#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.

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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 15. Challenges should be challenging. Sker Beach 11th September, 2015.

Under the watchful eye of the Keeper of the Dunes

The start of Autumn was like the end of spring. I found myself making the same cloudy, barefoot, half hour walk in a full wetsuit to Sker Beach as I did last May. My plan to venture out into the surf 21 times this year (#Mentro21 Project) had looked so easily achievable, but three weeks injury and two weeks in Greece meant I was now seven surfs off my goal.

Add to this an unseasonal flat spell, shortening days and reducing temperatures, I look to be facing an uphill struggle. To make a dent in those seven surfs I planned to go to Sker Beach, Kenfig, Bridgend after work today. The little hints that the surf was good were there all day. Spot the surfers in these photos of the Kenfig Reserve who have been heading to the breakers all day.

Spot the Kenfig Surfer

It was the best I have ever seen , and ever surfed at Sker Beach (the furthest section of Kenfig Sands). The Nature Reserve’s own break was looking awesome. Great A-frame peaks and a steady offshore wind. The two foot swell was getting a lot of attention. I counted twenty surfers in the water on my way out. Unusal as often I have had the beach to myself.

So one of seven surfs down, six to go before the end of the year. Cold water surfing it is then, mentro allan, 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.

Mentro 11 Kenfig Sands & Mentro 12 Rhossili. A tale of two beaches.

Kenfig NNR

Not really a tale more of a quick update. No #Mentro21 project updates for over a week, and then like buses two come at once. The #Mentro21 project to go surfing twenty one times this year is going really well, I am half way now.

Rhossili Head

Just like the week before last, I got a surf in at Sker Beach, Kenfig Sands (Mentro 9) on Friday night after work and then made it to Rhossili Bay, Gower (Mentro 10) on the Saturday. The long walk from Kenfig National Nature Reserve Centre to Sker Beach I have been doing on my own, bare foot and in my wetsuit. It takes half an hour and means I can’t take my camera for any beach shots. You will have to make do with Kenfig pool and its famous tree.

Kenfig Pool Tree

To find out more about Kenfig National Nature Reserve read the #MyGreenSpace post from a couple of weeks ago.

It was quite small at Sker Beach and overcast, but I got a few waves. It was interesting to see the pebble beds at low tide so that I now know where they are and can avoid them. Sker isn’t a totally sandy beach and walking over the peoples underwater can be tricky. But what a difference a day makes! The next day Rhossili was a bit on the big side with a horrible onshore wind messing everything up.

Rhossili Bay

The sun was out and it was the National Trust Big Beach Picnic so the carpark, headland and Beach were really busy. The Trust have been really making the most of Rhossili since buying the car park. The pinic looked like a great event and these four got the prime picnic spot!

National Trust Big Beach Picnic

A great day but not the best surf. Well at least I ‘mentro allan’, ventured out. Twelve surfs down, nine to go, DimExcuses.