That first swell is the sweetest to me, as if a whirlwind has awoken the sleeping surfers, phones are ringing, vans are emptied, garages raided for bigger boards, softer wax and boots. The leaves start falling from ageing trees formed from the dregs of summer holidays. The tourists have all gone home, kids back to school, streets hosed down washing away the swirling aroma of crowds and candy floss. All of a sudden minds are clear, everything is in place, ready for the unpredictable nature of that first autumnal blast.
In the midst of this blizzard faces appear, faces we’ve not seen for six months, vans arrive, friends for only winter, we bond over reefs and rock points, waves and coves only we know of, rubber suited walks down cliffs, fugitive pints beside fires in pubs, car park chatter, before the swells pass and we rush home. The North East isn’t like any scene I’ve come across before, disparate to other surf worlds, fleeting yet constant the same faces, the same spots year after year.
The sun rises from behind the horizon now, glaring on the cliffs and rocky points, making the damp bracken blaze softly. The sea birds drift, shrilly calling to one another on the rock faces. Surfers awaiting that first light, the first glimpse of the North sea at dawn, there is an uncertainty in the air.