South coast had been blown to bits Friday and Saturday and with a Westerly swell and high winds Sunday was always going to be a run for shelter. I met Shane at 11.00am at one of the most sheltered spots available to us. It was very sheltered!!

The tide was half way up and there were a couple of longboarders out but looking on from the cliff the we could see that they were having fairly long waits for anything half rideable. It would have been fun on a SUP but anything less would be beyond dull, and probably cold. I had a chat with one of the longboarders as he climb the path to get out. He looked liked he was getting the best of it but where he was the wind was strongest. Turns out he has a couple of Stand Ups as well, a Laird and a Starboard Whopper I think he said. Anyway we watched it for a while, contemplated going fishing instead and then decided to hang on until after lunch when the tide pushes up under the Dunes a bit more and try to get in at mid beach.

2.00pm and something must be happening, what used to be a quiet ‘in the know’ access spot was busy with cars all with boards on or board bags in. Shane had met up with Dan and Nick both shortboarders and we went in mob handed. There was quite a few in but still plenty of space, we found our slot and the lads got down to business. The wind was still between 16 and 20mph and I was struggling a bit to stay on the board, the biggest problem was turning away from the wave. The wind would get under the nose, the board would stall as I was ready to paddle in. It was pretty frustrating for twenty minutes or so until I found my groove and began to take some waves. Slowly I picked up my game but not before I heard howls of

‘Next Time Try doing a TURN’ shouted at me by Shane and the guys as I paddled back out.

Dan then proceeded to call the sets for me, Jeez please no more.

‘Outside Steve’ and ‘Here comes a big one’.

They might not be very old but they are all masters at pisstaking. We had a blast and most of the line up was in stitches especially when Dan had a pop on my Naish. Give him credit, he was up and paddling about instantly and just managed a small inside wave. Fair play. Nice touch when he handed the board back saying ‘How do you keep them in a straight line?’ I had to think about that. ‘J strokes pulling towards the nose before back along the rail’. I said, Jeez I’d forgotten how much I used to think about that sort of stuff.

Wave of the day for me was a lovely laid back, slashy cutback. I have been reading through Casso’s new Australian Paddle Surfer magazine and have made it a mission to keep the paddle behind me whilst cutting back to the curl like the technique shows in issue 1. Sad eh? Well it sort of worked, well enough for the guys to hoot and Shane to clap me back out. Chuffed with that, just have to remember how I did it.

We stayed in until just before dark. The wind dropped throughout the session and we had moments of glass. Fantastic. As warm as I was in my summer Snugg SUSpec, my toes were beginning to feel the cold. Not really sure whats going on down there but one of them keeps going white. I don’t want to wear boots, not yet.

One thing I noticed, as much rowing as I have been doing, and I reckon it’s a lot, nothing beats my body up like a decent surf session. I ache for days afterwards, a good worked ache not a milky eyed, rheumatic, help needed in the bathroom ache. In comparison the rowing has hardly been an issue. So what about the rowing:

‘ Hi my names Steve and I eat too much’.

Starting weight 14 stone 4lbs

1st week Rowing Log

Finishing weight 14 stone 1lb

So a loss of 3 lbs in my first week. Does not really seem enough for the work involved but I suppose there must be a bit of muscle building going on as well, pretty chuffed though and actually enjoying it at the moment and almost keeping to what I think is a fairly ambitious plan.