The Early Bird Not Catching Waves …
There is a meditative stillness to an early summer morning. The roads are quiet while the majority still slumber behind tightly closed curtains while the recently strong winds are barely perceptible; the cooler night equalising temperature over sea and land calming the ferocious gusts until the warmth of the sun on land whips them up again.
Not everywhere is still. The RNLI car park on Eastbourne seafront is a hive of blurry-eyed activity. Despite not yet being 6am there is competition for the limited parking spaces, individuals are contorting into wetsuits as a flotilla of Stand Up Paddleboards head for the shore and beyond, towards the last golden streaks left by sunrise on the horizon.
The lighter morning winds and the opportunity to squeeze in some paddle sport before the working day has created a community of early risers.
I’m nonconformist in this early group, not on a SUP but in my kayak, but I’m welcomed in and chat to fellow CVCC members before heading to the sea together and heading off towards Holywell, the white cliffs lit by the rising sun. It’s a slow easy paddle for me with very little effort expended, which is welcome in my pre-caffeinated morning state. I taste the salt on my lips, feel the wind in my hair dampened by spray. Is there a better way to start the working day?
Time passing on I break away from my fellow CVCC SUP’pers to paddle back quickly. As I reach the bay next to the car park see the exodus from the sea and don’t need to check my watch. It’s 7.30am and the free car parking stops at 8am. I ride a small wave to the shore, grounding on the low tide sand. I haul my kayak up the beach and strap it to the roof racks as the air fills with the hiss of deflating boards.
It’s 8am as I pull out of the car park and head home. By 9am I’m at my desk on a video call, feeling all the more relaxed and agreeable for my time on the sea. Fuel for the soul to last me the day.
Want to join in?
There is normally a group of CVCC’ers heading down when the conditions are good. Join the club WhatsApp Peer Paddle Group (members only) as generally people give a shout out there if they are heading down, although if you don’t see anyone mention one then just ask yourself and you’ll normally find somebody to join you. You just need your own SUP or kayak.
The SUP group are a fussy crowd. You won’t be surfing; this is calm and early paddling. Check the great Windy App or website to see what conditions are likely to be like. If it is dry and the wind is set to be less than 10mph there are likely to be people heading out. See you on the water!