Learn To Surf With Stoke Travel
Until now! The surfing is the reason why the surf camp exists, duh! We rip the shred on a beach called Zarautz, the surfing hotspot of the Basque Country and a short drive from downtown San Sebastian, even shorter from our hillside surf house.
At Zarautz you’ll find a long, long, long arc of sand, with waves all along its length. You’ll find conditions for all levels of surfer, you’ll find lefts and rights and waves near to the rocks, and waves breaking into deep channels. There’s a four meter tide in Zarautz, so over the course of six hours, as the tides shift, you’ll be faced with completely different set ups, with the high tide creating a formidable shoredump and the low tide offering waves far, far out to sea.
From the surf house we can actually see, over the rolling hills and fields of the beautiful Basque Country, the sea. We can have a look at the day’s conditions and compare that to our forecasts. We’ll know if the surf is big, small, we’ll know what the wind is doing and what times the tides are. Our experienced and qualified instructors will know just what the banks, the underwater sand formations that shape waves, are doing – they’ve spent almost every minute of free time exploring the different waves along the entire Zarautz stretch. Using a combination of forecasting, expertise and the good old out-the-window surf check we’ll choose the best time to hit the beach – sometimes early, sometimes a little later.
Once down on the sand we set up base. The beginners will begin their theory lessons, chats about the ocean and how the waves work. We’ll watch the water for a while, learn how waves behave so we can better tame them when the time comes. The intermediate surfers will be waxing up boards and diving in the water, consulting with the instructors for the best spots, getting advice on fixing areas of their surfing that need a little work. The advanced surfers will already be out there.
The next step for the first timers is to learn the basics. We do this on the sand. We learn how to paddle, how to catch the waves and travel through the ocean. You’ll learn what to do when confronted with an angry wave and you’ll learn how to be safe in the water with your fellow surfers. You’ll also be taught the technique for standing on your surfboard and staying on your feet for as long as possible. This is important, because if you don’t learn how to stand up on your surfboard then you’re just boogie boarding. You didn’t come here to boogie board.
Once the techniques are taught and practised on the sand, it’s time to take them to the ocean. You’ll enter with our instructors and we won’t take you out of your depth. We will stand on the sandbank and wait for waves that have already broken, taking advantage of the waves when they have less power. From there we point our surfboards towards the beach, and when the instructors instruct us to do so we paddle. We paddle like crazy, like baby turtles running from sandcrabs, and the waves catch us and they push us across the top of the water towards the beach.
What a thrill! What a sensation! There’s nothing in the world quite like it, and we guarantee that from that moment you’ll be hooked on surfing. But don’t wallow in the glory, there’s work to do. You’ve learned this, so you go through the motions: push up with your arms, arch your back, bring your bum up, plant your back foot, slide your front foot forward, slowly stand up. Release the rails of your surfboard. Wobble. Wobble. Stand….
Some of you will nail it first time, others will take a few waves. Some might not stand up in the first lesson, but that’s ok, with the exception of injury or lesser-abledness everybody will stand up eventually. From there your goals become standing up for longer, standing up on a wave that is unbroken, standing up and going along a wave, getting radical. From here in on surfing will become a part of your life, an excuse to return to the Basque Country, to travel the world, a way to stay healthy and calm and just a really nice way to occupy your time.
After your first session of the day we chill on the beach. It’s time to catch some rays, to play some beach games, to crack a beer or to eat the lunch we prepared for you. All of your equipment hire is included in the price, so you’re free to throw on a wetsuit, grab a board and surf whenever you feel like hitting the waves again. Now that you’ve been bitten by the surf bug you’re going to want to hit the waves again, often.
After the day at the beach we’ll head back up the hill to home. We’ll drink a beer, cider or sangria from the open bar. We’ll do some yoga. We’ll chat about the day’s surfing, share battle scars and stories of triumph. We’ll become even better friends with the people we’re surfing with and we’ll look forward to the next day’s shredding.