The first time I met Elin and her Mum it was an unusually dark and stormy early morning in October. I say unusually because Ericeira at this time of year is usually blue skies, light winds and pumping swells. I was worried! After so many years of surf coaching the rare moments that conditions are testing I really feel for the client who has been looking forward to their surf trip for so long. If Elin was disappointed she didnt show it, she was smiling and stoked to have the opportunity to work on her surfing.
We pushed on in horrible onshore waves and it lasted for pretty much the whole week she was booked for training. Adaptability and dealing with adversity became the mantras of the week. Elin pushed through white water wall after white water wall and I started to see some coaching potential amongst this madness. Elin was gaining significant confidence in the turbulent ocean, she started seeing the pathways with the outgoing water flows, she sensed and adjusted to the inshore currents.
It was near impossible to focus on much technical training beyond paddling out, taking off and trying to stay in one place for a potential peak. We dealt with the adverse condtions and worked on progressive combos of manouvers on her surf skate.
Elin went on to win a competition in North Sea waves that were indentical to her training camp in Ericeira, she was confident, paddle fit and could muster scores and find peaks that her competitors simply couldn't. Training is training its not surfing in ideal luxury, progress is always achieved in hard fought increments and this training camp certainly proved this to be an accurate & successful training philosophy.
Our second traing camp some months later was very different with ideal waves and sunny glassy mornings. Elin had a chance to really work on creating distinct bottom turns to top turns and cutbacks. Pushing her limits over and over again to perform each top turn in the most critical sections and wrapping cutbacks in the pocket. I could really see physical improvements as well helped by North Sea Trainer Dan and his team back home in the Netherlands.
Elin returned to the Netherlands and a few days later was crowned Queen Grom of the North Sea after winning yet another competition.