The coastal road from Newquay snaked its way eastwards atop the high, craggy cliffs sculpted by the relentless Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly the road dipped and wound steeply towards sea level. Cars were parked everywhere; almost all had surfboards strapped to their roofs. This was Watergate Bay.
I turned into a car park and waited at the entrance. Just to my right a small, open camper van laid dormant. It had certainly seen better days and judging from the bodywork wouldn’t travel very far. Well, that and the fact it had no wheels and appeared to have taken root. The bed and kitchen utensils suggested someone might actually be living in it.
Suddenly, your stereotypical surf-dude emerged: medium length bleached blond hair, Bermuda shorts, and a cannabis induced lazy grin that made you feel as if you were missing out on something. (Actually I’m rather jealous of their carefree lifestyle and would like to be a surf-dude in another life). I left my car under his watchful eye and headed for the beach.
Clouds scattered sparsely around a clear summer sky; a gentle sea breeze took the edge from the sun’s blaze. The short path to the beach led past the surf hire shop. A middle-aged assistant with obligatory blond highlights adorned the latest in surf fashion. He stared at me inquisitively, anticipating a sale. His tree trunk thighs filled the wet suit well; unfortunately my skinny legs wouldn’t look as flattering (not to mention other areas) and I quickly shuffled out before he pounced.
The beachside bar and restaurant provide the patron with outstanding views of the bay, especially the upstairs seating area. However, book first as it can get very busy during the tourist season. With no available table I stepped outside and trod the golden sands of Watergate Bay.
The lingering early morning sea mist obscured the horizon; the smell of seaweed was evident throughout. You could almost taste the salty sea spray; waves and surf were building up to a crescendo.
Suddenly, a group of eager surf school students of all shapes and sizes appeared from the building behind. As they filed past I couldn’t help but wonder how some of them intended to float. They clenched their surfboards as tightly as their buttocks upon first sight of the shore’s violent waves they were expected to tame. Even the seagulls overhead laughed, before flying back to their nests among the high, craggy cliffs to watch the entertainment.