My Facebook posts are a glut with scenes of my favourite beaches in Newquay,Cornwall.Many of these groups,as there all for so many other places up and down the UK want to show a community spirit.As my attraction for this group is probably nostalgic-having move away from Cornwall over 25 years ago-I realise that the pretty small town that I grew up near is really a big hitter as the surfing capital of Britain.
Growing up there,going to school there,having my piano lessons and organ lessons there has given me these firm roots.Back then,in the 60s and 70s,surfing was really the domain of a few locals,normally young men and boys,who braved the Atlantic with very large boards.To say that they were local heroes was probably an exaggeration to be fair.My brother in law was very keen,although not a great rider,on surfing.As a member of my sixth form,there was a guy there who really was good,and would go out really in the morning if the waves were up.
Newquay then,as I remembered it was a small seaside town where coach parties of mature people would come for say 2 weeks to soak up the atmosphere in one of its many beaches.Yes,as a biased Cornisman,I would say that the beaches are the best in the country,but anyone who has visited,or seen photographs will bear me out.Unlike Bournemouth,with its Long south Coast beach stretching for miles towards Poole and the other end to X-Church,Newquay has a number of smaller beaches along its North coast that is extremely tidal,and ,at times tempermental.
Because I’m a musician,and,at times,I tend to be a solitary person,I have spent hundreds of hours Listenning to the sea,usually to unwind after a long session of music tuition at the church in the town.
Those times,as a boy I can truly say,were some of the happiest moments of my life.To me,there is no sound quite like Fistral on a winters day on a Saturady afternoon-yes,I did say I liked to be solitary.Yes,I the winter,when the waves are up,and the wind is blowing,you can sometimes struggle to stand up,especially around Porthole and Lusty Glaze.Those moments are etched on my soul.They helped me to have a profound regard for the dangers of the sea.
Life back then in Newqauy was really quite simple.However,times really do change don’t they?Back then,Fat Willeys,to my knowledge at least,didn’t exist,let alone the plethora of other surf shacks,shops,and the sheer cornucopia of retailers designed for the surf industry.
When I return to Newquay,although the the essence of the coastline remains largely the same,I detect the change in the sheer numbers,and their expectation of what Newquay should be now.Stag weekend parties are so prevalent,with Year 11 students having almost ordained the place as their party centr of choice now.Yes,we can’t go back in time,no-one can,but I wonder if those guys with their enormous boards who graced Fistral,Tolcarne,Crantock,Watergate,Constantine bay to name but a few,would think of Fistral now?
For someone who was brought up filling by boots with the North Coast,I do worry that many who visit the county are so ill equipped to deal with the North Coast.Sometimes,I wonder if they understand what a rip -tide is,let along how dangerous it is.I despair when I hear of deaths on the Newquay Coast and the sheer ignorance of those who get themselves into such difficulties.
Yes, as a 57 year old man living near Bournemouth now,I love my home town,but I don’t view it with rose tinted glasses.
As the Stag parties proliferate and the Year 11 parties look set to continue,I wonder if the legacy is becoming tarnished a little.I hope not,as I will have my ashes scattered around Fistral when I pass on.
There is no sound like the sound of Fistral,and I would say that,wouldn’t I.