Surf destinations: Surfing the waves in the land below the Alps

The beginning of summer, vacation, packing and going to the sea, mostly to the Croatian coast. This is the classic formula of a Slovenian holiday. But where can a surfer or someone who would like to learn to surf the waves go? Here, we should not mix windsurfers and real surfers who catch waves on the open sea. Few people know that there are much more of them in Slovenia than it seems at first. Even less that there is even a surf scene with clubs, courses and sports federations and competitions. The first and most successful Slovenian surfer is the Argentinian Slovenian Jože Žurga, who caught his first wave in the early 1960s. He is considered a legend of surfing in South America, but unfortunately the gentleman was not a pioneer on the local scene and on the nearby Adriatic coast. Thus, according to the Surf Federation of Slovenia, the boys who set up the first surf school and club in 1999 - Ujusansa - are considered the pioneers of organized surfing at home.

15 years of Ujusansa

The turn of the millennium was also a turning point for surfing on our side of the Alps. In 2000, Andraž Rakušček, Klemen Šurk and the Koželj brothers organized the first wave surfing course for Slovenians. Their journey took them to the coastal town of Anglet, located in the French part of the Bay of Biscay. Humble beginnings with two vans and only a few fans gave no idea how popular surfing would become among Slovenians. A new sport, the charm of the ocean, good fun, and so surf camps quickly became hot news. At first among students, then the circle of wave enthusiasts quickly expanded. Until 2009, the courses were held in France, and then there was a change of location and the camp moved to the Spanish bay of Zarautz. You could say that from June until the end of September, a "regular" bus line opens on the Ljubljana-Zarautz route, transporting fresh and experienced surfers to the beautiful Basque Country. By this year, well over 2,000 people had caught the first wave with Ujusansa.

By this year, over 2,000 people had caught the first wave with Ujusansa.
By this year, over 2,000 people had caught the first wave with Ujusansa.

Anyone looking for new surf explorations and adventures can join Ujusansi at the "surfari", which takes place in Portugal in May and October. It is a real surf trip by van, all the way to the fishing town of Peniche, famous for its excellent surfing locations. As the only one in our country, at Ujusansi they also offer a family surf program, where even the youngest can start catching waves. These are holidays that are just the right amount of activity, but at the same time fun, interactive and relaxed. "Ujusansa Family Surf Camp" is therefore intended for parents who want to offer themselves and their children something new, interesting and different, and above all, a sports-rich way of spending their free time.

On the website, Ujusansa not only provides information about courses and trips, but is also a meeting place for the surf scene online, where you can find information about equipment, wave and weather forecasts, parties and the national championship, which falls under the auspices of the Surf Association of Slovenia. The association was founded in 2004, as new clubs were created in the meantime, and the organization of courses for the title of instructor and surf teacher also began.

A smile in the "surf" house

It's not just the waves that make us laugh, but the whole experience we have in the process of learning to surf the waves. Kostja Polc, a longtime surf teacher at Ujusansi, who opened a surf school in Portugal, in the small town of Santa Cruz, is well aware of this. He realized that this was the country for him after completing his studies on the Erasmus international exchange in Lisbon, during which he traveled and surfed a lot. In the Surf House Portugal program, it can combine activities on the water as well as all the culinary and cultural specialties of this part of the world. There are quite a few of them here. The "Surf" house is located between Ericeira and Penich, all in all only 60 km from Lisbon. There are a lot of old towns in the area, such as Sintra, Obidos, Cabo de Roca, and there is no point in talking about excellent seafood and wine here.

The entire concept of the surf school is based on adventure, safety and, of course, fun. He has a larger van available, so all the beaches and surf locations in the area are at your fingertips every day. Kostja, who has already become a real "local" with fluent Portuguese, has a lot of experience in choosing locations, which is very important for learning and advancement. For successful surfing, it is also necessary to know different waves, wind, sea tides and currents, which can be very dangerous. The entire learning program is also complemented by video analysis, where the instructor can clearly show the individual's mistakes in learning. In addition to the surf course, guests can also learn about surf yoga, which Maša takes care of, and there is always time for the pool next to the house, picnics, skateboarding and visits to various festivals and concerts, which are not lacking, especially in the summer.
For everyone who prefers a tent, the surf club Tribu, which has been camping in Penich for several summer seasons, right next to the long sandy beach of Baleal, takes care of it. When autumn ends in Europe, the Tribujes go to Morocco.

The smile after the first caught waves cannot be described.
The smile after the first caught waves cannot be described.

Isles of Eternal Spring

Not far from Morocco, in the embrace of the Atlantic Ocean, Fuerteventura is located in the group of seven Canary Islands. An island of sun, wind and endless sandy beaches. The desert interior of the Spanish island can be compared to its African neighbor - Morocco. With its many volcanoes, the island of Fuerteventura leaves an unforgettable impression of tranquility. Surfers can say that the island is best known for its waves. Here we can find waves that are suitable for both beginners and the most demanding.

Until 2009, the courses were held in France, then the Ujusansa surf camp moved to the Spanish bay of Zarautz.
Until 2009, the courses were held in France, then the Ujusansa surf camp moved to the Spanish bay of Zarautz.

It is no coincidence that the Canary Islands are called the "European Hawaii" among surfers. In the northern part of the island, in the town of Corralejo, at the crossroads of the route to all the surf spots of the northern part of the island, we can find the Manawai surf school. Their "surf" house with swimming pool, surf jeep and wild sandy beaches are dreams that warm many Slovenian surfers' souls on gray winter days at home. The school and the learning concept were set up by Tine Škrbec and Marko Mrzlikar, who also lives on the island with his young family. Completely devoted to the surfing lifestyle, he passes on his knowledge and attitude to the ocean to all the students who come not only from Slovenia, but also from other parts of the world. The surfing school takes place in various locations throughout the northern part of the island. It doesn't matter if you are a complete beginner or have already learned to surf, they will adapt to our needs and skill level. With an individual approach, progress will be even faster. Under a watchful eye, we will get to know surfing in theory and practice exactly where surfers spend the most time - on the beach, and surfing will become an even greater pleasure.

Manawai surf school has found its place on the island of sun, wind and endless sandy beaches - on the island of Fuerteventura.
Manawai surf school has found its place on the island of sun, wind and endless sandy beaches - the island of Fuerteventura.

North of the island of Fuerteventura lies the slightly smaller island of Lanzarote, which, just like the other islands, offers countless water pleasures. Find Toni there in Famara, who will be happy to show you locations for water activities. Toni, or "waterman", is an expert in "kiting" and "surfing", but his agency, which he opened together with his wife Špela, also offers a surf school, among other things. It should also be mentioned that this year he started the project of building Mongolian tents, so-called yurts, which will also allow guests to stay the night.

Dream surf destinations

With more surfers taking up the sport as a serious hobby, the number of trips and vacations spent on ocean shores has also increased. Some Slovenians travel for several weeks or months, and some have even moved to places where good waves are a constant, such as the morning rush hour on the way to work. So you can meet a local surfer in Bali, Mauritius, Costa Rica, Mexico, Australia, where most of them also offer you accommodation. A strong desire and a lot of renunciation are the way that even a Slovenian beginner can become a true surfing nomad, exploring lesser-known surf destinations.

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