We headed to Huanchaco from Lima, Peru by coach to learn how to surf. Huanchaco is like the popular surfing spot Mancora, but more relaxed. The eight hour coach ride to Trujillo was just £5! You can also fly on LAN from Lima for about £50. The reason most people come to this small dusty beach town is because of the great surfing and its close proximity to Chan-Chan.
We stayed in the Naylamp hostel, which had a pleasant courtyard with hammocks to chill out on and our room being on the top floor had a good view over the beach just across the street. Breakfast and internet access were not included in the price, nevertheless two tortoises were included in the garden so at £6 for a bunk in a six person room I couldn’t complain.
We came across a surf school and decided to sign-up for lessons as it was so cheap. The wetsuit, booties, surfboard and all the equipment for the whole day plus a two hour lesson from a professional surfer was just £14!
|The Pier, Huanchaco, Peru - Photo: Francis Shenstone|
Our instructor was a fantastic surfer and had been teaching for 20 years, he and his brother had developed their own unique technique for “popping up” on the board faster, which eliminated the internationally recognised way of going up on your knees first, and got you up in just two moves. This sounded good to me! So we trained in the back of the shop on a surfboard. Our trainer made each of us practice the two steps and “pop-up” on the board, and he corrected us when we weren’t doing it right.
We learnt how to paddle properly, when to duck under the waves and when to go over them. We practiced “popping up” with our trainer who told us when to do ‘position one’ and when to get into ‘position two’, until we got the hang of it. He also cheated and gave our surfboards a little push just as the wave caught us. This gave the same effect as if I was paddling when the wave caught me, helped me to catch the waves, and enabled me to stand up quite a few times and actually experience the joy of riding a wave.
The local seafood dish, Ceviche was a nice treat afterwards for lunch (in a fantastic little restaurant a street away from the surf school) for the inexpensive price of £2.50.
The next day we started in the ocean, and learned to read the waves -- the hardest part of surfing. Through practice and our trainer’s coaching we got the hang of it quickly and I found myself standing up and surfing a few good waves. The feeling of catching a wave on the blue Pacific, and having it carry you forward is absolutely amazing. I was very happy with myself. The return flight from London to Lima cost £600 -- well worth it -- to learn this unique surfing method.