Spending time in paradise

Hawai’i – March 2017

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Last fall in Spain, we had some guests over from the USA. Lilia and Kyle live on Maui, and Hawaiian Island. They invited me over and I didn’t have to think twice about that.

When you picture Hawai’i, you probably think about surfing, the unpronounceable singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (“Somewhere over the rainbow”) and surf legend Duke Kahanamoku, Hibiscus flowers, Aloha, Waikiki beach, dancing hula girls with coconut bikini’s, Disney’s Lilo & Stitch and the new released Moana (a.k.a. Vaiana), ukuleles, palm trees and crystal clear water. Well, you can find pretty much all of that everywhere in Hawai’i. 2017-03-11-13-40-33-1

The moment I book my ticket to Honolulu, I know this is going to be just amazing. I mean, the name alone sounds tropical and makes you feel warm and smile.

After a long trip via London and LA (my flight is delayed which makes me miss my flight to Honolulu, but gives me the opportunity to spent a night in LA with my Argentinian friends), I take off to Honolulu. I cross the ocean and after 5,5 hours of just seeing ocean, a tropical place appears. I push my face against the plane window to watch the waves, super clear water and palm trees and I try to spot a whale. Clapping my hands and bouncing restlessly on my seat, I am excited as a kid. And that feeling stays with me the rest of the trip.

2017-03-06-23-23-35For the first few days I stay with a friend of mine in Honolulu who moved there from the mainland. I only met him for a few days in El Salvador some years ago but he insisted on picking me up from the airport and I could stay with him for the first days. He even got a day off to show me around almost the whole island. Such a warm welcome. I soon find out that people on Hawai’i are welcoming. I guess it’s the vibe of the islands. Both tourists and residents I meet are always happy, talkative, easygoing, helpful and open. I have been shown around some places by people who I just met when being picked up by them when I was hitch hiking, my brother’s friend took me to different places in Honolulu for a couple of days and friends of friends and almost everyone I just met were always happy to take me surfing, showing

2017-03-07-23-32-31me around or inviting me for any bbq or party. Everyone seems to have time, they live in the now and problems are not likely to exist, only situations to cope with. Even though I’m really easygoing, open and positive myself, I still learn a lot from the life perspective of the people here.

 

Most days I wake up early just after sunrise due to the enormous amount of roosters, feeling a breeze in my face when I open my tent, smelling the salt water of the ocean and always excited what this day would bring me. Some days I feel like exploring, some days I feel like surfing and chilling, enjoying a nice cup of coffee with the most amazing fresh organic vegan/vegetarian food in a nice atmosphere. Around every corner there is something to explore: hiking up green hills and mountains filled with exotic trees and plants with a breathtaking view at the top, snorkeling in crystal clear water with the most 2017-03-25-22-25-55colorful fish and turtles, sunset at sunrise at the top of a volcano or driving on whichever (windy) road with beautiful views.

The water is warm so I can surf in my bikini. The vibe in the water is very friendly; surfers are always talking to each other, smiling and enjoying their time in the water. I have seen all kinds of surfboards, all kinds of ages and any time of day for either half an hour or 3 hours straight, people play in the water, as long as you have fun is all that matters. Big sea turtles pop their heads out of the water at Ho’okipa beach in Maui, green lush mountains make an amazing view from the water at Hanalei Bay in Kaua’i and transparent water makes the waves look like fluid diamonds shining in the sun at Makaha point in O’ahu. I have an endless smile on my face and experience jaw-dropping moments every day. This truly is paradise in all its forms.

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I can write and talk endlessly about this place, show pictures and videos and all, but I guess you do need to experience this yourself at some point. Make Hawai’i the first place on your bucket list, really. Can’t go wrong here.

 

Aloha

~ Carine

Lanzarote Inner Strength week

Lanzarote, Surf & Inner Strenght – februari 2017

Nog voordat de wekker van mijn kamergenoot gaat ben ik al op. Wat een kleine week in Lanzarote al niet kan doen (in Nederland kom ik vaak maar met moeite mijn bed uit).

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Ik loop richting het terras en geniet in stilte; het uitzicht (bergen aan de ene kant, zee aan de andere) in combinatie met het ochtendlicht is prachtig.

Langzaam komt de villa tot leven en druppelt de rest van de groep en crew de woonkamer binnen. Bert heeft het ontbijt inmiddels al klaar gezet. Een tafel met lekkers waar je spontaan keuze-stress van zou krijgen. Dit keer stokbrood met allerlei kaasjes? Of toch maar weer een kom yoghurt met noten, fruit, honing, etc. ?

De temperatuur is aangenaam en de lucht strakblauw, dus het ontbijt wordt uiteraard buiten genuttigd. Straks weer lekker surfen! De afgelopen dagen zijn er enorme sprongen vooruit gemaakt en ik heb iedereen al heel wat keer (staand) op het board voorbij zien komen.

Je voelt aan alles….. dit gaat weer een hele mooie dag worden!

Een surftrip is (meestal) leuk, een surftrip van Surfana is leuker. Dit heb ik al eens meegemaakt en kan ik iedereen aanbevelen. Basisingrediënten: een mooie locatie, goede surflessen, heerlijk eten, een ongedwongen, relaxte sfeer (geen strak programma, niets moet maar van alles kan) en ga zo maar door. Net terwijl je denkt dat dit bijna niet beter kan, blijkt er toch nog een ‘next level’ te zijn…..

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Het begint al als je uit het vliegtuig stapt in Lanzarote. Een aantal uur geleden stond ik nog te bibberen in een gure januari-nacht, nu kunnen de dikke vesten in de tas en heb je overdag ineens genoeg aan een shirtje. En dan kom je aan bij de villa in Nazaret….. wow! Super groot maar toch heel sfeervol, met allerlei fijne plekjes en over het uitzicht had ik het al eerder gehad. Na een spontaan bezoek aan de markt in Teguise (leuk plaatsje!) is het tijd voor de 1e surfles. De rest van de groep bleek allemaal uit beginners te bestaan. Zelf surf ik alweer een jaartje of 5, dus ik pak als enige een hardboard, blijf voor de vorm nog even quasi geïnteresseerd bij de instructie hangen en duik dan snel het water. De omstandigheden bij Famara Beach zijn perfect voor alle niveaus. De golven hebben veel kracht en je hoeft niet veel moeite te doen om ze te pakken. Terwijl de rest nog aan het oefenen is heb ik er binnen een mum van tijd al wat ritjes op zitten en dus helemaal klaar om de rest van de week eens even lekker de ervaren surfer uit te gaan hangen.

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Gilmar (de lokale surfleraar) en Nette hadden echter nogal wat aan te merken op mijn techniek. Knieën veel meer bij elkaar, bovenlichaam rechtop, vooruit kijken en ga zo maar door. Tja, dat kan je dus krijgen als je ooit een aantal surflesjes neemt en daarna zelf maar ‘wat’ doet. Dat werd een uitdaging, want als je begint kun je nog van alles aanleren….. maar leer de verkeerde dingen maar eens af! Ehhh, en zeker als je een tikkeltje eigenwijs bent zoals ik.

Het begon met nogal wat frustratie, maar langzamerhand ging het ergens op lijken en moest ik toch ook wel toegeven dat bij het goed toepassen van de tips, ik echt wel stabieler op mijn board stond. Al met al heerlijk gesurft en weer helemaal stoked!

Normaal gesproken zou dit een prima afsluiting zijn van het verhaal, maar er was meer….dsc_4119

Dit was namelijk de allereerste ‘Surf & Inner Strenght’ week van Surfana. Hoe bijzonder dit allemaal was valt eigenlijk niet te omschrijven, maar ik ga het toch proberen.

Vooraf wist we niet veel. Iets met ademen, meditatie en je innerlijke kracht terug vinden en zo. Naar dat laatste was ik al zo lang op zoek dat ik niet eens meer wist dat ik het had, dus het besluit om me juist voor deze week aan te melden was snel genomen.

Na terugkomst van de 1e surfles heeft Niels Mooij, de coach die het Inner Strenght gedeelte organiseert, de matjes al klaar gelegd in de kamer. De ademsessie (liggend een lange tijd heel diep ademhalen) brengt eerst een bizarre verkramping in mijn armen, maar aan het eind een diepe ontspanning. Hier en daar komen de eerste emoties al los. En dan wordt je na afloop ineens omhelst door mensen die je nauwelijks 1 dag kent. Dat was fff wennen, maar voelt eigenlijk ook al meteen goed.

Ik ben niet zo’n prater, dus de stiltewandeling die dinsdag op het programma stond sprak me wel aan. De vulkanische landschappen in Lanzarote lenen zich hier helemaal voor, je neemt het op deze manier toch op een andere manier in je op. Een onderdeel onderweg was om een stukje iemand, die met de ogen dicht loopt, te begeleiden en de ander daarin dus te vertrouwen. Dat zat gelukkig wel goed en iedereen heeft het er zonder kleerscheuren vanaf gebracht. Na een pad langs uitgestrekte zwarte rotsen, wachtte de beklimming van de dsc_4063Caldera blanca vulkaan. Het was de enige dag dat het vooral bewolkt was (de rest van de week volop zon gezien) en op de top van de vulkaan is het zelfs behoorlijk mistig. Dit gaf het geheel een mystiek tintje waar ik bijzonder van onder de indruk was.Op woensdagochtend voor het surfen een sessie op het strand (onder andere een stuk rennen met je ogen dicht). De volgende dag een ingelast onderdeel. Gilmar heeft een speciale plek, een grot in de bergen (met uitzicht op de baai waar we altijd surfen) waar hij ons, bij uitzondering, mee naartoe wil nemen. We zitten hier een aantal uur in een kring om het vuur, doen een Rapè-ceremonie en zingen mantra’s. Klinkt dit zweverig? Ja, misschien wel. Maar zo voelde het op dat moment absoluut niet. Maar je moet er denk ik bij geweest zijn om dat te begrijpen. Voor velen was dit in ieder geval een hoogtepunt deze week

Vrijdagmiddag stond er iets op het programma waar ondergetekende (en tevens koukleum) een beetje tegenop zag: het ijsbad. Maar ik ging de uitdaging aan en het viel me mee; natuurlijk is het even slikken als je het ijskoude water in stapt, maar door de begeleiding van Niels (ademhaling, focus) kom je op een gegeven moment in een modus waardoor je de kou veel beter kan hebben en nog wat langer kan blijven liggen. En weer een bijzondere ervaring om te doen en met iedereen te delen. Leuk trouwens dat de crew volop mee doet aan de diverse onderdelen, voor hen is dit ook allemaal nieuw dus dat maakt de saamhorigheid nog groter.

Na een supergezellig etentje in Teguise vrijdagavond en een kleine afterparty in de villa (mede dankzij een spontane DJ-set van Tomas) is dsc_3537het einde toch echt in zicht. Zaterdagochtend weer lekker met z’n allen ademen en na de laatste keer surfen is er ’s avonds nog een afsluitende aankijksessie. Deze is voor mij best heftig en confronterend, maar aan de andere kant ook goed om te ervaren dat ik me ten opzichte van de eerste dagen, toen ik zelfs nog een onderdeel over sloeg omdat ik dat iets te lastig vond (wat overigens geen enkel probleem was), veel meer open durf te stellen.

Ik ben nog lang niet waar ik zijn wil, maar deze week heeft aardig wat los gemaakt en ik hoop dan ook dat ik uit deze ervaringen wat mee kan nemen naar Nederland.

Wat ik zeker meeneem zijn ontelbaar veel herinneringen, het herwonnen plezier in het surfen, de prachtige foto’s van Nils en zeker ook de lieve mensen die ik ontmoet heb. Met wie ik al deze dingen heb meegemaakt, met wie ik soms gehuild heb maar vooral heel veel gelachen. Ik hoop oprecht dat het contact met de groep in het geheel en een paar mensen in het bijzonder zal blijven bestaan. De tijd zal het leren, niets is zeker in het leven. Niets? Nou ja, 1 ding weet ik eigenlijk wel zeker: dat dit niet mijn laatste Surfana Surftrip is geweest!

– Roel

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Spain by Desirae (USA)

_mg_1885Planning any ordinary trip can be hard.
Planning an adventure in a foreign country? Nearly impossible!I was beyond unsure of what to think when I booked my week with the Surfana Surf Crew this past fall.  My best friend had pointed out their Instagram page a few months prior, and we had gawked at their fabulous pictures of surfing and perfect destinations daily until we decided we were going for it.  With no real reference other than social media pictures, we somehow managed to talk four wildly diverse friends into co

img_1394-2ming on this journey with us.  The dynamics that made up our group of six Americans were peculiar to say the least.  We cover an age range that spans from 22 to 62 years old, with half of us being female and the other half being male.  Some of us having never surfed before this trip, while another in our group makes catching
air off a big wave look flawless.  With multiple instructors, the Surfana Crew was able to modify instruction towards each individual.  While some of us were still working on standing through the white wash of waves, others in the group were out past the break catching bigger breaks and working on turning techniques.  By the end of our week even those of us who had never surfed before were riding waves with extreme enjoyment, while the rest of our group

_mg_1897 was stoked on the improvements they were able to make with the help of these talented instructors.  This personalized direction is something you simply will not get when booking a surf lesson at your favorite overcrowded beach in the Summer.

img_1359After the day is over at the beach, the crew and guests head back to the house and everyone gets time to do whatever it is they want to do. While some of us read, others watched movies, or napped.  I chose to spend my post surfing afternoons in the yard with a cold beer- exchanging life lessons and stories with both guests and crew. I am very confident we resolved at least a few of the worlds problems during these amusing lawn discussions.

Throughout the week we ended our days eating the most incredible home cooked meals.  At times it seemed hard to believe that this multiple course meal was prepared by the silly Dutchie that you had been out in the water with all day, and not an acclaimed five star chef.
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The experience the Surfana Crew was able to provide to each of my mix-matched friends throughout the course of our seven days in Galizano, is something that is simply hard to put into words.  It was an experience that was emotional, exciting, and enlightening all at the same time. We created memories and friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

This group of inspiring Dutchies has found a way to create a traveling surf camp that I highly recommend to anyone with an open mind to learn new things, and meet new people.  I am anxiously awaiting my next opportunity to join the Surfana Crew for a holiday, knowing full well they will have the most fun filled adventure planned for me!


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Desirae
 Luddeke

Boone, North Carolina

A Surfana Surftrips experience by a stoked guest

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I feel a little reluctant to write a review about Surfana, because I consider it my little secret. Since my sixteenth I’ve been on surf camps on and off, but ever since surfing has commercialized so much, these kinds of camps have become surfing-factories with 120+ campers where the surfing lessons are taught by the local surfing school. After class you hit the local surf bar until the wee hours, sleep, surf, repeat. Those surf camps usually take place in the high season, in surf towns where the line-ups overflow with locals and tourists alike, sometimes with nasty consequences. Besides; at a certain age one does not look forward to sleeping in a tent with some teenagers on a camping where security comes to tell you to quiet down after 23.00 o’clock. But whether you’re in your twenties, thirties or even older; sometimes the desire to hit those waves just can’t be contained anymore, but you can’t visit the Dutch beaches as often as you’d like, or all your old surf buddies are involved with kids, careers etc. img_0931

So one night, I fired up the old Google Machine and found a club of people called Surfana. “Live the Good Life”, their slogan read. “Whatever”, I thought, but waves are waves and a proper bed is a proper bed so I haphazardly booked myself a surfing holiday; the first one in ages. What you will find on arrival is a group of people that lives to surf and travel. For them these surf trips are a way to sustain their lifestyle affordably. That might sound a little unsympathetic, but for a week (or two, or three) you get to stowaway on other people’s ‘’endless summer’. After all, travelling is mostly about meeting new people and as Surfana’s guest img_1394you are suddenly an extra in the months-long adventures of the Surfana Surfcrew. A crew consisting of the most open minded, fun and social people you will ever meet. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro; the Surfana’s visibly enjoy meeting the diverse crew of campers and teaching everyone to surf on the foam near shore or to improve their technique further up the break amidst the more experienced surfers. They also know the surroundings, so they are up-to date on the local customs, breaks and hotspots so your motley crew won’t find themselves in a tight spot with the – sometimes quite territorial- locals. For those who want to surf all day there will always be a hardcore crewmember to accompany you, even if it’s at the break of dawn or for a session near dusk. If your arms feel like spaghetti after a few days of practice nobody will look down on you for just lying by the pool with a book.
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Usually you will arrive with about ten travelling companions. At first glance not everyone might be your ‘type’, but during your stay you eventually get to know everyone and you’ll realise that you might have more in common than you initially thought. At least óne crewmember is the chef, a word that should actually be spelled with four capital letters. After your aquatic endeavours a feast will appear on the dining table you will not find at an all-inclusive in Dubai or Egypt. For a carnivore as myself it’s often a little too much on the sustainable side, but the food is undeniably top-notch. If you pester the kitchen enough I’m sure they wíll indulge you in your cravings for steak and other local fauna. On disappointing days wave-wise the whole bunch usually visits a nearby city. A cool way to get to know each other, eachothers drunk alter-ego’s and the local pintxos/tapas.So far I’ve been to two Surfana destinations: Moliets-plage (France) and Galizano (Spain). Both are cool spots for different reasons. Moliets-plage has a modern villa with a pool and is at walking distance from the beach. You can pick up your gear and go out whenever you like, but it will usually be at the same spot. The villa in Galizano has a lot more atmosphere, but unfortunately: no pool. You will visit a lot of beaches in the area, making your surfing experience more diverse. Unfortunately these trips tend to be a bit more planned because everyone usually leaves for the beach at the same time.

In short: with a crew of five staff members and a group of ten guests you will virtually have a personal coach in the most relaxing way, for an amount of money that won’t even get you a week in Chersonisos. If you’re still in doubt you can sample those Surfana-vibes during the next Surfana

Festival in Bloemendaal or at the Surfana surf school in Zandvoort or Vlieland, both the Netherlands. See you out there!

– Ivo Mulder  
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A summer down south

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thumb_img_9226_1024After a bustling spring organizing Surfana Festival, it was time to hit the road again. There are always new adventures ahead, it’s just a matter of where you decide to go. This time we packed Carine’s van, with a new surfboard rack made by Kasper, and drove south, towards the Spanish coast.

 

Our first stop was Zeeland. Here we enjoyed a nice couple of days with the Surfana Festival crew in a family house near the coast. Days and nights were spent in the garden around the fire playing Kubbs, having endless conversations and laughs and eating the most delicious food. Which anyways was a chapter itself thumb_img_9251_1024on our journey. Food. Anytime, anywhere, from the kitchen in the van the most surprising and healthy dishes were served. Baked apples with cinnamon and raisins, grilled veggies, salads, curries, rice dishes, vegan nutella, mushroom risotto and hummus to name just some of our favorites. And of course we didn’t pass to many bars without eating at least a Spanish tortilla, a cheese platter and some sardines, accompanied by wine, beer or coffee, at any time of the day.thumb_img_9315_1024 So after Zeeland, we went south. We didn’t realize it was summertime when most people go on their holidays until we got stuck in traffic on the peripherique in Paris for 5 hours when it was 34 degrees outside. Awesomeness. Luckily we had enough to eat and drink and endless playlists with Reggae and African music.

 

Hossegor was where Maarten bought his first new surfboard. Happy as a kid and packed with 4 boards in total we decided to drive further to Spain instead of surfing the crowded summer line-ups in France. Berria is the first beach where we caught our first waves on the trip. Nice shoulder high height, some wind made thumb_img_9238_1024them a little messy but we were incredibly happy to feel the energy of the ocean again, surf in clear water and enjoy a good session together. We passed some for Surfana thumb_img_9223_1024well known spots whilst heading to the wild west of Spain. Galizano, where we will be going this fall with Surfana Surftrips. Oyambre, where we will enjoy another Surfana crew week at the campsite and San Vicente de la Barquera, to give Nette a big hug, eat ice cream and a lot of sardines at Fiesta de los Mariscos.

From there we decided to go to Playa Vega, but we never arrived there because the road decided to go inland. We found a beautiful spot on the riverside in the shade of a mountain with a field of cows. A perfect place to spent the night. It seems like sometimes it isn’t you who makes a decision where to go.
Little by little we drove west. We chased the waves, were chased by Tomas and Anne, later by thumb_img_9305_1024Willemijn and Tim, found beautiful unspoilt spots, explored and drove a hell lot of kilometers.

Many lessons were learned, many waves were surfed and we shared many laughs, hugs, smiles, thoughts, food and endless beautiful moments with the 3 of us.It was time for Charlotte to leave us. A flight from Porto was booked and since the wave forecastthumb_img_9286_1024
looked better south of Porto we continued our trip along thumb_img_9307_1024the coastal road in western Galicia. The beautiful scenery and hilly roads made it difficult to maintain speed.
Time passed but kilometers didn’t as fast as we hoped for and there was a flight to be caught. Luckily, when crossing the border we found out that
Portugal’s time zone is an hour behind, so we won an hour and in the end we were easily in time for thumb_img_9247_1024Charlotte’s flight.

Time to explore Portugal. Our plan was to go to Ericeira for Portugal’s Surf film Festival. But first a little bit of exploring of the north Portuguese coast, some surf and chilling, cause we haven’t done that enough yet :) After a relaxing couple of days we arrived in Ericeira. A bustling place with a lot of things to do! Line-ups were pretty crowded, a lot of beach goers, and many people camping around the beaches. Something different then our quiet, wild camping journey so far. But it was a good vibrant vibe. I met a couple of people I knew from traveling and from home, so there was a lot of catching up time. 

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We spent a couple of days in the cinemas for the Surf Film Festival. An Australian friend of mine made a film: ‘Las Olas’, a journey through Central America, which was showed the first day of the festival (and was awarded for best surf film!). We saw movies about surfing in Iceland, about a paddleboard champion from Denmark and some shots of the legendary Rob Machado and Gerry Lopez. Always inspiring to see or hear about stories of the lives people live doing what they love.  

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I drove Maarten to the airport in Lisbon. Then it was only me. I liked Ericeira with all the people I knew so I stayed there for some more days before I left to Boom Festival which was in the middle of nowhere towards the border with Spain. After a week at Boom I visited Nette in San Vicente de la Barquera, met 3 girls who wanted to come along to Holland with me and during the hottest days of the summer we drove to the Dutch flatlands. I got back to the Netherlands with a lot more new experiences, insights and ideas and more than ready for new adventures, to share time with friends and family and with a clear mind for the next steps in life.  

 

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“See the nation through the people’s eyes,

See tears that flow like rivers from the skies.

Where it seems there are only borderlines

Where others turn and sigh,

 You shall rise

There’s disaster in your past

Boundaries in your path

What do you desire when lift you higher?

You don’t have to be extraordinary, just forgiving

Those who never heard your cries,

You shall rise

And look toward the skies.

Where others fail, you prevail in time.

 You shall rise.

You may never know,

If you lay low, lay low

You shall rise 

 

Sooner or later we must try… Living” 

 

Living Darfur by Mattafix

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– Carine, Aland & Charlotte

 

Spring in Moliets

IMG_4832-1024x683I remember coming back in Holland after 5,5 months of traveling in Central America, end of April, pretty much freezing because I didn’t bring a jacket. And then on my way home from Schiphol, I ended up being in a snow storm! So I was pretty excited when we left to Moliets, 5 days later.
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One happy guy with a beard who is always in for adventure (Bert), two blond girls who were way too tanned to be in Holland anyways (Carine & me), a green VW-van and a trailer loaded with that much stuff that going uphill -also on the highway- we couldn’t go faster than 30kph. After two days of driving, singing along with 100 disney songs, having little dance parties while sitting in the van, drinking a lot of coffee, enoying the most colorfull flower landscapes, eating at one of the worst trucker restaurants ever, some hours of sleep -Bert on the ground, mattrass folded in the van because it didn’t fit-, more hours of driving with beautiful views, some hours of silence and having endless good conversations, we arrived in Moliets, where Wiebe was already waiting for us -just in front of the villa, reading a book, sunburned as hell-. It was the first time the combination of us four would be the crew for the surftrips, but already from that moment on it felt like we had been a team for years. So after we arrived we made everything ready for the next day, had a jump in the pool, a nice meal and slept like babies after that.


On the way to the airport to pick up the guests it was still raining a bit, but as soon as we arrived at the villa, the sujeeeejn was there to welcome us in France. That whole week the sun was shining a lot, the nights were still pretty cold, but during the day we all had the feeling that summer had started. We had some pretty good tanning and chilling sessions in the garden, next to the swimming pool, where there was no wind. Sometimes we dared to take a little dive in the water, but that was more to challenge ourself than to really enjoy the temperature of the water. Wiebe and Bert invented a game that they called ‘Jeux the pool’, I guess you can imagine what that would look like? Right. Jeux de boule but than in a pool. Thanks guys, I had fun watching your faces while taking the game way too serious.


IMG_4501Besides inventing games, Wiebe teached our 8 beautiful guests some surfing skills. Some of them surfed a bit before and for some it was the first time ever. The first three days the ocean was really generous to us all; almost no wind and nice little waves. After than, one of the bigger spring swells came to visit France, so also in Moliets the ocean changed from generous to pretty agressive and impressive. I remember paddling out after taking some photos of the lesson, thinking the only goal I really wanted to achieve was getting out there, being in the line up. Do you even call it a line up when it’s just 3 guys and you? Just at the moment I thought I made it, this huge set came through. I saw Wiebe catching a pretty big one -it was more than overhead, and if it’s overhead for Wiebe, it’s pretty big-, me cheering for just a second and then I had to duckdive as deep as I could. I think that whole set I screamed for every wave that came; they were all so beautiful, so perfect and there was just nobody out there! I missed them all because I was still paddling outside, but even going underIMG_5549 (2)neath them felt pretty cool. I guess -even though I felt comfortable in the water-, there was still something inside me that was thinking I couldn’t do it, because in the end I didn’t manage to catch a nice wave. I thought about blaming my wetsuit (I didn’t surf in a suit for a couple of months) or maybe blaming my board (it could have been a bit bigger for those waves), but in the end you always know it’s just your mind that is holding you back. It might sound funny, but even though my wave count was almost zero, this was for sure the most impressive session I had in those two weeks in France. It was like I was on the other side of the world, reallife barrels everywhere and nobody around, so thanks France for showing me that we also have that in Europe. Also thanks for letting me know that I still have to practise more and get more balls, to be able to actually surf those waves.
Check this video to get an idea of how big it was.

 


Two days later it really got too big to surf in Moliets, just close outs and way too much current, so we spend the afternoon at the outlets in Hossegor. While I forced myself to hide in a restaurant so I couldn’t be tempted to buy something, -I know myself; I just can’t resist buying things I don’t really need in shops like that-, the guests did some good shopping and we ended up drinking some craft beers at the one and only beerbar.

 


IMG_4239 (2)That wasn’t the only time we went out for a beer. We also had a little trip to the Spanish city San Sebastian. To shop some more, to do some sightseeing, to just walk around, to drink more beers and sangrias and to eat a lot of Pinxos -the typical Basque food/tapas- all together. During week 1, as well as week 2, I think I’m not lying when I say that the ‘pinxos con Solomillo’ was everybody’s favourite. You would have to go to San Sebastian yourself to find out what that is, inexplicable taste :)

 

2 weeks in Moliets flew by, with many laughs, a lot of surf sessions, wipe outs, (first) down the lines, pool sessions, tanning sessions -when the sun showed herself, everybody ran outside!-, bottles of wine and again a new Surfana family vibe with everyone. These weeks were very special, thank to all who’ve been part of it. Next year we are back in Moliets in spring for sure! Hope to see you all again along this beautiful road of life.

 

– Nette

 

Lanzarote

Caleta de Caballo, January 2016

IMG_0703While most content you’ll come across of Surfana consist of sunny beaches, parties and amazing surf, we also have to deal with meetings, deadlines and taxes. Yes, even at Surfana we make the needed office hours, however why not set up the office elsewhere every now and then? Conclusion… more sunny beaches and surf.

 

Once a year the management of the Surfana Collective comes together for a managementweek, analyzing the year and making plans for the new one. These weeks consist of meetings, a healthy argument or two and a lot of planning. Problem is, we aren’t typical business people and most of us have the attention span of a grommet stuck in class while the surf is on. So in order to make things a little more enjoyable we bring the classroom closer to the surf. ThiDSC_8742s

year we headed out to Lanzarote, a location that didn’t really caught my eye beforehand. Heard of it, somewhere near Tenerife and Fuerteventura right? A simple image search delivered a lot of volcanic rock and blue water. As I was busy I didn’t look into the island much more and before I knew it we were already up and about on our way to the airport on a cold January morning.

The relief of a solid 20 degrees and sun made it feel like a holiday and the apartment, rented from a friendly Spanish surfer Carine met on her travels, felt like home soon enough and we were welcomed with the view of whales jumping out at sea. After our little whale-hype arrangements were made, first priority; surf. To start off easy we headed to a bIMG_0666eachbreak 20 minutes away. The image that flashed by in the car had a lot in common with my quick search on the web; rocks, rocks, rocks and blue water. The beach, situated under the foot of a huge mountain, turned out to be more visuall. However, surfing in a summer suit again with the sun in your face made up for the closing-out waves as well. Our first ‘meeting’ took place when strolling around a cosy village and deciding at which restaurant to sit down and eat. The tension was building up quite rapidly, but that’s simply what happens when decision are made between seven hungry surfers. After a few pieces of bread and someIMG_0611 olives before the main course soothing than pleasing to surf and everyone was fine again. The rest of the week was a perfect mix of work and surf. Getting the hang of  theseveral spots in the area it made it easy to start of the day with a session or to empty our heads after a meeting.At night we sat down for dinner, had beer, a laugh and went on with work for an hour or two. The island started to give off it’s typical vibe as well. Colors and shapes of the landscape felt relaxing in a strange way, with a simple beauty of it’s own. Although I didn’t see more than half of the island, I think it just comes with being on an island, because I felt somewhat similar during my stay on Vlieland last summer.

All in all we experienced a week that felt like a holiday, but had the productivity of a strict week at the office. That just sounds like choosing the gDSC_9529ood life to me.

 

– Sylvain

El Salvador

Playa El Zonte, March 2016

After an eventful Surfana Festival and Surfana Productions year with the necessary bumps, accounting challenges and new productions it was time to recharge the battery and Choose for the Good life. Leave basecamp and dive into a new advethumb_IMG_2048_1024nture. Traveling makes you disconnect and connect in several ways. It leaves Holland and everything you know so well behind. It puts you in a new perspective and shows you that all you have learned could be reasoned otherwise. Meeting people from all over the world in a total new surrounding opens your mind. 

I order the thoughts in my head about the balance between commercial and profitable alongside being free and spiritual. Again and again I imagine several versions of the Festival around the world. Spain or Portugal, Bali and El Salvador. Just realize!

Surfani’s travel the world. My Facebook timeline is filled with travel pics from Asia, New Zealand and Europe and beautiful stories about what happens when you travel. (For example Jill, Jeroen, Nino, Tomas, Wiebe, Viveke, Nette etc.) Even though I don’t actually see you all travel, I know that ALL off you behave like visitors, having respect for the local customs and have true interest in others and fully enjoy all there is. That is what makes it worth to travel.

 

thumb_IMG_2182_1024The arrival
Carine and Chu Cho picked me up at the San Salvador Airport and right away I see a good friend in Chu Cho. He is a small El Savadorian man with a very big heart and he always smiles. We stay at his house, a simple and fine guesthouse. He often makes the best pizza I have ever eaten and he is always in for a trip, wherever, whenever. A true Salvadorian guide and friend, recommended to the fullest! We have surfed in paradise, we have seen paradise. Thanks Chu Cho, el loco! Of course the main topic is Surfana, especially because a new Surfana Festival edition is coming up. Carine will participate this year at the festival as the clinic producer and like we know her, she has idea after idea. More and more I realise that what we share with Surfana Festival is a big feeling of joy, life and love.

 

El Zonte


Most of the time we stayed in El Zonte. It’s a quiet place with no mucho tourist. The travellers that stay in the village often stay for a longer time and therefore the vibe is really intimate. Everybody is honestly interested and nice to each other. After some time we get to know the village people
and it really felt like home.

DSC01482The vibe in the water is amazing. Locals are laughing and cheering for everybody. Surfers and bodyboarders of all ages are just having pure fun, there is no competition at all. There aren’t many tourists traveling through El Salvador, mainly because of the bad stories about gangs and stuff. The local people are however so pure. During our stay some guys who travelled to El Zonte for some years, organized a beach clean up and skate event. It was heart warminDSC01449g to see how the entire village was totally into it. The 3 hombres fixed some new decks for the price winners; you should have seen the faces. 

 

Tropical Mornings


The early morning in the tropics are really amazing. The soft sun, its nice typical morning smells, the peace and quietness, the beautiful light, making it so easy to wake up, totally clear and sharp.

You paddle out in glassy water, with the view of a sharp horizon and the perfect beauty of everlasting waves. The water is at it’s most perfect temperature and only a few people join in the lineup. A group of pelicans pass by and I found myself obsessively watching those birds every time again. About 6-8 birds hover graciously in one line just some inches above the water and never, but I mean really never hit the water. 

 

thumb_IMG_2029_1024-2K59


Some mornings we hitchhiked our way to K59 (which is really just the 59th kilometre on the road). Or we took the neon flickering chicken bus filled with salsa-reggaeton music and stickers that made us clear that ‘Jesus is guiding us’. We enjoyed the cool breeze during the ride and in the last turn, before we got out, we could see the beautiful surfspot from above, always seeing a nice long right hander breaking all the way through the bay. This was definitely our favourite spot. A long solid right break, not many people in the water, nice locals and always a cooled fresh coconut after a session.

After every session it was time for a good (second) breakfast. A typical breakfast exists of scrambled eggs, fried plantains and beans, sometimes accompanied by rice, cheese or avocado and we always got fresh licuados (smoothies). Another typical dish is pupusa, some kind of tortilla pita bread filled with a mixture of cheese and beans, or with meat, chicken, fish or jalapeños and it comes with a carrot and cabbage salad. Easy, cheapthumb_IMG_2057_1024, tasty and it does fill you up. 

Of course there were days when the waves were too big, other days they were too small to surf. Those were the days we went on a little trip. We climbed one of the many volcanoes El Salvador is rich of, we enjoyed a beautiful view of San Salvador just after sunset and we saw some of the historical ruins. All guided by our friend Chu Cho, who also turned out to be a great guide with lots of stories.

When the waves get too big in El Zonte, there was this other spot near the border with Honduras where the waves are always a bit smaller. In the land of right-handers, this was another beautiful one. We had a room on the beach, du2016-03-08 14.58.34-1-2ring high tide in the ocean. Hammocks were all over the place, great food, an awesome wave and amazing vibes. We ended up spending a good 5 days here.

Waves come and go and so do we. It was amazing to spend so much time away from the bustling Western world in these beautiful tropical surroundings. Another great adventure and hopefully there are many more to come. 

 

– Aland & Carine