We had some pretty solid swell last week. A few days of small surf at the start of the week meant that everyone had a chance to get their wave count up and practice some of the more technical stuff. Small wave are great because you don’t need to be too precious with them. You can try new things, fall off a lot and really improve. Bigger waves often mean just holding on in there. On the flip side, when the waves do get a bit bigger it’s a lot of fun…
Above: Super grommet Shane assesses the conditions with Alex, one of the new Surf Simply coaches who joined us this season from the Maldives.
Once Shane was out the back he made it all look very easy. Unbelievably this was his first week of surfing.
Martin, another new Surf Simply coach, scratches over a set with an intrepid Kevin and Joe.
Kjeld (above and below), didn’t hold back all week and, along his brother Arvid, proved that the more you wipeout the more good waves you’re gonna catch too. Kjeld has now decided to stick around in Costa Rica to fit work around surfing rather than the other way around. An entirely noble philosophy we think.
Here’s Arvid, the other half of the awesome Dutch duo, sitting back into a beautiful forehand turn. Arvid’s wipeouts were equally awesome. He wouldn’t so much fall as launch himself from the board! Check out a classic Arvid wipeout here…
Lucy finds a new way to achieve enlightenment while surfing: a bit of whitewater meditation.
Pooja was something of a conundrum. Beautiful, dainty and feminine out of the water. She would wobble down to the beach on one of the kids bicycles and then proceed to charge into the heaviest waves of the day. Truly amazing stuff.
It always a lot of fun teaching a group of people who are so enthusiastic, gun ho and smiling from ear to ear whether they are wiping out, charging down the line or wolfing down Gem’s well earned lunches. So a big thank you to Kjeld, Arvid, Lucy, Mike, Shane, Evelyn, Joe, Andrew, Alison, Kevin, other Andrew and of course Pooja for making it such a fun week.
After being closed for September and October, Surf Simply opened again on Nov 13th. With four new surf chalets and a new yoga / massage room, the resort is bigger and better than ever. Our favorite improvement is the new video coaching room. It has black out blinds and a projector, so that we can now do all our video coaching with an 8ft high image on the wall rather than just using the TV. Ru and Harry (the eternal geeks) now want to complete the set up with a laser pointer.
(Left to right) Amy, Dave, Joe, Scott, Mo, Max, Ray, Lily, Kelly, Phillipe, John & Drew (Drew was still out surfing when we took the pic) were our first group of guests and were all chatting away with each other like old friends on the first night.
Some of them were absolute beginners and some of them had been surfing on and off for years, but the head high off shore waves which Playa Guiones served up were perfect for everyone.
There were some great waves and wipeouts this week. Our favorites were when Phillipe and Max didn’t seem to fall so much, as launch themselves from the board. In the middle, John Lancaster gets a refreshing punch in the face.
With the overcast evenings of the wet season behind us, it’s nice to see the beautiful nightly Nosaran sun sets again.
The best thing about teaching surfing here in Nosara is the people who come to stay. Much as we obsess over surfing, we find ourselves in awe, on a weekly basis, of the things our guests have achieved out in the big wide world. The irony of simply being surf coaches yet being in the position to teach some of the smartest people around is not lost on us. We are looking forward immensely to the new friends, and the humbling stories, which 2011 will bring.
For example when Ze Frank was surfing with us, he struck me as being infectiously interested in the world around him and particularly in the emergence of “web 2.0″ (the nickname given to the internet now that the majority of the content is created by users). I remember him arguing passionately and convincingly (over a burger at Marlin Bill’s) how wonderful it is that the whole world is now creating things and sharing them. So we were stoked to see him pop up at the TED Conference recently talking about how he has used social media to create things that are inspiring, beautiful and could never have been done ten years ago.
Most of all we loved the simplicity of the words with which he finished his TED talk. Next time I’m surfing at the edge of my comfort zone or life just isn’t giving me a break, I’ll remember them… “Hey, you’re ok, you’ll be fine, just breathe.”
Visiting Bali is a trip every surfer should do at least once. It’s second only to Oahu in terms of iconic surf destinations and seems to pop up in every new surf video these days. Uluwatu was the wave that made the island famous back in the 70′s but it seems to be a right hander on the other side of the island called Keramas which gets all the attention now. Even Bali’s less glamorous neighbor, Lakey Peak in Sumbawa is getting visited regularly by the world’s best and had it’s own section in last year’s jaw dropping movie Modern Collective. Maybe the popularity is due to the fact that you can still do the southern part of Indo on a budget, where as visiting The Mentawis in the far North of the country usually involves paying as premium for a boat charter.
Ru (above,) used to spend every winter in Indo back when he coached surfing in the UK and, despite living in the same village in rural England, it was in Bali that Ru and Gem got together. So the pair were very excited to return there this autumn when the Surf Simply resort closed for September and October as the rains fell hard in Nosara.
Bali is a lot more crowded and expensive than a few years ago but the waves still pump from March to November as low pressure systems, spinning round the roaring forties, pump swell after swell up through the Indian Ocean to peel mechanically over razor sharp coral reefs.
Ru was stoked to meet up with his old friend Oney Anwar at Lakey Peak. Years ago when Ru was living at Lakey’s paying his way by taking photos of other traveling surfers, Oney was just a knee high grommet. Ru gave Oney an old pair of shorts to surf in (which were so big that Oney had to tie them on with rope) and got a few shots of him surfing one foot (yet nearly head high) waves which was a big deal back in the pre-digital era (below left).
Fast forward to the present day and Oney has become the first Indonesian to win an ASP Pro Junior Event (above right). He now has sponsorship from Al’s old friends at JoyStix Surboards as well as Rip Curl (who have had a great program running for a number of years helping talented young Indo kids surf contests and stay in school). Oney is a great ambassador for the youth Indonesia and for surfing; he is modest, polite, works hard and froths over good waves. Everyone here at Surf Simply wishes him all the best in what we hope will be a shining career as a pro surfer.
After visiting Lakey’s, Ru and Gem travelled over to G-Land. The freight train left hand reef break (above and below) peels over a kilometer of reef, stuck on the southern tip of Java. The wave gets thicker and faster the further you ride it down the reef with the final section (called Speedies) folding over on dry reef, once the tide starts to drop.
Ru & Gem were lucky enough to get some solid swell while they were there. Solid enough for Gem to put her helmet on and for Ru to comment that he still has a lot to learn. This was said between grinning with satisfaction at the waves he’d caught and muttering expletives as he dabbed alcohol on his multiple reef cuts.
How do you know if your ready for you’re first Indo trip? A good rule of thumb is this: you need to be comfortable catching waves on a board which is small enough for you to duck dive underneath a surfer as they surf over the top of you. (You could be forgiven for needing to read that again.) If you’re comfortable with that then neither the crowds nor the steep take offs, will detract from the fun which is to be had in a country which has so many surf spots that you could surf a different break every day for 34 years.
Photos by Gem; shots of Ru & Gem surfing Lakey Peak by Grommet; little Oney Photo by Ru and big Oney photo used coutesey of www.ASPWorldTour.com
Surf Simply coach Harry Knight’s trademark stance has been popping up all over the web recently as Black & White Surfboards have just released two of his board designs as a signature model surfboard. Anyone who’s stayed with us will know that Harry’s obession with board design is infectious. So if you’ve caught the bug, here’s a bit more about the boards Harry and Black & White have come up with together…
Here’s how Black & White describe the first board, the ‘Pro Quadster’ – The Pro Quadster (above) is a totally new design incorporating the very latest fin placement ideas. Unlike the Quad fish where the fins are clustered on the rails and work together to create drive, the Quadster’s fins are more widely spread. This placement is closer to a thruster set up in how it works, but with the back fin working more efficiently due to its slight toe-in and angled setting. This board is designed to be a good summer board for experienced surfers slightly flatter in the rocker and a fraction wider in the tail. Its proved to be fast, loose and launchable!
(Above & below: Harry test piloting the ‘Pro Quadster’ in between coaching session here in Nosara.)
…and here’s what the have to say about the other model, the ‘Puffin’ – The Puffin (below) is a new design for 2010 developed from a commissioned custom order it has similar qualities to the highly popular Quad Fish but its rounded tail and Five fin set-up make for a whole new feel. Great summer board and mush buster, but still able to handle most average UK waves. Like the Puffin bird this board looks short and fat on land but is fast and agile in the water! The Puffin has the nose and middle rocker line and rails of the Keel fin fish so catches waves and paddles like a dream, then I’ve added a modern tail lift, concaves and foiled tail to give maximum drive and grip from the wide tail.
To see the other boards in the Black & White range check out their website www.blackandwhitesurfcoltd.co.uk or drop them a line on email@example.com.
(Was this the best blog title we will ever come up with or what!)