Did you think that surfing was solely for super Olympic sportsmen and women? You might just be wrong, let us tell you the story of what we saw on the first day of class for a group of budding surfers.
Exclusive comments made by stars of the future as they took to the surf boards:
1) “Watch out water, here I come!!!” yells 10 year old Jorge, one of 120 children from the Summer Camp at Las Canteras beach. These are first cries heard in a moment of high excitement following the first splash of the morning. As the monitor signals the start of the day, we see Jorge charge off along with the rest of the group, all of them with surf boards under their arms, taking on the white crashing foam, each waiting for their own wave, splashing around and trying out the new moves they have been taught. The monitors, at the water’s edge, shout out instructions, correcting them or praising them, as required.
2) 9 year old Adrián Marrero comes out of the water, out of breath. He has been attempting to stand up on the surf board for quite a while. When he achieves it, he makes his way to the water’s edge and to his monitor, who clears up any last doubts with him on the sand. This is the second time he has taken part in the summer camp, and as he explains, “I really love surfing, but we do other sports such as skateboarding or bodyboarding. They are all fast moving gliding sports, so we learn more. But surfing is my favourite, that’s why my parents signed me up again”.
3) Andrea Díaz, who is 12, also explains to us about gliding along, and ensures us that “the balance I have learned while surfing has helped me in other sports too”.
4) Jorge Rodríguez is also 12, and says “It is really fun because the monitors take proper care of us, and this is the best way to play in the water, as well as having great fun with friends on the beach”.
5) An anonymous beginner, as he takes off his flippers, adds: “My objective is to learn how to do a rush”. We ask him what a rush is, exactly. “When you catch a wave, and get on the crest, you turn round while still riding on the wave. I reckon it will take me one or two weeks to learn how to do it. We work on our technique and gradually get used to doing more and more. It’s like riding a bike, first you start pedaling, then you do wheelies, and you take it on from there”.
6) Elsa Marrero is 13 and hooked on surf. She tells us “I would love to do this for a living, be a monitor and take part in championships. I dream of one day being a surf champion”.
The example set by the monitors is an integral part of the success of the surf schools. The teachers are outstanding sportspeople, and are regularly seen surfing on the island’s beaches. This allows the youngsters to pick out the best moves, which might be beyond them at the moment, but which they are sure they will master some day.
7) Oliver explains “I dream of doing a backflip”. When we ask him what it is, he says: “Well it’s like turning over backwards and still riding the wave, but it’s not easy”.
8) 10 year old Jaime Herrera rounds off the comments on a sombre note, saying “I like surfing because it just makes me feel happy. I always look forward to doing spins and turns under the waves.”
We leave the beach behind having interviewed our new batch of surfers, with their comments fresh in our minds. That time then leaves us to ponder on the group’s dreams, intensity and motivation to learn new things, have healthy fun and respect for nature, and the fact that it all forms part of the surfing school courses on Gran Canaria. Even if it is not included in the pamphlet.