Our group at Gwithian for the first of Corinnes Surf Tour 2016 – image courtesy of Checkered Photography
Last weekend I joined Corinne Evans on her Surf Tour at Gwithian beach for the first of this year’s dates and had an amazing time!
Despite the dark sky and rain as I loaded my surfboard into the car, the clouds parted and the sky got brighter as I got nearer to Gwithian. By the time I arrived, the sky was a brilliant shade of blue and I knew that despite the onshore winds I was in for a great day!
Going with the flow
Starting the day with yoga was ideal. I haven’t been able to get to my regular yoga class for a few weeks now due to transport issues, but the flow session delivered by Annie at A Kelly Yoga reminded me just how much I miss it. It’s hugely important for my wellbeing, flexibility and my surfing and by the end of the class I felt incredibly focussed and calm.
Myself and the 6 other girls on the surf tour day had opted for a single extended surf lesson instead of two separate surf sessions, purely because of the bracing winds. So after yoga, we headed straight to Godrevy Beach Cafe for a healthy and nourishing lunch. I love beach cafes, eating out and finding gems that serve amazing food so Godrevy for me was perfect! A delicious home-made spring veggie soup was the right kind of fuel I needed for the afternoon’s surf session!
Catching up over lunch
Lunchtime gave us all an opportunity to get to know each other and we chatted non-stop. I thrive on meeting people and making new friends, especially through surfing. I’m always fascinated to hear how they got into it and their tales of first waves, favourite surf spots and epic trips.
Despite the differences in our stories, there were so many similarities in the reasons behind us coming to the surf tour – to build confidence after a bad experience/break in surfing, being scared of going out back, to develop our skills but above all to have fun in a friendly, encouraging environment. It’s the ethos behind the surf tour, and the reason why it’s a girls only thing. Guys don’t always get the issues that us girls suffer with like lack of confidence, body image and feeling self-conscious. Sometimes, we just need a bit of girl time!
Hitting the beach
By the time we hit the beach we were fired up and ready to get out there. Corinne took us through pop-ups and spoke to each of us about what stage we were at with our surfing and what we wanted to get out of the session. For me, improving my pop-up is always high on the agenda. It has sped right up and only involves going via one knee now but I’m still trying to do it in one movement so Corinne gave me a variation to try which involved almost a twist onto one hip.
Getting some expert tips on the beach – image courtesy of Checkered Photography
Practice makes perfect
After practising our pop-ups on dry land, it was time to hit the waves and in no time at all, there were smiles, laughs and whoops as we cheered each other on and felt genuinely stoked for each other when we caught a wave. I also picked up a few extra tips from Corinne about my stance. I have a tendency to surf on my backhand (I’m regular footed) and I look in the direction I’m going in, but have a habit of pulling my shoulder inwards in the opposite direction. By ‘opening my shoulder’ as Corinne advised, it made a huge amount of difference and allowed me to trim across the wave more efficiently.
As time went by, I felt my stance improve – I didn’t feel as stiff and upright and I was stoked to hear surf tour photographer Sarah comment on how much I had improved since she saw me surf last August. It’s hard to see it yourself, but it often takes someone else to point it out to recognise how much progress you’ve made, even if it feels like baby steps.
Putting Corinne’s tips into practice – image courtesy of Checkered Photography
After being treated to some of Corinne’s homemade flapjacks on the beach at the end of the lesson, we headed back to the surf school to get changed – all of us exhausted but absolutely buzzing! We’d all had such a good time and as we added each other on Facebook and made promises to meet up and surf, I felt I’d made some great new friends, particularly with Francesca who was awarded a prize for being the most graceful surfer. Her style is so lovely and she looks so natural in the water. She’s also a level above me which I think will be fantastic for pushing me out of my comfort zone!
The final little bonus was the goodie bag, packed full of lovely things from the surf tour sponsors. My favourite has to be the surfer girl print by Seaflower and Rosie. I’m moving house in a couple of weeks and it already has dedicated wall space!
More than just surfing
The day for me was about so much more than picking up tips to improve my surfing. I surfed a great new spot with breathtaking views, had some much needed girly time, made some new friends, rekindled my love of yoga and spent a happy day in the sunshine doing what I love.
I’ve been invited along to the next tour day and I can’t wait to do it all over again!