»BITCHES« WALES 2007

Fotos: Manuel Arnu

Fotos: Jens Klatt

»BITCHES« WALES

Text: Deb Pinniger


The forgotten gold

Its funny how we spend our lives, searching for both peace and exhilaration. Often we travel miles, countries continents searching for that special session. But sometimes just around our back door it’s waiting for us. It’s like finding the forgotten packet of chocolate biscuits at the back of the cupboard - unless you look for them you will never know they were there.

Hidden, off the craggy coastline, of the British Isles, lies one of the greatest paddling secrets there is. A mass of water gets squeezed between the mainland and an island out at sea. A set of volcanic rocks protrude out of the ocean and at high tide a mass of water navigates its way, through the sound and squeezes its way through the rocks. Creating one of the greatest tidal races anywhere! Known as The Bitches.

obsommer, wave sport, sick line, abenteuer, kajak, kayak, action, adrenalin, waterfall, wasserfall, river, fluss, 7d, 60d, RED, sport, reisen, urwald, equator, ty warp, langer, outdoor, team, zoelzer, Foto Jens Klatt

At the end of the 1980’s to the mid 1990’s The Bitches were abundant with kayakers. Freestyle competitions were on the boom and there was a whole tribe that followed them. The Bitches were regularly visited by groups of kayakers surfing her glassy green waters and testing their strengths against what the ocean had to offer them on that particular day.  

Extremely sensitive to both weather and tide, The Bitches are like a moody adolescent. Easy to upset! One minute calm and calculated and the next like a storm raging in the middle of the Atlantic. Every trip to The Bitches is mysterious; it holds its own temperament, changing without warning. Perhaps its calm, quiet and undisturbed, maybe the wind is gusting ferociously and running the opposite way from the tide, creating massive waves in the channel, or a huge ground swell is running up the sound pushing you three metres high in the eddy, whilst you wait in turn for your ride.  Each trip to The Bitches has its own unique experience, with its own magic and moods. As a British paddler it’s some kind of annual pilgrimage to go to the Bitches and experience her mysterious moods.

obsommer, wave sport, sick line, abenteuer, kajak, kayak, action, adrenalin, waterfall, wasserfall, river, fluss, 7d, 60d, RED, sport, reisen, urwald, equator, ty warp, langer, outdoor, team, zoelzer, Foto Jens Klatt

I had been in Pembroke at the end of March for a friends Birthday party. It was still too cold and dark to be thinking about heading out to The Bitches. Out of curiosity I brought a tide timetable and checked out the tide times and heights for The Bitches, for the rest of the year. I had a free week in the middle of April and it just so happened that The Bitches were going to be running perfectly. The tide heights were, a whopping seven metres, that’s seven whole metres of height change, that’s allot of water! For the front wave to work at The Bitches the tide needs to be at the top end of six metres close to seven, anything above seven metres and you should be in with the wave working at its best. So we were in, the tides were on our side!

obsommer, wave sport, sick line, abenteuer, kajak, kayak, action, adrenalin, waterfall, wasserfall, river, fluss, 7d, 60d, RED, sport, reisen, urwald, equator, ty warp, langer, outdoor, team, zoelzer, Foto Jens Klatt

The weather had been extremely bad, upon our arrival in Pembrokeshire, gale force nine winds gusted hard throughout the coastline and the likelihood of being able to safely go out in to the middle of the ocean and surf some of the most exposed waves anywhere in the world, was looking slim. Praying for the wind to die down, so that we could get our Bitches window was all we could do. Fortunately someone was on our side and eventually the wind decided to drop, which would allow us one days surfing, at The Bitches.

obsommer, wave sport, sick line, abenteuer, kajak, kayak, action, adrenalin, waterfall, wasserfall, river, fluss, 7d, 60d, RED, sport, reisen, urwald, equator, ty warp, langer, outdoor, team, zoelzer, Foto Jens Klatt

I paddled out from the lifeboat station with my good friend and fellow team Wave Sport paddler Ingrid Schlott. We chatted all the way up the mile long eddy, before making the sprint another three quarters of a mile out in to the middle of the ocean. The tide was already running well and by the time we hit the eddy behind the big Bitch (the first big rock) it was around 5.30pm now. High tide was at 7.00pm, which meant that the wave would be perfect in about half an hour. We headed over to the hole for a few rides. Noticing the sun dropping away behind the shadow of the island, I raced back over to the wave were there was still a little bit of hope and light left, for a few photographs, of the wave in light. Before I knew it the light had dropped away before me and the wave sat in a dark green shadow created by Ramsey Island.

obsommer, wave sport, sick line, abenteuer, kajak, kayak, action, adrenalin, waterfall, wasserfall, river, fluss, 7d, 60d, RED, sport, reisen, urwald, equator, ty warp, langer, outdoor, team, zoelzer, Foto Jens Klatt

We took turns to drop in to the wave from upstream and surf the glassy wall of water. Sitting out there surfing in the pocket with a dark green carpet of glassy water moving underneath me, at an incredible speed, then looking up and realising that I, was in the middle of the Ocean! Was quite surreal. It was incredibly quiet and peaceful out there. We carried on surfing until the wave peaked out and the light finally began to drop from the sky, for yet another day.

obsommer, wave sport, sick line, abenteuer, kajak, kayak, action, adrenalin, waterfall, wasserfall, river, fluss, 7d, 60d, RED, sport, reisen, urwald, equator, ty warp, langer, outdoor, team, zoelzer, Foto Jens Klatt

Paddling back across the sound, to dry land and dry clothes, vivid memories of the tranquil session and the rugged beauty of The Bitches had been renewed for yet another year. Thoughts of hot, greasy fish and chips and cups of steaming tea lingered in the back of my mind as I sprinted across the cold, dusky sound to land.

With out a doubt one of the best sessions I have had in a long, long time anywhere!

 

Sponsoren: adidas, Langer, Dagger, Ty Warp, wave sport, Zoelzer, AKC , HF