A Beginners Guide to Surfing in Moliets
Happy International Surfing Day everyone, I am delighted to bring you my Star Surf Camps experience in beautiful Moliets to get everyone buzzing about the irresistible, infallible joy that is surfing.
Shout it before you go in, wetsuited up, and you feel kind of warrior like. “That’s what we say before we go in” says Jamie, my surf instructor, strutting in his bright yellow and black wetsuit to the waters edge. As the foamy surf draws nearer I attach my footstrap, dig my toes to the sand and run in. Before the first wave hits me I yell out my first, ‘Let’s get it!’.
The day before the beautiful Kasha and myself, part of the ISD team, arrived in camp. One look around, with all the friendly greetings and warm smiles from the staff, down to the chill out areas, hammocks and ping pong table, I could tell this was going to be an incredible week.
After a relaxed barbecue with some of the finest chorizo sausages money can buy (or, possibly just French), I settled down to a good night sleep, dreaming of the surf that quietly lay in the distance, and the challenge of a new sport.
With a feast like platter of food for breakfast, which is the norm, and a quick wetsuit fitting (turns out tight = right) we headed the beach. Feeling like a true surfer, I had my wetsuit on peeled down to my waist, surfboard under each arm and my eyes on the waves. My surf instructors – Jamie and George – give us beginners some theory about safety in the water, riptides and how to pop up, and suddenly there I am in the water.
Surfing is one of those sports, much like snowboarding where learning can sometimes be pretty painful. Beginners stick to the foamy waves or ‘white waves’ as they are easier to learn on. The disadvantage of this is that, depending on the surf, you get battered by waves more frequently that the pros who ride ‘out back’ and catch the ‘green waves’.
Getting to the stage where you start hitting barrels and doing handstands on your board certainly takes time, but honestly, even a clumsy, enormous footed fool like myself started to get it pretty quick. By my second lesson, after a calming yoga session in the woods, I found my balance and started to tackle the problem of popping up. The muscle strengthening techniques, balance and core muscles that yoga teaches may not have forced me up on the board, but they certainly helped.
Once you do stand on that first wave, there few sensations in the world that match it. I rode that beauty till I could no more, and fell face first trying to high five my instructor – to me, that was it. The moment I fell (figuratively) for surfing. The rest of the stay just deepened my love.
Part of the reason people surf is the atmosphere and lifestyle that goes hand in hand with surfing. From the relaxed attitude of true surfers (who only really stress if they are too far from the water) to the culture that has developed around this water sport.
Star Surf Camps offer some of the best activities post-and-pre-surf. Relaxing yoga lessons each day? Check. Parties every night? Check. From the fantastic flunkyball tournament, incredible foodie tour of San Sebastian to the sunset surf with cheese and wine, the guys that run this camp know how to live.
The morning routine of a communal breakfast, jokes about the night followed by a barefoot walk to the beach, board in hand, offers anyone and everyone the perfect escape from modern reality, and a lifestyle I wish I had taken up from birth. During my stay, four Universities from England were at the camp. The students all had that confident, know it all look about them. By the end of the trip, they were bright eyed, eager and flooding poor Sami with job requests. It’s easy to see why. The indulgent mix of freedom, fun, nature, beautiful girls (and guys) and the opportunity to finally get tanned is irresistible.
If I ever decided to harass Sami for a job, it wouldn’t be for the above reasons. It’s the great respect that I hold for everyone in that camp. They are more than just surf instructors, photographers, kitchen staff and yoga instructors, they are some of the most passionate people I have ever met. A mixture of driven conservationists, nature lovers, salt of the earth characters and ambassadors for the sport of surfing, the sheer love of what they do rubs off on everyone that sets foot in that camp.
So finally, as a fully stoked out bear and new lover of the waves, I leave you with the final message. If you happen to be hitting the water soon, keep your eyes peeled, I’ll be the pale faced, red nosed dude yelling, ‘Let’s Get IT!’, and getting eaten by the waves, most of the time.