Yes, we went surfing again at the weekend and it truly rocked. We went back to Croyde Bay, which made it feel like we’d had one holiday there in two parts. It was made especially surreal by staying in the same room in the same B&B. The advantage of this boring option was that we were able to get straight into surfing without having to work out the town or find the shops etc.
The surfing itself was excellent. We opted for the weekend course, which is two lessons on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. We were first booked onto a session with 17 men on a stag weekend. Thankfully, we managed to move out of that group into a far more sedate group of about 60% women and about 90% over 25. We discovered that the group you learn in makes a huge difference. Our group was supportive, good humoured and sensible and made the weekend so much better.
On Saturday the waves were quite high for us, breaking over our heads as we fought our way out through the surf (the following day I heard the instructor saying they’d been a bit small!). They were also slightly choppy and lost their force quickly as you came in, making it important to pop-up (get to your feet) quickly. It was especially bad in the morning, as the tide was going out, and most of my energy went in trying to get out past the breaking waves, but I managed to catch a few waves and stand up. The afternoon surf was better, as the tide was on the way in, but the water was packed with swimmers and bodyboarders, who should have been in the swimming area. It was pretty scary hurtling towards these people knowing that they’d hurt more than you would, and having to avoid them. But again, we caught waves and got truly exhausted. One of the things we achieved this day was beginning to work out how to get out through waves without getting pummelled. There’s a technique to it and I think I’m beginning to grasp it.
On Sunday we woke to see the sea was virtually flat. We trooped on down to the lesson, half expecting it to be cancelled, but it went ahead. Luckily, our instructors seem to have found us the only area of surf on the beach and it made a huge change from Saturday. We could pretty much stroll out to sea past the small breaking waves and, unlike the previous time we had a lesson in calm water, there were enough waves coming through to keep us pretty busy. We got to practice our paddling and making sure our weight was correctly over our front foot on the board, and got to practice turning. In some ways, it was an ideal session because it wasn’t too taxing, but did give us ample opportunity to work on areas that were causing problems. It was also essential to get the technique right, as the force of the waves wasn’t strong enough to compensate for errors. Also, we surfed well, and solidly, for two hours!
So, probably no more surfing until October now, since Sarah is working weekends until then. It sucks, but I’m still riding high from the weekend and the fact that I think we can call ourselves surfers now!