At the start of the year, I explored ways in which I could work more actively towards my surf goals. I’d only ever had one off surf lessons and loved the idea of doing something more intensive. I didn’t have the money for an overseas surf trip, and as I mainly surf in Cornwall anyway, a week on Surf Sistas ‘white to green’ course sounded ideal.
I’m willing to bet that when anyone envisages a week’s surf trip, it’s filled with clean, perfect sized waves, sunny blue skies and warm days. That’s exactly how I imagined my week with Surf Sistas.
Yet despite the fact that Hurricane Irma had other plans (think blown out, massive waves and unsurfable beaches), we actually scored on all of the above (with maybe the exception of warmth!). But what I didn’t envisage was how much more I got out of that week – rainbows, secret (and new) surf spots, boat trips, wavehunting, friendship and some really good times!
I learned so much, pushed myself physically and mentally and had an incredible week that I’ll remember forever.
Day one – a moody looking Newquay
I must admit, when I turned up on day one at a stormy South Fistral, I wondered how we were going to find some clean waves. I know that when the North coast of Cornwall is blown out and big, there are places where you can seek shelter. I just didn’t know where they were.
Luckily for us, the coaches know Cornwall like the back of their hands.
Various names cropped up during the week, some of which we surfed at, others we didn’t. On day one, we’d hoped to surf at Falmouth which needs a massive swell to work. Unfortunately, the swell didn’t show up but we had an invaluable insight into board shaping from UK longboarder Ben Skinner. Later that afternoon, we went through surf forecasting which set us up nicely for a week of wavehunting!
A surf of firsts
On day two, we headed south, stopping at two spots to check the surf before arriving at a secret location. It’s a bit of a mission to get to involving muddy footpaths and a bit of a climb down a cliff. I’d heard its fabled name through a friend of mine and I was stoked to get in. Getting to the waves was an adventure in itself, let alone the fact that I was about to surf my first ever point break.
With hardly anyone other than our group of 6 (and 4 coaches) in the water, the spot delivered some dreamy 1-2ft lines. We were all all buzzing and stoked to be in the water, with some of the girls venturing straight out the back on the first day of surfing!
I love exploring new spots and the secrecy and uncrowded line-up made this one really special!
Boat trip to St Michael’s Mount on day three
These girls! Good times 🙂
The wind really picked up again on day three, so we headed south. We arrived at Marazion, hoping to surf in the corner but the wind and tide was against us. So we took a boat trip to St Michael’s Mount while we waited for the tide to drop. This was a total bonus for me because I love boats! And for the other girls on the course, it was an opportunity to do something touristy and experience more of Cornwall.
After the obligatory cream tea and pasty, we abandoned Marazion in favour of Praa Sands – a bit of a nemesis of mine due to a sketchy incident there about 3 years ago. It was the only surfable option and even then, too big to attempt to get out back. But, as Dom one of the coaches pointed out, a whitewater session is never wasted. It’s a good opportunity to practise pop-up and stance. I’m pretty bad for hanging my arms down by my side when I’m up and riding so for Dom to keep yelling ‘arms’ at me for me for 2 hours was invaluable in itself. A few weeks on and I’m happy to report a significant difference!
What a day!
After a great start at the secret spot, I craved another good session. On day four, I was secretly glad that Praa Sands was too big again. Luckily, a spot nearby produced a much more manageable waist to shoulder high wave that again was deserted until we came along.
I headed out the back and got some invaluable tips from fellow longboarders and coaches Sam and Laura. I had a total blast that day and scored some awesome waves, plus, we had sun (and rainbows). We were all so happy, stoked and cheering each other on.
That night we all had dinner and shared tales of travels, surfing and life. We’d all bonded so well as a group and I was going to genuinely miss everyone once the week was over.
A small but lovely looking Praa Sands
Cliff walking…and blackberry eating from hedgerows
On the final day, we arrived at Praa Sands. It was really small (1-2ft) but approaching high tide which meant the wave was breaking fairly close to the beach. I was nervous, even in 1-2 ft surf, because that wave breaks really fast, and I didn’t fancy face planting.
I sat way too far out back so I wasn’t catching any waves. I paddled around a lot but everytime Dom coaxed me to sit further inside, I kept paddling further out again.
I did go for some waves and mainly nose dived them. I made a few of them and I did make some peace with that beach. It will never be my favourite place to surf but it at least allowed me to create some better memories than the one from 3 years ago.
It wasn’t the best surf to finish on yet sitting out back and watching rainbows form over the bay is something I’ll never forget.
After getting some individual feedback from the coaches, it was time to go our separate ways. I headed home feeling hugely grateful for a fantastic week that exceeded my expectations thanks to mother nature’s intervention. I’d become more confident, patient and kind to myself in the process with so much to take forward.
Thank you Surf Sistas for such an incredible week!