On Sunday the 3rd of July over 150 women arrived at Saunton beach for a day or surfing, yoga and general good times! Protest Ladies Surf Day organiser, Charlotte Bayliss, has given us an insight into what went down…
After a terrible surf and weather report at the start of the week – 8ft swell, 30mph onshores and rain – I was starting to get worried. There were girls travelling down from all over the country, some who had booked their summer holidays around the event, so I really didn’t want to have to cancel.
After watching the forecast like a hawk my blood pressure dropped seeing that the conditions were calming down. On arrival to the beach we were greeted with 2-3ft glassy waves and were all kicking ourselves that we had scored such great conditions. The weather had been questionable but we couldn’t have asked for anything better, the sun shone all day and we even had a lot of pink faces by the end of it!
The ladies started arriving at 9.15 and it was a case of getting them signed in, handing out their Protest goody bag and Raffle ticket and making sure they were happy with the plan for the day. Some of the girls had gone for a brekki upgrade so they were able to grab their food and hang out on the beach in the sunshine whilst they got to know the other girls. It was amazing to see everyone getting involved and chatting to one another and I know a lot of new friendships have been made.
With over 150 women signed in and our fab team of Surf and Yoga instructors ready to go it was time to get half the girls suited up and heading to the water whilst the other half headed to the yoga mats. Our lovely Yoga instructors Tash and Liv taught two fantastic classes on the beach in the morning with a focus on stretching and energizing ready for the afternoon surf session.
On the beach the first half of the Mermaids (beginners) were getting an ABC lesson from the amazing surf instructors whilst the Dolphins (intermediates) headed in to the surf to start pushing their surfing to the next level. The girls were working on perfecting their turns, duck diving and learning to ride on their backhand to name a few things.
The tide was low and there were some fun 2-3ft waves rolling through with a light wind. I was surrounded by smiling faces and it was amazing to spend time in the water with the girls, answering questions and teaching them some tricks to make catching waves, duck diving and turning that bit easier. The mermaids headed into the surf after their beach session and before long I could see them all taking their first steps to their feet on route to catching their first wave. It was an amazing feeling! During the Dolphins session I found one girl stood in the shallows with shaky hands and a massive smile on her face. She had just caught the ‘best wave of her life’ and we were able to share that with her. Nothing is better!
After a couple of hours in the water the girls headed out to warm up, rest their tired arms and grab some lunch (still smiling!). I had headed up to the beach a bit earlier to meet the yoga girls after their session and do a Q&A Session. There were some fab questions about etiquette, catching green waves and increasing confidence when in the water. Everyone was really engaged and it was a great session with questions and answers bouncing around the group.
Lunch was then served! The Saunton Break Cafe had whipped up some tasty, healthy lunch bags for all of the girls, so after handing them out all the ladies could enjoy the sunshine and get to know their new friends. The ‘Daddy Day Care’ teams were also able to hang out and hear about the fun their partners had been having all morning (I think we had a few jealous men!)
After lunch the groups swapped over, with the morning surf babes heading over to yoga and the yoga babes heading into the water. The Yoga session focused on stretching and relaxation, as all the girls were feeling pretty knackered after their morning of waves. The second half of the mermaids headed down to the waters edge to run through their ABC before heading out into the surf to put their new skills into practice.
There were loads of young girls in this session and I awarded 3 of these girls’ hoodies for their amazing attitude – their smiles were even bigger than before after they received them! The Lady Sliders (Longboarders) also headed down the beach to find a quiet spot where they would perfect their longboarding technique under the watchful eye of the extremely experienced team of Ben Haworth and Juliet Marlow. The girls loved the session and the feedback was that they have all improved massively. Many of them have already signed up to the Hotdoggers and we can’t wait to meet them at the next event and welcome them into the Hotdoggers Family.
After a couple of hours the girls left the water, again tired but beaming. We all headed back up the beach to get changed and find a position on the beach ready for the big raffle. There were over 25 prizes and everyone was eagerly waiting for their number to be called. It was a fantastic way to end the day as it meant everyone was able to sit together, share stories and exchange numbers. We finished the day with a huge group photo that showed just how many ladies we had on the beach and captured all their smiles.
I couldn’t have made the event as amazing a day as it was without the support of my amazing surf and yoga instructors. They had the most amazing attitude, fabulous knowledge and they shared this with all of the ladies who attended. I can’t thank them enough.
Protest was amazing in supporting the event with bags full of goodies and banners that meant that everyone took something home with them. Norman and Andre from the Hotdoggers Longboard Club were amazing support and they gave up their Sunday Lie in to come down to the beach at 7:30am to help me set up. They also gave up their surf time to spend the whole day on the beach looking after our camp and speaking to the girls about the club. The Saunton Break Cafe provided absolutely gorgeous lunches and Surfed Out sorted hire out for the girls who needed it. They also donated a gorgeous trophy that has been awarded to Sam Sweetie for her amazing attitude and flare.
Zinka Sunscreen made sure we were protected all day and West Country Surf Wax provided all the girls with a block of locally made wax. We also had County Chiropractic on site offering free consultations and they donated a £100 voucher to the raffle.
Kobe Swimwear threw in a £50 voucher for the ‘Girl with the Biggest Smile’, which was awarded to Lisa Thorne for being stoked and smiling all day long.
Our Lovely Yoga instructors, and Sonja who was unfortunately unwell on the day, put in a massage session and yoga sessions to the raffle.
I have heard nothing but positive feedback and I can’t wait for the next event. We now have a Ladies Day Social Page where the ladies can share their photos, chat with one another and organise surfs together. From here the plan is to start a ladies surf club so the Ladies have a network and can continue to work on their surfing in a great environment.
The plan is to run another event early next year and then a follow up event later in the year. If we get the chance as well there are plans for a smaller ladies day at the end of the summer.
A massive thank you has to go to all of the Ladies who attended. It wouldn’t have been the day without them and it has been an amazing experience to be able to spend the day with them. Thank you for your fantastic attitude ladies and see you all at the next event!
If people want to find out more about further events they can find all the information on the Ladies Surf Day Facebook Page.