Ever wondered what it’s like to surf in the cold water of the North Cornish Coast? Pro windsurfer Sam Sills takes it on and stumbles upon an epic day.

When the planets line up and a blue moon shines, North Cornwall offers world class surfing conditions. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s one of the most beautiful places imaginable.

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Rare light from the low clouds and fast moving storm

An afternoon in April 
From the North Cornish shores

It was just one of those days that never happens: the only people in sight were a handful of frozen surfers on the cliff, we got out the car and climbed up to join them. In this situation there’s always a strange tension in the air, everyone’s starring, no one’s speaking, all pondering on the same thing…

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The passing storm

Go or no? Casually, the break explodes and a massive 6ft barrel peels 100m right to left, quite clearly answering the question in our minds. Five strangers instantly turn and run back to their cars, instructed by the ocean. It’s spring tides so we all knew there wasn’t much time before the break disappeared. Putting my leg through the wetsuit arm sleeve and tripping over my leash (classy), I rushed to get down the beach.

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Getting ready on the rocks

The tide was coming in and the current was ripping like a river already. For the first five waves, I got absolutely smashed, not catching a single thing. After 30 minutes of mindless paddling, this terrifying peak arrived straight to me. I turned and paddled like a maniac getting naturally pressure washed in the face, the offshore wind was so strong! It broke and I was in heaven.

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The perfect wave

I had this surge of immense adrenaline during the session; the atmosphere in the water was so alive because of the wind. After every wave it was like a mini 10 second storm and the low fast moving clouds added something extra I haven’t really experienced before. It’s hard to put into words. I think the best way I could describe it is that feeling you get when you go for your normal boring shopping trip and then there’s some incredible street musician or artist, you know the type of random performance that you’re not expecting and ends up being totally mind blowing? I guess it was similar state of “wow-ness”. The rest of the session unfolded like a gift and the 5 of us strangers shared an epic hour of waves.

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Surfer about to climb 200 ft back to the car

There’s only one thing better than these random amazing days and that’s catching them on camera. Big thanks to Martina Reino from Gran Canaria, she nailed it.

Images © Sam Sills and Martina Reino

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