Byw Yw Surffio: Welsh for “Surfing is Living.” We drove to the Gower Peninsula in Wales this afternoon and stopped for lunch at the Kings Head Pub in Llangennith for lunch. At the bar, I counted 20 different types of draft. But what really caught my eye was the surfboard hanging overhead.
I soon discovered why there was a surfboard in this pub. Across the street was PJ’s Surf Shop! Who woulda thunk it? Surfing in Wales, of all places!
PJ turns out to be Peter Jones, a 60-ish retired, professional surfer and former eight-time surfing champion of Wales and once the european champ! PJ wasn’t in, but his wife was, and we talked about surfing in Wales for about half an hour. She said that the surfing beach at this little village on the Bristol Channel, facing the Celtic Sea, is the best surfing beach in Wales and perhaps in Britain, except possibly for the one in Cornwall. They do the same type of surfing here in Wales as we do in Florida, that is, short boards and long boards, though it looked to me like it was mostly short board surfing here.
However, there is one huge difference: they always are in full wetsuits with booties; and in the winter, the also have hoods and gloves, and many of the surfers surf with helmets because of the rocks near the better breaks. In Florida, if it’s cold enough for a wetsuit, most folks won’t go out unless it’s really breaking. And wear a helmet? Never.
In the winter, they surf in water that’s in the 30s!
We asked for directions to the surfing beach and drove down there.
Today, the water was in the 40s and there were a couple guys out surfing. Hearty souls. You wouldn’t have caught me out there, even if there were good waves (which there weren’t).
The beach was really beautiful. It reminded me a lot of the beaches in New Zealand, except for the cold. The dunes were beautiful, as you can see from our walk back to the car.
Very peculiar shells on the beach here. If anybody knows what these are, please post a note in the comments on this blog. Cockles?