Surfing is something I have wanted to try for a long time, it has been on my ‘To Do’ list for some time now. After visiting Hawaii several times on my travels, I have always watched the surfers glide through the waves with such ease and wondered to myself could I actually attempt this for real!? After being a lot more adventurous recently, in completing the Go Ape challenges in Ziplining and the Segway adventure, I was waiting for my next one… So after seeing a recent post on social media, I got my opportunity and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. South Shields Surf School were launching a campaign to get more people into the water and surfing, I gladly offered to take up the challenge and signed up for my first surf lesson!
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was driving up to South Shields for my Saturday afternoon lesson, on a surprisingly beautifully Spring day. I had some nerves, I’m not afraid to say, more apprehension of my own ability in the water than anything! This was all dispelled when I arrived at the surf school and met Nick Jones who runs it. He had a great knack of putting you at ease and a good sense of humour too, which is perfect when dealing with someone with nerves… We chatted about how the afternoon would progress, the lesson was two hours long and we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. In the meantime I was fitted with a wetsuit, gloves and boots, then shown where I could undress in a changing room at the back of the surf school. Here I met two other girls and chatted about surfing and just how long they had been coming to the school. I was told I could leave my valuables in here as it was locked whilst we were down on the beach for the lesson. I had brought a towel with me being ever the organised, however I had forgotten my swimsuit (oh no!). So pants and bra underneath it was.
I watched as people arrived and everyone was so friendly and Nick greeted them like friends, answering their queries or questions with ease. Once we were all dressed and ready for action, we got given a surfboard each and headed for the beach. We were then given a safety talk and a introduction to surfing commenced afterwards. Including a very energetic warmup along the beach followed by stretches and commands we must follow once in the water. This part was very thorough but enjoyable all the same. As we got into the North Sea, we were asked to dunk ourselves to get acquainted with the water, it was fabulous and fun! We then took our surfboards and went as a group into the waves, with Nick and Dan another instructor who was very kind and approachable too. They took turns in helping people catch their first small wave and as they said “feel the rush” it was amazing. I giggled and shrieked like a five year old, I was in my element. What I liked the most about the lesson was you were never forced to go further or do something that didn’t feel right for you. Everyone has there own pace and this was respected.
After an hour we were asked to pop back onto the sand to have a chat about what was going well and what needed a little helping hand. Everything was explained to each of us, around 15 to 20 people in this group, with kindness and warmth. We then re entered the waters a bit further along the beach to catch more waves. My confidence was growing and I attempted to stand up on the board a couple of times, however I fell to the sides… Oh well practise makes perfect as they say! My group was filled with a lovely bunch of people, all ages and very encouraging of each other when we all attempted to mount our surfboards. This made the lesson so much more enjoyable than worrying about how competitive it may have been.
The lesson came to an end and each one of us was tired, you just don’t realise how much energy you use and work muscles I don’t think have been used in awhile or ever…! After a quick change, I went to thank Nick for a fabulous afternoon at South Shields Surf School and I wanted him to know how much fun it had been. It is important when learning anything that you can add fun to it, makes it so much easier for all. As I said my goodbyes to the group, I wandered down the beach to my car and thought to myself, that was one of the best experiences ever and I achieved something too! By challenging yourself, you will always be surprised.
I have set my new challenge and shall be contacting Nick asap to book a paddle boarding lesson with the surf school. I can’t recommend South Shields Surf School enough, please go and have a try for yourself, feel free to let me know about your experiences too! Everyone is welcome, from beginner to experienced surfer.
Group Lessons are available on-
Thursday’s and Friday’s are adult only 6 pm till 8 pm
Saturday’s and Sunday’s are open lessons 2 pm till 4pm for all
Cost is £15 per person
The surf school also hires out wetsuits and surfboards and offers lessons for individuals and family’s too.
It is located by The Sand Dancer pub on South Shields promenade, on Sandhaven beach and there is plenty parking available nearby, in the pay and display car parks.
For more info on South Shields Surf School click here.
Follow along on social media too!
Instagram is @shieldsurf
*Thanks to South Shields Surf School for gifting me this experience. This blog is my own thoughts and honest opinion of this activity.