Since the wave opened just over two weeks ago, there’s been an awful lot of chat about what it isn’t, what it should be and what it might be in the future.
After the media day, we set out to answer all your burning questions including: How many different types of wave are there? How big are they? And can I get barrelled? You can find out the answers to all of those and more, by reading this article.
However, after we had the opportunity to have another go during a regular session earlier this week, we thought it might be helpful to bring you a review of the actual surfing experience, as it is right now.
For the purpose of full disclosure, and to assure you this ain’t the sort of corporate shilling you’ve no doubt become accustomed to in other parts of the global surf media, this session was bought and paid for. We’re not in any sort of commercial partnership with The Wave and while we’re very impressed with what they’ve achieved and are super excited to watch it grow and see how it can benefit British surfing, our allegiances sit firmly with you, our loyal reader.
With assurances of honesty and impartiality out the way, let’s dive in shall we?
The first, most important thing to say about the wave is that it’s just meant to be enjoyable for as wide a range of surfing abilities as possible. It ain’t an overhead Trestles style wall, a long illustrious keg or a crazy waco-style air section, but if you were to come across the surf on offer in the pool elsewhere in Blighty, we can safely say most of you would count it as a good, fun-sized, day of waves. (Edit: Earlier today we surfed in a south Cornish lineup with very similar conditions to those you’d find at The Wave, with what felt like the entirety of the south-west surf population.)
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The wave starts with a soft easy takeoff, giving you time for a cutty before it walls up and runs through the inside. It’s particularly good for those looking to improve their speed generation skills and practice cutties and little lip taps, but challenging enough to be fun for most levels, right the way up to those who can do more critical wraps and blow their fins on their top turns. For groms, it’s a really good high-performance training ground, particularly when it comes to dialling in top to bottom surfing and improving big carves. Right now, on M3, we wouldn’t say it’s particularly good for adults looking to up their air game, as there’s no repeat section coming at you. As has been well covered (pun intended) M3 also only offers up a very tiny barrel.
By all accounts, it’s much easier on your forehand as the pace demands quite down the line surfing if you’re going to stay in the pocket the whole way. A little bit of volume is your friend; as we said before, ride the board you’d ride in a punchy 2-foot beachie and then you can always swap it with one of the Wave’s extensive free to use quiver of sleds halfway through if it ain’t doing it for you.
Perhaps the most fun thing about a session in the pool is how closely it mirrors all the best elements of a sea-based surf with your mates. As you queue up, you’re in the perfect spot to hoot them from the shoulder and watch each other’s first couple wiggles. This adds a little bit of pressure, but mainly just a lot of enjoyment. Plus, the queueing system means you can go out with even your snakiest mates and not see your wave count reduced.
The frequency of waves, ease of take-off and fact you get another go if you blow it the first time means that if you can surf to an ok standard, you’re going to get a whole load of waves. In terms of exactly how many you get in your hour, most people are reporting somewhere in the region of 12-15. If you get one of the first waves in the 20 wave set, you can kick out and sprint paddle back to the peak in time for another one. Alternatively, you can opt for a more leisurely paddle in the rip and just grab one wave from each set. We’re yet to chat to a single person who leaves the pool not feeling knackered.
We’d say the optimum day is an hour in the morning, followed by a lunch at the clubhouse (which is super nice and does excellent food) and then an hour in the afternoon. Of course, we can’t decide for you if it’s worth the £80 quid that two sessions would cost you, as that totally depends on your perspective. When it comes to surf trips, some people are content with a week in a Newquay hostel, while others drop several g’s on a trip to the Maldives. Only you know how much an hour of shred time is worth in cold hard pound sterling.
When you’re done there are hot indoor showers which double as changing rooms (with a saun apparently coming soon) and a nice bar area serving pints, coffee, and food. The staff are super friendly and accommodating and there is usually a minivan waiting outside to take you back to the car park (a short, 2 min drive, or 10 min walk).
If there’s anything you’d like to know we haven’t covered here, or in our previous article, drop it in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer.
Cover photo: @thewave