On the first of October C4 Team representatives: Dave and Claudia Parmenter, and I manned up an American Airlines 777 bound for London Heathrow, intent on sussing the SUP situation in England, and to visit C4 Team Rider: Adam Zervas and his family in Newquay, Cornwall, the “Surf City” of the United Kingdom. Also during this trip we wanted to see our friends Tim Mellors, owner of the Longboard House and BSUPR’s Matt Argyle. We have always had the highest respect for the great seafaring nature of the British people from Captain Cook to Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson to the modern British watermen and women of today. As a former US Navy officer, we were made well aware that our entire service was modeled after the Royal Navy. It was with these motivations that we embarked on this quest to the Old Country. Below on the map of Cornwall England yellow pins mark some of the points of interest.
The flight crew of the American Boeing 777 Luxury Liner were keen on showing Dave (an aviation expert and aficionado) the “business end” of this great aircraft:
Back in the friendlier environs of the first class cabin Claudia finds the accommodations adequate:
Meanwhile Dave and Ted were “Mission-Planning” at 7 miles above Northern Canada:
In the nearly 11 hour fight there was not enough time to eat the great meal watch the movies, read, get in to all the lotions and potions and still sleep… After about a 7 hour nap the flight attendants woke us up for breakfast. After breakfast there was less than an hour of flight remaining. Upon clearing customs the flight crew came round and picked us up in front of the terminal, and we rode in to “Town” with them.
Post tea at the Forum Hotel in London the C4 crew hit the ground running, keen on seeing as much of the great city as possible. Here are Claudia and Dave at Big Ben and the Imperial War Museum:
In the above right photo at the Imperial War Museum, Dave admires a Supermarine MK VII Spitfire, if you look at the elliptical wing it is nearly identical to the Parmenter designed “Spitfire SUP fin” used on both the Holoholo, and the Vortice. (The above Spit in this picture actually flew and survived 67 missions in the Battle of Brittan and WWII).
After a nice Italian dinner with the two first officers from our flight over we called it a night. The next day was on to the Harrods and the British Museum. Below on the left are Dave and Claudia in the foyer of the British Museum; right and below: The Rosetta Stone.
That afternoon we proceeded south out of London on the M4 Motorway with Dave at the helm (he was the most qualified to navigate the “other side of the road” driving of the UK). Dave had visited the Cornish lands of south western England as a touring pro surfer, so it was nice having an experienced guide. One thing about the United Kingdom is even though people have been living in these Islands for almost 13,000 years, they are not overbuilt and “strip-malled out with Mission Viejo style housing tracts. The coastline has been preserved thanks to The National Heritage Foundation and through no small effort of Prince Charles. The country is wide open and rural, not unlike our own areas of Central and Northern California. The other nice aspect is that in general the drivers are fast and expert, in the week I was there I never saw any reckless or out of control driving. In England piloting a motorcar serious business, approached in a professional manner.
After an overnight on the beautiful town of Barnstaple, Mission Commander “Uncle Dave” aimed the VW south to the town of Bude, where we witnessed some closed course Kayak racing in a waterway with wooden locks! This was a full 25 feet above the low tide level. Below Dave and Claudia watch the racing, and below right is the handmade oak locks holding the high-tide water in!
Bude’s beaches and coves have a plethora of potential surf and paddle setups; while we were there visiting we observed a hearty bunch of folks learning to surf in the shorebreak:
Back on the road with a stop at alleged birthplace of King Arthur: Tintagel Castle. Our arrival coincided with a rain squall and 40 knots of wind that ended up closing the castle. We were still able to make the approach to the ruins. There is a nice little cove between the Castle hill and the opposing hill which Uther Pendragon rode across on the dragon’s breath while disguised as Duke Gorles of Tintagel (Igraines husband) to his fateful meeting with her that resulted in the conception of King Arthur (according to Geoffrey of Monmouth 1139). This cove is a perfect place to launch from on SUPs! Below are some of the shots of this headland and cove:
A short time later we rolled into Surf City UK: Newquay, a picturesque town on the north shore of Cornwall situated on a headland with two main beaches. Fistral Beach is to the south of town and is the main beach; there are many surf schools, surfshops and board rental stands there. Below is the view of the south end of Fistral:
The tide was low and the surf at Fistral was a bit blown out. At the north end of the Fistral beach is a big wave spot known as The Cribber. C4 Team rider, Adam Zervas was one of the first to stand up paddle this spot:
To the north of the headland and the Cribber is a harbor where the wind was blowing side offshore. Tim Mellors and Adam Zervas were out enjoying the clean conditions on their standup paddle boards when we arrived. Dave, Claudia and I checked out Tim Mellor’s Longboard House surfshop and met some of the great surfers working there; below left is Dave with Lee and Max. Below on the right Tim “Kong” Mellors returns from a nice session.
After a needed rest at the home of Helen, Jordan and Adam Zervas, we awoke to onshore winds at Newquay. Adam said this would be “no problem, as we will head to the south and it will be offshore…” So we hooked up with British surf photographer Geoff Tydeman (also a steward for British Airways), Tim Mellors and Adam Zervas and headed southwest through beautiful country roads and farmland.
As our group rounded the famous ancient gardens of Burncoose, and descended to the beach area when told to check out the Castle on the right (located top left in the Google Earth photo above), Claudia Parmenter exclaimed that it looked like “Disneyland”!!! Below Adam points out Caerhays Castle that has been owned by the Williams Family since 1715!
Sure enough it was a real theme park of great waves beautiful beaches and headlands not unlike the Pacific Northwestern US. The air was cool, the wind offshore and the water relatively warm at approximately 61 degrees. The following photos were taken by Geoff Tydeman (www.panoramio.com) and are used with his permission:
No time was wasted and a route to the lineup was paved by Dave out the east side by the rocks; the group stayed clear of the other surfers and we were able to catch left breaking waves out off the stone reef.
When I asked Dave how he would sum this experience up at Caehray’s, he was speechless, and gave this gesture of euphoria:
The expressions on Tim and Claudia’s faces reveal the satisfaction and joy of the English Aspri’surf.
That evening Helen Zervas treated the C4 Crew to a traditional English Sunday Dinner of Roast beef, potatoes and Bread pudding that was better than any of us had ever tasted!
Monday, 8 October we again proceeded south through such great towns as St Ives (remember the shampoo), Penzance (end of the line for the British Rail line) and ending up at Land’s End. When we arrived it was a bit stormy so after some Irish coffee and a light breakfast we were ready to try a new spot that we had been told had never been SUPed before. It was a large granite reef almost a mile offshore and looked to have a sporty left breaking off of the north end. The beach at Sennen Cove is spectacular in that the sand is soft decomposed granite that runs out hundreds of yards. The “granite sand” gives the water a translucent blue green color when the sun is out.
We paddled out to the mystery reef and discovered that it was a bit more challenging to get into; he whom rides it first usually names the new spot. It looked like Tim Mellors was going to get the naming rights, but discretion being the better part of valor, he opted out. Dave ended up getting first blood and displayed his experience for shallow rocky reefs that are the staple of the Central Coast of California. See Matt Argyle’s article about the spot at: http://www.supglobal.com/stand-up-paddle-surfing-features/latest-sup-news/67-stand-up-paddle-surfing-at-sennon-cove-with-dave-parmenter.html Below are Dave and Tim; bottom picture is Adam.
After a few near misses with the reef and some nice little juicy take offs we moved into join Claudia in the beautiful beachbreak of Sennen Cove. The offshore wind freshened as the tide pushed up the nice waist-high swell:
After 3.5 hours in the water, the crew made the pilgrimage to the Land’s End in a cold wet rain in the English version of Manifest Destiny. “Land’s End Ho” in the distance behind Adam, Dave and Claudia:
The next day started my journey home back to family, responsibility, and flying; it was with heavy heart that I left our friends Adam “BKoftheUK”, his wife Helen, son Jordan, Tim “Kong” Mellors, and all the lovely British people that we had met. Dave and Claudia stayed on another week and ended up scoring very large surf at Fistral… I highly encourage all to visit this wonderful land of courteous, kind and skillful waterfolk. Adam and Tim thanks for taking care of us wayward Yanks.