At Portlebay we believe that life isn’t purely about large, exciting day trips or hugely memorable land marks like a birthday or wedding (although these are pretty important!), it’s also about cherishing the little moments and the simple, tiny things that bring joy to your every day life (like munching on your favourite flavour of popcorn). A very wise photographer once said:
“Taking pictures is savouring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” — Marc Riboud
For us this quote reminds us to be grateful for even the littlest things that make us smile and also allows us to admire the amazing talent of photography. Since today is world photography day, photography guest blogger Sarah (Checkered_photography) spoke to us about her photography journey and gave us a few top tips on how to take photos that do truly allow you to savour life in one of the most wonderful ways!
How did your passions for photography initially come about?
When I was younger my dad was always really good at photography he then passed me down one of his cameras and I have been addicted ever since.
2. How long have you been taking photos for?
I have had my own photography business now for 5 years.
3. What is it you find so wonderful about photography and why do you love it?
I am actually quite a shy and reserved person, but photography allows me to show other people what I see and allows me to express my feelings through the imagery that I produce, along with giving me the confidence to talk to anyone when I have my camera in my hand.
4. What is your favourite genre of photography and why?
I don’t actually want to pin it down and say I have a favourite. As you can imagine living here in Cornwall it allows me to be on the beach whenever I wish to be, so a lot of my photography is based in and around the sea.
5. What would be your top 5 photography tips?
Always be original, never set out to copy someone else you need to have your own style.
Stay relaxed. I can be way over critical of my work.
Keep learning, you can never take too many photos.
Stay confident. I have had a lot of tough life situations but my photography has always got me through them.
5. Be aware of your surroundings. Take in as much as possible when you are photographing, it will shine through in your imagery
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!
Tina Beresford is a surfer living in Cornwall, who is part of the Gul Surfing Team, that compete in three different surfing disciplines in the UK and abroad. She has very kindly given us an insight into her very cool surfing life and we wish we were as cool and talented as her!
How did you get into surfing?
I had always wanted to try surfing and at the age of 18 I finally got the chance on a university surf trip to North Wales. I loved it and was instantly hooked! It shaped my future as I later took on the role as the captain of my university surf club, organising all the trips and working to get as many people surfing with me as possible! I then travelled for a year to surf spots around the world, to improve and experience warm water surfing. Following this amazing experience, I slowly moved south from Manchester to Cornwall in order to catch more waves and meet similar minded surfing friends.
What made you get into competitive surfing?
Apart from the few surf competitions I competed in at University, when I couldn’t really surf, I made a late entrance into competitive surfing at the age of 28 in; longboard, shortboard and stand-up paddleboard surfing disciplines. I always liked the idea of competing and after over thinking about why I should/shouldn’t do it, I just went for it entering every surfing competition going, with the simple aim of becoming a better surfer!
What have been your competition highlights so far?
Last year I was lucky to compete for England, at the ISA Worlds Standup Paddleboarding championships in Denmark, where I placed 13th in the world for Womens Sup Surfing. This was the third time I’ve represented my country, abroad in sup surfing, with the first being in France in June 2016 and then at Cloudbreak in Fiji in November 2016, with some of the best surfers from around the world! In Fiji, I came 12th in the women’s event and got a real taste of what it’s like for surfers that compete internationally, on the best reef based waves in the world!
My aim for this year was to make it to the final of a British Longboard Union event, which I reached last week, at the Fistral Beach event. I claimed 1st place in the Womens Longboard open! This was a real competition highlight and I’m hoping the rest of the year will go just as well for my longboarding.
I’m lucky to have had so many great experiences during the last 4 years competing in surf events. A few of my other highlights include; winning the National Sup Surfing womens event at Watergate twice, experiencing Boardmasters World Surf League events, competing with Britain’s best shortboards in Thurso, making the womens semi finals and coming second in the English Nationals senior womens shortboard event. I’ve surpassed what I expected to achieve!
Favourite Surf spots?
This is a hard question as there are so many great surf spots in Cornwall. Some of the most well-known are on my favourites list such as; Fistral beach, Watergate, Crantock, Godrevy and Sennen. Outside of Cornwall I’ve been lucky to surf some amazing waves such as Cloudbreak in Fiji, Jeffery’s Bay in South Africa, The Pass in Byron Bay, Thurso in Scotland, Hossegor beach breaks in France, Blacks in Southern California…..to name a few! So many more I hope to travel to and experience!
What advice would you give to those learning and wanting to progress?
If you are a new beginner surfer, it’s probably a good idea to seek out surfing lessons with a qualified Surfing England surf school, to learn quicker and in a safe environment.
Remember that “float is your friend” in most British waves and should allow you more time on your feet experiencing riding a wave. Many people seem to buy a small board too soon and have trouble getting up on waves.
It’s also essential to get a good quality wetsuit to enjoy surfing in cool to cold British waters, plus some gloves, boots and a hood for the very coldest months. Being warmer improves the experience of surfing, you can have longer surf sessions and keeping warm can help prevent injuries. The wetsuit should be well sealed keeping in a layer of water which is warmed by the body and prevents you from losing too much heat while in the water. So, it is sometimes worth paying more for a higher specification wetsuit such as the one I wear, the Gul Viper which has fluid seams.
Finally, get in the sea as often as you can to gain experience and fitness, and remember to have fun! Surfing can sometimes be frustrating but it is also a very rewarding sport!
Check out Tina’s Instagram page to follow her surfing journey! We are certainly inspired and will be in the water this summer (we’ll wait for the sunshine before jumping in though!)
Hi, I’m Emma, one of those ‘creative people’ now living in Devon… I spend my days blogging about Devon, photographing anything and everything, creating gifts, giving social media advice and trying to get to the beach with my Cyprus rescue dog, Lola and husband Mike! I quit the corporate world 18 months ago and never looked back! Based just outside Salcombe, I love nothing more than a windy beach walk or a day on the water, always camera in hand, trying to get that perfect Insta shot! You can find my insta page here: @emmathedevongirl
How I Ended up in Devon
My family moved to Devon from The Cotswolds in 2010. I stayed in the Cotswolds with my now husband and focused on working my way up the corporate ladder, until I started craving open seas and a more creative life. I packed my bags and quit my job in 2016 and off to Devon I went. After spending my summers at our Devon holiday home as a teenager, it really felt like I was heading back to Devon for a big holiday, the only difference this time, I still haven’t left! Time goes so fast down here, one minute you have a road completely to yourself in the middle of a frosty winter and the next you are picking the smallest lanes to try and avoid the tourists in summer! I have never worked harder, or been happier in my life!
Living a Devon life is something people talk about, even dream about. More and more people want to quit the rat-race in favour of a more simple life in the country, I am so lucky to be able to do this in my 20’s. I want to share this experience with the world, show everyone how wonderful Devon is, get them to come here on holiday or even get them to catch the bug and move here!
My Favourite spots in Devon
South Milton Sands is my go-to beach in the winter, but its just too busy nowadays in the summer, I often head to some of the other nearby beaches, such as Bigbury, North Sands or Bantham to mix it up a little!
South Milton Sands
Salcombe is one of my favourites places to wonder around – if you can get a parking space! It, again, gets pretty busy over the summer holidays, but there is so much to do and there really is something for everyone. I like to take the ferry over to the other side of the estuary and walk across the coast path to Gara Rock.
Another spot that I like is Noss Mayo. I recently visit this charming place, it was so pretty and the food in The Ship Inn (a very nice pub) was pretty tasty!
I’m a true Devon cream tea girl – cream then a little jam on top! I also live for the sausage rolls at The Bake House in Salcombe and their salted caramel brownies! I am a great fan of finding new Devon based products, such as Portlebay Popcorn!
Have little sneak peak at my blog to find out even more about Devon, maybe you’ll discover a new place to go and explore? www.devongirl.co.uk
The final competition of our Portlebay Advent is truly something not to be missed! Day 24, along with a box of Portlebay Popcorn, is offering two vouchers for Fistral Surf School AND a £100 voucher for the clothing company Joules! OHH LA LA! If you want to be in with a chance of winning this magnificent prize head on over to our social media pages (Facebook,Instagram or Twitter) and follow the instructions!
Here’s a Little Bit of Information About These Two Lovely Brands….
Fistral Surf School
As we are very lucky and live in Devon, we are surrounded by many beautiful beaches! Although the beach is normally a sunny destination, a winter beach is just as charming and many of us popcorn-enthusiats visit all year round! We even have some wild members of our team that have no reservations about jumping in the sea and will spend a couple hours splashing about on surf boards! (Others prefer to just spectate and keep warm in our woolly hats and gloves!)
With our love of the beach in mind, we are absolutely thrilled that The Fistral Surf School have partnered with us! Fistral Beach is the undisputed home for British surfing with its big sandy beach and famous waves. Sitting at the top of the beach is Fistral Beach Surf School, a family run business that has its doors open all year. The school offers surf, bodyboarding and stand up paddle boarding coaching to all ranges of abilities and ages. Their dedicated and friendly team have over 20 years of experience, and strive to provide professional coaching. All equipment has been carefully handpicked, providing the best quality possible to ensure that you have maximum satisfaction and all equipment is included in the lesson prices. Open all year round, the surf school and hire centre has all the equipment to keep you stoked and toasty no matter what the Atlantic Ocean throws at you, from toasty summers to frosty winters the hire centre has you covered.
Joules, the very lovely clothing company that is all about family and colour, started over 25 wonderful years ago when Tom Joule started selling clothing at country fairs and events. As our Portlebay Poppery is located in a rather rural part of the country and we looooooove the countryside life, we have to admit Joules is a big YES from us!
The brand have created bright and typically British clothing for all family members (including dogs!) and today they have even expanded to home and footwear!
Don’t forget to enter our last Christmas Competition on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, oh and…HAPPY CHRISTMAS FOR TOMORROW!
Oh we do love to be by the seaside, and so do Jo and Sue! Jo and Sue are the proud owners of the Cornish company SeaKisses, a lifestyle brand which creates seaside inspired homeware and accessories!
This lovely pair both have backgrounds in Media and Graphic Design; Sue used to publish swanky magazines in London, and Jo worked for a company making lovely stationery products. At the beginning of the 21st Century they both found themselves in Cornwall, and discovered a shared love of life by the seaside.
By 2011 they began making framed prints with lovely words about the places they knew in Cornwall. A few kind retailers agreed to sell them and people loved them. Within a few months they realised they had a business with potential and SeaKisses was born!
Living close to the sea means that Jo and Sue see the damage that 21st Century Living has on the marine environment. As a result, they try to seek out alternatives to plastic, with their Travel Cups and Dog Bowls being made from Bamboo Fibre instead! All their linens are also made in Cornwall and they only use water based inks to minimise the effect that they have on the environment.
For a chance to win some SeaKisses goodies and a box of Portlebay Popcorn, head over to one of our social media pages (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) and follow the competition directions for Day 14 of our Christmas Advent Competition! (This launches at 5pm tonight!)
When thirst comes a’ calling…reach for the beach! Vita Coco’s refreshing coconut water, packed with electrolytes and potassium is just what you need to rehydrate! This alternative to water is delicious, replenishing and made from young coconuts straight from the beaches of Brazil. Are you loving the sound of this? If so, today is your lucky day! Head on over to our social media pages (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) and follow the instructions for Day 11 of our Christmas Advent Competition, to be in with a chance of winning some of this delicious coconut water and box of Portlebay Popcorn! (This competition launches at 5pm tonight).
Vita Cocois the original brand that started the fresh coconut water trend. Informed consumers, health & wellness experts, pro-athletes and celebrities have all become loyal fans of coconut water, swearing by the Vita Coco brand for its authentic flavour and hydration and replenishment properties! Originally introduced in the US in 2004, Vita Coco came to the UK in just 2010.
Today Vita Coco is sold in over 20,000 stores throughout the region, including: Amazon, Boots, Harvey Nichols, Holland & Barrett, Morrisons, Nutri Centres, Nisa, Ocado, One Stop, Planet Organic, Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Superdrug, Tesco, Waitrose, Wholefoods, many office sites and other leading independents. Vita Coco is also very proud to be sold in 30 countries!