Saturday 16th of June saw international surf day take place, a day that celebrates the surf life style and the importance of environmentally conscious movements along our coastlines. It is an especially celebrated day in key surf locations such as Hawaii, California and Cornwall which was established in 2005 and is becoming increasingly popular, especially along the beautiful South-West coast.
This years international surf day theme was ‘Protect and Enjoy’ which is an ever increasingly important message within the surf community and modern day as we see the build up of plastic pollution in our oceans.
This day of celebrating surf is inspiring to us as we admire the talent of those in the international surf league and even those local surfers catching a few waves on our favourite beaches, however, it also reminds us to reflect on the products that we use and the huge difference we can make from little acts such as picking up rubbish we find on the beach.
To celebrate International surf day here at Portlebay we caught up with surfer Sarah Ashley to chat about her surfing experience and enjoy a few packets of our popcorn on one of the most beautiful beaches around (in our opinion) Bigbury-on-sea! Here’s what she had to say:
1) How did you first get into surfing?
I have always loved being outdoors and by the sea. On it, in it. Any excuse to breathe salt air into my lungs. I grew up by the ocean and on boats, so surfing seemed to be a natural progression for me. Back home in South Africa one of my closest friends was an SA champion! But it wasn’t until I moved to the UK that I learnt how to surf. I was lucky enough to have a friend from school take the time to teach me. From the dawn surf missions to late night sessions after work – from then on I was hooked! I owe you Harry!
2) What board do you use, and why do you like it?
I have tried out a few surf boards over the years to find what I am most comfortable with. From starting off with the stereotypical beginner minimal, to progressing on to a thruster. I now surf a 6’ fish as I believe this is best suited to British waves; especially over the summer when the temperatures rise and the swell drops. I currently own 3 surfboards though, including a thruster which I love for its ease of duck diving under waves. This is just for now though, I love board shopping and my surfboards always change as my surfing improves.
3) Where are your favourite surf spots in Devon?
Bantham is where I learnt to surf so it will always be a special place to me. It is also one of the most consistent surf spots in Devon (close to Plymouth, anyway) so it’s my go-to surf spot. I also love the Gastrobus at Bantham (food is always priority) and the views of Burgh Island are beautiful!
4) What’s the biggest wave you’ve ever ridden?
6 foot and I can honestly say I was in over my head (literally.)
5) Where is the coolest place you’ve ever surfed?
I went on a surf trip to Sagres, Portugal, this year and it has to be one of my favourite experiences to date. With southern, western and eastern coastlines to choose from, you can literally go wave hunting and there is always going to be surf somewhere. Surfers paradise! All within 30 minutes of each other too!
6) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to take up surfing or anyone who is just starting out?
At first, go with a friend. You want to feel comfortable and enjoy your first experience, I know for a lot of people their first try can be a make or break for them. Make a fun day of it and rent some foam boards. Don’t feel pressured to have to stand up on the board on your first day! As with everything surfing takes time and practice. When you get the hang of it and want to go on to purchasing the gear and really getting in to it – do your research! Beginners often make the mistake of wanting to jump to intermediate boards too soon and then stunt their ability to learn and progress. Ask the guys at your local surf shops for advice. More often than not they’re surfers themselves with loads of experience and industry knowledge to share! It sounds so cliche’ but surfing truly is a lifestyle. So above all, surf for the love of the sport and the tranquillity of being out on the water.
Check out Friday’s blog to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of our shoot and catch up with Sarah!