What does a day in the life of a top surfer look like? How do they structure their day around the waves and the tides, how do they stay at the top of their game, and what else do they do? We recently caught up C-Skins team rider Jayce Robinson at his home in the far west of Cornwall; we can’t guarantee that taking inspiration from Jayce’s routine will lead to you surfing as well as him, but it’s probably worth a shot.
Jayce and his partner Hannah have a pretty idyllic set-up. Down narrow lanes in the heart of West Penwith, they have made their home in a wooden cabin (that they converted from a horse stables) set in a beautiful and productive garden, bordering a meadow, whilst they build their forever house on a corner of the property. They are tucked out of the way, but are within a short and easy strike of some of Cornwall’s best surf and spearfishing spots on both coasts, from St Ives around to the south coast reefs.
Jayce starts his days with a run and a workout in the field. The day that we visited was a classic summer’s day with not a cloud in the sky, so Jayce had been up and out early to exercise before the heat of the day set-in. “Even if I’ve not got anything to train for, I still train” Jayce says, “I eased off for a while and found that regular exercise was actually a key element in looking after my mental wellbeing as well as my physical fitness.” After his run Jayce’s workout routine focuses on core strength and mobility. After this, he eats breakfast and heads into their vegetable garden to dig up some beetroot and carrots to juice.
Their vegetable garden and greenhouse amounts to a smallholding, although they only grow for themselves, and a friend grows several rows of flowers. “At this time of year the beets are so soft, they’re like butter” Hannah says, as she pulls one out of the ground.
“I think lots of people fall out of the habit of making their own juice because it takes time” Jayce says, as he pushes the fresh beets thrugh their juicer, “but it’s so good for you, that once you accept how long it takes you can just build it into your routine, like waiting for coffee to brew or taking a shower.”
A typical summer’s day for Jayce and Hannah starts this way, unless swell and tides demand an early surf. As a professional surfer, Jayce gets in the sea every day possible. There’s no better training for surfing, than surfing. But they also have a building project to oversee, and work that fits around the surf. On this day, both have to run work errands into nearby St Ives, before Jayce plans to catch the tide as it pushes in off low at a spot that he’d surfed the day before.
West Penwith produces a lot of talented surfers; more than one might expect given how little exposure this furthest corner of Cornwall gets compared to other stretches of coast. But this is testament to the quality of surf on the peninsula, which is exposed to swells from a huge range of directions. From his base in the centre, he’s a short strike away from a lot of surf spots, both known and off-radar. The same goes for spearfishing, Jayce’s other oceanic pursuit. At this time of year he can easily surf on the north coast and go spearfishing on the calm south coast in the same day. In the depths of winter when storm swells batter the north coast, the south coast is offshore and pumping. He can access the best of both, and enjoy bi-coastal days, just as we were able to on this particular day. The sea was a bit choppy at the spot where he went diving with his spear gun, so less than ideal conditions.
Jayce uses spearfishing as another excuse to immerse himself in the sea, and it’s a great pursuit to train for breath-holding and also mindful patience. Wearing a weight belt around his Wired 4:3 liquid-seam chest-zip steamer, he sinks into the seaweed and kelp where he waits patiently until he needs to come up for air. “Sea bass are fast and wily targets, but if you can stay down long enough, and stay still enough, the more curious ones will come and check out the tip of the spear poking out of the seaweed.”
On this occasion time is tight and conditions less than ideal, so Jayce returns empty handed. We should have headed further afield to a more sheltered spot that he frequents.
Surf-wise, we fare better. It wasn’t big or perfect, but Jayce is a professional surfer and a lightweight one at that; he’s well versed in generating speed in less than ideal conditions, and converting that speed into a plume of spray.
Jayce, captured in-water and in mid-air by Warbey.
Back at their homestead, Jayce checks in with the builders. Work is progressing well; he has some emails to send before Hannah gets back, and it seems like a good juncture to say so long. He won’t be surfing again today, but it’s looking good for tomorrow.
Our key takeaways from a day in the surfing life of Jayce Robinson? Get your hands in the soil, get moving, and get in the sea however you can. It might not make you surf as well as Jayce, but you’ll end up surfing better, and it’ll probably make you smile like him.