A factor which really helped me connect with and improve my surfing was taking the plunge and moving to a place right by the ocean. After surfing the Porthcawl beaches for a couple of years, I made the decision to live there, something that I have discussed in an article for Wavelength Magazine.
Growing up by the sea, I had always intended to move back to the coast, but my dedication to athletics and to my career in Cardiff meant settling in the capital, and I found myself being sucked more and more into city life. Surfing was only possible on weekends and I was quickly losing my connection with the ocean. I’d check surf cams, battle out of the city, only to find that the wind had picked up or changed direction, or the swell had dropped off. I felt more and more disconnected with the sea and began to get into another surfing rut. A change in outlook and lifestyle was clearly needed.
So after a few years of wrestling between capital living and coastal dreaming, the call of the sea was too strong and I moved to Porthcawl. Although only separated from Cardiff by 25 miles, the poor road networks and traffic jams makes this coastal town seem much further away and this is reflected in the different feel and vibe of the place.
At first it was strange living somewhere so peaceful, after becoming so accustomed to the constant and relentless hijacking of my senses from city living. The sound of surf replaced sirens, I inhaled salty sea air instead of thick fumes and new rhythms began, centred around the push and pull of the tide.
I became more in tune with the sea and her capricious nature, and began to really get to know my now local breaks. My surfing improved as I was able to react to every possible surf opportunity: at first light, last light and pre and post work. My battle worn body and mind started to unwind more and more under an ever changing sky.
I’m lucky enough to now live within walking distance of one of Wales’ most consistent beach breaks, Rest Bay. I never get complacent of the fact that I live so close to a surfing beach and can just grab a board and skip down to the sea to catch some waves. It’s what surfing dreams are made of!