Posted by: smithdavid | April 7, 2013


‘I’m going to Hell’s Mouth, anyone coming?’ I say. Phil shrugs and looks across to Steve.

Steve takes a sip of tea and leans farther into the couch. ‘Not much chance of the swell having picked up,’ he says.

‘It’s showing a few feet on Magicseaweed,’ I say. I know I’m clutching at straws but there is a part of me that has the Field of Dreams spirit – if I go there, there will be waves.

Steve shakes his head and sips his tea. He knows these parts far better than I and there is enough wind here in Rhosneigr for he and Phil to take the windsurfers out.

I can feel the gravity, I won’t be satisfied until I have Matilda out in the Hell’s Mouth water. I pack my cargo bag into the back of the diesel van and wave to Phil and Loraine as I point the nose towards Abersoch.

sunset at rhosneigr

sunset at rhosneigr

Hell’s Mouth is not so easy to find now that I’m driving, the laneways after Abersoch all look the same. Eventually I see the chipper van from which we bought food yesterday and pull into the car park.

A young fella is coming out when I get to the beach.

‘How was it?’ I ask.

‘That wind is sh*te, pushes you up the beach,’ he says. Out in the ocean there is far more swell than yesterday but the surface is littered with white froth from the wind.

I walk along for a while, climb up a dune and look out again. A slender black shadow bides his time out back. One, two, three messy waves pass him by. As they go I think that maybe today I’ll be satisfied with some time behind the camera lens. But then the shadow springs up and quickly carves a sharp S into the gray and white of the wave face. I turn for the car park and Matilda.

matilda at hell's mouth...

matilda at hell’s mouth…

In the water it’s one of those days where there is no real out back, the waves break from ten yards from shore to possibly a thousand yards from shore. The best I can do is pick a spot that seems in some way consistent.

There are a few false starts but then I pick a wave and it pulls and I’m up. I shift my weight this way and that and Matilda moves with me. It’s a short ride but the sensation of weightlessness stays with me as I paddle back out and resume the hunt.

A group of three surfers get in near me but they let the wind take them up the beach. I pick a solitary building on the dunes as my marker. It starts a few hundred yards to my right but after a few waves I’ve drifted past it.

I know there is a playground of surfers back at the mouth of the footpath but that seems a few hours away now and I have no desire to be near them. I smile as I once more paddle out towards the messy waves out beyond.


  1. You and Matilda. Out on your own. Sounds pretty Zen to me, Dave.

    By the way, what a great name for a surf spot, “Hell’s Mouth.”


    • it certainly was pretty zen tom. hell’s mouth is a fantastic name, it’s part of what drew me there.

      thanks as always for reading. dave

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