Royal Surfing in England
There are very few countries in the world that speak as much to the imagination as England: part of the island of Great Britain, lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, for centuries this kingdom has been – and still is – a dominant (colonial) world power. And, as a true kingdom befits, it brought forth numerous world famous royalties: The Royal Family, King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, Harry Potter, Peter Rabbit, David & Victoria Beckham, David Attenborough, Mister Bean, The Beatles and The Spice Girls, to name only a few.
A country full of legends, tall tales, myths and fairy tales that are so intertwined with everyday life, it often makes you question whether you are actually still in one. With its everlasting green, rolling hills bordered by Cornish hedges (walls overgrown with ivy, marking the edge between road and property), winding roads , old country homes, castles and secluded courtyards it feels like time has stopped in the 19th century. It wouldn’t be England, if in the midst of all of this beauty, there would NOT be a pub, serving proper ale, high tea and hearty pub grubs.
Proud of their heritage, drinking skills, soccer and rugby teams, a truly unrivalled sense of humour and their tendency to be too polite to be honest, the English make for a truly unique people. And though they are known for their classic ‘whinging’ (complaining about, well, everything), they are really sturdy: come rain, hail or shine, they will sit on the beach in summer, in their swim attire, whilst hiding behind a flimsey wind shield. After all, it’s always summer on the inside, right?
Maybe due to this resilient nature combined with an inborn desire for exploration, or maybe just because they’ve had too many beers, the English will venture off the beaten track in search of waves. And why wouldn’t they? Because of its exposure to nearly all North Atlantic swells and its millions of coves and inlets, the island keeps an unimaginable amount of surfing secrets, making it’s royal status extend way past the shoreline. When road tripping you soon realise you can stumble across a new epic surfbreak around every corner, seemingly untouched and unknown. Seemingly, yes! When the right swell and wind hits, the English surfers know exactly where to go. Sometimes this means that even in the heart of winter, with howling gail force winds and freezing cold water temperatures , you will still find surfers, well, nearly everywhere. And as it befits the people, they practice all sorts of watersports: it’s probably the only country where I’ve stumbled across belly-boarding, bodyboarding, wave-ski and bodysurfing competitions all on the same day, held at different beaches.
But regardless of all this fame and fortune, the English did get unlucky on one essential thing: their topographical latitude. No other country seems to get as much rain as the English do, not to mention the cold. The dawn surf sessions I often had in summer were characterised by temperatures often below 11 degrees Celsius, white feet and blue lips. But hey, you can’t have it all, right? But for those willing to endure some hardships and venture off the beaten track, a personal legend can be lived…