Surfing is great fun, anyone who has slipped into the sea with a board knows that. It is a spiritual experience, bringing you closer to nature.
But there is a darker side too, nature is savage and anyone who wants to ride the wild sea must pit themselves against brutal and harsh elements on a regular basis.
Now, I am writing this as a warning to those not in the know. You have all read about the precipitous drop in at the Mavericks, we all know about the vicious reef beneath the Pipeline’s azure hues and we have all seen recent footage from Jaws. But for some of us, in our own backyard, there is a break so dangerous, so hostile and so unpredictable that only the foolhardy would paddle out into its apparently benign break.
I am talking about the Hotpipes in Shoreham, UK.
Here nature’s forces are funnelled into a maelstrom which makes the slab at Teahupoo look like a longboarding grom’s wet dream. On the South Coast of sleepy Sussex gargantuan waves break over a reef of razor sharp coral and scrap metal. The prevailing onshore winds lash the surface into a frenzy or churning mush which means that the waves are not only unsurfable but any slight error is generally punished severely.
Moreover the break is patrolled ( I can not say surfed as these locals know the stupidity of entering the Shoreham waters ) by a gang of out of work welders with severe personality disorders. Not having the politeness of Sir Ken Bradshaw these types will bite a chunk from your board while it is still on the roof of your car. Needless to say car crime is rife in this area and it is a designated police ‘no go zone‘.
As if things could not conspire more to make this place a spot to bookmark under the heading : do not surf here; there is more. It has recently been discovered that Shoreham Port Authority has been laundering Russian Uranium at the Power Station and the Geiger Counters go off the scale down at ‘the Pipes’. This radiation in the water has led to severe mutations amongst the indigenous shark population.
So, please take it from me. Do not venture down to, perhaps, the nastiest break on the planet. This is really a place to avoid.
This article was originally submitted to Magic Seaweed, but they, strangely did not want to publish this denouément of such a break.