All day the sun has been out and the weather looked great so what happened when I got the board off the roof and paddled out of Itchenor?
I arrived at Itchenor with the intention of paddling out the harbour, back to the horse stables where I was going to give a riding lesson on my horse. Nothing odd there I here you say, but something was a brewing!
I was on the Jimmy Lewis Blade II which is a pure race machine, no rocker, big vertical bow and displacement hull – in short it isn’t suited to rough water but we have to use what we got, so i left the beach and paddled out into the channel.
The tide was still coming in so I knew I had a bit of a slog on my hands, but it wasn’t long til slack tide. What I hadn’t got right was the strengthening wind. Slug, slug, slug along, I kept near the shore to stay out of the main flow of the channel, but the wind wouldn’t let up and forced me to keep left sided for most of my ride.
You can see at point 2 on the map that I came round the flats to be hit full on with about 15 knots and lots of side chop. Like a real englishman I didn’t moan or consider turning round, I just put my head down and dug deep.
At this point I have got plenty of time to make the finish before the light goes!
I am now heading round the sand banks at West Wittering at point 3 and who do I have playing with me but a seal and not a little one. This thing would have given Nessy a run for this money. He stuck around for a while, probably wondering why on earth I was standing up in all that wind wearing a bright yellow ruck sack and singing to myself.
I can see the Isle of Wight ahead and it is silhouetted against the dropping sun that is going down fast.
The tide is now slack so it help a bit but I am now rounding the corner at West Wittering. Waves are now coming in from all angles hitting the sand bars and the board I am on is going all over the place. The bow is amazing in flat water but when chop start side swiping it you find yourself going in all directions.
I am now at point 4 on the map and decide the only way back is to head out to sea instead of trying to go along the waves. Light is fading really fast now and the wind is picking up so the waves are becoming very confused as am I.
Suddenly my phone rings, it’s the wife. She is checking to see how long I will be as she is waiting for me to give her a lesson on my horse. Typical really, doesn’t want me then suddenly it’s all important and must be NOW.
The sea looks relatively confused, not really white horses, but this bow is making life really tricky and I have nearly lost all my light so I am going by feel alone.
There on the beach is solitary person waving at me so I wave my paddle in the air and turn to face the beach and surf in. It’s actually a really easy board to ride in once you are straight and get that nose out of the water.
HOME – sweet home but not finished yet. I am handed a sausage roll, and a saddle. I tack up the horse, put on a warm jacket adn then stand in the middle of a school for twenty minutes teaching my horse.
NOW THAT’S SUP