A sunny Saturday on Lacanau Beach…
The session is specially improvised just for him, on the South Lacanau Beach at the ocean ride Surf School, an hour from Bordeaux. “The water’s quite fresh today, but there are great little waves”, states Damien reassuringly.
Damien Germain is a real aficionado, born and bred in the region, and the surf coach we’d all have loved to have had. The atmosphere is friendly, relaxed… the teenagers from the session just over head back up the beach thrilled.
A first getting-to-know the ocean step
During the summer season, Ocean Ride is one of the few clubs to propose lessons for 5-7 year-olds. “We have to remain alert at all times. We set up groups with 6 kids maximum and honestly… it’s pretty exhausting for us!” admits Damien laughing. “But I just love passing knowledge on to them, teaching them all about the currents and helping them get to know the ocean.”
And, for any worried parents out there, rest assured, you don’t need to know how to swim to get on a surfboard. “The water’s never higher than the kids’ knees,” continues Damien. “That’s the first safety rule which we teach them. The first days we accompany each kid permanently to ride the wave. Then they gradually become autonomous.”
So, what happens during a kids’ surfing lesson?
Before hitting the water, the kids need to bring the board to the beach. There’s no mini 5-years-old-sized board, so the kids’ borrow adult boards and parents generally give a hand.
The session begins with playful warm-ups and discovering the board. “All-in-all, they spend between 30 and 40 minutes in the water. That’s the maximum because they get cold quickly”, explains Damien.
Milan recognizes the front and back of the board and now they’re off for the first thrills (and spills). Whilst in the water, Damien will hold the little boy’s board firmly, ready to grab him if need be.
Milan lies flat out on his stomach and discovers what it means to “ride the (mini) wave”. And, that’s enough to boost his desire to do it again (and again). Damien encourages him, reassures him and accompanies him step-by-step so that he can begin to stand up on the board. “After a week’s lessons, the youngsters are able to go bodyboarding, to surf with their bodies. And the bolder ones manage to stand up. In the 8-11 year-old groups, we focus more-so on the technique and they all manage to stand up quickly on the board”. For Milan, the miracle doesn’t take place in 20 min, but he’ll be back. For sure!
For 5-7 year olds, €24 for a 1h session, €110 for a week.
For 8-11 year olds, €27 for a 1h30 session, €125 for a week.
Find out more about Lacanau in Médoc Atlantique: www.medoc-atlantique.com