Gower Gold April 2019

Confessions of an English Opium Eater nee Surf Addict

For me, there’s definitely a link between being unable to surf and writing. I started this blog five years ago when I was a frustrated, landlocked wannabe surfer. Unable to surf or travel to the sea, I had a major shoulder injury and was off my face on pain killers. There’s a theme here because although I live by the sea now, I find myself in dry dock again, off it on pain killers and sick and I’m tapping away on my keyboard for the first time in months. I’ve also written three bits this morning for another project I’m working on. I reckon I must be channelling Shelly or Keats, only able to write on opiates. For authenticity I should really be writing a masterpiece in Italy but, a little blog post in Swansea will do for today.

This year has felt like a bit of a disaster on the surf front, I can count the number of decent surfs I’ve had on one hand. January 3rd was a good one, 31st January too. More often than not I’ve been injured, ill, in shite waves, broken my board or lost my fin. I’m not sure if it’s age related, I’m nearly 45 and my body might just be rebelling against me or if the surf gods are trying to keep me out of the sea for now. I know I should be grateful, people I know have it much worse, I am after all just having a rough patch with my health, temporarily in dry dock. It’s just the only reason I moved was to surf more, it’s my opiate and I’m not getting my fix. I also have an acute awareness of time passing and that every day I don’t surf is one day closer to the day that I hang up my wetsuit for the last time. This will happen; it’s going to happen to us all. Yes, I know that’s bloody dramatic and ridiculous but, look how quick the last five years have gone.

It’s certainly not all misery and lament, I’m just having withdrawals from surfing. There has been some good happenings too. We’ve had a few golden evening here on Gower and had our first evening beach fire, summer is definitely in the air.

Back in January after a few years in white water as an occasional surfer my buddy Long Legs (read how I brainwashed him into surfing here) got his first proper belter from out the back and he went right for the first time coming face to face with the wave. On top of that it was a magical day in Newquay when the whole town got snowed in, we had to abandon our car in town after sliding down the hill so we walked back to our apartemt and decided to go surfing. There was a kind of unearthly silence that comes with snow, the absence of traffic and people and we walked down to Fistral making the first footprints in fresh snow. It was an unforgettable session.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Ellie Wainwright at the February Surf Senioritas meet up. Photographer Ellie was taking some shots for an article she had written for Surfgirl. Ellie is a lush lady and her work speaks for itself, she’s definitely one to watch. Take a look at her website here. Anyway, the magazine was published and they used some of the pictures with me in. Now as we know, I’m not exactly Surf Girl’s desired demographic . I’m too old, fat and cynical but, it will be lovely when I’m an old lady to look at that magazine to remind myself who I was.

Finally, after 5 years , loads of ‘ it will do for now’ boards and frankly annoying poor Lee in the Custard Point shop to death, I got my first new board. A unique, hand shaped 8ft magic log fresh from the workshop and into my hands in April. I’ve not really been able to test ride her with my recent setbacks but, the little I’ve been on her, ‘The Kumquat’ ( see the colour) has all the promise of being the best board I’v ever had, I can feel it. I’ve now got 3 weeks to recover fully for the Surfsistas longboard weekend and I’m resting and taking care of myself as much as possible before then. I’m hoping I’ll be able to really put The Kumquat to the test and report back on the board and the Surfsistas longboard course in the same post. Right then, I’m off for a back treatment with my Chiro, I’m seeing my Dr again about my rattling chest in the moring and very much hoping I can get my next salt water fix soon. Otherwise I may, in the mad persuit of my blue opium be driven to do something daft like move to Cornwall.

NB: refering to myself as a surfer is in no way claiming to be any good . I happily confess to having basic skills and being a dick in the water

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Coming Out of Hibernation

Hello it’s me, Surfabella.  Someone who used to write regular blog posts about being a chubby, middle aged, landlocked beginner surfer with a penchant for being an absolute dick head in the water . (see below for photographic evidence)

I’ve had quite a long, unplanned hiatus from blogging since I relocated to the coast here in South Wales. There have been times where I have tried to force some writing out because I felt I should. I considered writing about the ups and downs of moving to a new place, about being able to surf just a few miles from my new home and the places and people I have discovered but, every time I sat down to write I’d find myself totally stuck. I’d either stare at the wall wondering when my new life was going to fall into place or watch Youtube videos of baby monkeys riding on pigs backs and toddlers being knocked over by cats, anything but writing. It’s taken six months and finally, I have the head space to want to write again. The distractions that were a constant drivel of noise in my head  have silenced and I’ve fallen into a calmer rhythm of life here at the coast .

So, my hiatus is over and I’m coming out of hibernation. Stay tuned for tales of lightening strikes, another night in a storm while camping, falling in a badgers hole, a pilgrimage to Pembs, the continuing hope for a seal sighting, the animals that have been stalking me that aren’t seals, the UK Premier of Proximity and the recent release of the book Legacy of Stoke Volume 2 and I meet the owner of a new homegrown clothing brand   x

The End of the Endless Summer Part 1

2016-08-03-14-38-40Since I returned from my Endless Summer , or rather  six week surf adventure in Wales, I have found it difficult to write anything. How do I put into words the seemingly endless weeks of unplugging from normal life and living in a tent, in a field, next to the gorgeous Rhossili Bay, surfing up to three times a day and watching countless sunest?

How do I explain the simple pleasures and slower pace of life I experienced which when written down seem completely trivial and insignificant to other people?  How do I write about the feeling of walking on grass in bare feet every day, about not looking in a mirror and how that made me feel a sense of freedom I’d never had, about sitting quietly outside my tent starring at the night sky with no noise in my head, about the smell of bbq’s and                                                    haze from the smoky fires in the sunset?

How do I write about how I felt at home in a place I’ve never lived, about surfing at sunset alone, with the red sky on fire (see cover photo), about the quiet letting go of nonsense and noise from my normal life, about becoming less wasteful and more resourceful, about how days felt like weeks as I got up with the sun, slept with the darkness and made the most of the in between?  How do I write about the strong,  amazing, women I spent time with , who lit the path for me like the stars that they are, about the revolving door of rather handsome neighbours I had who each taught me something about myself?

I drove away from Gower at the end of summer with tears streaming down my face .  I could barely mumble a goodbye to Welsh Surf Bird for the lump in my throat. It felt like my heart was trying to escape out of my throat and stay there in Llangennith,  like a dog who doesn’t want to leave the park.  I was scared of losing how I felt that summer but, with four hours drive home I had plenty of time to think about how I was going to deal with this.

I stopped off an hour into my journey in Abergavenny to say goodbye to Ozzi, another of the Welsh birds and when I pulled away from her house I knew a decision had been made without me realising.  It wouldn’t be easy and could take a while to orchestrate properly. Although the thought of leaving my friends and the familiarity of 23 years in my adopted home city scared me, looking back at the number of visitors I had over my six weeks away, I knew that distance would be no obstacle to those very long and strong friendships. Surf Bloke had been up and down like  a yo-yo from Lancashire all summer and my surf brainwashing had finally taken a hold of Long Legs who had visited twice and bought himself a wetsuit .

There was nothing I could do but, move there as soon as I could, somehow.

Surf Tour – Cornwall Done

CAPTAIN’S LOG

in the officeI’m sitting outside writting this , it’s 8pm and the sky is pink in the distance , hinting at the last of the sunset. It’s also my last night in Cornwall as I continue my surf adventure North, to The Gower in Wales tomorrow and then onto Pembrokshire, Wales on Saturday.

TWO days have passed with no sign of human life……

It’s been a mixed bag this week where I’ve felt at times quite lonely and isolated, then really happy in my own company in equal measure.  Interspersed with seeing friends a few days I have spent most of this week on my todd.  The week started off great as I picked up a friend who’d flown in from Dublin for a few nights. Much debauchery at the infamous Retorrick Mill was had , that’s a story in it’s own right that to be frank may never be told or quite remembered. I blew my budget for the whole week in one night, my bank statement certainly jogged my memeory on that front.
Due to the high winds there was no surfing but, we’d had fun  and we know, you can’t always get lucky with waves. That’s ok, for two days.  As soon as I dropped her off at the airport that’s when Storm Katie decided I needed some girly company and she more than outstayed her welcome . You can read about my hellish night here.
All By Myself
Storm night was followed by long days and longer nights alone, listening to torrential rain beat the roof of my caravan. I live alone so am used to occupying myself but, what do you do all day in a caravan with no TV and no tasks or chores to fill the time?  I started  wondering,  what the hell am I doing here? Do I actaully have any friends?  Will I die alone? Where did it all go wrong? This  is when I questioned whether I could do this for six weeks in summer and in a tent.

A CHINK OF LIGHT IN A STORMY SKY

Miraculously when all seemed lost and I was going to give in and go home on Tuesday afternoon, the weather turned, the wind dropped a bit, the sun came out, the sky was blue (in patches), I surfed, Kernow Surfgirl dropped by the beach and it all changed.  I’ve surfed today and yesterday and the day before.  I spent wednesday with Kernow Surfgirl  and we had a great surf and some laughs. Then, today I met a nice man at the beach, a surfer,  how unfortunate I’m leaving tomorrow. Who knows he could have been the Silver Surfer. It’s amazing what a turn in the weather can do.

So, coming to the end of the Cornwall leg of the surf tour, having driven the beautiful coast road home from Newquay as the sun started sinking and satisfied after surfing,   I am certainly sad to be leaving this stunning place, it’s got a hold of me and I feel like I’ve always been here . More importantly though,  I’ve answered many questions and raised more about if this is the place I’ll spend my surfing summer and that was the reason I came on this trip.
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 I packed the car with a stupid sad face tonight but, I’ve absolutely nothing to complain about, the sun has not set on this trip as the tour continues.  Bring on Wales, tomorrow’s first Welsh stop is the Gower where I’ll be  calling in on a beautiful soul and Surf Seniorita who I haven’t seen since last summer. I think I might need a chaperone as she also has a little devil in her and I’m in possession of wine, hey ho here goes.

Why Being a Landlocked Surfer is Not So Bad

It’s been a pretty epic week for UK surfers on the west coast from Penzance to Padstow, Harlyn to Hell’s Mouth and as usual, I missed it.  A combination of being 3 hours from the nearest break and being broke after holiday meant all I could do was watch on the webcams. I’m also still a bit broken from Morocco so it’s probably best that I stay in dry dock.

The Silver Surfer's House

The Silver Surfer’s House

There are a so many down sides to being a landlocked surfer but, instead of whingeing about it I started to think about the plus sides. Of course, I’d rather be living in a beach house right in front of my favourite break with the Silver Surfer but, I have to put a positive spin on my landlocked reality. Please, just humour me this is part of my therapy.

the benefits of being a landlocked surfer

You will ride anything. Someone once said to me that the best time of your surfing life is when you are beginner as the better you get the worse the waves get. I get this, the better you get at surfing  the less  likely you are to get in onshore chop but, as a Landlocked,  rubbish surfer progress is much slower and so this phase of getting in for anything and loving it  lasts longer.

Generally, property is cheaper inland in comparison to near  surf spots. My cosy attic in the East Midlands is cheap as chips and on the salary I’m currently on with only working 39 weeks a year,  keeping living costs low is paramount.

Every surf is a holiday because you have to travel and stay over night.  You take every wave you can grab and surf until the very last moment you can because you know next week when you are home you would give anything for one more wave, just one more……

You will discover the beauty of this amazing country. I’ve surfed in North and South Wales,Morning Fistral Devon, Cornwall,  North Yorkshire and Dorset and there’s 100’s of miles of coast I’ve yet to see let alone Scotland and Ireland yet to discover.  If I had a break on my doorstep perhaps I wouldn’t have explored the Uk coast so much.

You go to huge efforts to surf , which proves this isn’t just another fad so your mum, partner, boss, mates from the pub can piss off.

Transport links are really  good. I have 3 international airports under an hour away. This makes Portugal, France and Northern Spain viable for short breaks. Being centrally located also means it’s equal distance to the East and West coasts of the UK.

The Only Mermaid in the Village

 You are the special one. You are the only salty soul at work, at the gym, out of your friends or in your family and no matter how crap you are at surfing you’re always going to be the best one around you. For someone who is as crap as me this is a fantastic illusion even if it’s not true.

You will meet a lot of new people.  In an effort to connect with other surfers I joined a number of online communities and as a result  I’ve  met some wonderful folk in person who I might never have reached otherwise. This is especially true of connections I have made through  Surf Senioritas  and this blog. I’m building a little network of surf buddies all over the place.

Excitement.  The anticipation of a surf  never grows old and for the Landlocked surfer this anticipation has many manifestations. There’s the booking time off work, the countdown,  lists, planning, researching accomodation, reading about spots and  then the nervous checking of the surf report in the run up to S day.    Quite simply,  anticipation is the sweetest part of longing.

Surfabella Surftrip is On

moroccon adventure

If you read my post entitled Tired of Solo Surftrips a few weeks ago you will know that I convinced my friend who I call  Long Legs to come on a surfing holiday to Morcocco, despite being a non surfer. Hoo-rahhh.  Long Legs is also Surfabella’s, Art Director, and Chief Designer, more to come on what he’s tinkering with later in the year.  He also  makes a smashing cup of tea in our meetings. We love tea.

 

Also coming is Surf Bloke, my ever  patient surf buddy and Surfabella’s  Tech Guru.  I normally beat him up when I’m in a Surf Sulk so,  for protection from my sulks he’s bringing  his non surf friend along too.

So, as all three of us are away we are on shutdown here at Surfabella. Apart from posting a few snaps,   our out of office is on. The Yorkshire Tea bags and suncream are packed, lets go!

Bonjour Surfstar Morocco, Au Revoir cold, wet UK

Team Surfabella xx

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Tired of Solo Surf Trips? How to brainwash your mates into coming surfing with you

UPDATE:   Today is a momentous day in the brainwashing process of my non surfing best mate. I’m about to pick up his first proper surfboard! It started slowly and recently the brainwashing produced a result. The purchase of a hood, boots and gloves and a lush winter surf at New Year was closely followed by a ‘ I’m hankering for a wave’,  and today the process is complete! Congratulations Long Legs, like Kelly Slater said, surfing is like the mafia, once your’e in you’re in. Welcome.

Read my original post below about how it all started.

Finally, I have done it. I convinced a non-surfer friend into coming on a surf trip in an attempt to make them into a surfer. Not a weekend in the UK, oh no. My non surf friend, who also had no inclination to visit Africa, is coming on a one week trip to Surfstar Morocco. Hehe, I’m good at this.

So why is this a triumph? Well, I don’t have any surf friends living anywhere near me, the nearest being a 3 hour drive away meaning there’s little opportunity for impulsive one night trips over to Wooly or Scarborough. To address this, like Dr.Frankenstein I’ve been trying to actually  make a surf friend, hopefully the outcome will be that at  least one of my mates will  occasionally say, ‘yes I’m in’ when I decide to drive the 3 hours to the sea for one night rather than me actually creating a monster.

Of course, I can go away alone and I’m not too bad at meeting new people, I’ve done this and I’ve loved it. Sometimes though, you just want an old pal to come along on a trip. You know where you are, your friendship has a familiar rhythm, you can have a full conversation including jokes with punchlines with just a funny look and no words, you know there’s someone there who will whoop your wave when necessary even if they didn’t see it, and vitally, they know what to order for you at the bar while you take ages over your post surf shower. More than anything though, is that you just want to share the wondrous thing that has taken over your life with your friend so they can experience even a little of that feeling themselves.

So, you see why I’m stoked that I convinced Long Legs into coming to Morocco. A whole week there with me, Surf Bloke and the SurfStar Morocco crew and he’s sure to want to surf again, meaning the possibility of an ocassional  surf buddy living just around the corner.  For anyone in the same position, trying to convert a friend this is how I did it.

HOW TO ‘MAKE’ A SURF BUDDY FROM A NON SURFER IN 7 SNEAKY STEPS

Subliminal Messages. Two years of mentioning the words surf, sea and waves at least ten times an hour every time we meet even though we are not talking about surfing.

Gentle Suggestion,  England is so cold, did you know it’s 25 degrees today in Morocco? You really should get some winter sun you look tired and pale.

Great Expectations. The waves are perfect for learning and the teaching is fantastic you’ll be up on the first day (all true)

Tactical Gift Giving: Happy Christmas, here you go, have a rash vest.

Feigning Nonchalance.  ‘I haven’t booked my flight yet’   Me, nonchalantly and audibly, ‘whatever’.  Inside screaming, book the fucking flight now, I need to convert you.

Boobs: There will be loads of hot girls there in bikinis and yes they will need help with their sun cream. I’m ashamed of this, sorry in advance to all of the surf chicks in the world, I know this is a very low move.

Blatant Lying.  No, we won’t be surfing from dawn until dusk for 7 days and not see any of the culture and no you won’t get bruised ribs again.

While writing this post,  now that it’s all booked and paid for  I asked Long Legs for his version of what I said  when I was trying to sell a surf holiday to him and  this is the exact response I got .

‘It’s hot all year with more tagines than one man could possibly eat.  The water is like glass, not like Fuerte or Wales (the other 2 times he tried there were pretty rough conditions) so you’ll be up on the first day. The man brings you coffee on the beach. You can buy a rug for 50p and yet a bag of spice costs £50 (a reference to Surf Bloke who famously came back from Agadir with said bag of spices) Eldorado can be found up on the hill, there are goats in trees’

This made me laugh and realise that I’ve not really been sneaky  or strategic at all. I didn’t need to be.  I just told the truth about how fantastic Morocco is. Apart from not being able to guarantee glassy waves, the rest is true.  It would be nice if once in a while after this trip we do a surf weekend here or there but, if he gets really good, better than me during this week there’s going to be big trouble and we all know what happens when I sulk .

If you haven’t read my post Surf, Sulk and the Hulk click here to read it.

Do you get a bit sulky when you Surf?

cause and symptoms of surf sulk

Surf Sulk is an affliction which is usually a secret, sorry sufferers, I’m outing us. It generally affects the person in a group of friends or duo who is the least skillful surfer but, who tries really, really hard. The sufferer will usually have spent months watching their friends progress while they remain where they are.  Although called Surf Sulk , the affliction is more complexed than simple jealousy and sulking and is more about a build up of frustration with oneself coupled with the emotional exhaustion of always being the crap one who is struggling.

Surf Sulk can manifest in many ways for the sufferer, the mildest being a bit of sulking, a few faces and crying in the shower to the other end of the scale,  with a full on Hulk, smashing boards into pieces and stomping up the beach ( yes, this is a true story, though not mine and the board smasher will not be named here). Surf Sulk often causes a conflict in the sufferer who wants to be pleased for their friend but, also wants to punch them. Of course, the sufferer would never say this so smiles through gritted teeth whilst inwardly sulking.

 the curse of an expressive face

Surfing is an activity of such polarity. More often than not it can induce the most amazing  sense of well-being, calm and all round warm fuzzy glow but,  on the other hand it can turn you into a demonic two year old. I can only assume my nickname of ‘The Hulk’ at one surf camp wasn’t just because I had a green board that week. The hardest part about being a Surf Hulk is the struggle to contain it, to be a good person.  I wear my heart on my sleeve,  I always have.  Hiding the Hulk is difficult for me,  I  have a very expressive face that defies my instructions to behave and often gives away the evil thoughts in my mind.  Finally,  to top it all off  I have a  best surf mate who is doing really well. All the ingredients for a horror show right there.

Surf bloke BFF and I started out together as beginners,  it was all great fun for a while and then it seemed like suddenly I  didn’t  see Surf Bloke all session.  I started to get left on my lonesome in kiddies corner, struggling, trying to encourage myself , trying to enjoy just being in the water and not worry too much about not being very good.  But, I like surfing with people, with friends and having a laugh. I found myself not interacting with any other humans in the water as they were all what felt like two miles out to sea along with Surf Bloke,  having an amazing time surfing with dolphins through sea spray rainbows and riding sea horses.
Surf Bloke, while taking a break from surfing rainbows with dolphins, would  cruise by once in a while headed back to the beach,  effortlessly all like ‘ yeah bro I got so bored with these tiny, shit waves that I decided to teach myself to ride regular ‘ He’d then surf past me about 300 times both regular and goofy . I’d smile and wave  and go wow that’s brilliant but,  my face said ‘ they are not tiny, they are not shit,  fuck off with your stupid switchfoot, give Hulk hammer. AND SHUT UP’  and because I’m a childish idiot, I’d have an overwhelming urge to sabotage his board, turn it up towards the sun when he’s not looking or put a hole in his wetsuit so he gets cold and he really does feel the cold more than your average human .

managing your hulk

hulk

Being the Hulk and being in a Surf Sulk is not fun.  Not for me or for the person I surf with. I realised recently that ,   I could have soured an ocean full of milk with my miserable faces at times and I’ve probably ruined a few sessions on our surf trips by being so Hulk-like. I’ve also made surf bloke feel like I hate him at times which is the worst. The thing is, Surf Sulk is not about the other person or what they are doing, it’s really about me. I’m sulking with myself for not being as good as I want to be, I’m sulking because I’m frustrated with myself and in the past the limits my unfit body put upon me. I sulk because I’m missing out on all the fun with the big boys.   So, in order not to kill my friendship with Surf Bloke I had to put an end to the surf sulks once and for all and retire the Hulk.

On our last trip to Wales I was honest and said,  I know you are doing really well and I’m stoked for you  but I’m not , I feel left behind and frustrated, I feel like a right miserable, old,  cow but, it makes me annoyed . Surf Bloke  said he knew I was annoyed at myself (my face told him)  but, didn’t know how to handle it so he’d piss off out back for the whole day an avoid the sulk . He didn’t realise this made it worse and I hadn’t realised my sulk was powerful enough to repell a human that far out to sea. There and then around a campfire over a  rum and ginger beer or two,  like a pair of drunk pirates but, without eye patches, parrots, a pirate ship, or treasure we talked for a few hours and gained an understanding that we hadn’t had before.  We planned to spend more time having a laugh together in the water, try not to get so pissed off if things are not working (me),  paddle out together for the first few waves (him) and hang out a bit more during the session. Easy fixes. The next few days we had some great surfs together despite not having the best waves and there were more smiles in well, maybe ever. We seemed to enjoy each other’s company more too, this all bodes well for our upcoming trip to Morocco next week.

my promise to surf bloke bff

11024755_10155221853540551_8415057799964438574_nSurf bloke, I solemly promise to be a nicer person when we surf, I’m going to cheer and woop for you like it’s the WSL final and I’ll mean it , you’ll be so sick of it. I’m going to carry you up the beach on my shoulders every time you leave the water.  Just come and play in kids corner with me now and then and lets push each other off our boards and take stupid underwater photos.
There is only one person on my passport and that’s me, the Hulk is not getting on that plane with us.  I might still have a few little,  evil thoughts from time to time to make myself chuckle but, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.
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A Wetsuit’s Guide to Being an Idiot

The daily anticipation,  looking out of the window every few minutes, waiting,
and hoping is quickly followed by disappointment when it doesn’t arrive. You renew you hope for the next day and anticipation begins again.  You are in a cycle of excitement and pain that can last days, sometimes weeks.  Then, one day when you have almost given up a package arrives, you rip it open and breathe in the unmistakable smell of fresh, unworn, brand new neoprene. You hold it up against yourself, smell it again, feel the seals, open the zip, close the zip. Yes your new wetsuit has finally arrived!
Roxy Tough Break Wetsuit

Roxy Tough Break Wetsuit

I bought this little beauty from Roxy USA as they didn’t have my size left in the UK. It’s the first time I have been able to fit into a Roxy wetsuit and I’m stoked, I never thought I would see the day. I’m still waiting for it and it’s torture. What is it about a new wetsuit?  I might not even use it for months but, I need it now.  I just can’t wait to get it, smell it, feel it and try it on. One thing I will not be doing though is trying it on at work. I will never try a wetsuit on at work every again.

My Wetsuit Thinks I am an Idiot

Last year I stupidly bought my first winter wetsuit online without trying on that brand first to see if it would fit but, I was an over eager, landlocked kook with no restraint or sense. I only waited 4 days for it to arrive. As soon as lunch time hit I ran across the corridor to the disabled loo to try it on, I couldn’t wait. I’d never worn a  5mm  before so expected it to be a bit harder to get on than my summer suits and it had the added complication of a rashy stitched inside.
I pulled the legs on, it felt nice and toasty. I pulled it over my waist and bum and put the rashy over my head, oohh even more toasty, I had started sweating but, I carried on. It was normal to be that hot right?   As I got my arms in I felt like it was starting to constrict and rolls of sweat were now dripping off the end of my nose. The rashy was somehow twisted and it felt like the wetsuit was creating a vacum with me inside. Panic set in as I got hotter and hotter. I tried pulling one arm out and then the other, it didn’t work. I was starting to question if this was a wetsuit or some sort of S&M onsie for people who like to be compressed. I grappled with it for about 20 minutes, my wrists were sore and my shoulders red raw. I knew there were no colleagues left in the building to help me, I had to get it off quick for fear of passing out!
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I opened the toilet door, I could see the scissors on my desk, I had no option I was going to cut my new wetsuit off! Sweating, bright red and heart pounding, I hot footed it across the corridor. I grabbed the scissors and ran back without being spotted by any students. I inserted the scissors and made the first cut, I’d be out in a minute but, the plastic handle snapped! Shiiitttt, I got hotter and the gimp suit got a little tighter! ok, ok what now? I work in art, there’s a scalpel in the drawer yes! I creeped out again grabbed the scalpel, ran back and cut the shit out of that rashy. As i did it I could feel my heart rate calming and panic fading as the whole upper part of the wetsuit loosened. I managed to get it off but my skin was bright red and  the wetsuit was soaked.  This whole debacle lasted about 40 minutes and unless you have been stuck in a winter wetsuit while it sucks the life out of you in a disabled loo with the radiator on full and a rising body temperature  you can never know the fear.

Tips for wetsuit safety if you are an idiot

Never buy a wetsuit with attached bits if you have a tendency to get tangled up generally
Never try a wetsuit on in the office toilet
Always have an assistant close to hand who is prepared to assist
Just stop being an idiot
wetsuit
My latest winter wetsuit purchase, I am pleased to say, is perfect. I got a Body Glove Vibe. It’s the same as one I wore and tested out from a hire shop on a surf trip. I tried it on first time at home not at work.  I jumped about in it  I’ll continue to wait patiently for the new Roxy  wetsuit to come and try not to be an idiot when it gets here!