It’s March 2017 and I’ve finally finished watching View From a Blue Moon. It was worth the wait to see John John Florence and his friends traveling the world, surfing like I could never even attempt in a dream, in one of the most flashy surf flicks ever. In fact, it’s the first full-length surf movie I’ve watched in years because these days I typically just watch the endless supply of three-minute surf edits the internet has on offer for us all.
That movie got me thinking about surfing, travel, adventure, and perfect waves. I’d been to a few places when I was younger and after one trip to California I ended up moving from the UK to Orange County. Surf trips became less and less important as I aged, in part because I had adult responsibilities and also because surfing was so accessible living in Southern California. Surfing had lost much of its adventure. Today, a surf trip simply requires checking the forecasts, getting in the car, driving to Starbucks, pulling up at the beach, paying the meter and paddling out with 50 other guys and gals.
So where does someone like me go for perfect waves and adventure? What is a perfect wave? And is it as important as the adventure that goes into finding it? With that in mind and John John’s inspiration, I’ve decided to start traveling again. I am on a mission to find waves, find adventure, improve my fitness and improve my surfing. So I started a travel blog Average Surfer and Instagram to document the whole debacle. I plan to travel to as many spots as I can over the next 2 years culminating in some perfect waves. The plan is to spin the globe and see where we end up. Be it paradise or not. Let’s see what an average surfer can do out there. So, where to first?
I cut my teeth surfing in southwest England, a pretty rural area of the UK not unlike parts of Ireland with its Celtic folklore and baron green scenery. The roads are narrow, beaches vast and shorelines rocky. It’s a beautiful place with mediocre surf, indeed, most of the time it’s a windblown mess of gray skies and 3-foot storm surf. More like the Endless Winter than the Endless Summer.
So naturally, it’s the perfect place to restart my surfing adventures. Why? Because of the adventure. It’s the type of place where local knowledge is more important than the forecast app, where it promises to be better around the next hidden cove. The type of place where the locals in the village pub will tell you “you should have been here yesterday” or “the 50-year storm is coming”. It’s a place where secret spots still actually exist but you need to be shown and best of all, not a Starbucks in sight. Well not until you hit Plymouth.
So let this be the first trip of the year and see where we go from there. March in England is unpredictable at best. We begin on March 9th. And try to remember, I identify as a surfer among other things, but I’m pretty average. Don’t get me wrong, when my surfing clicks on a good day, I can put together some decent turns and put my board where I want it, but I am not John John by any means. In fact, I ride fun boards, fishes and logs. I’ve never owned a conventional short board in my life. Surfing for me is always about fun, style and grace. And of course, the adventure.