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Week No 36 - Big Swell in Crete

Surfing lessons from 6 to 12 September 2021 - The new week started on Monday, 8 September with our morning surf lesson and sizable waves in Kissamos that only got bigger throughout the lesson. With most of our participant we met for the first time, so we introduced the important safety rules in surfing, and everything about board handling. The ones who have surfed before wet straight to training the pop-up while the others got used to catching waves and keeping up the speed through a variety of exercises in the prawn position. Being able to read and catch a wave on your own and gliding on a surfboard whilst keeping up the speed, is the most important foundation in surfing and prepares you for everything that comes after that!

In the afternoon we had already waist to head high waves with some sort of unstable wind. In the beginning of the course we spoke about wave theory, types of wave, when to catch them and how to react in them. After the dry runs on the beach for the pop-up and the turn. We paddled far out in the bay of Kissamos. The best way of getting out is using the channel which Surf Coach Andy spotted on the right side of the bay. The position of the channel changes with shifts in the sand bank and is not always the same. This goes also for the peak. Surf Coach Andy assisted with positioning and timing. Our participants had the opportunity to catch bigger waves, have longer rides and time to try maneuvers, such as the turn.

Tuesday, 9 September was a very difficult day for surf forecasting and planning. It was supposed to be the peak of the storm that brought big and powerful waves to Crete. Luckily our participants were understanding and patient. All kinds of scenarios came into play, regarding the timing and the surf spot. In the end Kissamos was the best and with the timing we had a lucky hand and a good gut feeling. In the afternoon the wind dropped significantly, wind always interferes with the wave and the currents. We paddled out the in the bay of Kissamos and there were left and right hander waves. Later during the course we could also surf white water waves closer to shore.

Wednesday, 8 September started with rain showers in Crete. It is a bit early for this kind of weather, but nothing that we are not used to. In Crete the rain and clouds can happen very locally. Throughout the course we had sunny and rainy patches at the same time. When surfing we get wet anyway and the water is very warm this time of the year! The course started with a warm up, followed by instructions on the pop-up, stalling & trimming for Karina and Luca, as well as the prawn position for our first timers. After the first water time Karina and Luca learned the turns and the others the pop-up, either to the knee or to a full standing position. We had lots of time to train in the water until our participants were happy and tired on this particular weather morning in Crete.

In the afternoon the sun was out more than in the morning. The course started with glassy big waves of sometimes 2,5m height, later there was some wind and the course ended with glassy waves again! It was an epic session, one to remember. The group was of an advanced beginner / intermediate level and we could focus our attention to optimizing the pop-up, turning and the cutback! Flo, Nico, Prodormos and Lev trained the cutback in the steep sand dunes while visualizing the maneuver and then tried implementing it in the water. It turned out really well for them and for Nico it fully clicked. The whole group paddled and surfed in circles in the bay of Kissamos and trained individual aspects of surfing: leaning into it, getting used to bigger waves, timing of the pop-up, making turns and so on.

In the morning of Thursday, 9 September the storm had ceased and the waves were waist high and glassy from the beginning to the end of the course. The sun was shining for us again. The ones who surfed with us multiple times before paddled further out to catch the unbroken wave before the impact zone, and practiced performing turns. Surf coach Andy helped in the water with timing and positioning. The ones who were more comfortable in the whitewater, caught the broken waves and practiced the pop up. It was probably Gerhard's day performing a couple of backhands turns, the more difficult turns of the two.

In the afternoon we welcomed a group of first time surfers together with Liv and Sophie. Both women have had multiple surf lessons with Andy before, in Crete and in Fuerteventura. The first timers learned everything about safety and board handling. In the water they practiced catching waves with the push & jump technique and gliding in the prawn position. In the second half of the course the learned the French technique of the pop-up and then practiced further in the water. Liv and Sophie caught unbroken waves further out and practiced performing turns. Lots of fun at the course today, surfing in an empty bay of Kissamos!


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