By Nicky Hobgood
In recent years surfing has increased in popularity with thousands of surfers visiting the Canary Islands each year to enjoy some of the best surfing in the world.
Many surfing events have been held here and just last October, Gran Canaria hosted the Caja Canarias Ocean Earth 2007 Surf World Championships.
In future editions of RTN we will be letting you in on the intriguing world of surfing, from the best places to go to the local budding surfing stars of the future. For now we would like to introduce you to Surf Experience in Puerto Rico. Whether you are a tourist or resident, as the name suggests that is exactly what they are offering, a complete surf experience - a day out to experience surf!
With a different approach than many other surf schools you will experience just what it's like to be ‘a surfer'. Introducing you to the whole lifestyle and surfing culture in just one day.
The day starts as you set off for the early morning ‘search' in their fully air-conditioned VW surf van, complete with the music on and the surf dvds playing to get you right into the mood. Owner of the Surf School, Danny Alcock, will be there with you explaining all about exactly what you are looking for and loads of useful information about the island as you make your way to your surf experience. It is all about having fun, safety and learning.
When you find your perfect location it will be time for a warm-up on the beach. Not only is this an enriching part of surfing, but absolutely compulsory from a safety point of view. After the warm-up there will be a theory class, but certainly not in a classroom and Danny will explain all about the board from the top to the bottom, how to lie on it and how to paddle.
The next is the all important how to stand up. Danny tells me that backed up by a lot of studies there is a perfect, tried and tested technique to this which goes in 4 steps. Each step is practised individually until it should just become automatic to make the transition from lying down to standing up on the board. I ask about the success rate and he tells me about an impressive 90% of people can manage to do this on the day out.
However, he also tells me that the day is not just about whether you can or can't stand up on the board, but about the experience as a whole as everyone develops at completely different levels. There should never be too much pressure on anyone to stand up.
The next part is getting into the water and as you walk to the shore Danny will explain which waves you are looking for, which ones you are not and most importantly the one's you want to catch. When you arrive at chest level in the water you will return back to the shore laying down. After all your practise and hard work you will hopefully then be able to get up on that board and find a real sense of achievement.
The enthusiasm Danny has for surfing just makes you want to get out there and have a go for yourself. It is a perfect day out for anyone over the age of 8 and if you are on holiday and can't get to Puerto Rico, they will come and pick you up. The groups are up to a maximum of 7 and they have 2 instructors for groups over 5.
There is also a discount for residents so why not give it a go. The next time you are moaning there's nothing to do, why not get a couple of mates together and give it a try. It could be fun!
Danny has so much experience coming from a sailing background and has been surfing most of his life. He arrived on the island delivering a boat from the UK to Mogan, with only the intention of staying a few weeks but then the weeks turned into three and a half years. He originally worked and lived in the sailing school in Puerto Rico and has taught many children and adults to both sail and to surf.
He now has a surf club for adults and children and also a Saturday School for anyone over 8 years which costs just 60 euros a month. Currently there is a group of young kids advancing every week and making a remarkable progress in a really short period of time. The atmosphere down at the club on the beach is absolutely amazing and you or your children will be made to feel really welcome.
There are many competitions and other surf groups around the island and Danny is hoping to soon start the kids competing. This is an ideal opportunity to learn to surf in the South of the island and take advantage of the better surf further up North.
So isn't it time you experienced surf? You will find Surf Experience at the beach hut at the very far end of Puerto Rico beach, next to the sailing school. Telephone 677704981 or 686211996.
Surf Experience are always looking for new sponsors and Danny would like to thank Oscars, Hawaii, Caballito del mar, Wigwam and Rhodos Palace for their surf boards.