THE new year began with almost heaving perfection on most of North Devon’s exposed beaches, continuing a run of swell that has kept surfers as happy as can be.
The unseasonably warm weather has made long sessions more than bearable and, with an abundance of swell spots up and down the coast, there has been a chance to shine for those willing to put in the miles.
One of the best placed to judge the festive waves is Trev Lumley, chief forecaster at Eyeball Surfcheck.
“It’s probably the best and most consistent swell over Christmas and New Year since the great winter swells of the mid Nineties and certainly the mildest temps I can remember,” he said.
For all those who started the year with the resolution to surf more in 2016, there has been plenty of opportunity and, with an active Atlantic, it looks as though there will be plenty more to come.
We caught up with some of North Devon’s surfers to see what surfing new year’s resolutions they had come up with.
Andrew Cotton, all-round legend and surfing ambassador: “Not to surf Putsborough and get in the sea for 30 minutes every day.”
Taz Knight, apprentice big-wave hellman: “Surf less and study more … haha, only joking. I have set myself a target to swim every day while I’m at uni (in Bristol), but I think that will be hard to keep up.”
Former British champion and GB team member Will Bailey: “For 2016 I aspire to improve my fitness and strength in order to give myself the best opportunities for the contest season.”
Hotshot longboarding champion Jack Unsworth : “Maybe go left more? Especially if it’s smaller – I avoid my backhand when it’s small. Also I’ve started getting into riding shorter boards more frequently, so being more open minded with my choice of equipment for the day is probably a resolution.”
Surf school owner and pro surfer Lyndon Wake: “Quit booze to stop any hungover surfs and make sure I have at least one knee board wave per surf.”
British champion Peony Knight: “This year is all about going big for me. I want to land at least one air and find some waves big enough to try out my new 7ft 6in pin tail from Diplock.”
Flora Lawton, currently roaming a tropical paradise: “Seeing as we are travelling in the perfect environment, I want to get a bikini-free barrel before we arrive back in the UK. The Philippines is seeming like the best place for it. The serious ones are just to keep healthy and keep active.”
Westward Ho! ripper and lifeguard Jordan Reed: “To keep my surfboards intact throughout the year. I’ve massively cursed that now haven’t I?”
Understated Pro Tour event commentator Paul Barrington: “Lose 2st and replace it with pure muscle. Also surf faster, stronger and bigger than ever.”
Croyde Surf Club chairman Rob Whitney: “To work closer with community projects and local businesses to make surfing more accessible to everyone.”
Norman Wright, president of Saunton Hotdoggers: “To produce British and English champions, as we have had over the last 20 years.”
Eyeball founder Trev “Toes” Lumley: “To never forget that behind the man I have become through years of practice and dedication is the boy who fell in love with the ocean and waves and never looked back.”