Perched on the cliff-top overlooking the vast expanse of golden sand at Newquay's Watergate Bay, you'll find West Country Surf School. As sponsors of the surf school, a few of the Aspects team were kindly invited out to try out what they offer and brush up on our surf skills one sunny evening after work.
Run by brother and sister, Joel and Naomi, the surf school offers expert tips to complete beginners, all the way up to more experienced surfers. Situated in a spectacular location on the north coast of Cornwall, it's the perfect spot to take to the waves and have some fun while on holiday.
The conditions on the day were perfect for novices like us, with small, clean waves, combined with evening sunshine, so we couldn't wait to get in the water!
After getting kitted up with wetsuits and boards, we headed down to the sand (enjoying some spectacular views along the way) to learn some of the moves that we would need in the ocean. Surf instructor Joel taught us how to pop up and how to adopt the surfing stance while surf photographer Ben Battell captured the lesson through the lens. We had to figure out if we were 'goofy' (right foot forward) or 'regular' (left foot forward) before we headed for the water's edge. He also guaranteed that we'd be standing up by the end of the lesson - challenge accepted!
After 15 minutes of practising our moves on the beach and getting warmed up, we were ready to hit the waves! Our first goal was to paddle out through the shallows and get to where the waves were breaking.
We had already learnt how to pop up on the beach, so we were ready to give it a go in the water. First, we had to try to read the waves and 'pop up' at the right time - easier said than done! Joel gave us a helping hand and a push off to ensure we caught the wave at the right time, and soon enough some of us were popping up on our own.
Some of us, however, got our footing or the timing a bit off and ended up completely wiping out! But a surf lesson wouldn't be quite so much fun without plunging unexpectedly into the sea-salty water below.
After a little perseverance and shouts of encouragement from instructor Joel, above the roar of the waves, we were up, gliding across the water towards the shoreline. There's no other feeling quite like catching a wave; it's an exhilarating experience.
Once we had mastered the basics, experienced surfer Joel showed us some tricks to do in the water. We didn't quite manage to replicate his moves this time, so we'll have to book another lesson soon.
Not only were we dazzled by Joel's moves in the water, we were also impressed by his professionalism, coaching skills and his friendly and easygoing personality. He made us feel safe in the water and gave us the confidence to get up on the board and give it a go.
After a lesson, we recommend heading to The Hangout for a post-surf refuel.
West Country Surf School offer lessons to any age group, with a maximum of 6 students per instructor. Whether you're looking for a family surf lesson, want to get competitive in the ocean with your mates, or you want a one-to-one session with an expert, the team at West Country Surf School are experienced surfers and qualified lifeguards who will put you at ease during your session.
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