Clinging onto my red, 9ft surf board I waded out into the sea battling against the harsh waves. The luke-warm water pounded against my shins, thighs and eventually my chest as I got further away from the shoreline.
To my right dramatic mountains jutted out into the bright blue sky. A scattering of white wispy clouds hovered above the grand peaks.
Moving my gaze towards the horizon once more a wall of white water waves were on their way towards me. This rapidly approaching barrier had no sympathy. My heart quickened. It was not feasible to run away. The wave was gaining more power and momentum. It was milliseconds away.
I took in a deep breath, gripped my surf board and closed my eyes.
To my surprise being submerged in sea water and forcefully washed up the shore was not as terrifying as I had originally imagined. This was the first of many waves that engulfed me.
The instructors taught us to jump into the waves with our boards above them or slightly below. We must be brave, confident and in control.
At times there were lulls in wave movements. For a few seconds the waves would cease. I would simply float, with the sun rays warming my face. I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth allowing my body to fully relax. I was at one with mother earth (pacha mama).
Our surf teacher demonstrated how one should stand up on the board in three swift, controlled movements which is much harder than it looks. Thanks to my amazing instructor at Lanzasurf I managed to do this. In order to stand it is paramount to clear your mind, be confident and look in the direction you wish to move. Your head is 10kg in weight and so serves as a driving force for the board. Our legs are 5kg, it is important to lift them when paddling to go faster.
I was learning a lot not only about the nature of waves but also about how to use the motion of battling them in everyday life.
This was thanks to Alina Aopei’s mindfulness workshops organised by the surf school every evening. We learnt about the importance of living in the moment, meditating and showing gratitude for what we have.
While I always knew the importance of using your mind as a tool for positivity, I did not know the extent to which it can change your life. How thinking in certain ways can shape your reality. If you think that good things are going to happen then you are more likely to see opportunities and be successful.
However, if you believe bad things will happen, your focus will be on negativity. You will see everything as a hurdle and miss positive experiences that surround you.
I saw the power the mind has when on the board. One day I had a negative cloud above my head, full of frustration. It is no doubt that on this I didn’t stand up as much. By overthinking and believing I would fall my gaze turned towards the water, which is where I inevitably landed.
Whereas, the following day I approached with positivity and confidence. This made all the difference and I managed to stand up. As soon as I stood up once, my confidence grew just like the power of the waves.
The instructors at Lanzasurf were phenomenal and very supportive. There was the perfect ratio between learning theory on the beach and time practicing in the water.
Surfing is centered around skill and confidence. It is a fun sport which is very tricky to master.
In the evenings after a long day of surfing we enjoyed peaceful yoga sessions. This was needed to relax our sore muscles. Twisting my body and stretching my arms felt so rewarding. I felt blessed to be able to move my body in this way.
My week in Lanzarote was full of fun activities, relaxation and good company. I stayed in a surf house next to the soft, sandy scenic beach. From there we hitched or walked to the surf school. I met other solo travelers as well as friends and couples. Everyone I spoke to; the waiters, taxi drivers, cleaners were super friendly and welcoming. It did not matter that I was a tourist and my Spanish is not perfect, people made an effort to understand me and make me feel welcomed.
Anyone looking to try surfing for the first time, I would recommend going to a school to learn. You do need teachers to be safe and master standing up on a board.
Lanzasurf in Lanzarote is a perfect place to unwind. The temperature is decent all year round, it is reasonably priced and the scenery is beautiful.
I was extremely lucky to get the added bonus of Alina’s mindfulness workshops. She is an inspirational teacher and fantastic coach. Her life lessons are something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.