Words and Images by RUSS TETLOW K-Bay
After Wavejam1 the next good weather came on the 9th December at Kimmeridge (Kbay). For some odd reason, I think it was the inability to decide between Kbay and Hells Mouth in Wales that stopped us calling the 2nd Wave Jam. I think me and Steve thought it was a little too close to the last one to call it, but more fool us. The conditions went off with some super-slick action up by the harbor wall, which was followed by some superb riding over at the Bench at the mouth to the bay. Stand outs were James Cox, John Hibbard and a particularly impressive aerial and some purfick back loops courtesy of Andy King. We did get some fantastic shots, but the real deal was missed by not posting someone out on the Bench to capture the excellent riding out there, Doh. The day was attended by everyone from the previous weekends Wave Jam and more, so we really missed out by not making more of it.
The pressure was on then for Jam No2, intensified by the fact that it was to be only held on one day, but the forecast was good and plenty of sleep was lost the night before with over excitement at the promised conditions.
Steve and I approached Woolacombe from the scenic route of Saunton and Croyde, and the waves looked awesome. It's surprising therefore, that although people had been on the beach at Woolacombe an hour or so prior to our arrival, no one had yet managed to make it out?
There were some fantastic waves in places, big, gnarly, mast and a half high sets, which in some places forming sick tubes. The best of them were just beyond banks of rocks and if the boys had any thoughts of having a go at those waves, we were going to be in for quite a show. If they did go out there and get it wrong however‚Äö
The launch area was a quite a way upwind from the rocks, but the area we would have liked to have sailed was total white out. John Hibbard, Steve King, Steve Thorp, Jamie Hay and Steve Jarvis all made it out the back, and once out there, it soon became apparent the riding was proving to be nigh on impossible. These are seriously good windsurfers and if they weren‚Äö√Ñ√¥t getting out or putting on a show; something had to be stopping them.
I was set up for the photo shoot, Brendan Pyatt was ready to capture the action on video, but it became blatantly obvious that the conditions were having none of it. The Wind was just too off shore, you had wind in your sail one second, none the next. Your force five leading up to a wave was doubled at the top of the wave then turned off once you got over it. If you tried to get airborne you got thrown into the wind and very unceremoniously thrown into the sea, kit all over the place.
¬† John Hibbard
I made a command decision, I told every one to de-rig and haul arse over to Saunton, but as we turned by the coastal road that leads down to Saunton it was obvious that with the tide now coming in, the water state had changed. The nicely formed and well spaced waves had given way to the same nonsense Woolacombe had been getting. Steve went out to guinea pig the break only to make it obvious it was not going to happen. I handed my camera rig over to Dion Hunt and went out to test the conditions for myself. It was seriously messed up out there, what a bloody shame. So that was that, beaten again.
Fortunately everyone who turned up realized that the call was based on sound information and agreed that there was very little wrong with the idea and its execution. There is no doubt in any ones mind that the weather will provide the goods sooner or later, and when it does, we all hope to be there.
Steve Jarvis (The first out alongside John Hibbard)
As soon as we got out I caught a solid sized wave, being careful to pick the last one of the set. I got one turn on it before it flattened off, so, not wanting to head too far towards the beach I pulled out. I caught a couple more similar waves with a lucky aerial escape from one close out.
On my third or fourth wave, I took the first wave of the set (John took the second) and as I bottom turned and then hit the lip I had a quick glance out the back and realized the eager mistake me and John had made. My wave was just under Mast high(small), but as I Iooked behind I saw John on a solid mast high set which in turn, closed out. The fourth wave in the set was massive, well over mast!! With all the waves closing out, it was time to head back into the beach.
That pretty much called the end of the fun, from then on the wind got super gusty and light, and only 3 people got out back for the rest of the day.
Can't wait for the next wavejam, a fun day, with some good pastings.
"A good wave is remembered for a week. A good pasting is remembered for Ever"
I've been taking the job of Wavejam organizer pretty seriously and scouring the forecasts daily looking for possible epic conditions.
We hadn't called a Wavejam for two months, so I was really keen to get a good one in the bag, but the forecasts just hadn't been solid enough. February 3rd finally looked like what we'd been waiting for; 30mph southerly winds in Devon and 12ft waves - surely this had to be the day, everyone was keen to make it, so we we're on. The only thing that seemed to worry anyone was the 8 degree air temperature.
But what we ended up with was almost unsailable. Some forecasts had predicted SE winds, but I just thought it being more offshore would be a good thing and clean the waves up nicely. They also predicted an 8 second period, which is really where we came unstuck; closely spaced, mast high waves and an offshore wind were not a good combination. Getting out was incredibly difficult and a bit of a lottery, and if you did get out back your reward would be a 2 second ride on a mast high close out.
I was totally gutted. It's bad enough to drive 3 hours on a great forecast and arrive at the beach to find you made the wrong call, but when you drag 10 of Britain‚Äö√Ñ√¥s top sailors and a camera crew with you, that's doubly gutting with a fair slice of guilt piled on top.
Thankfully for my sanity, everyone was pretty understanding. I guess it happens to us all and we've learnt to take it on the chin.
I'm still confident it'll all come together at the next one; it's going to be epic!