Last post of the European Summer Tour Blog 2011

It’s too bad that such a great adventure must come to an end, but United Surf Camps European Summer Tour 2011 is finished and so is the blogging about it.

I thought that I would sum up the trip in some fun facts. I have:

- Driven over 3 200 km

- Taken 1 721 photos and shot 1 325 movie clips

- Surfed for about 30 hours

 

So thank you United Surf Camps for making me a better driver and a better photographer. But first and foremost, thank you for making me a better surfer and for the best summer job I could ever imagine.

Until I have edited the film-material about each camp, you can have a look at the movie below to get an insight of how my visits to the surf camps have felt like.

Thank you for following the blog and good luck with your future surfing!

// Nick

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Last waves of the trip

In my blog post “First wave of the trip” I promised to come back to you with a clip at the end of the journey to see if I have improved my surfing skills. Watch this clip to judge for yourself.

// Nick

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Surf camp Hossegor

Now I see why Hossegor is considered to be “the surfing capital of Europe”. This place has endless beaches with legendary breaks such as La Nord, La Graviére and Capbreton to name a few, and the whole town eradiates surfing. There are surf shops along the streets, conversations usually end up in discussing how the conditions will be the next day and every year the best surfers in the world are gathered here for the WCT Quiksilver Pro championship.

The Surf camp in Hossegor has a surf house just a minute by foot from the beach. Both broken and whole surfboards decorate the walls, the bookshelfs are full of surf movies and you can go surfing any time you want.

We got some of the best surfing early in the morning. For this reason, we managed to get up around 6 am some of the days. Although, we didn’t get up that early after experiencing the nightlife of the town. One evening, we broke the local record of 20 Jägerbombs (Shots of Jägermeister in glasses of Red Bull) at the bar Seaside and continued the night at the all so popular Dick’s Sand Bar for an eighties theme party. So if you want to have some good nights out, you can definitely find this too here!

When you visit Hossegor, there are a few “must do’s” that the surf camp managers recommend:

Party at Dick’s Sand Bar – CHECK

Jump from the bridge (make sure it is high tide!) – CHECK

Eat a hamburger at Hossegor Sandwiches – CHECK

Check out the Surfers Walk of Fame – CHECK

Some other stuff that I don’t remember – UNCHECKED

So I guess I have to return and check that off the list. But I certainly won’t mind!

// Nick

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Surf camp Santander

Arriving to the Surf camp in Santander I was greeted by the surf camp manager, Damian. He put me in their upgraded accommodation, a double room in a hotel, and I sure wouldn’t argue with that treatment!

The closest beach area consists of Playa Loredo and the two landmarks La Isla (the island) and La Roca (the rock), as you can see on the posted pictures.

After shooting some video of the first day’s surf lessons at Playa Loredo, one of the staff members at the camp, John, offered me and the other guests to go surfing at Playa Langre in the evening. Since the session was off John’s working hours, you can tell that he really likes what he does for a living. This friendliness prevailed throughout the whole staff that took great care of everyone with perpetual smiles on their faces.

The conditions for surfing were undoubtedly the best of the trip from my point of view. I got to surf some clean waves and I’m starting to get a good routin of catching them. Now the really fun part begins: to practice turning and learn some tricks!

In the weekend, I headed into the centre of Santander with two new Italian friends from the surf school. We enjoyed a tasty dinner and had a short sightseeing of the city.

The last day of my stay in Santander, there was a big horse racing competition at the beach. It was pretty cool watching them pass by at the speed of lightning (not really, but quite fast) right where people normally sunbath. However, this didn’t stop me from getting some surf in the afternoon, crowning an awesome weak of surf in Santander.

// Nick

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Heading back to Spain

From the point that I took off from Porto it didn’t take long before I passed the border to Spain. I was met by a verdant Galicia with winding roads through narrow mountain passes, deep valleys and dense forests. Mountain peaks stretching up into the sky was encircled by fog. The atmosphere was simply magic.

When I was entering the highway to Santander there were about 20 policemen, (Guardia Civil) equipped with machine guns and holding a spike strip. I’m glad it wasn’t me they were looking for …

The car drive was long but fuss-free and I had a good time listening to the radio that played some Spanish music as well as good old English classics.

Now when I’ve arrived to the Surf camp here in Santander, hasta luego amigos!

// Nick

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Surf camp Porto

So how would I describe Porto? That’s an easy one: “Surf and the city”, because surf camp Porto offers a great mix of surfing and urban tourism.

One of my first days in Porto, the surf camp manager Rodrigo (a.k.a. Godzilla), took me to a surf contest he was competing in. Even though the conditions weren’t ideal, the contestants really put on a show and proved their skills. It was inspiring to watch and I got even more psyched to improve my surfing. The following days I had some great surf sessions myself and I got to see the surf school ripping it during sunset at Matosinhos beach.

After a few hours in the water you’re probably exhausted and looking for something a bit more relaxing. Then what could be better than wandering around in Porto’s old town (which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site) by the bank of the Douro River. I had four afternoons and evenings dedicated to experiencing the city and I managed to:

▪     Witness impressive buildings.

▪     Take a photo (even though it’s forbidden) in the bookshop where Harry Potter was filmed. JK Rowling got her inspiration to the fictional bookshop from here when she worked in Porto as an English teacher.

▪     Have a free(!) tasing of Port wine at the wine sellers across the river.

▪     Try out a Francesinha (a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto).

▪     Watch the sunset with the best view of the city from Serra do Pilar.

And still, there was much more to do.

I leave Porto, full of impressions and with an eager to come back with my friends and family to show them the magnificence of this city.

Next up, I’m heading to Spain again!

// Nick

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Rory shows how it’s done

Rory, one of the instructors at the surf camp in Lisbon catching a wave at Praia da Foz de Lizandro in Ericeira.

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