In the last weekend of January, I was lucky enough to go to Newquay, Cornwall, for what became one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. I decided to join the trip organised by the Surf Society, as I hadn’t surfed in years and was craving the saltwater, and escaping the university bubble and routine is always a good idea.
Amongst the recommended essentials for the trip were a swimsuit, warm clothes, and a banana costume, which we had to wear on our way there. I turned up at Mojos at 7pm on a Friday dressed as a banana to find a bunch of potassium-disguised strangers whom I would get to know during that weekend.
The journey to Newquay was about 4 hours long, though it felt like less because time flies when you’re having fun, right? Once we got there we were sorted into rooms at the hostel, left our belongings and, still in our banana costumes, set foot to Belushi’s, a lively bar in town. It was a chance to get to know everyone and made for some great bonding time. Needless to say it was a great night; however we were surfing the next day, so eventually we had to get back to the hostel to catch a few hours of sleep.
Saturday morning was a tough wake up call for those of us who only slept three hours, but we were there to surf, so we made our way. Due to the January cold water, we all got full wetsuits, including gloves and wetsuit socks. I personally requested a wetsuit headpiece, too, and it was worth it.
We made our way to the Great Western beach. We fortunately caught a sunny day, and even got a rainbow. The beach was beautiful, and we didn’t even feel the cold water thanks to the thick wetsuits. I stayed in the water for about four hours, and managed to catch a few good waves. The awesome thing about surfing is that no matter the level of expertise you have, or how much time you haven’t done it for, you’re always improving. That said, there’s no escaping the arm stitches the next day.
We spent the evening on the beach, and only left when the tide was reaching its limit. Some people headed back to rest at the hostel, but a few who had been to Newquay before decided to show me another beach and watch the sunset from the dunes. By the time we got there, it was quite cloudy, so it was less of a sunset-watching and more of a gradual darkness takeover of the sky. It was a blissful, peaceful evening for all of us, as we sat on the sunny dunes overlooking the ocean.
We were going out again that night, so after a while we decided to head back. However, my friend and I decided to explore Newquay a bit, as we hadn’t seen it properly. It was a small town, but it was lively enough considering that it was an off-peak winter season. The main street took 20 minutes to walk, and was filled with all sorts of restaurants.
I’ve always thought there’s something quite nostalgic and a little eerie about a summer holiday town in the Winter, and although Newquay held some of this spirit, it was still a nice place to be in.
After a quick stop in the local Sainsbury’s to buy our dinner (hummus and bread), we headed back to the hostel to chill in the lobby. There were a few sofas and poufs and a board game section. We had some time to kill before heading out so we started what would become one of the most intense games of Trivial Pursuit ever. Two hours later we were still playing, but were forced to stop as everyone was already heading out for the night. As reluctant as we were to quit the game, we got ready and headed out for our second and last night in Newquay. It was definitely a fun night, involving plenty of cheap liquor and human-bananas.
The next morning, only a few of us ventured out for a last taste of sea salt and surfing before leaving. Despite the waves not being as good and a heavy dose of rain, we still managed to stay on the beach for a couple hours. We then profited from the sauna in the hostel basement and prepared to return to Reading.
The bus ride back was much quieter than the trip out to Newquay. Almost everyone was running on an intense hangover and lack of sleep. Getting back to Reading was a mixture of emotions: none of us really wanted to get back to reality, but after that amazing weekend, I couldn’t help but feel an intense feeling of bliss and happiness.
I’d met some amazing people and had gotten to surf again, which is always nice. I will definitely be joining in on the next trip.