We’re the age convenience. We want it now and we want it functional, repeatable and with minimum of impediment. Our work, our home time, our entertainment, our food and even our sex lives all crave convenience.
A surf trip is no different. Whilst we escape the normality of our daily existence to chase waves and live life by the tides and winds, we still crave convenience. A surf trip has pretty basic needs. Shelter, food and transport. The swell is up to Huey.
Assuming quiver and neoprene as standard, the cornish pasty, some clotted cream and a camper van is all you’ll ever need on a UK surf tour.
Ewen and Milo met me at Exeter Airport. I hadn’t seen Ewen since the Mentawis in 2005 but he was still a lanky mop over lit up eyes who’s life was a healthy mix of chasing waves and tree doctoring. Milo was Ewen’s Border Collie side kick and the closest he’d ever come to a long term relationship.
The plan was for us to hook up and spend 2 weeks scoring waves down the Cornish coast in between catching up with old mates, swapping yarns and writing songs. Ewen plays guitar and I play with words.
Ewen’s VW T5 had been chopped and tricked by a local outfit and had all the conveniences a modern surf mission could ask for. Fridge, water, two sleeping spots, kitchenette, sound system, dual batteries, solar charging and Ewen’s laptop and recording hardware. Milo slept up front.
With boards and gear loaded up we set course for Bude.
What is it about camper van living that lights my fire? Is it the yacht I can’t afford? Is it the location independence? Life without boundaries? The open road? Waking up a to a view you didn’t pay for? It’s all this. And more.
The next two weeks rolled on by, at their own pace. Whilst Huey didn’t send us amazing waves we got our share. Between Bude and Land’s End we pulled up and pitched into spectacular coastal pockets. I got regular bouts of ice-cream head and we scored the odd bit of glassy perfection.
There was even a barrel or two to wooo hoo about.
Life slowed. It rained. The winds varied. The mercury rarely went above 10C.
When not freebeeing at friends dining tables or enjoying pub fair we lived on pasties and clotted cream fudge. It was simple, convenient and wholesome. Happy be those two post-surf fellas enjoying the vista on a Cornish cliff top with a pasty in their bellies and beer in their hands. Simple pleasures.
In the course of our adventure we caught up properly over waves and music and many beverages. It is good to share these things in wild landscapes. It reminds us that the modern pace of living is illusionary and man made. It is up to us to make the time and utilise our hard won conveniences to appreciate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
Happiness is friendship, a wild corner of the planet, a camper van, a pasty and some clotted cream after ice cream headed barrels. Woo hoo.
[This post was written for Base Campers by Richard Bradley]