This was an exciting event for me, as it was the first windsurfing event I hosted after 2011 when I ran my last girls camp. September 5th was a day of gorgeous weather on Golden Beach, Paros. By 10am, the girls were finished with breakfast and their morning coffee and were getting ready for the windsurfing seminar which was about to begin. I got the simulator on the sand, found a nice shade for the girls and took them through a 2 hour theory session, starting from windsurfing 101: how we orientate the board and sail relative to the wind, how we pick up the sail, grab the boom and get going. Then we progressed to the 180 degree turn, slow tack, fast tack, jibe, how to use the harness and beachstart. For the girls that didn’t have any prior experience with windsurfing, these 2 hours were a fast forward to the level they can reach in 10 lessons. I also tackled some technical issues on how to use the harness with high wind and how to get planing in the footstraps for the more advanced girls.
By 12.00pm it was time to hit the water. The wind was just about what was needed to get everyone going on their boards and practice the new techniques. I split the girls in groups of 3 or 4 to make sure everyone received constant feedback and relevant teaching points throughout their session.
All of them had the chance to learn something new and improve their technique in windsurfing. We called it a day around 16.00pm, as the wind died. After a quick and well deserved refueling at the beach bar we were ready for our yoga session, taught by Eleana Kouneli. Eleana is a former dancer who is currently based and teaches in Brooklyn, New York. She took us through a series of poses and the next 1.5 hour was relieving after so many hours holding a boom.
Our stomachs started growling before we had even made it to a nice restaurant by the seaside. September is a quiet month in Paros, perfect to enjoy weekend retreats without the rush that a typical greek island has during the busy summer months. We enjoyed an awesome dinner which included salad, fresh fish, greens and other local recipes, so yummy! Our day finished with drinks at the Green Project, a nice bar in Drios and then everyone (well, not everyone… but I certainly did!) was in bed early, in order to have full energy to make it through the next day on the water.
Sunday wasn’t windy at all, so I gave the girls a Stand Up Paddling (SUP) lesson. Unlike traditional surfing, where the rider is sitting on the board until a wave comes, and windsurfing, where the rider picks up the sail and uses it to propel themselves through the water, standup paddle boarders maintain an upright stance on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves forward. SUP offers a great total body workout and certainly gave the girls a run for their money. The sea was calmer than a bath tub so we very much enjoyed our SUP tour along the coast. We came in early as a few of the girls were taking the afternoon boat back to Athens.
A few tears were shed during goodbyes but the most rewarding thing to see was girls exchanging numbers and making plans to meet up following the event. This is exactly what the events I host are all about; get together a group of people who are motivated by the same thing: try something new together, push their limits and support each other.
Till next time!
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