Newquay vintage surf meet coming soon ....

Newquay vintage surf meet coming soon ....
We buy interesting old boards 60s/70s/early 80s in good condition. Email alasdairlindsay75@gmail.com . Also wanted - Surfing UK , British Surfer and Surf Insight magazines .
Above photo - copyright Rennie Ellis photographer archive

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Secrets discovery by Steve Harewood

Tommy Bates, Steve Harewood and Barry Jenkins outside the Freedom factory, Jersey.

Secrets Discovery by Steve Harewood

It was a perfect sunny day at the end of May, the air was balmy with the scent of blossom and the light offshore breeze was drifting gently over us.

In those days I, oh yes I - the surfer, the dreamer, the one who was going to conquer all - was stuck in the dreary confines of the National Provincial Bank in the Royal Square in Jersey – a job, I hasten to add, that I took merely to please my mother who, being a caring mother, was naturally concerned about my apparent lack of responsibility (probably due to my preference for surfing). End of month at the bank was always balance day – a late finish – number crunching on an old fashioned adding machine (with grumpy old staff).

At 7 p.m I left the bank almost at screaming point. I was at the Splash by 7.20 (not so much traffic in those days) and wow A SOLID SWELL bouncing off the sea wall and a group of smug surfers sitting around drinking ice cold lagers bragging about how good it had been!!
Fuck, what to do, I needed a surf desperately. Knowing the tide hardly ever hit the sea wall in front of my Dad’s house at Barge Aground and how he regularly belly boarded there on the shore break, I headed there - it wasn’t that suitable for old long boards but hey as I said I was desperate. As I scanned the area I spotted some beautiful left handers peeling about 750m south of the Barge – absolute classic surf – I drove to the now well known car park and gazed in awe but a little apprehensive as it was 8 – 10 ft and also difficult to get a heavy board down the iron ladder (no proper steps in those days).
I drove back to the Splash to find some back up in the form of Tommy Bates, Ivor Stratford and Conrad Coutanche, who although sceptical followed me back. On our arrival there was no hesitation, better than La Barre in Biarritz, we passed the boards to each other from the sea wall and in we went.
The only four out there, we caught insane waves, all to ourselves. I remember to this day a left tube that totally enclosed me, I never made it out, those old boards were not the quickest, but what a great experience!! The swell pumped up and up, it actually got a bit hairy and Conrad went out.
I was paddling out on the right when Ivor, who wasn’t the strongest surfer, caught an outside set which massive and scary, but he caught the rail and his board bounced up and the rail hit him in the belly. He was winded and couldn’t swim (no leashes in those days) so I helped him to the shore and gave up those perfect waves, probably at about the right time as the tide was getting too high even for Secrets – that was when I took that original black and white photo with my trusty Kodak Brownie – proof enough that it was my special place and still is.
We celebrated at High Towers, aka Sands, aka Discovery Bay, with Fred Le Sueur the owner and sunk a fair few beers, whilst swearing a pledge of secrecy and naming our newly discovered surf spot Secrets. For about 7 weeks we had it all to ourselves before my annual holiday to Biarritz which coincided with Wheels Williams from Australia visiting Jersey, who was hero worshipped by most of us for his outstanding ability and knowledge, we were still in our infancy by comparison. Wheels checked the beach from Le Braye to L’Etacq, as someone of his calibre would, and unfortunately found our ‘secret’ place - after that it was no longer a secret! The secret was out but the name I gave it remains to this day.
I did attempt to knock the iron ladder down in those early days to try to prevent anyone else going there but was only partly successful.
Secrets is still my sacred place and I have many glorious mornings there with Peter Painter, James Hick, Peter Trenchard, Blair Talibard, Chris Tucker and the infamous but lovely Chris Fairbairn.
Find me another place as good and I will go!
Secrets is special, is sacred and was first surfed by Steve Harewood.

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