Surfcamp!

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Eventually, I get around to blogging things.  I’ll catch up at some point.  I wanted to share some of the pictures from the awesome week I had at surfcamp with Rachel and Kate (who already blogged about it, here, because she’s a much better blogger than I am)

We’d decided at some point earlier this year that going surfing would be an amazing idea, and so, regardless of the fact that only one of us had ever been on a surfboard before, we jumped straight in at the deep end and booked not one, sensible, lesson, but a full week at Cascais Surf School in Portugal.

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We flew into Lisbon on a beautiful sunny day, after kicking off with breakfast and prosecco at Stansted like the luxury bitches we are, and checked in at the Nice Way Hostel in Cascais after a quick 30-minute transfer.  After unpacking and deciding that we really didn’t need to be wearing jeans, we headed into town for some food and photo ops (of which there were many. Snapchat had a really good week).

As our surf lessons started on Monday, we planned a day on the beach on Sunday, which we managed spectacularly, with drink and snack breaks.  We also managed to get spectacularly burnt, because it turns out that factor 15 is not high enough for pasty English skin which hasn’t seen daylight for approximately 1454 months.  Oops.

Monday morning saw me sprinting to the supermarket at 8am for factor 50+ suncream, which we duly slathered on before our first surf lesson, and after getting our wetsuits sorted, we were off to the beach!  Carcavelos had the best waves the week we were there, so that’s where we headed.  There was a group of guys from Germany there the same week as us, so we had our lessons with them. It was really nice to have a bigger group, and it’s definitely a plus point to staying at a hostel that you pretty instantly have friends who are also terrified of drowning (except that they were all really good, straight away. Damnit). I did not manage to stand up on Monday, but I also did not drown, so I’m counting it as a win.  I did, however, get myself an enormous yellow bruise on my hip, because it turns out that the sea actually hurts.  Luckily, it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be cured with wine and carbs.  Surfing is (un)surprisingly knackering, especially when you are mostly flailing around trying to get your surfboard round the right way.

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The weather on Tuesday was terrible, and I’ll admit, I was genuinely a bit frightened walking towards the sea at 9am.  By 11am, I was absolutely exhausted, covered in bruises, but I’d managed to get on my surfboard, albeit without enough room for manoeuvre number three – standing up.  Wednesday, though, we had stopped dicking about in the sea, and learnt to give it the respect it deserves. In return, we’d earned the seas respect, and all of us stood up, more than once. Boom. (Note to self: excitement is great, but immediately waving your arms in the air when you stand up means you will instantly lose any sense of balance you had, and you will go head first off the front of the surfboard. #wipeout)

After surfing, we headed into Cascais most afternoons, and the town is beautiful – there are loads of little alleys you can wander down, and the harbour is beautiful.  We had some lunches with the guys at the hostel, and it was nice to come back, shower, and then laze about in the garden, listening to spotify and attempting to stand on ridiculous/impossible balance boards.  Ha.  We had an afternoon in Lisbon too, which was only half an hour away on the train, and is a really cool city – I’d like to go back and see some more of it.  It’s very hilly, there are churches everywhere, and white wine sangria is a beverage I definitely need to sample more of.  I think it took us until about Monday to decide that we are all doing life wrong by spending it in offices, because everyone at the surf hostel was super happy, all the time.  Pretty much, I just want to run away and go travelling again. Preferably forever. Someone send me some writing gigs.

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Obviously, by Thursday we were surf pros, which is good really, as Thursday was Photo Day.  After the lesson, we went back to the hostel, I disappeared in a Fiat Punto to do some very efficient barbecue shopping with the Germans, and then it was time for coaching.

We watched all the videos and looked at all the photos from the day, which was super helpful to see what we were doing, where the mistakes were, and how to fix them.  I earned myself the nickname of The Ballerina, and Kate won Best Face.  Rachel was already surfing sideways by Thursday, because it turns out that being incredibly laid back about everything makes you a really good surfer.  After the coaching, we had a huge barbecue, and then went out dancing to the Flamingo, where I definitely drank too many mojitos and definitely danced too much.  (Note to self #2: surfing hungover is way more difficult than surfing sober. And surfing sober is hard.

Due to the amount of mojitos involved in Thursday night, Friday’s lesson was not hugely inspiring.  Basically, we respected the sea enough for it to let us mostly just zone out watching waves, or lie on our boards and float around whilst slowly dying.  Floating around in the sea is, however, a pretty great hangover cure, and by the time we got back, we were all pretty much feeling ok.  Rachel and Kate had the mother of all naps, I read an entire book, and it was a pretty chilled afternoon all round.

Saturday was our last day, and Kate and I went shopping and to the botanical gardens (where they had BABY TURTLES and DUCKLINGS) whilst Rachel braved some outside waves and very nearly drowned. (Direct quote from Ale: You nearly lost your friend today.)  By all accounts, it was the best/worst wipeout of the week.  Rachel’s respect for the sea carried her through though, and she (just) made it out the other side. Post surfing/shopping/carb-loading and some leaving-time tears, we headed back to Lisbon, and after too much trouble finding the bus, we went to the airport.

It was a fantastic week, and I’d absolutely go back.  There wasn’t any surfing in Crete this week (so many trips!), but I’m going to find some, before the sea forgets me, and I forget how to do a chicken leg.

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