Wednesday 14 September 2011

Surfin' the waves

About 5 months ago, I received an exciting invitation - a girls' surfing weekend in Devon. It was completely unexpected as the invitation came from a new friend (more of a friend-of-a-friend). All I could think of was, "I'm not going to miss this opportunity!"

We travelled to the delightful (if slightly busy with tourists) village of Croyde and stayed in a very cool surf lodge called Baggy Lodge (you can find out about the accomodation here - highly recommended).

photo from the Baggy Lodge website

Our surf lessons were organised through Surf Southwest (who you can find here) - we had a weekend group deal which gave us three 2 hour sessions with a qualified instructor. Very resonably priced and worth doing!

Having once previously tried a lesson, I was very excited about having a proper surfing experience. I think we all were - on the Saturday morning the poor instructor had to cope with 8 over-enthusiastic girls who couldn't wait to get in the water! We were all just as bad as each other!

After some basic land-drills, we headed straight into the water to try it out. The waves were pretty predicable and a good size for beginners, and the beach is very shallow which means you have plenty of time to catch the wave. We spent a lot of time jumping onto the board, paddling ridiculously hard, catching a wave and then just about making it to our knees. I don't think anyone had really stood by the first lunch time.

In the afternoon session, I started getting the hang of it. Bizarrely, I also discovered that I'd been using the wrong front foot for the previous 3 hours! That was a bit irritating as I had to spend some time re-learning the standing up techniques. However, I did get to the "almost putting both feet on the board" stage - bonus!

The morning after (otherwise known as Sunday) was very sore! As a group, I don't think we had one working arm between us! There was definitely no way any of us would try anything as ambitious as lifting our arms above our head. Much as we were looking forward to more surfing, there was a slightly more relaxed (in my case, maybe even grumpy) feel as we walked (trudged) back to the surf school...

After completely failing the land-drills (due to lack of working arm muscles), we headed straight back into the waves. They weren't quite as regular as the previous day, but still gave ample opportunity for us newbies to the sport. And I stood! Properly stood! My best memory of the day: having enough time whilst stood on a surf-board to call out, "I'm surfing, I'm surfing, I surfed!" Superb.

There wasn't much time for photos, so this is the best one of me!

The sea was pretty cold, the sky was grey and even drizzly at times, and there was an evil walk back up the beach at the end of each session, but none of that really mattered. We had a fantastic weekend - both in and out of the water. And I enjoyed it enough to plan more surfing lessons - maybe in warmer, sunnier climates :)

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