Going on my First Surf Holiday
Setting out as a beginner surfer is all about having as much fun as possible. Long weekends away, sneaky surf sessions and lessons, and the best: summer surf holidays. However, the step from just wanting to learn to surf to actually going on a surf holiday can sometimes seem daunting. We have all wondered about what it could be like going on a surf holiday, or travelling by ourselves… So to help shed a little bit of light on the adventure here’s a glimpse into my first surf holiday. I decided 9 years ago that I wanted to start surfing for my birthday. Simple no? I’d heard enough stories from my friends of how much fun they had whilst surfing, and I wanted a piece of it. So where to start? Like many surfers out there the key was a road trip. I somehow convinced a good mate to bundle into her small and very old Nissan and share the 5 hour drive to Newquay, Cornwall for a surf road trip. I didn’t have a wetsuit, board, or really any idea what I was doing… but I knew that I would figure it out and get into the Cornish waves.
Cue driving round trying to find a campsite, eating a local random restaurants (because I’m not the best of campers- let alone being able to cook at a campsite), and going out with some dodgy nightlife… and that was even before trying to work out how I was actually going to get to surf. Despite the lack of all equipment, where there’s a will there’s always a way. It turned out that my mate’s older brother kept a surf board in Newquay and a wetsuit… and he very kindly leant both to me. Yep, that’s right, I had a hand me down surfboard (that more resembled a narrow big wave board) and a guy’s wetsuit that definitely didn’t fit me properly. However, the morning of my birthday I found myself donning a wetsuit with a surfboard under my arm wadding in to the slushy grey waves of Watergate Bay. My mate had promised me that she would try surfing with me too, but had chickened out at the last minute in favour of a cup of tea in the beach cafe. I was by myself in the beginner surf section of the beach, with very little clue as to how this idea of mine would turn out… Yet as I walked into the cold churning surf, and started to work out how on earth I was supposed to control the surfboard being gripped in my hands, I started to enjoy myself. Attempting to time launching myself like a bodyboarder onto my surf board with the waves, somehow managing to catch a few waves, and hurtling towards the beach was brilliant. The sense of freedom, of speed, and fun captured me. I may not have stood up on my surfboard during that first session, but I was hooked and so glad I had given it a go. It gave me a massive confidence boost, and left me wanting a whole lot more time in the surf… Something that has never left me over the past decade.
Everyone’s first experience of being in the surf will be unique to them, and it really doesn’t matter what it looks like… just that it is enjoyable. However, looking back on what makes surfing easier or harder, having some basic knowledge of the waves, how to control your surfboard, and how to stand up really does help. Having an instructor would have massively helped me with that first experience, as would have having a beginners board and a wetsuit that fitted. I would definitely recommend getting the right equipment for your surf sessions as you simply are able to have more fun. So if you really want to learn to surf, and even want to try it whilst having a holiday, make a point of booking in with a beginners course or even just one session. You’ll have company, make friends, have a real laugh, and have exactly the right equipment to make the most of your time in the waves… Just be aware that you’ll be left wanting more: Cue annual surf holidays and trips all over Europe!