica Long story”. I made those two up, but what I wanted to highlight in a long winded way is that every #Mentro21 post has three names. First it’s mentro number showing how many times I have surfed this year for the Mentro 21 project. Coming from the Welsh word mentro (to venture), Mentro 21 is my effort to surf 21 times this year. Secondly it has an apt title, this time “Even an end has a start”, and finally what beach was surfed and when. This time it was Sker Beach, Bridgend.

Heading for Sker Beach

With five surfs to go for this project the end is in sight but things are changing. A calendar season person or an equinox season person, you have to agree we are now into autumn. Air temperatures are dropping (the sea is still warm) and days are shortening.

This end has a start, and it starts here, this is probably be the last time I will be able to surf from Kenfig National Nature Reserve after work. The last time walking barefoot through the dunes to surf in a summer suit. To get the last four surfs in is going to take weekend days and a return to a winter suit and wetsuit boots.

Keeping the Kenfig Dunes

Again, because of the long walk to the beach I can’t give you any photos from the beach but can give you these shots of the Kenfig reserve in the falling autumn sun, as it sets on the Keeper of the Dunes.

Famously modeled on our former Sustainable Development Officer Gemma McLean, I gave the Keeper a surfboard to look more like the Outdoor Pursuit loving Skokholm lass she is based on.

Starting a lot to look like Gemma

So it looks like shorter days, with October and November surfing guaranteed to complete the #Mentro21 challenge. Somethings should be simple, even an end has a start. Coldwater surfing for me, DimExcuses

Mentro 14, Sker gets Scarey. Kenfig, Bridgend 17th July 2015.

Keeper of the Dunes

What a strange day, today was in this unusual July. The weather didn’t know what it was doing and the surf didn’t know what it was doing. Very unsettled and changeable. With a big swell and some onshore wind it wasn’t going to be nice surf anywhere so I went in at Sker Beach, the far end of Kenfig Sands within Kenfig National Nature Reserve. I wrote about #MyGreenSpace Kenfig Nature Reserve here. This was the fourteenth session in my #Mentro21 surf project.

Kenfig

This was the third Friday evening that I surfed Sker Beach, Kenfig on my own. This time there was not a soul there. Not a good sign as there is usually a couple of other surfers braving the half hour walk to get a wave on this massive uncrowded wild Beach.

Kenfig Nature Reserve Parking

No photos of the Beach again as you have to leave everything at Kenfig National Nature Reserve Centre before making the long sandy walk through the Dunes. On the plus side there is loads of free parking at the Centre and it is easy to find from Junction 37 of the M4.

Signpost to Sker Beach

The large oak Keeper of the Dunes will point you on your way to the Beach.

Kenfig Keeper

The surf was messy, windy and a good three foot. On your own that is big dark and scarey. The surf was as wild and raw as the the scarweather Sker beach is itself. It is a long hard walk to that beach, but if you get there you get a wide wild Bay pretty much to yourself. There might be one or two other surfers there, and one of them might be me, DimExcuses.