After the Rain

A few days ago at Laxe I got rained out and had to stay in a hotel and the night before that I was at Playa de Razo surf camp. It’s good to be back wild camping — so quiet. And no annoying hotel owner knocking at my door to offer extra soap.

I was in a bit of a shit mood that morning: more rain, no surf, blowing money on hotels, no sun… What was going on? But I did what I always do: I kept cycling.

Wild camping outside Fisterra (“Land’s End”)

I initially flagged checking the surf at Soeseto, on Galicia’s Costa da Morte, of course they’d be none. But something was nagging at me – so I went. And lucky I did, there was a nice A-frame breaking close to shore. I debated with myself again: it was cold, raining, there was no shower… I had lots of excuses, bags of ’em.

Philip, an Austrian, joined me at the lookout, ‘Yesterday, it was really big.’ He gestured out to sea, ‘but it was super crowdy,’ he wrinkled his nose and cracked his knuckles.

I asked him if he was going in today.

‘I want to, but the weather.’

He also said it was the only place in Galicia with surf — that was it — I had to go in.

Philip went back to the warmth of his Kombi; I locked up the bike and dragged all five pannier bags and board down to the beach. With impatience, I tugged on my wetsuit but the zip’s string got caught around my waist – fuck – I had to pull it off again, hop naked on the sand, yanking, trying to slip my legs and feet through all the while freezing in the rain.

Finally, the wettie was on.

I put my most valuable panniers containing laptop etc into the board bag and left the other three beside it on the sand.

Now, I was in.

And within seconds, I made my first wave (a nice left, on the backhand, all I seem to pick-up at the moment).

After 35 minutes I was pretty cold (should’ve brought a 5mm wetsuit). I got out and took Philip’s advice: rinse off in the stream, mountain man style. I took care to swizz out me nether region, the chaffing and saddle sores were bad enough without salt and sand to moisten the already painful brew.

I was pretty much packed when Philip came back to check the swell. He told me his brother was studying at Oviedo and he was here on a visit, with a surf trip on the side using his father’s Kombi.

‘That’s a cool van man, especially with the pop-top roof, how old is it – from the nineteen eighties?’ I said, my eye on the warm interior.

‘Yeah, my father bought it 30-years-ago,’ Philip said. ‘But I don’t like this kind of life, I miss my own bed.’

‘Lucky you’re not in that,’ I pointed to the tent strapped to my bike. Philip seemed wistful — the spoilt school boy who woke up to a turd in his stocking. ‘You can cook with us if you like and camp here.’ I was chuffed with Philip’s offer, and felt bad for privately disparaging him, but given what appeared to be an already toxic level of cabin fever, I didn’t want to add another stinking body to the heady mix.

‘I’m gonna go man.’

‘Good luck,’ Philip said, and with his hands in his pockets, he turned back to the sea.

Inside the cockpit
Inside the cockpit
At the Fisterra lighthouse lookout
At the Fisterra lighthouse lookout
The Fisterra lighthouse, which warns ships against Costa da Morte (Galician: "Coast of Death")
The Fisterra lighthouse, which warns ships against Costa da Morte (Galician: “Coast of Death”)


4 thoughts on “After the Rain”

  1. I like this report.It shows “true grit”.A barrister may even consider it a form of punishment?
    Ken Nathan

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