An Intensive Week of Surf Coming to an End

This place is as amazing as I remembered. The conditions could have been better, but I’m not complaining. I also remembered again how painful it is to surf for four hours every day for five consecutive days. Especially if you are not as fit as you used to be.

A Baleal sunset
Rough conditions – whitewater training

On Monday we started in whitewater, meaning that we caught easier waves that had already broken. I felt a bit frustrated and felt like I should be out back catching real waves… On Tuesday the conditions were similar and I got a chance to go out and try the real waves. The man sized waves didn’t really want to carry me and getting back out after a wipe out was really tough.

I was skeptical of the teachers on Monday, but by letting me have a go on Tuesday they showed me the reason behind their choice. And I humbled myself and knew that with this size swell, my place is not out with the green waves. That hurt, but it was a necessary lesson.

Wednesday and Thursday real surfing

On Wednesday the swell went down and we had two sessions catching real waves. They were still too big for me, but still manageable. I got plenty of nice rides and cool new insights on what I need to do to improve. The battle to get back out was really draining though and during the afternoon session I needed plenty of breathers sitting on my board.

After the second session on Wednesday, we went to Óbidos, a medieval town close by. That has been on the weekly plan here as long as I’ve been coming here. I went along, but the weather was really foggy and there was a slight drizzle, so I just had a quick walk and then sat down for a glass of port in a pretty cellar bar.

A pretty house with a lot of flowers in Óbidos

Thursday the waves were smaller and that was my best day surfing, even if the morning session got canceled because of no waves with the low morning tide. We had a surf skate class instead and it was surprisingly fun. I’ve always dreaded standing on a skateboard, since for some reason I have always ended up going backwards while the board has sped out ahead. But I got the basics now and the turning on surf skateboards is really close to surfing in many ways and I might even buy a one of my own at some point.

A different dress code at a restaurant
Tired Friday

Today we had just one longer session of surf but even that was too much for me. I have absolutely no power left and everywhere hurts. My old friend left shoulder started bugging me on Thursday again like it almost always does after a few hard days fighting in the water. I also changed the board to a little bit smaller one and had some trouble finding the sweet spot on the board. I had a few spectacular wipe outs and swallowed plenty of salt water. After some time I just realized that there’s no point going back in. I had no strength to do anything really. Too bad really, since the conditions were really good.

Friday was really busy

Now I just woke up from a nap and in an hour it’s time for the camp dinner. We’re also watching a video made from this weeks lessons and activities. Afterwards the party continues in a cocktail bar close by.

What then?

Yesterday I made up my mind and I’ll hang around here until Monday or Tuesday and then I’m heading up to Spain again. I’m going to look fo a campsite somewhere close to a surf spot and if everything works out fine, I might stay there for some time.

I went to try on a wetsuit yesterday and it was a really good fit. I didn’t buy it yet, but I’m pretty sure I will. Also one of the surf teachers said that he might have a suitable board for me at his home. I’ll go and have a look during the weekend. I still have to figure out how to make the board fit into Naranja, but I think I’ll manage somehow.

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