Fuerteventura - Spelling it wasn't the only challenge
It feels a little strange to be posting a blog about a trip that happened in the depths of Winter, when I'm currently entering the beautiful season of Summer. But for the sake of closure and continuity, I need to post this before I can write anything new!
Just a couple weeks before Christmas, I set off with thirty guys and eight girls on a surf trip I couldn’t really afford, for a week that I decided I needed.
The waves in Fuerteventura were really good, consistent and often quite big. We surfed mostly advanced reefs and were pretty spoilt for choice when it came to deciding where to surf each day. I struggled (a lot) because despite my enthusiasm, my ability wasn’t quite good enough and I definitely lacked the guts on some of the bigger days. It was a very new and challenging surf experience but I guess no wave or break is the same so the experience opened my eyes to the reality of travelling to new places to surf. (It wasn't quite gennith)
We surfed a few spots on the North Shore, my first reef session being at El Hierro. I was slightly daunted having only surfed a reef a handful of times. I paddled out mentally psyching myself up to be bold and have a good session. As I got closer to the line up, amongst the crowd, I saw a girl (yay) Turns out she was one of my best friends from home, I knew she was in Fuerteventura but didn’t expect to bump into her so soon. I only caught one good wave during that session but was happy with it and gained some confidence surfing a reef. As the week progressed my wave count didn’t get a whole lot higher, despite surfing a lot. BUT on the upside, my fear of surfing reefs had lessened from a 10 to a healthy...6!
Another spot on the North shore we surfed was Punta Gorda, we surfed it at low tide with just a few of us in the water. This was one of my better sessions, super fun, despite taking one of my biggest beatings as I caught a set on the head and felt the full force of nature throwing me through the waves and over the rocks. That afternoon we surfed the same spot again, but at high tide. It looked completely different with a consistent left and right. After catching a few rights, I was thrilled, but then found myself ankle deep on the reef in perfect position to be caught on the inside by the set (my feet got pretty battered) I surfed the lefts after that!
My favourite spot was actually a beach break (surprise, surprise) a little further south called Esquinzo. To reach almost any spot you have to drive off the main roads and onto the dirt tracks, something that the rental companies discourage, but is basically unavoidable. The beach break was idyllic, surrounded by cliffs it became a private break and a perfect place to chill in between surfs. Esquinzo had a fairly consistent chest to head high wave with a wedgy left and smaller wedgy right, a lot of fun!
Although there were seven other girls on the trip they were mostly having lessons or surfing elsewhere, which meant I had a lot of quality time with the guys and therefore endless opportunities to learn from them. The most unforgettable moment being when we travelled to an Island off Corralejo called Lobos. With a world-class right hand point break we arrived early in an attempt to avoid the crowds, although, to be honest, being such a big group we basically brought the crowd (I know, not great surfing etiquette.) A very Spanish guy who insisted on calling me ‘lady’ eagerly greeted us and organized the boats. He also informed us the waves would be too small until the afternoon. Well, as we arrived it was chest to head high and getting bigger, definitely not too small. The paddle out and then back in again was pretty treacherous with a number of cuts, scrapes and dings. But the surf was incredible, with long clean waves breaking onto shallow rocks. I sat on the shore taking videos as the guys ripped. Catching wave after wave, I could hardly keep up. I didn’t surf Lobos, I’d like to think that I was being wise rather than overly cautious, but who knows! By the end of the session there were 40 guys in the water. Despite Lobos being somewhat difficult to get to, localism was a bit of an issue so the atmosphere wasn’t always great. But I guess that’s to be expected at such a well known and pumping spot.
Throughout the week, as much as I really loved being surrounded by so many people-good friends…I also craved space! This led to me taking a bit of time almost every day to explore El Cotillo and clear my head. I love, LOVE finding coffee shops wherever I go, so of course, I made it my mission. I found several right by the harbor looking out to the sea. Beautiful. This is where I would sit, write, draw and think. El Cotillo also has a few unique shops selling locally made jewellery, clothing, art and food. I felt completely inspired. As a town El Cotillo has endless charm and screams creativity with buildings adorning various shades of blue combined with local photography being publically displayed on the exterior of buildings!
Our week in Fuerteventura was organized by Star Surf Camps. Amazing people, pretty devoted to making sure we had a good time. Our apartments were modern and spacious located right by the beach! They organized our meals, ensuring we made the most of the local cuisine eating at various restaurants (who were more than capable of dealing with the few awkward veggies in our group-myself included). A large portion of the group had daily lessons, which seemed to go really well. The staff also organized live music, and as entertainment a fire juggler whilst watching a meteor shower from the beach. Pretty epic!