Surfing is a lifelong sport. One in which there is no final destination, no finish line to cross where you say to yourself, “I’ve done it all, and I’ve done it all perfectly. Now it’s time to quit.” Surfing is without limits like the ocean or at least it seems like it.
It’s not something you can learn in one day or in one week. It takes time. You have to learn which waves are good, how to keep your balance, if the conditions are good for surfing and much more. Like every other sport there’s a big knowledge behind it. And with the ocean it’s even harder. You can’t just go on a court like you do when you play tennis. No, the ocean is different everyday and it’s never the same. But you can get far by having lessons with an advanced and good surfer. At our hostel we offer exactly that kind of help you need to get for a rocket start into the surfers world.
Normally the conditions here in Sagres are better in the morning. The early bird catches the worm as the saying goes. So I got up around 8 o’clock to have enough time to digest the breakfast. The departure with the van was around 9 o’clock. Like in every sport it’s not good to go surfing with a full stomach but you should eat good before you surf otherwise you’ll be weak shortly after you started. “Praia do Tonel” was nearly empty when we got there around with a van. Everyone grabbed a board and a wetsuit and then we were off to the beach. First we put on the wetsuits and our instructor “Benny” explained us everything we need to know about the tide and what are the basic safety rules when it comes to surfing. Then we did a warm-up with stretching and more theory came along afterwards. We learned 3 techniques to get over an already broken wave with the softboard depending on how deep you are in the water. Then we repeated how to stand up and we did it several times on the beach before actually going in the water, which was good because we all did several things wrong. Once in the water we caught some tiny waves but it’s important to start there. Instead of going directly to the big waves and using a wrong technique because you don’t know how you should handle a big wave. So after some catching and Benny pushing us in some waves and giving us constant feedback we went out again to have another thing added to our already brainwashed head. He told us how we could accelerate or slow down with bending or making a step forward or backwards. Then we went back in for another 2 hours. I was doing fine and Benny always asked me if I need help and also to the others he offered a helping hand. He was really active and knew that he had a big responsibility on his shoulder. After one hour I went out to make a little break and drank some water. Watching the other surf students: Each one struggling in a different way with surfing. But everyone already had the sensation when you get up the first time and ride. It’s so nice to ride on a wave. The ocean is not controlled by anyone but when you ride on a wave you feel like (even if only for some seconds) it doesn’t matter that you can’t control it. But it feels just good to flow along. No need to control.
I went back in the water again with tired arms and caught some more waves. Every wave trying to think about what Benny told me and learning from it. Our cook Miguel prepared a lunch for us, so around 11.30 o’clock we got out and ate our food in the shade. Then we waited for a bit because the tide was changing and we talked about where we all came from and what brought us here. It was nice getting to know the people who all somehow ended up with the thought of wanting to learn how to surf. Around 12.30 we went back in. The tide was now higher and the current much stronger than in the morning but we still managed to catch some waves. It was more exhausting and we were already tired from the morning and our stomach was still a bit full. But in the end I was really happy we went in again. Saved by a whistle we got out all tired to the bone. We were all exhausted and our arms and legs felt like gum. I’m sure tomorrow my arms are going to hurt but it was a full day of surfing. A whole day of trying something new and having fun doing it. And that’s what it’s all about in the end isn’t it? Having fun.