Surf Training, Ardrossan, Saturday 15th September 2018

Paddlers: Geoff, Gordon, Steve T.

Weather: Grey and windy (F4)

Location: South Bay, Ardrossan

Report: Surfing must be the very best activity ever on a windy Saturday in September. Normally undertaken in short maneuverable craft, sea kayakers occasionally find themselves having to land or leave through surf. So surfing in sea kayaks gives a combination of tremendous fun and sea kayak training.

South Bay, Ardrossan is an excellent place for safe surfing. It is a crescent of soft sand of around 1km between two rocky headlands backed by grass with easy beach-side parking. We parked right behind the toilets in the centre of the beach by the ramps on to the sand. Advice: Take a trolley as it can be a longish walk over the sand.

The car journey in both directions was excellent and took about 70 minutes.

The beach faces south west and we had a strongish force 4 from the South West. The tide had just turned and was on the way in over the shallow beach which resulted in extensive but not huge surf over a very large area, giving long runs. One of us was stationed on the beach the whole time to help with any capsizes (and to take photos).

South Bay Beach
Kayaker at edge of breaking surf waiting for a run in.

The paddle out was energetic and wet with kayaks either riding the waves or carving/smashing through them.

Geoff and Gordon on way out
A wet one
Steve making his way out
Geoff on way out
Still Paddling Out

Trying to figure out which waves would give a good ride was difficult as big waves were too frequent and broke too readily. The tactic used was simply to keep paddling and try (desperately at times) to hold the line. Normally on a run in you caught a big one and hurtled towards the beach  as long as you could hold it with your selection of stern rudders , low brace supports/turns and high brace supports.

Gordon on Run In
A run in
Stern rudder into support stroke
Steve on way in

Gordon on run in

Both Gordon and Geoff experienced very wet (upside down) exits and rather slow swims back to the shore. Equally we all had great runs and the satisfaction of conquering a hostile and at times quite frightening environment.

Smug after a great run

We had around 90 minutes for both morning and afternoon sessions, enough to get in around 16 runs each, more than enough. All in all a near perfect day.