I learnt to surf with Kingsurf and it changed my life!
A guest post by Kingsurf graduate Kirsty Hill
Being a surfer isn’t generally something you aspire to if you grow up in a landlocked city. Especially if, by the age of 33, you’ve never even set foot in the sea and it scares you.
Yes, that was me. But 10 years on, I’m proof that one surf lesson really can change your life.
And it all started with Kingsurf.
Dreaming the dream
I’ve always been fond of Cornwall due to countless holidays as a child and an adult. The sea enticed me even though it terrified me. I’d stare at it for hours just feeling totally mesmerised. I loved the idea of seaside living and the more time I spent in Cornwall, the more I noticed the lifestyle that surrounded surfing.
It started when I innocently wandered into a surf shop in St Ives. The smell of wax and neoprene hit me. I loved the surf branded clothes and thought the boards were works of art. The sound of laid back, chilled tunes peeled out of the speakers. I fell in love with the lifestyle before I went anywhere near a board.
Then I noticed the surfers. Standing on a beach one day I watched them glide along, dancing on the waves. I vowed there and then to try it.Just to tick something off my bucket list.
Learning to surf – my first lesson
Staying in Mawgan Porth there was never any question who I’d learn to surf with. As soon as I booked my lesson I knew I’d made the right choice. The whole team seemed friendly, encouraging and super helpful.
My stomach was a tangled mess of nerves when I arrived for the lesson, but that soon eased when I met head coach Pete. His infectious enthusiasm was like nothing I’d ever come across. I figured that if I didn’t manage to stand up during the lesson, I’d have a laugh and it would be a fun experience. Plus, I could tick ‘learning to surf’ off my bucket list.
Sitting on the beach, Pete took our group through the basics. I don’t remember a lot about it now, just that feeling of fear as I stared out to sea and wondered what the hell I’d let myself in for.
When I hit the water, all that changed.
It sounds crazy, but I focused so much on what Pete told us on the beach that I forgot I was scared! I wanted to catch a wave so much that any notion of fear vanished.
It took a few attempts, but then I did it. I got to my feet and rode a wave until I dug the board’s fin into the sand. I didn’t want that ride to end.
I felt like I’d just walked on water. I was elated. It felt like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, and I wanted more!
Refusing to feel landlocked
After that holiday, I didn’t surf for another 2 years. Wolverhampton isn’t exactly synonymous with riding waves so I chalked surfing down to something I’d maybe do on holiday. Until a friend suggested going to North Devon to surf…in a day. That’s a 400 mile round trip. But we did it.
And that’s when things really got serious.
That day trip was a real lightbulb moment. Me, my husband and friend started doing day trips at weekends as often as we could. We aimed for once a month but sometimes life got in the way. So we booked holidays to Cornwall and Devon. And that just fuelled the passion even more.
I became completely obsessed. I read surf books, watched surf films and wrote a blog about surfing – anything that helped me feel connected to it when I was away from the sea.
But it wasn’t enough.
Moving to Cornwall
By that time, my husband felt completely burnt out in his teaching job. We both felt uninspired by city living and wanted a better quality of life. Plus we wanted to surf as often as possible. Inspired by Pete who grew up in Gloucester, not a million miles from where we lived, we decided enough was enough.
In August 2015, we took our final holiday in Cornwall. We got home and put the house on the market. It sold within a week and 3 months later, we moved to the coast of dreams.
Living the dream
4 years on and we’ve really settled into Cornwall life. I surf 2-3 times a week and I’ve made huge amounts of progress. I’ve tackled waves I previously never dreamed of and got to a stage with my surfing that I never thought possible, especially after having that first surf lesson at age 33.
I’m now 43.
I plan my week around the surf forecast and use the skills and knowledge that Pete taught me to find the best waves.
But above all, I’ve improved my fitness, health, wellbeing and outlook on life. All because of surfing and all because my passion outweighed my fear.
My surf journey at times hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to overcome a lot to get to where I’m at now, especially being so wary of the sea but now I don’t even think twice about it…unless the waves are huge!
I live in Newquay but I still surf Mawgan Porth occasionally. It’s a special place for me and whenever I surf there, it’s my way of showing gratitude.
But above all, I’ll never be able to thank Pete and the guys at Kingsurf enough. For showing me a completely different way of life that I once only dreamed of.
Surfing really can completely change your life!
Book your first surf lesson with us. We’re open all year round. You never know where it could lead!