Monday, 25 October 2010

Mad Surfers And Geordies Go Out Into The Autumnal Sea

The coastline at Whitley Bay, though beautiful in its own curious way, tends to make you feel cold. The North Sea has a brownish, greyish unfriendly feel to it. The wind sweeps horizontally across the concrete promenade. There are few places to shelter.

This is what it is like in July. So imagine what it is like today. A brisk October day. Cloudless, windy, that razor sharp North Easterly. The waves were high. High enough and strong enough for some sport in the water and on dry land. Wet suited surfers were wading out to sea in search of the perfect wave. On the promenade children on half term break were holding onto the railings and letting the spray from the waves pounding the sea wall, fly up and soak them.

Madness. It couldn't get madder. Oh yes it could.

A half naked male teenager came sprinting down the promenade. He was without shirt, socks or shoes. cheered on by his supporters, he ran down the steps and ran 100 yards trying to outrun the ocean rollers. Of course he failed spectacularly and was taken off his feet. He fell head first into the raging surf. The watching crowd oohed and aahed, expecting to wake up tomorrow morning and read the headline in the local paper of: "Local Lad Lost To Freak Whitley Bay Wave".

But he survived and ran up the steps to a hero's welcome. He must have been in training for the infamous Boxing Day Dip where thousands brave sea temperatures as low as 4 degrees. A Northumbrian last year was quoted in the Newcastle Journal as saying:

"It got rid of all our Christmas excesses and felt like we had done something real and useful."


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