Summer is officially over, autumn is here and so far the waves have been semi-decent.

As we enter another winter of swell, wind and rain, take a step back and appreciate the beauty of winter. The days start getting shorter, the air gets colder and as much as my dad always says “ Cold is just a feeling”, the water does actually get cold.

Living on an island makes you vulnerable to the elements and be at forefront the harsh winter storms. Regardless of whether you’ve always hated the cold like me, or love it, the power and awe winter brings is unlike any other. Once again our battered coastline that had a short break over summer is battered by gale force wind, icy rain and heaving swell. Those small summer waves that could barely move anything are long gone and the Atlantic throws all it’s force our way.

There is something special about surfing in the winter, it is a whole experience unlike any other. You feel that sting as the spray is blown in your face, the slightly numb feet and hands and of course the added weight of all the neoprene. Although the surf sessions are shorter due to the light and the cold sucking out every ounce of your energy, they seem that bit more rewarding and enjoyable. The fact you managed to bring yourself to get out of the comfort of your warm car, put on all the gear and then walk into 8 degree water after a long week is pretty tough in my eyes; it takes a good bit of effort and dedication that's for sure.

As a photographer and surfer myself (I will add, not exactly a very good one), I have really come to love winter, sure the dark and cold aren’t my favourite but I have come to love the thrill of winter storms. Seeing massive winter swells making those small, lesser known spots work, listening to the rain on the window, the howling wind and waves crashing on the sea wall has become a part of winter I look forward to; for once I can actually say I’m excited to see what this winter brings. I will also be very thankful that the age old “Photos or surf?” will be decided for me when the swell gets just a bit too big for my liking.

I just hope that after all the confusion and uncertainty this year has brought, and is still bringing, we can all find some of the enjoyment and grace in this year’s winter.

October 2020 Published in print by Real Surfing Magazine - Issue No8 May 2021


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