Learning to surf is much more than catching waves, it’s an experience that contains many lessons, and different for everybody.
We share with you the surf journey of one of our lovely guests – it’s a long story, capturing what she finds special about surfing and Sagres; her discoveries, joys and thoughts.
You maybe feel in some ways the same, or see surfing with completely different eyes. Let us know if you like to share your story for another news, and enjoy the read!
Andra, from Bucharest but living now in Luxembourg, first stayed with us in September 2016..
“Last year I changed my job and had time to search for ‘my vacation’. For the first time I was choosing a holiday just for me, to go alone and focus only on what I wanted. I was searching for a combination of a peaceful place but not too touristic, and physical engagement, something that would be tiring but also rejuvenate me.
I once tried surfing on a shared holiday, it was a few hours with not an ideal introduction but I was attracted to the unpredictable nature of the ocean so it was enough to make me want to try it again.
For this vacation I decided to do it properly and really learn to surf. Some colleagues from work recommended Portugal, so I did some online research and thought the south of Portugal seemed the best option – I read that the variety of waves in the Algarve were good for a beginner.
I sent emails to a few places and I got such a friendly and warm reply from Sagres Natura that I had a feeling it was the place for me. I was right!
The driver dropped me off at the surf shop instead of the camp and I was on the road with my suitcase, late at night, yet feeling so relaxed straight away. The guys in the shop offered to give me a lift to the surf camp but I was happy to just walk there, so I went down the road pulling my luggage behind me, looking totally out of place but without any care. I had such a nice feeling immediately, everyone around was relaxed and easy.”
Andra booked to stay with us for 15 days for an unusual reason. And it didn’t work..
She said, “I wanted to go for 15 days so I would be sick of it by the end and ready to leave. But then I loved it so much that I wanted to extend and I couldn’t. I had to go back for a marathon the next day, so I could only change my bus to give me an extra 3 hours. It was worth it – every extra minute was so good!”
When she got home she booked her next trip the same day and came to stay with us again in May this year.
“The second trip I realised why I feel so well here. Partly it’s about the people. It was the same dynamic as my first trip with the guests, making some really good and special connections.. that's when I recognised that here I was able to really be myself - I was comfortably genuine and natural, and discovered that people like me as I am!
The mix of people here, they’re escaping the same things as I am and looking for the same as well. Those who live and work here, many came for the same reason and have embraced this lifestyle.
What I’m looking for? A feeling of freedom in the water, to share thoughts over a glass of wine with special people…
For me the way to be free is to take a gift of will and do what you choose.”
“This place, it feels totally right for me: quiet and calm, with fun and enough activity, perfect weather and warm water. I was surfing in shorts sometimes, enjoying the feeling of the sea on my skin. And it brings this wave of inner freedom, here I forget the bullshit and disconnect from my thoughts. I don’t even know most of the time where my phone is – out of office is on and I can recharge, wipe the dust off and learn some more.”
But what happens when you go home after the most perfect holiday? Andra found that something had changed..
“I took some of the new confidence home with me and realised I can be myself there too. Well, to a certain level!
It was as if, far away from regular life – not geographically but in my mind - I just took some covers off.”
So the people and the place were fitting exactly to what Andra needed.. but what about the surfing?
“My first time, in 2016, I went right back to the basics and learned from the beginning. I was scared of the waves but began to relax. I was confident that I would be here again so there was plenty of time to learn. And I had this incredible feeling in the foam, of sitting on the power of the ocean. Something magical. Connection.
My next trip I had the basics already so it came easily. I remembered the fear of the waves from last year, and on the first day I felt it again. But after talking about it over some drinks, the others explained the washout - how to accept and relax, not panic about it, it’s only some seconds and then it’s over. It’s so true!
Once I understood better then on the 2nd day I was confident and like ‘I can do it, let me take this and see how it goes’. I found myself paddling behind my roommate without thinking and then suddenly I was on green waves and I was doing it, and the fear was gone.”
So you’ve guessed already that Andra’s coming back?
“On my last day of this trip I wanted to have one wave all by myself, to feel aware. I took it, that one wave, and I really felt like I was dancing. It was only one but it was worth it. The addiction exists and I think it grows! So I’m going home and straight away I’ll find some days to take a vacation, and definitely I’ll come back before the season ends.”
One thing we know about Andra: if she says she’s going to do something she does it.
Already she’s made the booking to return to us and we’re very happy about it!
Thank you, Andra, for sharing your story of learning to surf with us at Sagres Natura, we look forward to seeing you and helping you to progress more!
If you want to experience the beauty of Sagres and surfing, don’t leave it too long to book, check out our Surf & Stay package and book your flights now =)
If you’ve surfed and stayed with us and have your own story and photos to share – send us an email!
We look forward to hearing from you, seeing you, and surfing and drinking and dancing with you soon!
From all of us in the team =)
Below some more of Andra’s favourite photos; of people, places and beautiful moments.