Words by Sally McGee. Photos by Tom Bing

Holidays are different from surf trips.

Holidays are relaxing for a start; you are supposed to take it slowly, soak it in, eat well, drink well. Surf trips are grueling, stressful affairs. Not wanting to miss a single clean session, surfing through the aches and pains; the sunburn, the dehydration.

What if you go for a week and that week is flat? Or onshore? No, a week won’t do. Two months; at least two months. Hotels are expensive; with their white robes and their room service and their poolside cocktails. If there is a hotel like that near a quality right hand point it’s definitely going to be outside of my budget, it would be too busy anyway. A tent will do; sleep on board bags. Make it work for less, make it last longer.

Up with the bats every morning; sneaking around making bad coffee under the light of a head torch, worry about breakfast later. Surf until it’s not working anymore; arms too tired, stomach calling for food, or I feel Tom firmly telling me it’s his turn telepathically from the shore.

On becoming a Mum six years ago, myself and my husband Tom made an unspoken deal, that our child would be there with us. That our lifestyle was a healthy one, wholesome and full of adventure and culture. To not feel the pressures of parenting; to trust our instincts and our knowledge of the world and to bring up a child with full conviction that as a culture; surfers do a pretty good job of living.

So off we went, again. Tent, triple coffin bag, shameful budget, no plans. This time with a folder full of national curriculum reading books and worksheets too. Autumn at home had been fun, the start of winter brought the biggest rideable swell we might have ever seen on the east coast, but the short days and the  freezing north sea onshores collided with the world of possibilities. Escape came to knock yet again and we felt compelled to answer. So two months in a tent, making memories and forming another feral grom kid who will likely struggle to spend a week in a deck chair when he’s older too.

As far as the surfing in Sendero is concerned, we wanted to share a little edit that shows the stoke of riding a shortboard without the baggage that is often associated with riding shorter boards. Something fun and playful, hopefully with flow and glide; coming from a place of pure joy. I came to surfing later in life unlike my Son, I was in my early 20’s and didn’t ever feel the need or desire to choose a discipline within surfing, I just wanted to be able to ride any wave that presented itself to me. I love to log knee high waves, I’ll give a bigger day on a step-up a shot, I’m not sure I could cope on a chest high day without a fish and I love the feeling of riding a singlefin; I think I just love the feeling and ability to surf waves, a set of swim fins will do.

On this trip we couldn’t take anything bigger than a 6’1 as the flights wouldn’t allow it, it actually felt really liberating to just carry less, it felt lighter, narrowed my choices. Most of the time I was on a 5’8, the first time I’d really spent time connecting with that board. Finding its glide and character traits. Bigger days I rode a 6’1, some days a 5’6 fish. I’m not under any illusion my surfing would win a CT heat (I think that’s the baggage attached to shortboards), but it was a pleasurable voyage of discovery to spend a couple of solid tortilla and avocado fuelled months finding my personal approach to riding shortboards.