After our first day of surf lessons, Summer and I gobbled down some ice cream in the back of Rik’s jeep and slept almost the entire way home. We spent the rest of the afternoon snoozing poolside and waiting for Sophie to arrive (yay!). Over a few bottles of vinho verde we caught her up on everything she had missed thus far and then snuggled into bed, ready for another day of surf lessons.
I have to note here how much I loved having an apartment with a kitchen. It is just so much more convenient and intimate. We had fun trying the local produce, and the best part is that every meal comes with bottomless bottle service when you are your own bartender!
So, with the help of a few bottles, we were in bed early and ready to rock another day of surf lessons the next morning. We grabbed our sandy wetsuits, kissed Menina (our resident pooch) goodbye and jumped back into the TSE van with Sophie in tow.
The beach was much colder on our second day so I was grateful for the wetsuit that seemed unnecessarily warm the day before. We went for a short jog, did a goofy little stretch and grabbed our boards. Somehow I got strapped with a new board. The first day I used an 8 foot long beginner’s board. Now I had a 6.5 foot board that was half as thin. Standing up on the new board made for a great challenge, and when I finally did, the slightest shift would send the board turning.
The Surf Experience sends a big group out to the beach each day, but there are multiple instructors there and you get broken down into small groups based on your ability. The nice thing about this is that you really get to know your instructor and the other students in your small group. So during lunch we sneaked off quietly and Rik took us for coffee at a nearby beach to warm up.
When we got back there was still some time to goof off before suiting back up.
For the afternoon we got a hold of a big beginner’s board. Summer and I took turns playing with the gopro as the other caught waves (and fell and wobbled) in. If you’re interested in seeing video of us in the water you can watch it here.
My goal for the afternoon was to not just stand up and catch a wave but to look up. The beach was so incredibly beautiful, especially with the haze building along the cliffs. It was hard to believe I was learning to surf in that scene.
Rik was really good at communicating with us out in the water. He would give us visual feedback and then thumbs up when we incorporated it. It was a funny, primitive sort of communication, but it worked. And when it was time to come in he let us catch “one more wave” about six more times, knowing we enjoyed being out in the water when it wasn’t crowded. When we finally hopped in the jeep, we headed back to Vila Catarina. While some of the guests joined an afternoon yoga class, we lounged lazily by their gorgeous pool and chatted with Urs, the owner of TSE until he later drove us home.
The people we’ve met in Portugal have been so friendly, always insisting on driving us instead of calling a cab. And I’m convinced the surfers who inhabit the Algarve for the summer are living the dream life. I have half a mind to become a surfer chick and move to Portugal. Only problem is, according to Urs, he’s up to his eyeballs in applications each summer!
A big thank you to The Surf Experience for hosting us at their surf school!