We spent pretty much all of last week next to or in the water. It rained a couple of times, which we really appreciated as Mike and I got pretty burned a week ago building a sand castle with the kids. Due to the wind and the (comparatively) low air temperatures of around 20 °C / 68 °F we realized too late how powerful the sun here actually is.
We had booked a couple of additional surf session at the Berria Surfschool. Unfortunately we realized that the “regular” program did not fit for Mike and I (anymore). The goal of the surf school is to keep as many “students” occupied in the white water (broken waves close to the sand). Which can actually be quite dangerous, as you can easily run into each other and/or get hit on the head by a stray board (despite the mandatory leashes that at least limit how far your board can get away from you). For us this had nothing to do with actual surfing – it’s just to keep the kids (most of them stay for a whole week, a camp basically) busy and guarantee some quick wins by standing up in the whitewash. At the beginning of each lesson they also teach the same stuff over and over again – like what kinds of winds there are, currents, the three steps of the pop up (how to stand up on the moving surf board). As good as these “basics” are – by then we had heard them 5 times already. This standard beginner program was not cutting it for us anymore, so we decided to take a private instructor for two more sessions. This was by far the best decision. We met Joan (one of the instructors at Berria Surfschool) who, for us, really is the best surf teacher there is. He asked us what we wanted to learn, took our (albeit little) experience into account, took us out into the line up (where the surfers sit on their boards waiting for the right wave) and taught us more about waves and how to paddle onto and catch unbroken (green) waves. Unfortunately our vacation is almost over otherwise we would’ve loved to book another session with him. But who knows, we might come back here again 😉
The program for the kids, on the other hand, was just perfect. While we were out in the line up trying to catch waves they had their own kids group (always better than in the same group with adults, let alone the parents). Nate even got to know a Spanish girl – we met her again on the beach yesterday 😎
In general, learning to surf is so much easier when you start young (same for a lot of other sports). The kids and also the teenagers here in the surf camp have it so much easier than us adults. And even though we considered ourselves reasonably fit before we got here – the hours in the water (and especially in the line up) quickly showed us our limits. It’s clear for us now that we really have to train and prepare more for our next surf session, whenever that may be. As the saying goes: Every beginning is hard. This is doubly true if you (for some reason) decide to learn one of the physically most demanding sports in your thirties. But the following is also true: You only learn when you’re out of your comfort zone. And learning costs time, energy and sometimes causes pain (our bruised ribs will keep reminding us for a couple of weeks of the power of the Atlantic waves).
All in all though we are just filled with thankfulness towards our amazing God. The fact that we were able to go on this vacation, to have fun and meet amazing people that we could learn from and that He sent our way. And, that he kept us safe all the time.