What a couple of months it’s been; I can’t remember an Autumn with so much swell. My leash is four feet longer than it was in September! I’ve been smashed so many times that I feel like a crash test dummy. When I got tired of trying to surf maxing beachies, I must admit that I retreated to a couple of lesser-known protected spots where I didn’t feel under constant threat of death. I even managed to fit in a turn or two. Some still call them secret, but it’s a bit like the secret ‘Tom Cruise is gay’, ‘cause there seemed to be a lot of people who knew. I’ll keep calling them by their mysterious pseudonyms, but I think we can safely assume that spots stop being secret when they appear in the UK’s most popular surf guide.
There are others of course – proper secrets, and for a while I became obsessed by finding them. I tracked down one or two over the years, but these days, with a two hour window to surf before I have to get Child 1 to ballet class, I’m damned if I’m going to waste valuable surf time walking the coast path with a pair of binoculars. Death close-outs at Puts will usually do me just fine!
Of course, searching is much easier in this internet age. You know how surf photographers and Facebook gloaters like calling these places by the first letter? You know what I mean – “Epic waves at Spot G today!”. That is a pretty big clue to someone with half a brain and access to a map. The problem is that there are only 26 letters of the alphabet, but there seem to be a bunch more secret spots. It gets very confusing when you’re trying to Google them. There is a Spot F which I’m pretty sure stands for ‘F’ing long walk from the only place that you can park’. Now don’t get that confused with the other Spot F in Cornwall, which stands for ‘Full view of the main road, so can’t be a secret at all really’. Spot B can get pretty epic when its big but I can confidently say that the B is for ‘Bodyboarder infested’. The other Spot B is much more chilled, but the B is for ‘Broken ankle climbing down the cliff at low tide!”
So with my limited knowledge of secret spots I can share a few nuggets with you; they are usually rocky as hell, they usually only work under a very specific set of swell, wind and tide variables, and then only for a short space of time. I’m sure that they get epic on their day, but I think you have to live nearby and check them endlessly before you finally get the reward, and to be honest that is probably how it should be…