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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!”
In an earlier blog, we spoke about Australian surfer Sally Fitzgibbons using a wave pool to give her the most consistent conditions to practice some new manoeuvres, we’re now going to turn the focus onto our own coach, Oli Davis and his mission to improve his surfing.
It all started back in February, when some of the Surf Simply crew took a little trip across the border to Nicaragua. In between some fun little surfs, the team found that the hotel they were staying in had built a nifty concrete skate ramp, and even had a few old skateboards lying around. Harry and Oli decided this would be the perfect opportunity to, like Sally, get multiple attempts at adjusting some bad habits.
Oli in particular had never really had an opportunity to use a skateboard on a ramp before, but after a few tentative goes got fully stuck into his turns, and pretty soon both the boys began to feel their turns improving. Back out in the water, after several sessions on the ramp, Oli’s newly rotated shoulders had allowed him to tighten his cutbacks and helped improve the hit rate on his top turns. Mission Success.
Now, we have to state here that we are definitely not advocating barefoot skateboarding with no helmets (trust us, concrete hurts), but a little practice out of the water can really go a long way. Swimming when we can’t surf will help us catch more waves when we can, rolling around the block on a skateboard (with a helmet!) can really help your balance in the waves and a little stretching each day will make everything much easier when you hit the water!
In part 2 of this blog we’ll see how Oli likes a taste of his own medicine, when he gets a week of intensive video coaching back at Surf Simply HQ.
Local surfer and old friend of Surf Simply, Adilia Zuñiga Diaz approached us a few weeks ago with the idea of starting a surf club for local Nosaranian girls who wanted to get into surfing. We were really stoked to get involved and so we took on the role of sponsoring the club with boards and equipment. They had their first meeting on Sunday and plan to meet every Sunday from now on at 4pm in front of the main beach car park at Playa Guiones. We just want to congratulate Adilia for seeing the project through and wish her the best of luck.