Due to the pandemic or financial hardship, that trip to Rome , London or New York was canceled and the summer vacation for many was reduced to two weeks, or one, or a few days at the beach. Positive thinking: you will have to take advantage of them. More than ever, this July and August the sea is the scene of everything and, therefore, also of sport. The shame or the laziness to jump into the water to practice some modality have now faded with more days and more days on the sand. Sales of most stores, which have been out of stock for surfboards, paddleboards and bodyboards, or the agenda of the nautical centers, to the top of courses and private classes, show that the boom is already a fact, but professionals demand prudence. Despite the pleasure of the beach, the cooling breeze, the fun on the shore, the sea is still the sea.

It is a habitat that we do not control . No one would go up a mountain on a foggy day without knowing the way, and the same thing happens in the sea. Before starting we must do a workshop, know how to act in an emergency, learn about the currents, and then go ahead, "explains Leti Canales, eight-time champion of Spain in surfing and tenth in the world ranking . “Buying a board and getting into the water is foolhardy. We must maintain respect for the sea. Even if you see that there is no surf, in a short time the situation can change and, if you are a novice, it can be difficult to return to the shore, "adds Alazne Aurrekoetxea , world number nine in paddle surf and professional of modalities such as longboarding.

But wait, wait, wait. The world ranking of paddle surf? Yes, paddle surf. Professional of modalities such as longboarding? Yes, like the longboard. And what is all that? Well there is possibly the first lesson to learn. After many years in which the only alternative to swimming was surfing, in recent times a considerable number of disciplines have spread in Spain that can be very attractive for the uninitiated. Paddle surfing or SUP, for example, consists of standing up paddling and does not require as much balance because the board is larger than in surfing and is practiced in calm sea. Bodyboarding, another example, is based on taking waves with your chest glued to a board so you only need to know how to paddle with your arms and have an almost childlike instinct. For longboarding, yes, a specialty that involves surfing with an XXL board, some experience is already required.

“There are a lot of simpler alternatives than surfing. Paddle surfing, in fact, is the fastest growing in the world because in a couple of days you can stand up and paddle a little. You learn four things about the sea, you take the trick to keep your balance and that's it. Then you also evolve quickly and in a few weeks you are already going with the paddle to a cove. In a summer you take a run, ”says Aurrekoetxea, who also recommends bodyboarding for both adults and children, and who agrees with Canales in one conclusion: surfing is very attractive and very difficult. «I still meet people who tell me that it is easy without getting into the water . Make no mistake: surfing is a frustrating sport, there are other simpler modalities. I always recommend to my novice colleagues that, before buying the material, they spend a whole summer testing if they like it. If by the second summer they are still motivated, go ahead, buy an evolution chart. Never in competition, which is difficult: that is usually another common mistake of those who start, "advises the surfer.

Both Canales and Aurrekoetxea are Basque, from the town of Sopelana, in Vizcaya and although they proclaim that their beach can be a paradise for professionals, they recognize that it is not the best place to start. The currents and, above all, the influx of bathers in summer hinder learning and, therefore, the first enjoyment. In Spain there are several places known for their surfing tradition such as Mundaka (Basque Country), Somo (Cantabria), Rodiles (Asturias), Pantín (Galicia), El Palmar (Cádiz) or Famara (Lanzarote), but both recommend lesser-known places , "Wildest", to start without stress. A surf school, waves "at most a meter" and the desire is enough.

"Then it depends on the ability of each one. There are people who get it right the first time, especially children, but the first day in surfing you may not even get to stand on the board. If you like it, stick with it. Then, little by little, you will achieve balance, fear will disappear and you will be able to take broken waves, surf in the foam. With skill and motivation, at the end of the first summer he will even take up walls, he will begin to experience the greatness of the sport ”, Canales adventure, who before the pandemic was at his best: he had taken the podium in a test of the World Surf League . «In paddle surfing the evolution is faster and even more if you have already practiced some sport of displacement, such as canoeing. Then it is a matter of acquiring a good technique, not pushing with your back and having fun, above all, having fun. With the initial caution and patience in adapting, the summer can be pleasant, "says Aurrekoetxea, eager to see the sea full of companions on boards.

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