Once you are in the water, the rules are simple: You, your board and the waves. No time for daydreams or thoughts about whether my hair looks good or if my ass looks fat in my wetsuit. The next wave is already on its way and if I don’t start paddling like crazy it will surely swallow me. It is so nice to reduce your thoughts to just one thing: Where is the wave? Is it strong enough to carry me? And off you go.
I stayed at the surfcamp “The Algarve” in Luz along Portugal’s Southwestern coast for a week and tried to learn how to surf. It was heavenly and I got addicted – if there is such a thing as a surf addiction.
I never thought I would hear myself say something as tacky as “Surfing is a way of life, man!” No idea where that came from, someone must have whispered it in my ear. And it is so true. But you won’t come to realise this until you’ve managed to stand on a surf board. Surfing is by far the best activity. “Leider geil” as Deichkind would say. Heading off from Luz, the surfcamp brought us to two beautiful beaches during our surf course: Bordeira on the west coast and Zavial on the south coast – dreamy! In Portugal’s Algarve the beaches are covered in beautiful red-ochre-white rocks that slowly blend into the blue of the ocean. Mother Nature certainly outdid herself here! It seems like she always does whatever she wants. Even if that means blowing the entire beach in your face during the day. Mother Nature, I love your “I don’t care” attitude. When I grow up I want to be just like you. Maybe with a little more empathy though.
It was intense to find out that after two days of vegetarian food, a nicotine and alcohol detox and surfing the Algarve I could relate to surf heroes like Kelly Slater and Philip Edwards. Of course that’s complete nonsense and absolutely ridiculous. But it really felt that way. Suddenly I understood all the famous surf quotes: “Surfin is like the mafia. Once you’re in – you’re in. There’s no getting out” (Kelly Slater). Or just like my surf coach passionately yelled at me when I was paddling myself to death: „YOU HAVE TO PADDLE JARD! No paddle, no surf!“
Surfing at the Algarve
It was just so easy. The simplicity of surfing at the Algarve was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. After this mix of quotes I am going to do something crazy and try to express my feelings in my very own surf wisdom: “Surfing is like a spiritual experience. Nothing clears your head like being out there on the great wide mysterious ocean.”
The surf coaches told me how jealous they were of their students. No matter if you fail standing up a thousand times. It’s not about that. “It is about our students having fun and riding a few waves while we are mostly standing by on the beach.” Nobody said surfing was easy though. My instructor once saw one of his students threw his board away after failing to stand up the first time. Another student started crying with frustration. It is worth the effort! Being caught by a wave and feeling the direct confrontation with nature was one of the best gifts I received in a long time. I didn’t even have to stand up on my board for that.
You don’t have to surf at the Algarve to get this feeling of easiness. Nothing can go wrong when you are staying at the Luz Surfvillage. Not only is it very luxurious but everything is done with love. The apartments have the best ocean view. And the owners instantly welcome you like a new family member. Everyone here is friendly and helpful to the extent of almost being unbelievable. The slightest problem is taken care of by everyone around you (e.g.: I spilled my whole shampoo bottle over my phone charger). Every morning breakfast is prepared for you, so you can enjoy your meal by the pool. So good! Three days of fruit, yoghurt, vegetables, fish and no nicotine. Medicine for the soul. Top!
These few days of surfing opened my eyes to the beauty of the world – physically and emotionally. Even though I still don’t know how to surf properly, as you can see on the pictures. But here again a fitting quote: “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun” (Phil Edwards).
Have you been surfing before? Maybe even surfing at the Algarve? Did you feel such extreme and euphoric feelings? Or am I going crazy?
View of Luz Surfvillage
Bordeira beach, West coast
Me, myself and I fishing
Zavial beach, South coast
Surfing at the Algarve. Don’t miss out!!!
With thanks to The Luz Surf Village und air berlin for their support.