Lanzarote Surfing Trip, The Beginning

Day 1- En Route

Left well before the crack of dawn for my Lanzarote surfing trip, the feeble sun barely showing up halfway to Heathrow. The usual drowsy excitement of the first step. Immediately feel more myself.

Arrival on the moon- spectacular landscapes from the Great Painter at one his maddest moments. Sweeping pebble-scattered mountains and empty dusty roads into the naked distance, the end of which- Famara. The most spectacular flourish- a half-finished surf-wave of rock curving into the sky over the beach is the backdrop to the month. I’m grinning inside- this was a great call.

Kadiva; stressed, busy, confused, dark and beautiful shows me around- the surf house, the local, a cool party-direction toting bartender and the token Israeli lad trying to pull her. Still, some company for the evening- but not much.

The second proper sleep in a bed for best part of two weeks and the hangover finally gives up.

Famara beach

The local surf report


Day 2- What’s going on?

Spanish- 1 chapter, introducing yourself, immediately forgotten

Surf- Constant arrivals at the surf school, must have been 30 in total. The instructors are ex-pat Brits, as sorted as you’d imagine but probably more pro. An hour of waiting, warm-ups, intros and tuition later I get to run into my final destination for the first time.

Some interesting tips were invoked- sideways stance (contrary to habit, and ancient ‘advice’), front foot planted between hands, definite forward/backward fast/slow, getting low for stability. But basically a breeze on big foamies. Fun at first, frustrating in the afternoon- the swell must be 4-5ft but badly broken and confused- 100 metres of slop no matter which way you look at it. A few locals seemed to be ripping it, but nothing for me but drills and the one proper ride to comfort my ego.

Out of the water at 3, home by 4- a long afternoon of painful English or non-existant Spanish and not nearly as exhausted as expected. The scenery couldn’t be refused so I ran into it, along the beach and up the first sweep of the wave to perch on a rocky outcrop high above the rushing surf and curving bay. Sitting on the moon. I sat to meditate- all the time in the world. At first just the usual banal thoughts drifting through, half caught, half dismissed. But 20 mins in a rush to the hands such as I haven’t felt for years and had forgotten in all but vague description to myself. Tingling doesn’t do it justice, and dissolving into millions of particles is meaningless- but there you go. I don’t know what it meant, where it came from, if it was ‘normal’, the meditation, the cold breeze, or sitting in God’s sketchbook. It was one of the most real and powerful experiences to date, and reminded me vividly of what I had found, and seemingly forgotten, with Vipassana. 10 minutes later the feeling had only spread tentatively to my stomach, and my mind felt fairly normal- shifting thoughts, excited with the feeling, desire for change and shift. I opened my eyes to the world, feeling mildly ecstatic and the sensation in my hands remaining. I touched myself all over, seeing with my hands the reality of my physical body clearly as it was, and delighted with the discovery. I waited as I returned to normal and the feelings faded, but peaceful elation remained. On my way again, and feeling right to be on the road where I belong, playing and learning.

3kms of a rocky track, with Famara and the desert laid below me, brought me home to a shower and a rest. The evening to pass I met some guys in the local for a deliberate, unnatural Fanta and nothing (a rare chance for abstinence seized) and a painfully quiet, poor dinner at a bland, empty restaurant. Many seem here alone, but not the usual open solo-travellers I’ve had fun with. Maybe they’re exhausted? Maybe they think I’m strange with my constant attempts at sparking dinner conversation? I think they’re dull and awkward.

The bar with quiet types is no place for a man on The Wagon- home to the first log and an early night…

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