• Theresa Fersch

First Day of Camp - Best Ever


Oh my GOD what an awesome day!!! I’m so worn out, I feel broken and I don’t know how I’m supposed to do this for 3 more days! We worked so hard and I learned so many new things! The group is great! We’re all at similar skill levels but we have different strengths. Some are strong, some are flexible, some are absolutely fearless.

In the morning, we started with a two hour pole lesson in the house which consisted of lots of instruction on which muscle groups to engage, proper technique to avoid injury, and how to spot one another. Loads of fun but the longest class ever. 45 minutes is usually enough time to tucker me out.

We all enjoyed lunch together in the house after class and then headed to the beach. The weather is wonderful!! Super hot but the breeze is cool, it’s kind of what you’d hope for when in a beautiful beach town. Since it’s the off season and in the middle of the week, we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. I posted a picture of a map. Note the island with the manmade road just northwest of our house. I now know this area inside and out.

Surfing was AWESOME! We arrived early so we hung out on the beach for a bit and got a quick bite to eat at the restaurant where our classes were. 

At 4pm we suited up which wasn’t quite as horrible as I imagined but certainly not great! We all reminded each other that some stranger recently peed in them. Yuck. Our Portuguese instructor was like an angry drill Sargent who yelled at us for the next two hours. Every time one of us would get confused, we’d whisper to each other “what are we supposed to do?” “ l don’t know. Just stay real still and maybe he won’t yell at you.”  We started with board basics on the beach but quickly moved to the water. He’d help us one at a time and shout out commands. It was a lot to take in and especially difficult if you aren’t super used to being in the ocean anyway. We were having SO much fun and he was a great teacher but good lord he liked to yell. “Theresa! Theresa! What did I JUST SAY?” “I donno...you literally just said like 20 things to me...” Also there are 15 foot waves coming up behind me and you told me to pay attention to them! Whenever I’d ask a clarifying question he’d say, “Theresa! This isn’t science! Stop thinking!”

The first time I tried to stand on my board, I totally did it and it felt amazing! It didn’t last long but I felt what I was supposed to be doing. I probably got 3 good stands in but couldn’t hold any for long. After that, I was getting tired and my form got worse. What I liked most about our instructor is at the end of class he pulled each of us aside and gave us meaningful feedback. For me, he said I’m rushing through my steps and lose my form. He said it looks great on land and I will be really good at this once I learn not to speed through it in the moment.

Everyone had fun but I think some more than others. Sarah from Italy seemed a bit overwhelmed so I felt bad about that. I had a blast but I suspect my remaining three classes will be increasingly more difficult. One day into camp and my back is already wrecked. Everything hurts everywhere and with the exception of the four hours we spent doing strenuous activity, I spent every other minute warming up or cooling down. Those of us who weren’t quite as concerned about how bad we looked after lessons got before and after photos. For the before shot, we were all pumped up and excited, for the after shot, we looked like the ocean took us down a few pegs!

After grabbing quick showers at home, we walked 20 minutes through quaint Portuguese neighborhoods to a famous fancy restaurant with the intimidating and misleading name, Sushi Fish! We ordered pounds worth of fish, wine, dessert, and contemplated catching a cab home because we were so exhausted. But in the best way ever. 


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