I have always wanted to try surfing. So when you google ‘best places to surf in europe’ and portugal turns up and u’ve also heard of the charming culture, exotic food and vibrant nightlife of Lisboa (more on that later..) you think ‘hmm..why not?’ After hours on Skyscanner and Airbnb later you finally zero down on the cheapest weekend to fit your wallet. I had also signed up for a surf class experience on Airbnb.
At Lisbon, I was picked up by the Lisbon Surf House team in a minivan and taken to the location – a beach away from the city which has waves which is good for beginners as well as pros I am told. We were quite an eclectic group – sat beside me was a korean girl settled in london, a first timer, works as a financial analyst, had partied till late last night and dozed off instantly. At the front were two guys who ran a shoe start up in Milan and had started surfing from the previous summer along the beaches of lisbon and further down to algarve. Beside the driver was a couple living in Lisbon, the girl was a pro and the guy a first timer (he didnt seem very keen however you know things people do for love !).
We were taken to a shack restaurant besides the beach where there were other groups who joined us. I didnt get to talk to everyone but do remember a girls group from Germany one of whom told me they had been doing this for the past week and every muscle in her body was aching now – ‘ok! Those effortless manoeveurs needed a very fit body as I learnt soon enough’. Behind the shack we were provided wetsuits to change to as well as given surf boards. We started with some warm up exercises on the beach. Each trainer was assigned with maximum five students. However there were only 3 of us who were absolute first timers so we got grouped under one guy – Jonas. Jonas explained the safety measures carefully to us and did a test with each one of us to find out our ‘front foot’. I am apparently among the fewer variety of surfers in the world, whose front foot is the right foot. A few more instructions later we hit the water. For all you guys out there who have any interests to try this at any point in your life a few things you should know –
1. The surf board itself is quite heavy, lifting and positioning it every time is a mammoth task. And after two hours you feel exhausted
2. The balancing act – unless you were born on the tightrope, you should erase all those images of straddling the board atop a wave from your mind and focus only on keeping yourself ON the board – whether its on all your fours or clinging on to it like dear life
3. Though the idea is to ride the wave there will be waves in between that will hit you the wrong way – the water will go all over you and it will feel salty, nauseating and horrible – there will be more of these waves than others
4. Its tiring, you will fall and rise only to fall again and again and again. Its hard work, you dont get those wash-board abs for nothing
But leaving all that aside its a great adventure, every time you position yourself on the board mid sea and your trainer gives a slight push along the wave shouting ‘Up, front foot, back foot’ you put in all your energy to stand up and surf , you feel excited. You will fall ‘n’ number of times, but after all that when you are able to stand up once you feel exhilarated and intoxicated. You need practice like every other sport to even do decently and you need to be in love with water. But its an awesome experience and I specially will remember the trainer from Lisbon Surf House who was patient and extremely encouraging even with my dispirited attempts. I am definitely going back to get ‘up’ again!
#lisbontourism #adventures #firsttimesurfing Visit Portugal