Where it all began...
We first came to the Gower back in 2010 when Gareth (my friend from A Very Long Time Ago) offered us his late mum's house to stay in for a week.
"It's right beside Caswell Bay," Gareth said. "It's a nice beach. The boys'll love it."
Caswell bay is a nice beach. Lovely, in fact. It slopes gently down to the sea and is small and enclosed. It's safe for swimmers (unless you're me, of course, but we're not going into that particular episode here. Ask Ruaridh next time you see him...). The boys had a great time digging sandcastles on the Sunday. I seem to recall that we bought a couple of nerf guns and ran around shooting each other. Or, to be more accurate, they shot me and I missed a lot.
On the Monday, they spotted the Gower Surf School and asked if they could have an hour's lesson. I was in favour; I could get a lot of practice with the nerf gun in an hour.
So off they went. I think they had a lesson at 11.30. By 1.30, we were in Guts Surfboards, about a mile along the road, hiring boards for the rest of the week. They took to it like, er, surfers to water (me? Not so much...) and the rest is history. We've come surfing here every year since. Guts, by the way, is Chris Griffiths and he has became a great friend. [EDIT: Chris appears again on Thursday. Quite spectacularly...]
Struan, Caswell Bay, 2011
Ruaridh, Llangennith, 2013
Meanwhile, back at the plot...
I got up today, Sunday, while the boys were still a-bed and cycled over to Caswell Bay, The sea was flat. Really flat. So I cycled home and, inspired, made pancakes for breakfast.
I mentioned to S and R that it was really flat in Caswell Bay. "Good thing we're going to Llangennith, then,' one of them said.
LLangennith is just amazing:
Taken in 2016. The people in the foreground were filming an episode of Game of Thrones, apparently
On the way to the beach, we stopped at PJ's. Pete Jones is the man who put surfing in Wales on the map. We stopped there to get me a bodyboard - I have finally acknowledged that I am too old to keep trying to surf - and while Struan was looking at the rather nice range of T-shirts in there, I looked over the range of bodyboards and, um, hired a 9 ft surf board.
What can you do? I'm just a big kid who dreams impossible dreams.
Just to be clear, by the way, I have never managed to stand up on a board yet. I got quite close to it in 2014, but then Struan pointed out that it doesn't count if you do it on the beach - you have to actually be in the water, apparently.
We got to Hillend, the camp site/surf destination and got the boards off the car. It was jumping - Sunday, sunshine - and the boys got the boards off the car and waxed 'em up.
Take a look at that parking. Spot anything...? No? Me neither at the time.
Take a look at Struan's board, too. Hand made by Guts. An absolutely beautiful 9 ft longboard with a tie-dyed back.
And then we headed to the beach.
It was amazing. So much fun, in fact, that I couldn't contain my happiness afterwards when we had chips for lunch:
And the parking? I got stuck in the sand trying to get out, didn't I? Five big strong guys tried to push the car out and failed. But a nice man with a big tow truck came and pulled us out. I'm glad he did - the car was otherwise going nowhere...
I know, I know - I haven't posted pictures of the beach or the surfing. I will though. Soon.