goodbye November storms, Hello even better December storms

There were some posts floating around facebook a few weeks, maybe a month. Some time ago anyway. They said that we were about to go through 3 months of storms. So, with that in mind it is probably the worst time to have a roof replaced. I found myself not wanting it to be stormy, but wanting it to be stormy at the same time. The roof still isn't finished.

In a way, mid-november felt a bit like a windsurfing holiday. Maybe not the type 10 years ago where I could sail for 6 hours a day everyday. I can't do that now, with other life commitments - unfortunately, or actually maybe it's not unfortunately. It has taken my a long while to get used to it, many low points, such is the addiction of windsurfing. Such an addiction that sometimes I have found myself wishing that I didn't windsurf, because I struggled to cope with classic days where I knew it would be epic, but I couldn't get out. It can almost be like a physical and mental pain. But what a sport it is to make it do that!

I think now I kind of just look at windsurfing a lot differently. If I can get out it is a bonus and I have to be super organised to make it count. Especially now it is getting dark so early. November certainly reaped those rewards. September was dismal, no wind, too busy, new sails sitting there unloved, unused, locked in potential.

Fortunately November arrived, and with it remnants of hurricanes, big swells making their way up the English channel, strong southerlies swinging round to westerlies. Perfect conditions to get Avon firing, and fire it did. Most days I managed to get out on the water by 4pm. Dusk was between 4.30 and 5, which meant a good half hour of light. Usually though as the sunset it would get lighter for about 25 minutes. The waves though were so good, that the light didn't seem to matter so much, you could feel where you needed to be.

A particular Monday was very good. A decent size and a wave with 3 sections, the first the most powerful and a head high to logo high wall that would hold up and peel for about 200 meters. 8-10 decent bottom turns could be had. This may sound like an exaggeration, but it really isn't. Avon is unique. A sand bar builds up as the water drains out of Christchurch harbour. There is also a pre dredged channel, which speeds up the deposit of a large sandbar that starts at the run near the harbour. This is where you chase the swell and pick the wave up. The sandbar then finishes infront of the cafe. A decent size swell/wave will peel all this way. Quite incredible for this bit of the south coast and if you get it at it's best there really are not that many places that can offer such a long and fun wave ride in a strong south westerly.

If you want to try it, look out for really strong winds, wave height above 8.5 ft on big salty and as long period as possible. Low tide coming in helps. Don't be fooled by it not looking great from the beach either. It often looks a bit naff and just some whitewater. The wave breaks quite far out and is deceptively lower than than the 'channel' which is just off the beach. It's a shame we don't have any good pictures of Avon. The only way would be too swim out and stand on the sandbar.

Since time is so limited though, photography at the moment is the last thing on my mind.

Along side some classic sessions at Avon, there have been some big sessions at southbourne and some really fun waveriding and jumping at Boscombe. Unfortunately for me, the only time I had a camera pointing my way I was underdone at Southbourne on a murky gray day on a 4.5. So much so I had to get out my 95l Quantum. We have some pictures of Coxy on another day though, a definite 'Classic' Southbourne. My new sails though are a joy to use, a little lighter than before, but a very similar 4 batten black tip feel, which I love.

Looking ahead. Well I can't sail this weekend. My wife is away. I can sail most days next week if you count getting on the water at 4pm worthwhile. I always think it is, because if I can get one or two good waves and a couple of jumps at Avon I am pretty stoked. More stoked than not getting out and missing it all for sure.


  1. Awsome report dude. Glad you managed to score it good on Monday. Looks like you've got good at this night time sailing.

  2. Yep, I've realised that nobody is going to arrange windsurfing sessions for me, so you have to make it happen. Get the forecast etched into your mind (big help from bigsalty) and work out a way to make each session happen, block out appointments on potentially windy days and keep the wife onside and keep the kids onside too. With the warmer water in summer I've been able to get the kids going on the water, which although means flat water spots, it is still great to get out and hopefully building up their skills and confidence to one day have wavesailing trips together.


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