The boys are back in town - Nigel on the left and Ben on the right. I'm the pretty one in the middle! Ben and Nigel came to the surf school in our first year. Nigel choosing us because we were the only school that gave a hand written reply to their enquiry (the others must have had typewriters) so this was back in 1995. They visit now and again and it's always great to have a catch up. I love these guys. We went for a couple of surf's together - sun out 3ft on the sets, sweet as.
Ben runs the Black Bottle in Winchester, if you're passing pop in and say hi. There's no bar, you get your drinks from wall dispensers. Brilliant. And if you need to get there from Portsmouth then Nige may well be driving your train! Top blokes - happy days.
Now on a more sombre note - if you follow our blog (I say, our. I mean, my) you'll know that we go to Plymouth a lot - five times this week in fact, for the boys footie training. We got invited for a meeting at Home Park last night with all the junior squads which was very interesting. (They say that one in 10,000 junior players make it, but once you're in a club squad that figure goes down to one in ten! All to play for.) Anyway last Saturday we went into the City centre for a few bits and pieces. We couldn't believe what we were seeing - five shops in Drakes Circus have closed down and the less said about the two main shopping streets the better. It's as if, all of sudden, business owners have got out while they can. It is dire and actually quite shocking!
Polzeath has been quiet. Very quiet. Camps sites at the end of July a quarter full compared with full last year. We're protected at the surf school a bit because we get a lot of schools pre-booked, we're not reliant on passing trade, but even we're quieter than normal. Having said that the shop is up on last year following a strong July - against the odds! Yippee! And I have a theory on this. Firstly, we've got a lot more choice - it's not just hoodies and tees anymore. We've got a whole range of men's, women's and kids clothing plus own brand wetsuits. People have commented when they visit the shop that there's so much to choose from now. And secondly, I think we've got the pricing spot on. The Surf's Up! philosophy has always been to make what we do accessible to all - the surf lessons for example are £26 - in Newquay or Harlyn it'll be nearer the £40 mark! And yet the quality of the lesson, I would say, is the best on offer anywhere. And the hoodies for example, start at £25 and go up to £35 (the ones that came in yesterday are stunning!), compared to £50 plus for a main brand name. So it's a part of our business that we're really happy with - well done Sarah. I should say that the beach team is doing a fantastic job and following a chat with Wailin yesterday we're going to be working hard to keep the same team together for next year.
The other side of the business, the Beach House - has also been rocking and rolling.
Surf today? 2ft, light winds - sun trying to break through. I'm going to tickle into a few at low tide with the boys.