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Wales - Cardiff // A Van For A European Surf Trip

Killvan's Wales. A tale of how the surf trip across Europe can begin with a man and a van.

"Oh she's a great one, the last remaining for this model around here. Just off the road actually, I'd kept her doing deliveries up until last week" he said, as he rubbed his hands together. Alarm bells rang, potential shyster.
The vehicle had been sitting there for a week before I walked into this mans office. I'd left it too late previously and missed out on some great wheels thinking there was a better deal coming, though I was lucky this time, it was mine if I wanted it so.

"Can we work on the price, I'm a struggling surfer on the road". I said, looking for the window to negotiation. I often threw that in as the old stereotype still exists, hoping to create some sympathetic leverage.
"Ah, well let me see" he replied.
And on with a diatribe about politics, religion and why he couldn't negotiate a better deal.
"How about this, I'll be needing to leave the vehicle for a month or so while I take a trip to Africa, and your compound looks like the perfect spot. So, how about if I take this vehicle off your hands, you let me park it here till I return?"
By now the mans wife was listening in on my negotiation skills, and gradually being worn out by her husbands rigidity.
"Oh that'll be fine, that's a yes from us. Isn't it". as she looked down her nose at her husband.

With a traditional handshake and a signature or two I was now the owner of a Renault van, big white and tall, beaten up, a shell of a thing that would be the chariot to good times and perfect surf across Europe. A new stream of conversation opened up that focused on where I intended to drive this vehicle, and then everything got exciting. I didn't know where I was going right then and there so I made it up. My rambling went in a circle around Europe and gave the impression of a madmen, a modern day lunatic who would take this mans cherished van and drive it across the world, most likely into the ground within a few short months by the soudns of it.

It hadn't left Wales in twenty years and here I was claiming it to be a vehicle to carry me across Europe and into North Africa on a sojourn of fast times down hellish highways. There was truth in the forecasted demise, previous vehicles had been left to rust out by the sea or written off as a wreck. This van was going to be no different. The mans face said it all, looking at me like I was taking one of his family to join a cult.

I'd never driven a Renualt, nor a van of this size. I enjoyed it being white, though its length was intimidating as was it's height. Being a manual didn't bother me though my test ride around the compound had my foot hurting from the clutch, it was like a gym exercise.

The man gave me log books and a stack of information on the Renualt though none of it mattered, to me it was a van that would carry me to the best waves in Europe, and all I was focused on was fitting it out, it was tonights bed. I'd become paranoid about getting ripped off as it'd happened a few times before while out on the road. Conveniently inside the van separating the driving compartment from the back was a huge rusty grill, while industrial it was perfect. A big dirty padlock on the tail gate made me feel secure inside and surprisingly all the features such as locks, windows lights and electricals were functional.

And that's when it all began. 




Location: Wales, Gower Peninular. United Kingdom.
Optimum: Summer, as the winter is simply wretchedly cold and bitter.
Weather: North Western Europe, especially in this little corner is hopeless in Winter, so go for the begining and end of Summer.
Surf Conditions: Beachbreaks with impossibly annoying tides.
Access: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and the motherload Heathrow. Buses dont take surfboards easily so grab a rental.
Accomodation: Camping, Holiday Rentals, Motels. Take your pick.
Live Free:  4/10.  Ah, without being harsh, a bit boring really.



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