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When planning our Bermuda holiday with Fairmont Hotels as the #MyDestinationStory semi-finalists, the idea of surfing was brought to our attention. Surfing? In Bermuda? I had no idea you could surf in Bermuda. Of course, having never attempted to surf before, we were up for the challenge. It just so happened that the conditions were ideal on the day that we went surfing. It was quite windy and there were numerous waves rolling in to the shore. We met up with Cullen from Isolated Surfboards at Horseshoe Bay Beach for our lessons. Cullen has 17 years of surfing experience and teaches people of all ages. He was incredibly patient and kind – the word “patient” being key as we were absolute beginners at the sport. Cullen even designs and customizes his own surfboards. We were happy to be in the hands of a pro.
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Our lessons started out of the water so we could become familiar with the surfboard itself. Cullen described what would happen in the water. Basically, he would do lots of the work for us. He’d search out the ideal waves while we were flat on our stomachs on the board. Then, he would tell us to start paddling. When we felt the wave pulling at the board, it was time to try to stand up and surf back towards the shore. Sounds easy, right? Well, standing up is definitely harder than it looks. It takes plenty of agility to stand up on the board, and plenty of balance to stay standing up! However, we both had no expectations of ourselves other than having fun and trying our best, and we ended up having a total blast.
Now, this next part is very important for the ladies. Remember this first if you must remember anything at all. Ladies, do not wear a bikini while surfing! No bikinis. Learn this lesson from me. I wore a two-piece bikini while trying to surf. The very first wave that hit me….WHAM! I nearly lost my top. I was fully exposed. I’m really glad we visited on the brink of low season as there were hardly any people around. After adjusting my bikini top a couple of times and cursing myself for wearing such an impractical bathing suit, I politely asked Cullen if he had some sort of top that I could wear. Thankfully, he had a wetsuit tank top that I was able to borrow that was just my size. Oh, thank goodness. Once I was more appropriately clothed, I think that my surfing improved just a bit.
Justin and I took turns riding the surfboard and I am very proud that we were fairly successful on our first tries. I was actually really impressed with Justin’s ability to surf. He has snowboarded in the past so I think this gave him a slight advantage in the balancing department, though water is an entirely different beast than snow. Justin was able to stand up on several occasions and ride towards the shore. I found it a bit more difficult, but I’m fairly persistent (and stubborn). No matter how many times I went flying into the water, I just kept trying. I drank plenty of salt water. My contact lenses were stinging in my eyes. But, I think I had a smile permanently on my face. Horseshoe Bay Beach was absolutely gorgeous, and how could I not be smiling while swimming in those beautiful turquoise waters? It was really fun to be out there. It was also satisfying to try something new that was slightly outside of my comfort zone. On my best attempt, I was only able to stand up straight for a fraction of a second before leaping off the board. But, I still did it!
At the end of our surfing excursion, Cullen showed us a spot along the beach where we could hike up on some rocks for incredible views of the ocean. We walked along huge boulders for breathtaking sights of the beach and the cove.