WARNING! Readers are strongly advised to take all reasonable precautions when in or around coastal waters. It is strongly recommended that professional advice and/or instruction from a recognised water sport activity provider is sought before attempting activities explored in this article.With the arrival of British Summer Time, the long, gloomy winter nights are at last behind us for a while. Itʼs during this time of year that Gower really springs to life, attracting thousands of visitors from near and far. Gower is a relatively small place in the big scheme of things, but on the peninsula there is an abundance of natural beauty and places to explore - all easily accessible thanks to a good public transport network.
Gower's Chris 'Guts' Griffiths has played a big part in Welsh surfing as he charged through the 80s and 90s having won Welsh, British and European surfing titles. Living and working near Caswell Bay, Chris believes that in surfing terms, Caswell Bay has always been overshadowed by its more hardcore neighbour, Langland. Chris explains that whereas Langland has a multitude of real performance breaks throughout the whole range of tides, Caswell only breaks from mid to high water and is considered a ʻsofter optionʼ. “If you arenʼt a die-hard ripper, Caswell does have a few benefits over its premier league cousin,” says Chris. Firstly, Caswell isnʼt full to bursting with surf stars and egos scrabbling for anything that moves, which means the average surfer has a much better chance of getting a decent ride to themselves.
Gower has a number of respected resident surfers including Peter ʻPJʼ Jones who has been surfing for over forty one years! His favourite break is at Crab Island, Langland. “Thereʼs a steep take-off, with a hollow first section, mellowing out in the mid-section, finishing off with a racy inside. A nice long ride,” says PJ who can usually be found at his Llangennith surf shop - when not out surfing the waves around Gower of course. Peter ʻPJʼ Jones says: “PJʼs is Gower's oldest surf shop, and is unique in that both myself and my son have been Welsh Open Surf Champions.”
Being one of the closest universities to the sea, Swansea Metropolitan has a thriving surf club which recently competed in the student National, coming an impressive third in the womenʼs individual and team category. Meeting regularly on Saturdays to explore the quality waves and hot chocolates that Gower has to offer, SMUʼs surf club has a range of members from experienced surfers to complete beginners. Claire Smail from SMU Surf Club comments: “The water may have been cold this year, but the waves have been worth it!”
In January 2009 a steeplejack was appointed by The National Trust to re-point and consolidate the stonework of the structure with lime. A steel prop was also fitted to support the remains of the arch at the very top. Be sure to check local tide times before visiting the area as much of the coastal region surrounding the reserve gets flooded by the tide.
If a water-based activity doesnʼt float your boat, then with a free and endless source of energy, power kiting could be a good option. Matt Smith of Gower Kiteriders says: “Being tethered to the wind is an exhilarating addicting experience to say the least!”