The Winter Camp Review
Our Last Winter Surf Camp of the Cold Season…
The long range surf forecast online is often a bit overly optimistic. A week before our most recent winter surf camp, it said it was going to be 3ft and clean, with minimal wind. Everyone had their fingers and toes crossed. After a few introductory, shandies at Retorrick Mill, the night before, we all met up at SeaVista on Saturday morning. A massive, hearty, and damn delicious breakfast set us up for a day of exploring the North coast of Cornwall. From the view in the breakfast room, we could clearly see that the forecast hadn’t lied. Everyone was itching to get in.
Pete gathered everyone in our ‘office’/training room/the shed, for a introductory briefing. He was aided by some snazzy drone footage we got last summer in our out-the-back lessons. Tom acted as glamorous assistant, and demonstrated the skills to focus on for the weekend ahead. Our keen-bean surfers could see how to read a wave, and decide which direction to turn, after taking off, whilst staying in the power source.
But where to surf?
After loading up the vans with boards, a wide-angle lens camera, drone, GoPro AND barbecue, we realised the wind had picked up. In convoy, we headed to a secret, secluded beach, where the cliffs acted as protection from the fresh winds. Gazing down on the beach, we had made the best decision, having an epic view of some lovely looking right-handers. Alice and Tom split the group on the beach, going over some key pointers from the video, ensuring everyone had one thing to focus on int the surf. With the sun out, the water warm(ish), and an easy paddle out, we couldn’t have asked for a better set up. Perched half way up a cliff, Pete spent the sessions snapping away at our team of surfers.
A few pairs of tired arms, and the tide getting higher, determined the end of our first surf of the camp. A few snags on the barbie and a cheeky Hobnob for our carb and sugar hit set everyone up for the walk back to the carpark. Our second session took place in Mawgan Porth, about mid-tide. Some wedgey waves tested our group to quicken their pop up and angle take-offs.
Why video analysis?
That evening, we all gathered around the big screen to watch back the footage we had gathered throughout the day. Going through each video and photo, one by one, everyone got a chance to see themselves surfing. When we stand on the beach and explain to you what to do (or what not to do), it may seem quite abstract and hard to visualise. These might include: the timing of a good pop-up; how to turn effectively and efficiently; how to control your speed to suit the wave. By seeing ourselves surfing, it really hammers home explanations of how we can improve. Even the top surfers in the world use video analysis, to help them surf bigger, better, faster and stronger! Our instructors were able to give a couple of personalised tips to each and every person.
Dinner at The Park’s snazzy, new restaurant was a perfect location to discuss our previous surfing experiences, compare travel tips, and how everyone wants to move down to Cornwall. It was clear that the surfing bug was spreading like wild-fire! Off to the Merrymoor for a cheeky night-cap, then back to SeaVista’s cozy rooms and plush beds.
Tired arms kept on going…
Surf camp day two and the view across from our cappuncinos told us that Mawgan Porth was the place to surf that morning. Our progressive surf campers watched a consistent A-frame unravelling from the North of the beach. The morning theory session was where we could recap on everyone’s personal goals, caught on camera, and pin-pointed the night before. Only the hardy came out for the afternoon surf (including those who didn’t want to get caught in the end-of-weekend traffic up the A30), pushing their paddle endurance to the limit.
We were super lucky to have such an awesome team of people coming down for the weekend. It was clear how much people have progressed over the two days, and everyone seemed to have a sturdy look of determination on their faces, knowing exactly what they needed to work on the future. Taking that drive and focus into a surf session will do wonders in terms of improvement! Can’t wait until our next surf camp in the Autumn – keep your eyes peeled for dates, as spaces will go in a flash!