Walk your way to empty secret spots

image of surf hiker Greg Kroleski

As the surf gets relentlessy more crowded, how can we score empty breaks? An article about the new 870 mile Wales Coast Path  gave me a few ideas about how to up your wave count and be more eco-surf friendly.

Wales is now officially the first country in the world to have a walkable path around its entire coastline.  Three of the five sections that were featured in the article are in prime Welsh surfing territory and one other gets waves in bigger swells.  I’ve seen classic empty surf  in one of them while walking the coastal path and and surfed a secret spot in another which involved a lengthy scramble across fields and through brambles.

Walking to the surf is a pretty radical concept these days. We’ve all got so used to being able to drive right up to the break and moan if we have to park more than a few yards away from it (or pay for the privilege) that most surfers wouldn’t normally think of packing a rucksack as well as a boardbag. In some countries with large, undeveloped coastlines this may be the only way of reaching surf . Dr Tony Butt’s excellent Surf Science website has a good guide for novice surf hikers who want to disappear for a few days or weeks.

But even in ‘developed’ well-connected countries this can reap rewards.  One New Year’s Day in SE England I was on a bracing coastal walk to clear a hangover when I spotted a delicious looking A- frame peak about 2 miles from the nearest car park. Marking it on a map, I returned with a mate the next time there was a nice clean swell and we were rewarded with naming rights …and lefts. I’ve also surfed other breaks within the city boundaries which have been uncrowded, simply because they are more than 100 yards from the car park.

For my purely surfish reasons – long may surfers remain lazy!

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