Just days after the launch of the United Kingdom Issue we received this email from Toby Broadhead and couldn't help but like it. It felt like a very real depiction of what surfing on these odd islands means to us and the many others that call this place home.

Dear Backwash,

I’m Cornish born and bred, but currently in my second year of Tropical Disease Biology at the University of Liverpool. Liverpool, although coastal, has a pretty poor selection of home breaks, so I and a few of my mates try, as often as we can, to explore further afield in the likes of North Wales and the East coast.

We are a pretty tight little crew, trying to skate or make it to some surf whenever possible. The East coast has had some pretty epic surf as of late, and a few of us headed up there recently. Our convoy of the small, underpowered cars, piled high with a whole quiver of various boards, made its slow 3 ½ hour journey across the Yorkshire Dales in search of swell.

The anxiety and sheer frothing excitement when we pulled up to the empty spot, offering line after line of pure, untouched perfection was ridiculous. The car had barely stopped and we were charging down the coast path, clad head to toe in neoprene.

Due to my broken foot (from a skating accident the previous week), but not wanting to miss out, I took my camera along. My mates surfed for as long as their shoulders and the weak winter light would allow.

We then made our bleary, cold way back to Liverpool, stopping on route for our customary fish and chips at a roadside café. We got discussing how, although we all come from very different backgrounds, and with some considerable age gaps amongst us, how strange it is that we all have ended up in a roadside carpark in Yorkshire, eating chips and blissfully happy to have been able to enjoy the waves.

I often feel surfing can get bad press. Over the years I’ve taken a lot of stick from friends, and agreeably surfers are a strange breed. It is not in many sports, at such an amateur level at least, that such great sacrifices are made, surrendering lie-ins, the battering wind and rain, endless frustration at reports and the constant smell of pissy wetsuit in my uni house. However, it’s moments, like the carpark, that I feel make these sacrifices so worthwhile. And I just wanted to share with you some of the photos I took that day.

Best wishes,


More from Toby at: https://www.instagram.com/broadheadt/?hl=en