Logan Nicol and Co show why a cold-water strike mission should be an essential part of your winter calendar
It’s not every day that you see a UK edit grace the virtual pages of STAB magazine. The Aussie surf mag has a reputation for many things, however we can safely say that brown North Sea barrels are not one of them. Welsh surfers Logan Nicol, Patrick Langdon-Dark and their videographer Max (Survival Stance) have put together one hell of an edit showing how careful chart checking and a well assembled team can make for a beautiful piece of surf filmmaking.
We caught up with our C-Skins team rider Logan, to hear a little more about his surfing life and how it feels to get an edit featured in one of the 21st century's most popular surf publications.
How does it feel to get exposure on an international platform like STAB, and to be flying the flag not just for Welsh surfing, but for the UK?
It's pretty huge for Pat, Max (our cameraman) and I. To be honest, STAB are the biggest surf platform in the world right now and the epitome of high-performance surfing. It’s been a massive, massive, goal of mine in the last two years to get featured and to be honest at times it has felt a bit far-fetched. When I woke up and saw that I had been tagged, and then read the full article, I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true.
It does mean a lot and I think that flying the flag for Wales is pretty cool. British surfers haven’t had much recognition in STAB, so for me and Pat to be the guys featured on there is pretty mind-blowing. I’m beyond stoked and hope that it’s just the start of more things to come.
Can you tell us a bit more about the strike mission featured in the edit?
There are a few spots around Britain that surfers are quite protective over and it’s safe to say that this is one of them.
Having said that, we saw a swell coming in that we knew was going to be good. Once we got up there we realised the conditions perhaps weren’t quite as perfect as we might have hoped. We thought it might have been a bit bigger with a bit more wind, however it worked in our favour as the spots were quite quiet and the waves were pretty sick.
It was a solid trip, but it really turned on for a two-hour period and we got a few really sick ones. The whole experience was a good laugh to be honest. Staying with the boys was great, and there’s always loads of funny things that happen on those trips. Safe to say there was also plenty of time spent driving between spots, and really damn cold conditions.
After a few sessions I was confident that I had a decent clip in the bag. Max has a real talent on the camera - he put it all together and has made it look amazing. He takes that extra time and care, also shooting on film and Super 8 for some parts, and getting some angles that I never would have seen.
The feel of that edit is exactly how it felt when we were up there: Cold, focused, and getting banging waves.
Did the pandemic mean that you did more of these “closer to home” trips over the last few years? How did you make the most of the challenging circumstances?
UK surf trips do get me excited but it's not the same as going abroad. The reality is they have been the only thing we could do for the last couple of years, so we have been making the most of them. We did manage to get away to Portugal at one point in between lockdowns however most of our time was spent closer to home.
The other side of the pandemic, and I guess this was the same for a lot of people really, was that we had a lot more spare time. We weren't working as much and that meant more time to focus on improving performance. It was a good opportunity to get in the water more often, when it was possible, and I improved in so many ways over that time that it was a bit of a blessing for me. I wasn’t so focused on contests, and it was really just about working on becoming the best surfer I can be.
How did all of that impact your wider travel and competition plans through that period?
I had a trip booked to Israel for a WQS event, and also another booked for Portugal both of which got cancelled. It really affected the whole contest scene as things were being cancelled left right and center. Even last year we had to cancel a trip booked to Switzerland to compete in a Wave Garden they’ve got over there.
It’s been tricky, negotiating it all. Alongside the challenges there have been some real benefits as well. I’ve been surfing and spending time with people closer to home, and surfed some local spots that I probably wouldn’t have got in at otherwise.
I like to keep a positive view on things, although there’s definitely been challenges in the last couple of years. One clear thing though that I have been able to focus on though, and the path is a little clearer after the pandemic, is that I’m looking to create a life where I’m surfing full time.
As countries have opened up again, where do you have your sights set on for future trips, and why?
We’ve done a few trips to Portugal recently. I'm stoked on Portugal, so maybe we’ll be going back there again soon. Otherwise, South West France is sounding pretty good so we might be looking at getting some banks down south at some point.
Further afield, I’m keen to get back to Australia as well. The quality of the waves there… and watching these past few events, y’know, it's so tempting. The waves over there are just on a different level, so I’d love to do a month in Aus over winter just to really focus on improving my ability.
What’s the scene like where you live and surf in South Wales?
We have a really strong scene down here in South Wales. I think the whole of the UK has felt that surf boom. There seems to be a lot more people getting in the water and not just to have a go; more people are genuinely catching the bug and progressing past doing a holiday surf lesson here and there, to really incorporating surfing into their lifestyle.
The scene is booming here in South Wales with loads more people discovering surfing, and the club scene down here is great. I’m part of Channel Coast Surf Club based down in Llantwit and am super proud to be part of the scene in my hometown.
What are your plans for this summer and the coming autumn and winter?
In the summer I’m working at the local surf school, still grinding to try and make that "surfing full time" dream a reality. I’ve got a lot of work coaching and teaching, and am hoping to do a trip for the WQS just before the summer season really kicks off.
Other than that, we’ve got the Welsh nationals next month, so I’m going to be entering to that and will hopefully be defending my title. Finally I guess, Boardmasters is now part of the WQS so I will be back down in Newquay for that.
So that’s what it's looking like for now - maybe a few trips in August if I can squeeze them in, and otherwise focusing on competing in QS events.
If you want to see more content from the boys make sure you check out Max's content on his Survival Stance youtube channel.