Every September and October Surf Simply moves from our usual home in Costa Rica to Hossegor, in France where we coach a small group of some of our favorite returning guests for a week alongside the world title contest. The last two years were organized and hosted by Kerianne and Harry, two of our coaches here in Costa Rica but this year Oli Davies, our head coach, took over the role of organizing both the logistics of the trip and also the coaching. It’s a huge amount of work putting something like this together but now that the dust has settled, he sat down to chat about how it all went:
Above: Oli Davies, both the brains and heavy lifting behind this year’s French trip.
“Unlike the predictability of Costa Rica, French waves and weather can be erratic. Finding the right spot requires a lot of local knowledge. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in France over the years but it was great to have Harry to draw on too. He knows this stretch of coast like the back of his hand. We would check a couple of spots each morning and we found not just clean but uncrowded waves pretty much every day.
Above: Gary attacking the lip.
Below: Pooja on a deserted French sandbank at sunrise.
It was great that all the guests had stayed with us in Costa Rica already too. It made the whole week like hanging out with old friends and allowed Jessie and I to pick up their coaching right where we’d left off.
Above: Brunch by Sarah back at the house after a morning surf.
Below: Out and about in Hossegor town in the evening.
Paul and Pooja seemed to come into their own at a break called La Sud. Pooja’s paddle fitness had gone through the roof and her wave count and skill set leap-frogged forward as you’d expect. I was impressed that Gary went and surfed the huge day at Soustons with Ru & Harry when everyone else opted to sit back and watch the pros from the beach at La Graviere. Even Ru said that the waves got his pulse going that day.
Above: Gabriel Medina weaving his way through a tube at La Graviere.
Below: Steve & Sophie enjoying the perfectly peaceful Franco Atlantic corduroy.
Steve and Sophie really stretched their comfort zone in Nosara earlier this year, so it was great to see then getting tons of waves, with tons of confidence at La Penon. Andy and Annalise both started getting the board much higher up the face during the trip too and creating a lot more down the line speed. And we can’t leave out Dave, who got heaps of waves but I’ll really remember as being pure comedy all week.
Above: Dave standing tall at La Sud
My feet hardly touched the ground as I was coach and manager, but it was so much fun. Having Sarah (Surf Simply’s resort chef) unleashed with fresh French ingredients was amazing and I have to thank Mark (old friend, experienced surfer and Surf Simply’s website designer) for all his camera work and running around in the support van. Then of course Jessie, without whom I couldn’t have made it all happen. Next year we’re gonna have to make it two weeks for sure.”
There are so many great surf movies on Youtube now that buying them seems a little redundant. Here, in no particular order, is a list of our favorites. We put all these movies into a Youtube playlist and now have them looping round in the Surf Simply office seriously hampering productively.
Quicksilver’s team riders. Beautifully shot and edited. The Clay Marzo section is the highlight.
2. Moments 2
This time it’s the Craig Anderson section that’ll give you goosebumps and it’s got one of our favorite Kelly sections too.
3. The Distant Shores
Surfer magazine’s movie with an inspiring section about a lone movie making former pro, surfing in Iceland and the best Indo tube riding section we’ve ever seen.
4. Electric Blue Heaven
A fun movie of Dion Agius in the Dubai wave pool. Huge soundtrack by I Break Horses.
5. Get-N Classic Vol.2
A great all round movie from Vans including HUGE cloud break from 2012.
6. Leave A Message
Despite a slightly teenie bobber soundtrack this is the most high performance girls surf movie out there.
7. Get-N Classic Vol. 1
The first movie from the guys at Vans. We particularly love the Shipsterns section.
8. Dane Reynolds Surf Film
25 minutes of everyone’s favorite surfing hipster.
9. Cancer To Capricon
Mick Fanning, Rob Machado and the rest of The Reef team.
10. Hurricane Sandy South Florida
A cool little movie with a squelchy popstep soundtrack featuring some of the insane surf that hit Florida last fall.
11. Cypher Vision
It’s a few years old now but we still love this footage of Dane, Kelly, Jeremy Flores and Julian Wilson shot in super slo mo way down in Mexico. We love the bit where you can see how much Julian Wilson’s board flexes when he lands an air on the lip.
12. Biggest Teahupoo Ever on Phantom Cam
The clue is in the title. Pretty mid blowing stuff.
13. Kelly Slater 11 x World Champion
A short but sweet psych up movie with a great “Amen” break remix of Ben Howard’s “Black Flies” by Scott Nixon, featuring Kelly’s world title campaign highlights from 2011.
14. 2012 Hot 100
Surfer magazine’s annual round up of the groms. Damn those kids are depressingly/inspiringly (delete as appropriate) good.
15. No Filter
Fox team riders Ian Walsh, Damien Hobgood and Bede Durbridge.
Oakley team surfers Jordy Smith, Sebastian Zietz, Adam Melling, Bruce Irons, Kolohe Andino and Julian Wilson among others get up to the usual wave riding shenanigans all over the world.
17. The Dark Side Of The Lens
Cold water surf photographer, Mickey Smith made this stunning short film in Ireland about what he does and why.
We’ve only included HD movies as watching surfing in 280 or 360p just doesn’t look as good these days. Baring that in mind, what other’s have we missed?
As you progress with your surfing, it is very common to hit a plateau because you can’t repeat movements enough to make them fluid and intuitive. The reason that you can’t repeat the same movement over and over again is because you can’t control the single most significant variable, the wave.
Using a wave pool changes the whole game. Surfing the same wave every time is essentially a hack for learning to surf.
So we have put together a trip to go and surf the best wave pool in the world this Autumn, from October 14th to 20th. We will be taking 6 guests to the United Arab Emirates for a week of intensive video analysis at the Wadi Adventure Park’s Wave Pool.
Situated in the city of Al Ain, in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the pool is capable of generating identical waves, one after the other, all day long, which will allow our Level 3 and 4 surfers access to a kind of coaching that has never been available before. We can tailor the hight, direction and style of the wave to suit the manoeuvres you want to work on, while our cameras will give you instant feedback on each wave, right there on the poolside.
While in Al Ain, we will be staying at the 5 Star Rotana Resort, right in the center of this oasis city. The hotel is a short drive to the Wadi Adventure Park, where we’ll be coaching two surf sessions a day for 5 days. Away from the wave pool, guests will have full access to the facility’s at the resort, including Gym, Spa, Sauna, Squash Courts as well as an opportunity to test out Wadi’s world class white water rafting and kayaking facility.
The cost of the trip is $4490 for a private room or $3990 for a Shared room. Included in the price will be; airport transfers, accommodation at the Rotana, buffet breakfasts and lunches provided by the Rotana’s restaurant’s, dinners in the town of Al Ain, a massage at the Rotana’s Spa, in room internet, as well as all coaching sessions at the wave pool and of course all the details that we always take care of like sunscreen, zinc, wax, plus access to facility’s at Wadi Adventure.
For more information, contact Kerianne at email@example.com
We’re big fans of science here at Surf Simply. This usually leads us to focusing on the insurmountable problem of controlling the variables when coaching but there are other aspects to our skeptical approach too. Looking at the plausibility of mechanisms and gathering data are key as is introducing the process of peer review.
A few weeks ago this took the form of head coach Oli Davies spending a rather relaxing week in the role of student. Senior coach, Harry Knight coached Oli all week alongside one of our more advanced guests. They worked on technique in the water but also it allowed Oli to gain an insight into what its like to be a Surf Simply guest. Here’s what Oli made of the week…
“We started off with some real basics, things that most higher level surfers would never think of regressing back to. I usually ride a 5’11 short board but bright and early on the first day I’m out on a bigger 8’2 board with firm instructions from Harry to focus on some very simple things. The 8’2 slowed everything down and that allowed me to make clear, deliberate changes to my surfing”.
Harry films while Oli concentrates on stance, foot placement, and shoulder rotation. As the week progresses they focus on basic turns, improving cutbacks and going for new maneuvers.
“Now I’m back on my shortboard but something is different. Turns are tighter, stance is altered to make the board feel more responsive and I’m pushing myself to try new maneuvers. The week surpassed my expectations by a long way, but it was also humbling and at times frustrating. There’s nothing that will knock your ego like somebody pointing out your mistakes on video, yet there is no sweeter reward than perfecting a maneuver you’ve been working on for months!”
Its official folks we can announce that Surf Simply will be running a week long surf coaching course in Hossegor, France again this year along side the world title race contest. To book email Ollie on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above: Highlights from the 2011 world title race event. The world’s best surfers talk about the event, the waves and the town of Hossegor.
As in previous years, the week long all inclusive package, set in beautiful south west France, is open to former Surf Simply guests whose surfing has reached level 3 or above. It’s gonna be a week of video coaching (rather than in water coaching) hence the minimum surf level requirement. What level surfer am I?
Above: Harry, Kerianne and last year’s guests with post surf smiles as their wetsuits dry off in the warm French sunshine.
Ollie, our head coach here in Costa Rica, will be leading the week alongside Graham and Sarah will be doing all the cooking …yum! The rest of the Surf Simply team will be in Hossegor too though for the event and the food as well as the waves of course. So expect to see all the familiar faces.
Above: Jessie and Dani pleased as punch to be hanging out with world champ Parko and legend Taj last year in Hossegor. Below: The Surf Simply team and guests at one of many awesome little restaurants that the town has to offer.
We’ve got a beautiful house this year too which is perfectly placed, being equidistant between all our favorite surf spots. We have 3 double rooms with ensuites and two twin rooms which share one large bathroom. The house is set back in the woods too, away from the hubbub of the contest.
It’s amazing being able to stand on the beach, only a few meters from Kelly Slater as he tears apart a wave. It makes you realize how much more room and time there is on the wave face than you thought. Being able to then sneak off up the beach to a nice little sand bank to practice on, followed by some video feedback, is the perfect recipe. This was Lei-Shin, just up the beach from the contest site last year.
Shared rooms will be $2570 per person. Private room will be $3300 for a solo travelers and $5140 for a couples. Guests will need to land at Bordeaux airport on September 28th and the week will run through to October 5th. Places as pretty limited this year as we will only have time to run one week of coaching in France before heading out to Dubai to run a week of coaching at the wave pool out there. Stand by for more info on that in early June after Ru gets back from checking the facility out in May.
For more info about staying with us in France or to reserve your spot, email Ollie on email@example.com