Last month the team at Jah Shaka Surf welcomed a crew of girls along who opted to escape the cold and head over to Portugal for a week of sun and surf. A good shout in our eyes, and here Alida Bea gives us a first hand account of just how much sunnier October in the Algarve is compared to Woolacombe!
I went to Roxy week by myself, thinking I might be the only one who came alone. Luckily there was a small group of other girls doing a solo trip too, as well as a house full of people who came alone, together as well as others on their third or fourth trip to Jah Shaka Surf Lodge, which speaks volumes in what kind of time you are going to have whilst staying at the lodge.
There were many times throughout my week when I had to stop and realise that I don’t do morning yoga, drive around looking for good waves and surf at sunset on a daily basis. The lodge is like a home from home, where your family are a big group of happy, slightly sunburnt Waltons in wetsuits. It’s a comfortable environment with lots of places to sit out in the sunshine, which 30 degrees in October is always a massive bonus, especially if you come from rainy England.
You wake up to a dorm of sleepy surfers, optionally go and be gently woken by the calming tones of Miri the yoga teacher whilst she guides you through your sun salutations. Off next to a breakfast buffet of fruit, pancakes and the like before getting your wetsuit and jumping in a van in search of your waves. After a day of surfing and swimming, a warming, evening meal large enough to fill the biggest of tummies, is eaten outside in the garden with your newly obtained family.
On our rest day we were taken out to a picturesque lake, for a late afternoon Stand Up Paddleboarding lesson. A calming experience being surrounded by trees and floating in still water, that is when you aren’t being knocked off your board by other members of the lesson. We even had a mini yoga lesson on our boards! Word of warning don’t sit on your board back to front for 5 minutes wondering why you are going in circles and not forward, it helps to face the right way. But a beer after packing up always help console a bruised pride.
Wriggling into your suit and jumping into that ocean with your board is a mixture of excitement and nerves, not knowing what’s about to hit you… which will be a nice big wave or two. As a born again surfing virgin after not having surfed for many years, I was feeling nervous about getting in the water, as well as getting agitated I wasn’t picking it back up as quickly as I had hoped (which I thought would be within the first few minutes… idiot!).
With the guidance and encouragement from an experienced and friendly surf instructor you will keep going back for more and more until you get your pop up on point and you are gliding through the water. Learning more skills each session to evolve our technique meant that by the last session of our Roxy week, we were all sitting out back and having a go at catching a green wave in the sunshine. Which to my extreme delight I managed to catch two!
There are so many things you will experience from your trip that aren’t even on the list of what’s included in the price, the views, the laughs, the food and if you are lucky your first green wave! I cannot recommend a week at Jah Shaka Surf enough.