When the House of Stark first sat down to workshop their motto in a drafty courtyard over a few jugs of mead, they knew it needed to be powerful, prophetic and inspiring.
It needed to capture a sentiment of readiness for the winter to come, a season that carried much greater significance than just a dip in temperatures.
While we, as European surfers shouldn’t worry ourselves overly with White Walkers or Wildings, we too can’t help but notice the ever-shortening days of autumn. Of skies long since empty of swift and swallow, of leaves on the turn, of mellow mists of fruitfulness suddenly cleared by ever-keener gusts of wind.
But most importantly, with each coming day, there’s a little extra thump in the waves arriving on our shores.
A change is indeed afoot, but not for the bad. Rather, an opportunity. Our finest moments lie ahead, our optimal chances for living our best lives. Because while summer’s long beach days and sultry sunset log sessions are always fun, anyone really dedicated to the sport of surfing, anyone genuinely hooked in by the magic of swells and seas making landfall and the chance to ride them, knows full well that winter is when we surf.
“Winter is when we surf”
When our coastlines go from offering ‘something to get wet’ to, at times, world-class waves. When named storms make TV news headlines and send the masses to batten down hatches and run for high ground, and we go the other way; to the coast, to greet mother nature in all her awesome power, head-on.
When your local sloppy beachie suddenly, fleetingly, turns into hissing, spitting tubes. When every nook and cranny on the coast lights up with stacked lines, when that forgotten, listless cove suddenly turns into Raglan.
Sure that may be only for one swell or even just one tide, but that’s all part of the magic of being there, why you’re still talking about that one sesh five Christmasses ago.
Best of all? It presents your best chance of not only surfing epic waves, but sharing those moments with a crew of just a mere few friends. Because it’s one of the great observable paradoxes of surfing that the more perfect the conditions, the fewer the takers. When significant wave heights climb and the mercury dips, crowds thin dramatically.
And that’s partly due to the need for dedication, the importance of preparation. There’ll be an investment of time, energy, and yeah, a few well directed quid too. But the payoffs are huge.
“When significant wave heights climb and the mercury dips, crowds thin dramatically”
Think of your finest European surfing moments, those biggest drops, the most powerful pits, the longest thigh-burning rides. Those days when the swell check had you hooting and howling like kids, when you finally got home after dark exhausted and surfed out – and a slightly different person.
From Thurso to Faro, from Capbreton to El Fronton, Lahinch to Peniche, chances are they happened between Halloween and Easter.
Because winter is when we surf.
In order to take the opportunities that winter offers us though, we do require a little help. Forget the silly self help memes or ‘attitude not latitude’ platitudes. It isn’t all relative, it’s absolute.
Your body requires a specific temperature range to sustain life. And an even more specific one to not just sustain, but to thrive.
While 1950’s surfers wore wool jumpers, smoked cigs and ran around beach fires sluggin hip flasks of Scotch mid sesh to avoid hypothermia, thankfully we’ve moved on a bit since then.
“There’ll be an investment of time, energy, and yeah, a few well-directed quid too. But the payoffs are huge”
We have state-of-the-art wetsuits and wetsuit accessories made with Nobel prize winning materials. With rubber so light and flexy you can hardly tell you’ve got it on. With surfboards made from better materials, an industry bit by bit cleaning up its act, designed specifically for the kind of waves you want to surf, and how you want to surf them. With lightweight, hard-wearing board bags and accessories, with clothes to keep you warm and dry on the hunt for waves, gear that’ll help keep performance at a premium and an inspiring list of travel options if you fancy escaping the cold altogether.
We’ve put together a range of the finest surf gear on the market in the Wavelength Winter Buyer’s Guide 2019/20.
This winter, our goal is to make you the most stoked you’ve ever been.