Coast to Coast
The UK was Keahi de Aboitiz’s final stop on his European summer tour with brand sponsor, Cabrinha. Against some fairly hefty odds, given the country’s long hot, dry and relatively wind-free spell, things aligned for his visit and he scored good conditions at every stop, rounding it off in Kernow Foil Crew country…
Words: Keahi de Aboitiz
Photos: James Boulding
After getting close just before Covid happened, it was great to finally make it over to the UK during the Cabrinha Streamer demo tour. Growing up on the east coast of Australia, there are actually some similarities with the spots and culture, so in a way it felt a little more like home after a few weeks in Europe. It was awesome meeting a lot of the local crews [Richard Boughton, pictured middle right] everywhere and see a solid group of people who are already seriously into winging and foiling. It’s been pretty interesting to see how the sport has developed over the years, but for me, I’ve found it’s opened up so many new spots, especially in places where you might not typically have the best surf most of the time.
We started the trip in Camber in the southeast, then headed to Poole, Hayling and Bigbury on the UK’S south coast, then to Daymer Bay on the north coast of Cornwall. All things considered, I think we were pretty lucky and got some really good conditions, as it sounds like it was a long hot summer in the UK without too much wind or waves.
In Bigbury we got in a great surf foil session on the first day when there was no wind. It’s a pretty cool setup there. Then on the second day an offshore wind came through so we had a wingfoiling session with some talented locals, including some of the Foiling Magazine crew. I love being able to do a variety of water sports as it means you can make the most of whatever conditions you get, whether there’s wind or not, and whether it’s onshore or offshore.
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Although the waves aren’t necessarily breaking enough for a normal surfboard, it was amazing conditions for a foil and the perfect way to connect all the lumps down the river. We only had a small swell, but with the amount of water moving out, it amplifies how much the waves stand up and meant I could still ride a small foil with a ton of speed. I spent the day on my H800, running laps at full speed with the local crew and scored some incredibly long glides down the river for a session to remember. The outgoing tide also makes for a super easy way back upwind but it’s worth noting that this can be a little dangerous when something goes wrong or you can’t get back up as there’s no easy exit and it will most likely mean a long paddle to the side of the current and a walk back around the bay, as a couple people found out. It’s just always a good idea to make sure you have an exit plan, as tidal conditions like this are incredibly fun but things can turn quickly too.
We ended the trip with a night out at the local Bluntrock Brewery, drinking a limited edition ‘Drifter’ Coast to Coast lager, the product of a collaboration between Cabrinha and Estuary Brewing. The beer has been produced by Estuary Brewing in the US and Bluntrock Brewery in the UK, to help raise funds for an initiative aiming to bring people with physical and mental disabilities into the sports of wingsurfing and kiteboarding.
My trip in the UK came to an end all too soon. I am now back in Hawaii, and it’s back into wave time for us, so I’m looking forward to getting some more waves here before pushing on into a busy winter ahead.
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With the trip winding down for our last couple of days in Cornwall, I got some more interesting wing conditions in the strong tides to be found at Daymer Bay, across the estuary from Padstow, which for me had to be the standout and the perfect way to end the trip. Coinciding with some of the biggest tides of the year, which means about six meters of tide difference, you end up with a lot of water flowing out the rivermouth which makes for some unique wind against tide waves, reminiscent of what guys are winging in The Gorge these days.