“You can pee in the wetsuit if you like” we’re the first words of instruction Lucie gave me in my surf lesson. We had just arrived at a very blustery Fistral beach in Newquay and already had our plans questioned by the Lifeguards. The red flag was up and the waves were choppy, but nothing was going to stop us from having fun in them today.
Protest, who's passion is to make affordable clothes for surfing and snowboarding, approached me a few months ago about a partnership. They loved my ‘One Life, Live it’ philosophy and thought it was a great match for their brand and philosophy "To hell with logic, to hell with obstacles, let’s do what we love."
Even though I live in the mountains, I’m a true water baby at heart and I’ve ALWAYS dreamed of learning to surf.
The plan was hatched to match me up with one of Protest’s pro surfers, Lucie Donlan, and so my adventure to Cornwall began.
Is there really anywhere more beautiful than the British coast in the summer? I couldn’t believe the colour of the sea. The water felt so clean and clear and I loved the way and pace of life.
Lucie, aged 17, is a sponsored surfer, surf coach and model living in Cornwall. She’s got the beach blonde babe look absolutely nailed and is constantly smiling. She knows what she loves and she’s creating a life around the things that make her smile and, ultimately, enable her to surf. She inspired me.
We met for smoothies at Jam Jar and chatted away until it was time to get ready. We headed to Adams, her board sponsor, to get into our wetsuits, collect the boards and meet Jade Berry, our talented photographer, before walking down to Fistral beach.
After an instruction on the sand we went for a warm up jog and then took the boards into the sea.
“Let’s go under” Lucie said to me, her eyes sparkling the moment we got in. I felt like mine were too. I miss the sea. Especially rugged British seas. The feeling of jumping in the waves, them coming crashing over you, swimming through them and the sand disappearing under your feet as the wave retreats.
Lucie explained how to spot the good waves, the right way to swing the board around, jump on it and go.
There’s a lot of build up for the moment I caught the wave and then all of a sudden I had to remember a whole sequence of moves in a short period of time. The time to make it happen flew by in the blink of an eye!
I tried, and fell, many, many times.
In between the trying and falling we laughed, swam, smiled and chatted. I learnt what I was doing wrong and could feel it when I got it right.
“You’ve got to commit” said Lucie, “don’t think about it too much, just go for it.”
We surfed for an hour and a half by which point Jade was totally soaked and her teeth chattering from the cold. She had been standing in the sea photographing our session, total commitment to the cause!
In the last half an hour I realised I was going to need a LOT more practise. There was nothing I wanted to do more than effortlessly ride the waves, but right now I was happy with learning the basics and being in the sea with these lovely ladies.
After our session, we messed about on the beach for a while before getting changed and going for lunch.
I had that feeling of salt skin and hair afterwards.
My body felt a gentle ache after being rocked by the sea.
This was the best soul food I could imagine.
Being in the sea, surrounded by happy, smiling people, doing something we all love - it was amazing.
Freedom, love and happiness all wrapped up in one awesome sport.