“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back”
I can’t stop smiling. I’m getting repeatedly smashed in the face with frothy waves; the salt water is making my eyes sting and it’s often also invading my nose, which is obviously pretty unpleasant — but I can’t stop smiling.
Whether on it, next to it or in it — the sea is, and will always be, a special place to me. After a packed month that included cycling to Paris and running Fuerteventura within a week of each other, and then heading straight to the brilliant Keswick Mountain Festival to deliver talks and TrailFit outdoor fitness sessions with KEEN, it’s safe to say I was really ready for a little recharge.
This particular dose of salty happiness comes courtesy of Surf Sistas — I’ve joined them for a weekend of surf tuition. There’s a group of us ranging from complete beginners to those more experienced and wanting to improve. There is a mix of ages and backgrounds but by the time the coach arrives in Newquay on Friday night, none of that really matters and we’ve all bonded over our mutual excitement for the weekend ahead.
We wake up on Saturday to the best weather imaginable:
Down on the beach, we have a group stretch out and lesson on first how to body surf the waves before we progress to standing. It’s to the credit of Surf Sistas that the land based sessions are really efficient and we’re very quickly in the water. After successfully revising the childhood fun of body surfing, it’s back on land and straight down to business — standing up.
It sounds simple enough and although experience tells me it won’t be quite that easy to put into practice, I’m feeling ready to give it my best shot!
Much to my own surprise, I do actually manage to get up.
But, of course, I also fall down. A lot.
It doesn’t really matter to me. Our brilliant instructors cheer us on throughout and helpfully pass on little tweaks to improve technique. It’s completely addictive. Each time I stack it, I rush back out to try again.
There isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be.
My form at times is a little sloppy and accordingly I sometimes catch my feet/knees on the rough surface of the board as I get up to stand, leaving me with bleeding feet and some very attractive friction burns. I don’t care much about this either — I’m having way too much fun to stop and the salt water is doing a brilliant job of cleaning out the grazes anyway.
Feeling a satisfied sort of tired and extremely content, I think I quite literally fall asleep smiling on Saturday night.
Sunday morning sees us down on the beach again and raring to go. The sun is already blasting down by 9am so our warm up stretches and mobility exercises are thankfully done in the water to keep us cool.
The next few hours fly by — a glutton for punishment, I continue to scratch up my feet/knees and ingest untold amounts of salt water through my nose, but it’s still utterly addictive.
As the session draws to a close, our lovely instructors patiently wait for us to reluctantly filter back to the beach. “Just one more wave…”
After showering and changing, there’s a calming yoga session to finish the weekend. Back on the coach to London, I quietly smile and think how important it is to take a time out and make space for the things that make us happy. As the sun sets and the miles roll by, I make a little promise to myself to not leave it so long between surf trips.
I’m a proud ambassador for GlideSoul. If you like the look of the wetsuit I’m wearing in these photos, click on the link above to check out their gorgeous waterwear.