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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Magic on your doorstep
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I am blessed that after a not-so-wonderful day in front of a computer I have many fantastic locations on my doorstep where I can go and completely forget everyday life for a few hours. Last night the great escape was to Penrhyn Mawr tidal race with Gemma. The playspot can always be relied on to provide waves in some form or other and has the added advantage of being no more than a 20 minute paddle from Porthdafarch Beach. Last night there was a few foot of swell, a force3 wind and a bit of a bouncy ride out there. Great!

We got there about an hour before peak flow and the race was already in full glory with white walls of water crashing down. "Those waves look pretty powerful actually", said Gemma from the safety of the eddy. "um, they do" I replied as my heart started racing a little more. In we plunged, pointing our kayaks forward against the flow and trying to ride the surges that lifted the backs of our boats. As we took different lines (or were taken on different lines!) we were almost immediately a hundred metres apart from each other and I found it hard to see Gemma with 5 or 6 lines of waves inbetween us. This wasn't a day to be doing your own thing and I dropped back so we could paddle within sight of each other. And what a fantastic evening of waves we had. There is no better way to light up your life again than a blast with nature where you have to be alert at all times - get it wrong and you know you'll be trying to roll in very confused water, but get it right and you are harnessing the immense surging power of the glorious sea. Now there's a feeling!

Penrhyn Mawr is different every day - and yesterday the swell was making it very confused. There was a set of waves entering the race at right angles to the main flow so waves were breaking from all directions. You could be surfing down a steep face one second and then a set of waves would come in from your right and you'd suddenly be surfing uphill, then downhill, then uphill again.... a bit like a rollercoaster. Then of course the waves would combine so that you could be on top of a surging pyramid of water one second and dropping vertically downwards the next instant as the colliding waves moved off in different directions. My trusty kayak did things that it's never done before in a tidal race and four or five times the waves combined so my speeding kayak was stopped dead and the whole front end buried completely in the sea. I was pushing my limits and I was amazed that I didn't loop - although we did have 3 rolls between us!

I'm sure there are people shaking their heads at this description and thinking 'it couldn't possibly have been like that'! To be honest, I don't really care if you don't believe me - I go surfing to get away from the petty things in life like backstabbing and jealousy, and if I can inspire a few other people to just get out there and try it (whatever 'it' is) then that is an added bonus that I'm proud of. I think it's amazing what people can do when they just try - and surely it's better to be using your energy positively for yourself than wasting it bitching about other people!

Well, that was much more of a rant than I'd intended to spew out - it must have been a really bad day in the office yesterday! Here are some photos to try to capture what it was like yesterday. They're crap of course because it was much too scary to take my hands off the paddle in the race, but you get a bit of a feel of it I hope!

Right I can't put it off any more.... back to work!


Blogger bonnie said...

any sea kayak endos? hee hee

things were pretty swirly on the Hudson last night with the full moon and all but nothing like that - looks fantastic!

5:30 pm  
Blogger Justine Curgenven said...

No endos that time although I was really surprised not to a couple of times. I've seen a friend Phil do 2 endos in Penrhyn Mawr. I have one on film with the small camera mounted on the back of his kayak. I actually haven't watched the footage yet .... I should do that!

10:13 am  
Blogger Josh said...

Hey Justine: I'm really inspired by your exploits in the races! We are on our way to Holyhead for some training next month, and I'm practicing my roll in anticipation of a lot of swimming!

And while I'm at it, you have a lot of fans of your writing and films over here in Israel.

Josh (friend of Hadas), Terra Santa Kayaks, Israel

1:43 pm  
Blogger Justine Curgenven said...

hi Josh, I'm glad you are coming over to Anglesey to come and play - it really is a fantastic spot to learn and just have fun. Are you coming with a group from Terra Santa? Let me know when you are over and I'll try to come and say hello.

11:58 am  
Blogger Josh said...


We will be at Nigel's place from July 10th to July 15. This is a group from Terra Santa, led by Omer Singer. We'd be delighted to meet the famous Justine!! Josh

10:13 am  

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