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A touch of expertise at Errant Surf School, Newquay

“How many days have you been out of the water?”
“Three years.”
“Oh ...”
As I slide into a wetsuit at the Errant Surf School, The Fear is kicking in, but there is no way I’m going to let myself flag in front of this team of boys, and frankly I’m itching to get in that water and show them I’m not a completely useless girl-pansy.

Perfect For:
honing your skills, proper surfing expertise
Website:
Telephone:
01637 851 403
Address:
Errant Newquay Surf School
Trebarwith Hotel
Trebarwith Crescent
Newquay
Postcode:
TR7 1BZ
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Errant is not really your standard grab-a-foamie-and-be-dragged-into-a-wave type of situation, although they do cater for beginner surfers if needs be. Their focus is on the established surfers and those from the realms of elite boarders who need to brush up on their pro skills rather than just washing up on the shore and hoping to look cool. Now I know the basics but you won’t see me holding a world title any time soon. It looks like this’ll be a test of their ability to cater for the non-pros as well as the experts.

What is it that’s so seriously special about Errant? Well, not only are they ace instructors, but the art of teaching is conveyed through the magic of video.

That’s right. Not only do you get a bracing sesh in the swells, but afterwards it’s classroom time, and you’ll revise the footage of yourself while your coach points out the good bits, the bad bits and the bits where you drown and need to start working on your technique all over again. I envisage a lot of the latter.

My teacher is Vince. He’s a chatty man who looks hard as nails but has the most delightful giggle ever uttered by a full grown man, and I am so grateful that he has the patience of a saint while I find my feet and get familiar with the board again. I get a quick run through of the basic paddle and pop up technique on the sand, thorough instructions to aim for consistently catching and staying on waves, then I’m let loose for twenty minutes to put theory into practice.

Well. Let’s just say that after a great deal of slipping, sliding and being completely taken out several times on the choppy tides, consistency ain’t where I’m at today. After an on-film interval in the sea, Vince calls me back to offer advice, sets the next goal to work on and then sends me back in. I’m pleased to say that although there are no backflips or handstands happening – at least not on purpose – Vince’s tutoring is absolutely spot on. I’m improving quickly, and can now just about steer a surf board. While standing on it that is. I’m pretty sure dragging it by the fins doesn’t count. Vince is even nice enough to give me a thumbs-up when I ride all the way into the shore from waist height waves. (On reflection, it’s my waist, so really that’s not all that high. We can keep that quiet though right?)

When a couple of hours have passed, it’s time to plod back for study time and see what I’ve got to polish up on. My guess would be everything, particularly after Vince reveals that his whole family are surfers – not least his fifteen year old son who is an elite surfer with three championship titles under his belt. He could properly surf on a white wave at three years old. That is essentially what I have struggled to do at the ripe old age of 21, and I’m suddenly dreading seeing myself on video. On the plus side, while this is excruciatingly hard to do, it is the best way to hone my surfing skills and coupled with Vince’s talents as a teacher, I’m feeling more confident than ever on the waves.

Meandering through the streets of Newquay – the feel of my own clothes is less invigorating than the wetsuit getup. I’m actually sad that the lesson is over and can’t wait to get back in and put Vince’s wise words into practice.

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