We were not always surfers. When we left London for a family travel adventure in the summer of 2015, we were city people. None of our kids had surfed and my experience of the sport was a distant memory--my board had been collecting dust in my sister’s garage since 2003.
It was in Trancoso, Brazil, that we discovered our new passion. Trancoso is not known for great surf but a friend had recommended we take the kids for lessons with Romualdo, a beloved local instructor. After just one session our older kids were hooked and more lessons were booked.
The next stop on our adventure was Uruguay, a small country with several surf spots. Within days of our arrival we became the proud owners of wetsuits and a ‘foamie’. We bought straps for the car and hired a few more boards to tide us over. In our three weeks in Uruguay we probably surfed a dozen times. Not bad for new devotees.
Suddenly our itinerary was transforming. We swapped time meant for Argentina for the Pacific coast of Chile, ‘El Capital del Surf’. We traveled the perimeter of New Zealand’s Islands chasing waves rather than tourist attractions. We surfed our way up the east coast of Australia, around Sri Lanka, in Portugal, England and California. We even considered changing our destinations within Japan to allow us to surf their waves.
Not everyone spent the same amount of time in the water. Easton would surf from sun up to sun down if we allowed him. Quin is more choosey, holding out for the best conditions or prettiest breaks. Same goes for Courtney. Ivy is usually good for a twenty-minute session and Marlow is happiest on the beach, though she occasionally surprises us with her enthusiasm for surfing, like in Sri Lanka when she went for wave after wave.
Unlike many sports, surfing is an activity that our entire family can enjoy together, side by side, regardless of individual abilities. Since we’re not in search of big waves, the whole gang can participate on most days if they want to. And let’s be honest, even if they don’t, a beautiful beach is not a bad place to be with your family.
Our eldest, 11-year-old Easton, and I spend the most time in the water together. We chat between waves or scan the water for sea life. Bobbing up and down in the waves the father-son hierarchy slips away and we are equals -- two guys with a shared passion. I really love this time together and can’t wait for the others to spend as much time with us. Of course, Easton’s surfing skills are improving much faster than mine so it may not be long before he looks for more skilled company.
Our 7-year old, Ivy, had been reluctant to go beyond the whitewater recently. Then, inspired by our friend Dave Winchester and his daughter, Autumn, we tried out tandem surfing. Ivy loved being out in the ‘proper waves’ with me and the local crowd was completely supportive—encouraging her on. We’ve yet to both stand up on a wave together, but we’re enjoying this new father-daughter challenge and I hope to be writing a post about it soon. ☺