Well it was time for a holiday again. I am living in the Netherlands, Europe. That means that every few months I need to get up and go on a trip to the mountains or the sea, because the Netherlands is flat. Fortunately I have time to do these things.
With this wander I wanted to go quench my thirst for waves, and proper waves. I have surfed a few times in Scheveningen near the Hague in the Netherlands, with surprisingly ridable waves. But it is onshore and the water is murky. Some long blue walls are needed.
I have heard of the waves in Lanzarote for years, and also the terrible surf locals as well. I thought, well lets go give it a try, and with my girlfriend as well. So we flew off to Accerife from Eindhoven airport with good old Ryanair.
We rented a car from a company that I did work for before, a good opportunity to see what the service is like for a customer.
We landed in Accerife and picked our car up from the counter. There was a long queue to get a car and the daylight hours were ticking away, I wanted to get to the sea and feel some good waves. Well I was hoping to get good waves because it was the beginning of October, so very early in the season.
Eventually we got a car and drove off onto the dry warm island. A lot like the west coast in South Africa, except on the other side of the world, with wet air, but not humid.
The sun was going down and there were waves breaking with a slight offshore, I scurried to get my wetsuit on, hopped along the rocks and into the sea at La Santa, the first spot that I saw, and I subsequently found out that it is one of the most popular on Lanzarote and one of the most hard core as well ( at least while I was there. I surfed San Juan and the point opposite La Santa during this holiday to Lanzarote.).
Sun going down, clean blue warm water, overheating in my Cape Town wetsuit. Two guys in the water who were relatively friendly. A great start for a holiday, now my girlfriend and I had to find a place to stay.
We drove to Famara, its now 10pm, everything closed, but luckily the super market is open so we ask the people there in our non-existent Spanish if they have an 'Apartimento'. They did and before we knew it we were in our own little apartment with a kitchen, bed and view onto the main road of Famara.
The next day we wake up and go for a walk on the beautiful beach. We eat croissants and relax, another small surf in the evening. We find a great place to stay in a small town nearby called Caleta de Caballo.
Famara is nice, but its full of surf shops and tourists. A bit too much, surfer tourists are the worst kinds of tourists.
We move to our idyllic apartment that lies just in front of the sea. A small cove of a beach with a few people idly sitting and watching the days go by. A beautiful spot to relax with your girlfriend for a holiday next to the beach.
We ate, read books, went for walks, swam and of course I surfed everyday and got rid of my wetsuit , surfed in bordies and a t-shirt. Great, except the vibe.
I cannot really complain about the surf, there were waves everyday. Nothing spectacular, except one day at La Santa. The waves are always a bit choppy for my liking, but that might just be bad luck.
Either way, the excitement of getting good waves gets drained away by the people. The vibe in the water is aggressive, even amongst the locals. When the waves get good, people start jostling for waves. Most of the spots I surfed have a relatively small take-off area with not such long rides.
Reefs with power, thus many surfers on one wave and you have to fight to get them. I do not talk Spanish at all, which I will learn! But in the whole time I was there, only three people spoke to me. A young guy who was relatively friendly and a guy who owns the surf shop (he imports 500 Clayton boards from Durban a year). The rest of the time you are ignored in the water, which is OK. The other person was an Italian who has been travelling for almost 2 years, we had a lot to talk about!
But then you get the typical arsehole who wants to come and spoil the tea-party. The waves are small and a man comes out with what looks like his son. And he is a real busy body in the water. I take some waves, then he just starts dropping in on me. On every wave that I take, he is there, he drops in makes you wipe out, and goes on without looking. The role model for his child.
Then I stupidly just say, 'What are you doing?' softly and not aggressively. He freaks out and just starts swearing at me and behaving like a complete mad man. His eyes glossed over with rage and anger. Completely bizarre, with his kid learning how to behave nearby.
I keep quiet, realise that this kind of person can just snap. I surf a few waves more, he drops in and then tries to aggravate me afterwards. Yes, great, the sun is going down. The waves are rolling in. Immersed in the beautiful ocean, waves for everybody and then you get this. This is were surfing goes wrong.
After a while, I give up, get out the water , let the guy win, but at what cost to himself and his impressionable child.
Afterwards the Italian guy tells me that he started picking on him. He was a lot more clever than me and did not say anything, did not even look at him. Just ignored him. The guy started freaking out even more and more, and the Italian just sat impassively. Eventually everyone else in the water was laughing at the man behind his back.
Which made me think about surfing in general. Its such a pure beautiful thing to do, to be in touch with nature, to be in the ocean, surrounded by water. And yet it gets destroyed by alpha males. The people who like to drive up to the surf spots in their fancy cars, with boob adjusted girlfriends. Flex there muscles while waxing up their boards. Then jump into the water and hustle and compete with all the other alphas to show how strong they are. And this rubs off on everybody and suddenly you realise that you are doing the same, hustling with 10 ten year old kids who are having a surf lesson in small waves.
Once I realised that, I decided to get out the water, go back to my apartment, read my book and drink some champagne with my girlfriend while watching sun going down. Become an older man.
So yeah, the waves are OK, would be great with some mates with good vibes in the water. The people spoil it and I think I will keep to my idea of not going on surf trips any more. Better to just go home and surf with friends on the best waves in the world (and I have surfed in the Canaries, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Marocco). Yeah, the Netherlands does not count.
The rest of the holiday was great, reading relaxing, different to most of my wanders across the globe. But also in a way, not enough. The best for me is to get into the mountains, to sleep under the stars, to feel the world and share this with people you respect. That gets taken away from you violently when surfing with agro muffins.
Oh and the car rental was great , it was €20 cheaper than everything available at the airport and worked with no problems.