Meet Urien Dwyfor Davies-Hughes, surfer and explorer, who surfs off the Welsh coast and lives in the small, beautiful place of Pen Llŷn in Wales. Explore the following article and photography, in which Urien describes how he got into surfing as a young boy, why the peninsula is the perfect place to surf, and where some of the best spots are.
I come from a rural area hidden away at the end of a small and beautiful peninsula called Pen Llŷn. I love to surf and have been doing so for around 12 years now. Growing up, I spent a lot of time outside, as I had no computer or TV. Being someone who becomes easily restless and who wants to be out all the time, I was always finding hobbies to keep myself busy. My dad owned a surfboard, which he kept in the workshop, so my brother and I both took the opportunity to start surfing. We would ask around for lifts from anyone who was heading to the beach in search of good waves. If there was ever surf and our parents were busy, we would either walk home – if it wasn't too far – or we would wait until the very last person got out of the water to grab a lift with them. We would spend as much time as possible in the sea. Both my mum and dad have always been very supportive, picking me up after school if there was surf and if I were lucky enough I would even go before school started!
Although the local surfing community wasn’t the biggest when I started out, many of them were very encouraging of my surfing, always giving me tips on how to improve over the years. It takes a while to get the hang of surfing but once you've had a couple of good sessions, it’s easy to get hooked. As I started to improve and gain more confidence in the sea, the local surfers started taking me to secret surfing spots in the area. Wherever you are in the world there is nothing quite like spending time with friends hunting out new waves to surf.
I get really excited when there is a good swell on the way. Depending on its size and how the weather will be on the day, you can generally tell who will be chasing the swell – it’s usually the regulars, Phill Wood, my brother Eilir, Llywelyn Williams, Rob Dodd and a few others!
There are several great spots in the area; one that really stands out is Porth Ceiriad. People say that if you can surf the wave there, at a good size, you can surf anywhere in the world. It’s great to have such an amazing wave here in North Wales. There are a few other good spots, such as, Hell’s Mouth and Whistling Sands. These beaches often have good waves too, but being on a peninsula, where you end up on the day will completely depend on the wind direction and swell size. I have surfed quite a few places around the UK but I always find myself coming back to that one wave at Porth Ceiriad. Luckily we have a local photographer, Phill Boyd, who is always out with his camera when the surf is good so we get to remember the good days. My most recent and exciting milestone was coming first place in the North Wales 2019 men's open surf competition.
There’s a new group of young surfers starting out now, and it reminds me so much of when I started. I think it's important to encourage them just like the others encouraged my brother and me. The surfing community is finally getting bigger and I hope we can inspire more locals to take up surfing; the ocean does surround us here on the peninsula after all!