As with all of us, life changed in a big way for me in March 2020, when lockdown 1.0 was announced. We had just come back from our CS leaders gathering in North Devon and the severity of the pandemic became obvious. Four or five days earlier I had been riding the ‘Bore’ with the ‘muddies’, and taking the threat in our stride, then within days the UK population realised how serious this situation was.
So, what was this surf-loving old grom going to do when so many of the activities that my life was based around were no longer happening? Well, the first thing to take on board was that no matter how disappointed I was, I had my wife, my family (although distanced), faith and my neighbours. I was in a far better place than so many others, so I had time to reset and start investing in my local community.
For the first few months I found myself volunteering virtually full-time as part of the senior leadership team of the Nailsea Covid community group, running the pharmacy home delivery operations, delivering over 5000 prescriptions, and overseeing food bank rota’s as well as other initiatives. This was really key for me, because as well as helping others, it gave me a sense of purpose, which I think we all crave.
But what about surfing? and what about my exercise, how would those needs be met? This is where nature came in. It is amazing when you can no longer travel to other countries or other parts of your own country that you begin to appreciate so much more what is on your doorstep. Local parks, countryside and the Bristol Channel coast at Clevedon, just five miles away, provided a space to stretch, breath and explore.
Whilst surfing was out of bounds due to the distance I had to travel; my local river had some great opportunities. Stand-up paddle boarding brought me close to nature and I was able to clear my head with all the many things that were swirling around.
All our Christian Surfer events had to be re-thought, some cancelled but others re-engineered. A time of creative learning and execution (including a virtual surf competition!) some of which we will take into the future #betternormal.
I have been lucky enough to travel to numerous places as part of my surf expeditions and whilst I am not a great photographer, I love photography and my trusty camera and lenses always come with me (as in fact my tripod does, and much to my family’s amusement, very seldom comes out of its cover!). The beauty and wildlife that surround me on these trips always inspires and revitalises me.