Such a tricky time of year, spring. How to feel about it?
Lambs, bunnies, tulips, fans all. But surfers? An obvious sentiment for that time of year between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice is hard to nail down. Emotionally, it's almost the invisible season, the middle child, not so much neglected as uncelebrated.
Summer? It's bermudas and patio lager afternoons. It's probably also higher frequency attempts at courtship, and higher frequency of success.
Autumn? The surfer's classic, so classic it's beyond cliché. The water is still warm, the offshores are etc etc etc.
Winter? Chunky days at your local and the ideal time for far flung trips away. For escapism.
So, what of the unfeted spring? Do you stay, or go? Is it a cold version of summer, or a warm version of winter?
You go! And it's neither!
If you need convincing why an immediate, impromptu trip to Bali is a good idea, at any time of year, well then you may want to start to reassess your values. If you need a prosaic equivalent of a Chinese burn or nipple cripple to bend your arm, there is precious little hope for you.
Get your Indo in early, we emplore. Sure, you could wait until it's full summer and thus the full throes of dry season... but let's assume home only happens to get a short window of goodness... you really want to be away for it? Steal away now, get tropical, then come back and regale as late spring sweeps gloriously into summer, full of stoke. And more importantly, with an awesome 'base tan'.
Yep, just wrote that.
Everyone knows autumn is prime season for SW France. And therein lies the problem.
Everyone knows. Everyone goes. It's zoo meets clusterfuck times bell-shaped population curve. So overpopulated are the lineups, that even the WCT stars, masters of the dark arts of snake, often lament the troublesome nature of negotiating surfboard from take-off to kick out, unperturbed.
Spring on the other hand, is under the radar, relatively. The water goes from frigid relatively balmy in a mere few weeks, but does anyone care? Apparently not. The marauding visiting hoards are presumably all preoccupied curating both their wretched 9 board quivers and their strong sense of entitlement, ready for the autumn trip.
Is spring the new autumn? Let's fucken hope not.
There are two types of surfer in the world. Two mutually exclusive sub-sets. Those that consider a surf trip to Scotland a great idea, and those that haven't been yet.
As for the latter, the vast majority of us, skeptical is normal. It's conventional, prudent. It's even quite... Scottish.
As for the former - repeat offenders all. Like Aritz and Indar, pictured. Sent up there by the World Qualifying Series calendar, and now can't stop going back for more. out of choice, or rather, compulsion. As hooked on the Caledonian curl as Renton, Sick Boy and Spud were on the Edinburgh brown.
Travel agent: "Where will it be this time, señor Aranburu? El Tahiti? Los Mentawais?" "Scotland, please!"
Gather your thickest rubber, pool your strongest currency and steel yourself for a Scotland this spring. And thus for ever.
"As hooked on the Caledonian curl as Renton, Sick Boy and Spud were on the Edinburgh brown"
Similar to Bali, this shouldn't require much in terms of persuasion. This should be preaching to the choir, so to speak. You + your quiver + Mexico = Shit eating grin.
And given the choice of the two, assuming both require a lengthy flight and a not inconsiderable investment, why does Mexico trump? Here's why. Because trendy taco Tuesday somewhere in Seminyak versus any day of the week, by the side of the road/anywhere/everywhere in Mex, is a no contest. Is a combination situation.
But we're not lauding the spring break in Mexico for culinary reasons, of course. The commencement of South Pac hostilities in earnest (as well as lingering rumbles from the northern hemi winter as spots enjoying a 'mix') make springtime in Mex a damn fine bet for scoring.
2. Cape Town
South Africa's bottom tip offers up a diverse range of wave fare, from giant wave breaks to reefs, points and beaches, variety is not something lacking from a Cape Town surf trip. One of the most happening cities to visit anywhere, blessed with natural beauty, and peppered with a groovy, mature surf culture, and could just be the spring trip you never knew you needed to do. With austral winter kicking off-ish, should a proper swell rumble in, well you're a mere few hours from J-Bay too, and as if you're ignore that.
Ok, let's deal with the elephant in the room. The reason why you looked at pics and thought 'I want to go there' almost never. Is it the boots x hot sunny day? Knew it.
Look, we're not totally ok with the idea of needing to wear boots on a 27 degree day either, but we've all got our crosses to bear, brus. Let's not get too caught up on that.
"You'll get more bang for your Euro, you'll enjoy the Continental mainland's mildest Mays"
If the Earth's vernal sweep toward the sun is taking too long for liking, if you'd like to usher in sunbeams with greater purpose with a bit more bit haste, do it in Europe's bottom left. In Portugal.
You'll get more bang for your Euro, you'll enjoy the Continental mainland's most avuncular Aprils, the mildest Mays. There's surf foam fringing her fair shores from the Minho to the Guardiana. There are pastel del natas begging to be stuffed down your cakehole in two bites or, better yet, one fold. And while you might not get quite as tunnelled as Marlon, you can have a fucking good go.