An ode to spring - Sophie Hellyer
Sophie Hellyer has had a rough winter battling with heavy storms as she strove to keep the farm alive. Still, she's enjoyed pumping surf just a few minutes' walk from her new Irish home, so we don't feel too sorry.
We caught up with the blonde-haired cold-water surfer as she eloquently described the coming season.
Spring isn’t as conventional here as seasons elsewhere, winter is not quite dead. We are behind on our new farm, the lads are battling against the weather to get the beds prepared and onion seeds planted, polytunnels are going up slowly in the rain. Tiny little seedlings are popping up all over the place and waiting to go in the ground alongside the 5000 trees we have just planted. We fall asleep listening out for the cows, ready to help our neighbour on the night shift as he waits for the calves to be born.
The blue skies and the car heater are an illusion. The winds are still sharp and cold and the ice cream headaches are the worst they’ve been all year - don’t risk taking your gloves or hood off, you will regret it. I’m comfortable in all my neoprene, I’m used to it, I surf in a 5/3 and boots all year - the gloves and hood may come off soon enough when the ocean creeps up a couple of degrees and the travellers come rolling back into town.
The faces in the sea are friendly and smile back as they have done all winter. It’s not warm enough for the summer tourists and it’s nice to paddle out and see the familiar faces that I often only see in the ocean.
There are three left-hand point breaks at the bottom of our hill, I don’t often venture much further. Occasionally the winds blow me over to another spot, a perfect friendly little right-hander breaking just along from her more famous and intimidating big sister. The day before was glassy and big, I surfed the left for five hours, no-one took any pictures, we were all too busy surfing.
The day before was glassy and big, I surfed the left for five hours, no-one took any pictures, we were all too busy surfing.
The spring is to be cherished, soon it will be summer and the town will be busy again, people wearing shorts in a brisk northerly wind and eating ice creams when it’s far too cold. We will soon complain about eight people being a crowd at our favourite spots and forget we were ever looking forward to the summer warmth. Instead we'll crave those big empty south westerlies, snowstorms and post surf saunas.