You can read about surfing as much as you want, you can listen to different stories and watch videos, but you wouldn’t understand anything until you try surfing yourself. And there are many reasons to try! I must say that windsurfing and Russian waters didn’t work for me, I wanted only a surfboard, ocean and real waves!
To the ocean shore I was led by Keanu Reeves himself. After watching a cult movie “Point break” in my early adolescence, I had a dream to find myself someday among the tough guys in the wetsuits on the beach.
I didn’t dare to go immediately to California, where guys from the movie were riding the waves; I’ve started my surf journey in Portugal. I went there and… fell in love with this country forever. And not only because people you can meet there in every café look like the Hollywood movie stars. It is a country where you can find amazing combination of gentle sunshine, fantastic architecture and ocean romance. I am not surprised that Portuguese discovered a half of the world we know today!
Picking up expressions such as “swell”, “line-up” and famous “paddle-paddle”, in October I went to Lagos, to the girlie surf camp, organized by Femi Pleasure Portugal. I’ve heard about them from my friend’s (musician, romantic and traveler) Facebook status update.
Getting to Lagos was easier and cheaper than we thought – first we flew from Moscow to Madrid, then to Faro with Ryanair, travelled by bus from Faro to Lagos where Rita (camp’s manager) picked us up.
Lagos is in a great location that has two coasts – south and west. South coast is known for its huge Meia Praia beach, where in autumn and spring beginners can enjoy smooth and perfect waves. For those who love more extreme conditions, in a 40-minute drive through the Natural park is located Amoreira – the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. Every time our minivan arrived to the beach when we were able to see the ocean, my breath was taken away – what kind of waves we are going to meet this time?
My destiny was to stand up on the board for the first time at Amoreira. Strong currents, bottom which changes from high tide to low tide, capricious waves – if you can surf here, all other beaches will be easy for you! And trust me, you WILL be able to ride – under the supervision of professionals with more than 20 years of surfing experience you have no other choice.
At the beginning of the five-day surf course of “a young soldier” my body was not able to recover from the amount of health, which I tried to fit inside after the endless office routine. Morning yoga, healthy breakfast, jogging on the beach and three hours of surfing – this was our daily program! I saw muscles growing on my arms, my face got tanned and in my head there was only one desire – to win the ocean, whatever it takes. One month of this lifestyle and I could have become a super hero, but unfortunately we had to go back to Moscow.
And talking about the water temperature in the ocean and the fear of getting cold, girls, remember that wetsuits are the greatest invention! Despite of the popular belief, a properly selected wetsuit will not make you fatter, it can even make you look slimmer. In addition, it helps to hold onto water, which is very important when you have to spend two sets of surfing 1,5h long each in the water with a short break for lunch, which was supplied by carrying Rita.
Our girlie surf camp’s team of eight members was international – we had participants from Ukraine, Great Britain, Sweden and Russia. Everyone was beginner, which motivated us even more. We immediately wanted to prove that Russian girls can not only ride the “running horse” but also easily can ride ocean waves! This time “Russian team” formed from me and my friend was in the winning position, sharing the first place just with a Swedish girls.
Finally I want to say that Lagos is also a city with a very attractive nightlife. If you have enough energy to have fun after surfing and dinner, then you have lots of bars and discos at your disposal for every taste. And the prices here will make you cry from happiness comparing with prices in Moscow.
Of course, five days are not enough to become a surfer and to explore Portugal. But 5 days is enough to fall in love with surfing and to become friends with the ocean. Just remember – never give up at the very beginning when the wave is instantly pushing you back to the shore. You can practice surfing until you are old, so we still have plenty of time to win the title of Rip Curl Boardmaster!
Take it easy and keep surfing!