Story and pictures by Chris Hafer
„It all started on a saturday at the end of october. On that grey and stormy day in that grey time of the year. Spring and summer were long gone and forgotten, but winter hasn´t started to show his face, over the green hills and the stormtorn ocean, that pounded the steep cliffs relentlessly, pushed by the steady and wild winds....“
….a lot of the famous / infamous Rosamunde Pilcher stories start like this or in a similar manner. Stories that sparked a deep longing in many readers for that particular part at the southwesterly tip of the UK. And that magical light, that lead a lot of painters to St. Ives. Enid Blyton was another famous writer who set her stories of the Famous Five in that cornish landscape, quite often hunting for smugglers or treasures in the countless bays. What neither Rosamunde nor Enid did mention directly in their novels, would have attracted a complete different kind of tourists in huge numbers to Cornwall. So it was up to the british ex-worldcup sailor Jan Sleigh, to lure his german mates with a couple of emails and pictures of his last sessions to his newly found flat in Newquay.
So it wasn´t the Famous Five George, Julian, Dick, Anne und Timmy, but at least the infamous three Christian, Klaus und Chris on their way to Cornwall. Not on a quest for smugglers or hidden treasures, but waves. They should find them in large quantities and huge quality, especially after it became clear during the planning of the trip, that Newquay is known as the „Surfing capital of the UK“ After a short stopp in London the shaky landing in Newquay showed, that we found the right time for our trip, as did the meeting with Jan, after dark at at lonely and stormy beach, that would have been the perfect set for a Famous Five movie.
Even the first day proved, that Jan was right in his descriptions of the conditions, true to the british tradition of understatement. Judging from the parking lot on top of the cliffs of Gwithian, we estimated the waves about logo high. But it is all a matter of perspective, as we found out after the steep climb down to the beach. Easily masthigh sets were passing the lighthouse into the bay, and it was Jan, who was the first victim of gear failure, testing the strong rip. Beeing towed out to sea, all he could do was wait for Christian, trying to tow him back in. In the meantime some spectators did call the coastguard, that was watching the whole drama unfold underneath their helicopter.
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