It’s time to get active! If you want to get the most out of your beach holiday, surfing is the thing for you. The benefits are endless, it’s not only a fun thing to do but also boosts your confidence, let’s you appreciate nature even more, comes with a great culture and is the perfect stress release. On top of that it’s a full body workout. Getting a beach body on the beach, how beneficial is that? After all, the great outdoors is the best fitness center you can have and the waves will soon be your favourite fitness instructor. Enthusiastic but no idea were to start? Let me help you.
Picking a destination
There are thousands of perfect spots to surf, from beginner locations till waves that can reach the height of a house. One of the most famous places to go in Europe is Biarritz. I personally really like the coast of Portugal, for example Ericeira or Valadares. You can let your inner surfer all over the world. Maxico, Bali, South Africa, Hawaii.. literally everywhere. So depending on your holiday wishes, timing and days, pick a location and google will guide you to the best coast spots. Tip: When exploring a destination, keep an eye out for the locals. You can learn a lot about the place by observing people. Where do they surf, where do they eat, what do they wear. All those little things will help you getting the most out of your holiday.
Choosing The Right Accommodation
Especially if you’re a beginner and don’t have your own surf gear I recommend going to a surf guesthouse or hostel. They will provide you with transport to the nearby beach, the correct equipment, lessons and great company. Although it’s a hostel or guesthouse, that doesn’t mean you have to share a dorm. There are plenty of luxurious accommodations out there where you can have your own room or even bungalow. Concerning my favourite spots in Europe, I recommend Surf Yoga in Eiriceira and Salt Days Lodge in Valadares.
Whether you live near the beach, in the middle of the city or in a country where the water is always frozen: there is always a possibility to practice. Of course the best preperation is on the water, let’s make that clear. But there are multiple other options. If you’re not already blessed with a surfer body and top notch physical condition, it’s probably a good thing to dust off that gym membership. I asked my personal trainer (http://lottept.nl/) to create some surf-minded exercises and honestly, afterwards was the first time I ever surfed for 4 hours a day and didn’t have any muscle strain. Focus on your physical condition and strengthen your arms, shoulders and back muscles. Also balance exercises, for example with a Bosu Trainer, will help you come forward as a natural talent.
What to Pack
I’m not diving into what surf gear you need, there are so many possibilities and it really depends on your own preferences, experience and places you go to. If you’re in doubt, your surf accommodation is happy to give you advice about the must needs for their locations. But besides your surf gear, there are some extra gadgets that can come in handy:
- Sunscreen. And I really mean good sunscreen and not the oil-kind-of-I’m-tanning-type cause you going to be half tomato half human. A firm waterproof type will do, but there is a chance it will irritate you eyes when you’re trying to rub the salt water out. I swear by the zink sticks, especially if you burn as fast as I do. Most of the time you only need to use it on your hands, head and feet.
- Comfy clothing. Besides your beach towel it’s recommended to take some comfortable clothing with you. If you’re taking multiple courses a day, you’re probably going to change locations. Although I know you would love to wear that cute bohemian beach-outfit, you’re going to want a soft t-shirt/sweater when you’re whole body is sticky from the salt water.
- For the long hair hero’s: hair ties! You don’t want to have your hair stick to your face like seaweed all the time. A surf cap is also a possibility.
- Don’t forget to take loads of water and some food with you to the beach, you going to thank yourself later.
Your First Waves
You surf instructor will tell you everything you need to know to be a top surfer in no-time. How to paddle, when to stand and most important; how to jump up without making a massive nosedive. But maybe even more important are the surf etiquettes. Waves can have a lot of power and you don’t want to be guilty of hitting another surfer with your board. Good thing you can already read about the surf etiquettes before your trip, so you will be physically and mentally prepared. You can find a complete list of the rules here.
Checked all the boxes? It’s time to practice, practice and practice. Remember to stay positive, surfing can look easy but not everybody is born with a natural talent to jump on a floating board (me neither). It took me 3 holidays and 90 always-drown-I’m-done-with-it moments to finally master the basics. And actually, that’s the beauty of it. It’s such a amazing reward if you manage to catch just that perfect wave after some exhausting minutes of paddling.
Every time you go surfing, every wave you surf, you will get a little more addicted, and you’ll book your next surf trip. Head up, smile on your face and ride those waves!
*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heels at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.
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