4 Weeks in El Medano
Another year, another awesome 4 weeks spent in El Medano with that same great atmosphere and easy living, but a few things quite different on the water this time: We had wind from the South, gracing us with some down the line wave riding and, for the first time in Windsurf Coaching history, we had a week catering for all levels from beginner up to wave sailor.
During week one Colin was once again joined by the Essex guys, Steve, the two brothers Lloyd and Howie, Chris ‘the arms dealer’ and a Windsurf Coaching newbie Frank from Holland, a super chilled scientist who runs a windsurf centre in his spare time – look him up if you’re ever near Amsterdam (http://www.surfcenterijburg.nl/nl/).
The weather could not have been wilder (by Medano standards) this week, wind from the South brought a southerly swell that wrapped beautifully into the bay and made for some really great and very unusual starboard tack, down the line conditions. The guys got such a great chance to practice their wave riding skills and really nail some bottom turns.
It also brought some big storms and torrential rain that flooded down from mount Teide and forged rivers through the streets and the beach. It was quite a spectacle and even the authorities forced the centres to close due to ‘unsafe’ conditions.
The Southerly winds continued in to the second week, when a Royal Navy group joined us. Unfortunately the swell completely dropped but we turned our wave clinic into a core skills clinic on some perfect flat water, working on duck gybes, downwind 360s, planning carve gybes. It wasn’t just us having crazy weather that week, it was the week that the UK got hit by “The Beast from The East’ and the snow stranded two of the group in Cornwall.
We had a couple of lightwind days and these guys never rest so we SUPed all the way along the coast, past cabezo to Montana Pelada and crammed some theory and lightwind technique.
Once the wind started it was full on action on the water, we had Simon the ginger ninja, Jason AKA Robby Naish, throwing down some Ho’okipa style, big wave, lay down bottom turns on flat water! Gastraa Brochure Dave showing us how to move your backhand down the boom the smallest 6 inchs we’ve ever seen and Big Tom managed to literally tear through a footstrap!
Shout out to Gav with his perfect gybes, Chris with his flawless downwind 360s and Simon Lunt giving us a fast-tack lesson, they gave Luke and me a week off of doing demos!
Our two stranded sailors, Trish and Rob, did make it out to Tenerife just in time for Rob to get in to it with an obnoxious kiter who even got the police involved, little did he know he was dealing with Her Majesty’s finest!
There was another battle on the water too, between Nic and Russ, they went head to head learning to downwind 360 and both made it as close as you possibly can to sailing out, without actually sailing out, I think we have to declare it a draw... next time boys!
There was plenty of off water action too, enjoying the food and drink Medano has to offer and almost completely breaking a very out of (drinking) practice Luke for his birthday.
For week three, sadly the guys lucked out with the wind but as they say, you can’t win ‘em all and their lightwind freestyle game is now really strong, I think we lost count of how many super spinny upwind 360s they could do back to back. Tom turned his lightwind inability in to ability and his off water partying needed no coaching water so ever, but was helped nicely along by Flo, keeping us all entertained with his banter. Dan, never phased by anything, kept his cool, checked the forecast and stayed for another week – showing us all how it’s done Dan!
We all know it’s not ideal for your trip to not have planning conditions but these guys are really going to notice an improvement when they go sailing next. Those core skills that improve muscle memory, rig control, footwork and balance are the difference between being an okay windsurfer and a great windsurfer and most importantly enjoying your session more!
For our final week El Medano met Southampton University Windsurf Club. For the first time in WSC history we coached all levels, with three additional coaches; Lucas taking beginners, Marco with the improvers, Luke with the intermediates and Colin with the advanced guys.
We had a gentle start to the week, which was perfect for the beginners and improvers in the sheltered harbour and also great for the higher levels to dust off the winter cobwebs and refine some of those core skills we keep talking about.
We had one day of comfortable planning conditions then we were hit with some strong winds, with gusts over 40 knots for 2 days. The wind was so full on that it made it unsafe for the lower levels to go out, but Lucas, also a qualified surf instructor, ran some bonus surf lessons in the harbor and I think secretly some of the advanced guys would have quite liked to take sanctuary there too!
The intermediates, all of whom had never even sailed in waves before, put on their big boy (and girl) pants and totally bossed under Luke’s instruction it in some really extreme conditions. In that kind of wind strength it even becomes survival sailing for most of the advanced guys, they all did so well to get out and back in when big guys are having trouble sheeting in on 3.7! It can sometimes feel as though you have gone backwards in those conditions but once the wind dropped to 30 knots if feels like the easiest thing and you realize just how much you pushed yourself and ultimately how much you have improved. Plus all the long rest breaks on the beach gives you a chance to watch the locals going big!
We ended the clinics on a high with the final day serving up great conditions for all levels and even gave us the opportunity to take the lower levels up to the new awesome flat water spot, up wind from El Medano – watch this space!
Huge thanks to all the guests making it another memorable year in El Medano, see you next time!
For all the clinic information for 2019 click here