Summer 2008 The Galician
trip that ended in Cantabria in stead ..
I am packing. Not that easy. Can not remember
when I went on a tent trip last time. Got to
be more that 40 years ago. Have a look where I am off to.
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/2399665 Does that look good??
Well, I am going to
hide in a nice protected area, with a gentle
2-3 feet swell. So, back to packing. By the way, found this blog from a
The Mistral is blowing again. I just had to go
and check it out. Packing almost finished. I still do
not know how to handle the new surf board, so I was just playing around
in the white water zone. With the new board it is so easy to catch
waves. Problem is I "pearl" a lot.
It is amazing to see how the younger ones can handle the waves with
their short boards. They were very good at it. On
photo above surfers facing the shore
break, to get to the outside. I was with some other learners down the
beach. Below some more photos from same day. Click on thumbnail to zoom.
Thursday 21 August
Today it was a 1 to 2 feet swell in the morning. I felt the big
difference having a bigger ( 9feet 8 inch ) board. And Mind you, I am 93
Kilos. I was impressed. With the old board ( 8 feet 4 inch ) this would
not have been possible.
I could catch many waves and then glide, maybe just 50 metres. However I
got a lot of training in jumping to the surf stand and balancing the
board. Later the wind picked up and destroyed the good condition.
Saturday 23 August
Another good day. And I learned a lesson. From a
experienced with 20+
years of surfing.
He said " Always position yourself at the same
position on the board. When you are catching a wave and there is a sign
of beginning pearling, then arch your back to get weight more towards
the back of the board. Balance the board by arching your back."
With this in mind I could position myself almost 6
inch more forward. Did that help catching the waves, you bet. Also he
mentioned not to grap the rails,but push with your hand from he top of
I thought it would be a flat day. I was proved wrong.
One of the best days ever. Chest high swell. No wind, and later
offshore. I was using my new trim, and catching more waves than ever
before. On the photo you can see me arching the back. I am just stopping
paddling. The trim of the board is pretty god.
I am on my way now
to Galicien. First night stop south of Barcelona where I popped in to
visit Martin, who has been here all summer.
The left part of
the tent is the office, kitchen, sitting room. I am writing this from
there. To the right side the bedroom. Sorry about the dress code.
Friday 29 August
I am arriving at
de Haro camping in Haro at 16.00 Hours after 450 Km. It is somewhat
difficult to find this camping. If you arrive from Zaragoza, then follow
the ring road until almost out of town. Here take a right turn and
cross over ring road to the left using bridge. Follow small road until
roundabout. Here turn right. After a 500 metre you will se a sign to the
from Bilbao, then you can not turn left. Follow the ring road until you
see a bridge. Here you can use the bridge to turn direction. Then back
to before mentioned turn of.
I can see on
the map that it is still more than 500 Km to A Coruna. Maybe I will turn
to the North Coast at Santander, and just follow the coast.
Saturday 30 August
Oyambre Beach. 50
km. West from Santander. I am sitting inside the tent by at the
table taking above photo. Can you ask for more perfect conditions. One
hour after arrival I was in the water. Surf just right for a beginner
like me. It should stay like this and pick up a bit over the next 4
I am still here. Today nice weather. Swell 2 to 3
feet. I was in the water 3 times. Not quite enough swell, but as I
can see the sea from the camping and it is only 3 minutes to get to the
beach, then I can be there when the waves are at their best.
Tonight we will get some rain. It
will be interesting to see if the tent is water tight.
3 times surfing
today. Nice sunny weather. Temperature about
right. Water and air that is. Talked to a German couple. They have been
surfing France, Spain and Portugal since May.
Tuesday 02 Sept.
A day with more
lessons learnt. No 1. Do not get caught on the inside. That means, the
wave is breaking on top of you and you get the washing machine tour.
Round and round inside the wave. My problem is I do not know how to dive
under the wave with the board. Now I let go of the board and dive under
the wave. Nice and quiet down there. Then up for air. This will have to
work for now.
What does the beach look like
? Have a look
Look at my camping
site and visit the tent
Evening surf session
Forcast 6 metres
waves in 3 days from now.
Another day with light rain. I am having some
breakfast and then down to the beach. A storm is still lurking further
north. It will not hit before a couple of days from now.
I made 2 surf sessions.
In the afternoon I went to nearby town to do some shopping. It turned
out to be a very nice place. Have a look.
Today I went
shopping in another small town nearby. Very nice place and large beach,
camping and surf school.
I had one surf
session of several hours. After that I was so tired that I hardly could
make it up the hill to the camping site.
I had to go and buy an other sleeping bag. Already now it feels cold at
night, but it is only around 15 Deg. C.
Also I bought some insulating mat to place on top or the air madras, but
under the sheet. You will hear if it works.
The waves never made it to 6 metres. However windguru is saying 4metres.
The wind is strong from North West. I was having a surf try around
noon. Managed to get through the beach break. Several other surfers
around. I freaked out when monster waves
were bearing down on me, and went back near the shore to some white
There was a strong current as well.
First long shore, but further down the beach a rip current had formed.
When that started to drag me out to sea, I had had enough. With a strong
white water wave pushing the board, I went back to the beach.
Later in the evening I had another session.
The wind was less, but the waves still monster size. I just stayed
between the beach and the shore break. Catch the white water, jump to
the surfers stand, glide 30 metres. Then go soft in the knees and make a
calculated fall. Watch out, the water is very shallow now. Repeat 20
If you are a beginner, beginner, then
avoid to surf onto very shallow water. You must learn to make a
calculated soft fall first.
Looking along the coast
I slept like a
baby. Especially the insulation I placed on top of the air madras made a
At sun up I was getting ready. I realized that is no
a good idea. It is the coldest time during the day. I had my morning
coffee fully dressed. Extra jacket and extra trousers. The I got into
the still wet neoprene dive suit and down to the beach. Many surfers out
Waves were less. During a lull I got through the
beach break, just to face another set of vertical 2 metre nasty looking
Now it was time for emergency manoeuvres. Close
watertight, flaps 60 degree, we are diving under. Up for a bit of air
and then came a second wave.
Shortly after I was back on the safe inside of
the shore break again, surfing white water. ( white water is what is
left of the wave after it has "broken" and released most of its energy.
This is where the beginners learn to surf. And where chickens like me
seem to stay a lot longer. )
I had another
session in the afternoon. It is fun when you get the experience now and
again like : Can I really do that!! For the first time ever I was
swinging first to one side, then to the other side. It took a year and a
half to get that far.
Video from the early cold morning :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbfc7tU-kCE
A perfect day. Sun
and around 25 deg C. No wind and up to 1 metre lazy swell. You had to
wait some for the 1 metre. However plenty 0.5 metre around. It is now
20.00 hours. I am sitting with just shorts. Not even a T/shirt.
Tuesday 09 Sep.
No waves today. Plain relaxing. Sunshine wit a few clouds. 16.00
hours 22 Deg C. Quite a few people on the beach.
I made an
experiment with some silver paper. The type you find in emergency kits.
Sheets 2 x 1.5 metres. With 4 strings, one in each corner, I placed it
above the tent. Silverside up. The comfort inside the tent was up 100%.
Normally you can not sit inside during a sunny day. Even with all flaps
open. Now it is like sitting under a tree in the shadow.
In the afternoon I
went shopping in Cambrils. Later rain and thunder
A great day.
Sunshine and a good swell, as you can see on the photo. I start to feel
some results of daily surfing during 10 days. I am quicker to get to my
standing position. During the afternoon session I had some 10 tke off-s.
Not even one fall. That felt pretty good.
The morning was fine. I was really enjoying my self,
even if it was raining al the time. The afternoon was windy and at the
time I went in the soup, it was low water, waves breaking onto very
shallow water. Not for a new bee.
On the photo you can see one of the
surf waves. Not the best in the world. This is 18 x zoom. A bit to
complicated for me still.
The night was cold and windy. I was right down into
the sleeping bag, closing it above my head, leaving just a small opening
for air. Modern tents have so many vent openings to avoid condensation
that you can just as well sleep outside. If it wasn't for the pouring
The surf wave looks a bit steep this
morning. I will go shopping and buy some high calorie food stuff. Seems
I will be needing lots of muscle power today ( Just joking. As a learner
you do not want to get anywhere near waves like that.)
The rolling white water you can see
across the photo is what you can use. However watch out, there
seem to be a strong long shore rip current. At some point that will dig
a channel in the bottom and turn straight out to sea.
The tent is damp
and ice cold. Again I went shopping for a 500 Watt heater. Unfortunately
they are very hard to find. Then it occurred to me. Rewire the elements
from parallel to series. It was done easily, but must be done by a
qualified person. I even have a paper that makes me a qualified
person. Luckily I had my special screw drivers with me. The
manufacturers are very eager to prevent some body to open up their
appliances and make "improvements"
To get this idea
must be "pure intelligence" Unfortunately with some deduction, that it
took almost a year to figure it out.
By the way. The
road to Santiago de Compostella is passing by the the camping. Several
times I have seen small groups of people with enormous bag packs
fighting their way West again a very brisk and cold wind and rain
I will stay here in my electric
heated tent and watch it all on YouTube.
Well enough jokes
for now "Get that ( still wet ) dive suit on and get down to the
The waves topped 5 metres. That was off
shore, not here in the bay. They were however to big for my liking.
Now it looks
promising for the next 3 days. I was looking YouTube last night. There
are many surf instruction video clips. I am very interested is viewing
how to take off from bigger waves, and turning.
After several days
of large waves, surfing of the white water inside the beach break
becomes boring, so when
I saw a lull, which is a short period where
the waves for some reason or another will quiet down to nothing, I
paddled straight out, passing the shore break line.
Soon the waves
were back to normal and I did not like what I saw. 3 meter almost
vertical walls of green water coming at me. I had a problem. How to get
back in. There was no way I could surf these waves. I dived under a few
but realised that I could not do that for a long time. Each wave was
pulling out my spare energy slovenly but surely. I realized I was "caught
on the outside".
Not a place to be
when you are 61 years of age. Silver stripes in the hair ( what is left
) and have been surfing 1 year only.
Compare with a
skier that have learned to ski the green tracks, and all of a sudden
find himself going down a black track.
The problem solved
itself. A even bigger wave broke further out and I was caught up in a 1
metre very turbulent stream of white water. I managed to hang on to the
the surfboard, so at least I didn't have to worry about being hit by it.
It was the full washing machine tour. With pre wash and 1400 rev/min
spin. Then suddenly it was all over. I was back on the inside. This is
what you call a "wipe out".
Next time I see a lull in the breaking waves,
inviting me to go further out and have a play with the big stuff, then I
will think twice.
Last night was a 2
sleeping bag night. Sounds romantic. What it means is that you are in
one sleeping bag and then you enter the next, or put the second one
above you. That is how cold it was.
double bag I was feeling comfortable. The temperature must have been
around 5 deg C. I must get a thermometer so I can read the temperature.
Now at 9'Oclock
in the morning it is nice and sunny. The tent heats up very quickly. I
am having some breakfast and then down to the beach right away. Waves
look good, but now getting less by the hour.
I had a nice hour. Then I went op to get
something to eat. While eating a strong onshore wind started and
destroyed the rest of the day.
Today strong swell gain. i was back to surfing white
water. On the photo above you can see the bay. The shore break line is
the first white line to the left. After that and until the shore it is
rushing white water. So you can get quite a ride on this, however it is
bumpy. You can not practice any change of direction very well.
What should not be forgotten is the fact that white water is what the
new surfer need to learn to get to the "surfers stance" on the board. My
impatience is due to the fact that I can do that now, and like to go on
and learn more.
What you do get, is a lot of practice paddling out
through white water, which is building up arm muscle, I guarantee. I can
get through the first couple of sections, but not the last. For that I
need a lull.
But I am not going to the outside anyway in these
conditions, am I ??
Yes, I was actually. Just to have a look. I even tried a take off from a
good size wave. It was a half hearted attempt and I ended on top of a
wave just about to collapse in white foam, looking down a few metres.
Not a good place to be. Then came a set of smaller waves, and I could
get back in.
During the afternoon the swell was building. Some
young, fearless of foolish, surfers managed to get to the outside and
paddled even further out. Then we heard a loud "explosion". That was the
life station firing a sound signal. Like saying " You guys now
what you are doing???
Eventually they stopped and tried to catch some wave.
They went for it, and all you saw was white foam and
surfboards flying up in the air. After a while we could count 2
surfboards and 2 heads, so they were all right.
It is not that easy.
During the morning it was calm. Had
problems though to find some good wave. Later on shore wind started. I
found some pretty good white water to give me a push.
afternoon the wind strengthened further. I spend the whole
afternoon checking that the tent could withstand the blow. So far all is
holding. Did some washing as well
If the wind is
going to blow like that every afternoon, then I think it is time to try
Today was quantum
leap day. The swell was right. I managed to start from some pretty large
ones and steep as well. I was on my feet quickly, which is making all
the difference. I was gaining a lot of confidence. I even found the "
sweet point" on the long board. This is where you place your feet when
you want to turn.
This is how I think a "take off " is done on a long board: Stay well
forward on the board. Then it is easier to catch the wave. First the
wave is faster than the board. It you pick up and lift the back of the
board. You have already been paddling hard for 5-10 seconds before the
wave reaches you.
At a point the board starts accelerating. Just then, maybe a split
second before, jump to your feet. On smaller steep swell, place more
weight on the back of the board.
I know most
instructions advocate for extra paddle strokes before you jump to your
feet. On quickly steepening shore break I do not
think this is a good
idea. I need to be on my feet to control the speed. Once a 10 feet long
board starts accelerating the speed can become dangerous high.
Above is my tip for a powerful swell with a punch
The swell is less
today. Almost to the point where you can not use a surf board. However
with a long board, you do not need a lot so it wall god for practising
Also I am eager to
try my new theory about "take off", and you know what, It did not work
As the swell was week I needed these extra paddle strokes to get going.
As I then was gliding down the wave I was arching my back all I could to
get weight towards the back of the board when the board was hitting the
"bottom of the wave" to prevent the board to pearl. I found it very
helpful to start paddling well in advance before the wave reached me.
My tip in weak
swell is : Start paddling in good time before the wave is reaching you.
Arch your back when gliding down. Paddle these extra strokes after you
start gliding. Then jump to your fleets without rush.
I was surfing twice today. First time in very little
swell. During the evening it was picking up and there was some 1-1.5
metres coming. Now it is midnight and I can hear it is building even
further. Possibly to much for me by tomorrow.
During the morning it started to blow
half a gale, so the conditions here on Oyambre beach deteriorated. I had
one session, but it was bumpy.
In the afternoon I went to the
neighbour beach. The road leading there is hard to find. This time
however I had luck.
Great sheltered little beach, so here
I found all the surfers. The swell was huge according to my yard stick
and also crowded because it is Saturday. It is a good place to remember
for during the week, and only 5 Km. away.
It could be me on that photo, but I
did not bring the board.
I did bring the video here is the shot:
YoyTube video from
Time is flying when you are having fun,
and so I didI this
morning. Down steep waves. And not the proper way.
Catching unbroken waves calls for
patience. The wave has to be steep enough to get you going, but once you
are gliding and getting on your feet, it should still be ride able.
Often you will get it all wrong. This
will result in some falling. Better get off the board if you can see you
are not going to make it. Try to glide off to one side and dive back
into the wave, away from the board. Always protest your head with your
arms. Simulate falls and what you are going to do. If you feel that you
are clinging to the board following it into the abyss, then practise
fall technique again. You do not want to get head first down a vertical
beach break. Also make sure you have enough water depth, say twice the
wave height as a minimum. In the area where you are catching the wave.
During the afternoon the waves were smaller. I had to try again. After
some disappointing take off attempt, I moved 3 inch back worth on the
board. That helped. I now did the "bottom turn" lying down on the board.
That is a lot safer. If you get it wrong, and the wave is to steep,
there is not the same distance to fall down.
Today it is 3 weeks since I came here to Oyambre
beach. Every day I have been in the water. Do I feel any progress?
Yes, progress is there. I wish it was more
however.. Surfing is a game that takes
a lot of patience.
Forget all about all the details. Just
copy your style from this video
Onshore wind and large bumpy swell. I had
1 session. During afternoon I started to pack to try Somo near Santander
I have moved to another camping Darby de
Laredo in the Bay og Santander. (http://www.campingderbyloredo.com/)
I have checked the waves. They are good.
This place is more protected. I do not have to fight the beach break. At
least not at the moment.
I almost started the trip home. As I
am disappointed with the progress. Also it started to rain.
I need to work more on the "take off" It is a bit scary to start down a
wave with high speed. Today I saw I am not the only one with that
problem. They stop paddling and miss the wave.
It was raining all
night. Tent is water tight. It was a 2 sleeping bag night. Need to
find a thermometer so I can check. It is strange I feel so cold. I have
had first session.
I caught this wave just right. Angling correctly. The
only bad thing was that I was lying on my belly on the board.
waves are good. Less than yesterday. Now I will read a bit, take a nap,
and then have another try.
afternoon I found out how important it is to try to get all your legs
out of the water when you start paddling for a wave. I used to drag my
feet in the water. That is no good. Now I bend the legs so they point up
in the air. After a bit of training it is good for balancing you on the
board as well. Also do not grab the side of the board when you start
gliding. Keep your hands out of the water.
Now I noticed that the board was taking off much faster. The back of the
board was lifted less. The chance of a pearl less as well. Once the
board gets speed, the front of the board will stay on top of the water.
Video from camping and the beach
The swell is
getting less. I get 2 sessions . The sun is shining, but the nights are
cold now. I am thinking of starting my return trip to my Mediterranean
I sparkling sun
shine I started the trip towards Barcelona. After 500 Km. I drove to
Traga Camping in the town of the same name. It is situated in the Ebro
I could not
find the camping and pulled into a gas station to ask for direction.
Five minutes later, a local was in front of the car on his moped,
showing me the road to the camping.
The camping is
open all year, but I was the second unit only. It was getting late, so I
stayed the night. The best was the view over the valley and the sunset.
Around noon I
arrive at The camping of the 2 Geese. south of Tarragona. Once more I
camp right at the beach. The waves here are nothing to speak off, so I
clean the surf equipment.
On the way I was visiting Camping
Montblanc Park. That looked like a very nice place.
The trip to
Galicia has ended. I never got there. However I had a good time in Cantabrica, which is on the North coast of Spain as Galicia, or part of
Now I know the
way. Nest time I will bring my caravan for more comfort, especial if we
talk about September October time.
A tent worked
fine. Especially after I got my small electric heater going. However using a
electric heater in a tent is somethi9g that calls for a lot of caution,
and the right type of heater. One without hot surfaces.
would have been to use pensions. I looked at one, and with a rice tag of
27 Euros for a room for 2, I must say that is a very reasonable price
29 & 30
The camping is
situated right on the beach 3 Km South from Hospitalet del Infant. It is
spotletss clean. There is a small shop. The
restaurant makes a menu del dia every day at lunch. Also there was Happy
Hour, at the time I was there.
the wind started blowing on the second day and I moved on to Oliva South
of Valencia, where I first visited Kiko, which was full. Then I went to
Euro Camping where I found a space. Both are on the beach, but without a
view, apart from some of the sites in Euro Camping. Off course they were
The winter sun
seekers are taking their positions. From now on an the rest of the
winter the camping sites from Valencia and South are going to be busy.
Wednsday 01 Oct 2008
Today I took the
ferry from Denia to Palma de Mallorca. I will be staying here for
while. Mallorca is not a place you go for a surf vacation. I am here for
However I will be studying the weather forecast, and
being an island and winter coming, for sure there will be opportunities
I will be keeping you informed about my progress in
the world of surfing. I am not sure yet how much experience I got
from my trip to the North Coast of Spain. I feel only a little little
progress, but it is a bit difficult as my surfboard is new as well.
However look at the map below.
A large area with 5 metres. Cala Mesquita will be getting 3 metres.
A big storm is
arriving in a few days. Surf training can go on.