Note: I receive free services in return for my honest reviews.
Whilst staying in Watergate bay, I’d decided to have a go at Surfing. I’m on a mission to try most outdoor sports and since Rik is obsessed with surfing I thought I’d give it a go! West Country Surf School in Watergate Bay, Cornwall, a brother and sister owned school, invited Rik and I down for a two hour lesson with instructor James.
In my surfing fantasy, I’d slip in to a wet suit in the blazing sun and casually saunter down to the golden beach, swishing my long locks in the gentle breeze. In actual reality, Watergate Bay decided to start a mini storm. Already wet, I squeezed and struggled into a wet suit and my long locks wrapped around my head (like cousin It,) in the gales. The sea although still a beautiful blue, was rather gnarly and the rain was coming down heavy. Still, one mustn’t complain because it not every day a Shropshire living girl gets to surf!
I wish I had pictures to show you but the weather permitted it so instead I’ve included ones taken by Joel, one of the owners.
We were eager to get on the beach but first James gave us some safety information as well as explaining the different types of waves and how they’re made as well as currents and flags. I actually enjoyed this part because I have a fear of water (particular the sea despite my mermaid genes) and hearing him talk about how things come to be, made me feel a bit calmer.
After a walk down a hill and over a little road (bring flip flops if you’ve sensitive feet) it was time for a warm up which consisted of some yoga and balancing exercises. With the weather getting progressively worse, we eagerly listened to James and watched him as he showed us how to mount our boards which was so easy I could have done whilst asleep.
I wish I could have said that whilst in the sea!
James then got into the sea with us without our boards and explained how some waves we’re not worth catching and it was all about timing. He got us to do a dive when the white water came for us and everyone else seem to let the wave carry them to the beach edge, except me. The cold salty water and the loud sounds of the wave were quite a shock and it took me some time to get used to it!
After a few goes, we were back in the water with our boards applying our earlier tuition. Now I know I have not the best balance but my gosh, surfing just confirmed that for me completely! You can imagine my horror when it was time for us to…Surf! With gulps of salt, a rain in my eyes I applied the surfing technique we’d been taught…
Chicken wings – lizard neck – table top- one knee and foot in front – stand and pop. Keeping our legs shoulder width apart and slightly bent.
(If I’ve remembered right), sounds super easy right?
“We had the absolute pleasure of coaching and teaching a group of very talented Paralympians last week. An inspiration to us guys as coaches and everyone watching. Well done girls.
I caught about 2 or 3 waves (barely) but I’ve the horrible habit of being really harsh on myself when I’m not good at something straight away so I did find surfing rather frustrating, so much so I’m going on West Country Surf School’s 5 day course next year.
What can I say, I like a challenge?! I have to remind myself that we can’t be good at everything, part of the fun is learning! And as James said he makes it look so graceful because he’s been doing it since he was 18.
Two hours was a great amount of time to apply what we’d been taught but I think one lesson for me was not enough. It was a reassuring to see the Austrian family who were in our group and had been on their week’s course, able to stand and surf by the end of it.
Practice makes perfect.
A cup of hot chocolate off Joel and dry complimentary towels were hugely welcomed for Rik (who managed to stand up on the board!) and I. If you’re ever in Cornwall, I’d look up West Country Surf School because unlike a lot of the surf school’s around, they don’t just turf out a load of groups in the sea and leave you to get on with it.
A special thanks to West Country Surf School!
What have you been learning to do over the summer?