I set myself a challenge this year to be more adventurous, to ‘say yes to new adventures’ and try things I normally shrink away from. To be frank I’m not the most outdoorsy of people, with this quote I found on Pinterest summing me up rather well…
‘I’m outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios’
So yes, not very ‘outdoorsy’ at all really!
My kids and my husband on the other hand are a whole lot more active and adventurous than me so love a challenge, especially if it involves water. Both my girls swim regularly, with the eldest swimming for our city’s swimming club. When Surf Snowdonia approached me about coming along to do a bit of glamping and try out their surf lagoon, I knew I couldn’t say no. My children and husband would love it and it would be a great chance to challenge myself and try some new things. After all, I can’t really be from Cornwall if I don’t know how to surf, right?!
Apart from a group lesson on a youth outward bound weekend years ago (pre-parenthood) none of us had really surfed before but it’s definitely something that we were keen to try. Both my girls are water babies and very confident in the water so I knew we had a good chance that they would enjoy giving surfing a try.
To give you a bit of an idea of what Surf Snowdonia actually is it was built on an old industrial site in Conwy, North Wales and now boasts a 300 metre fresh water lagoon with wave garden that provides a powerful head height wave approximately every 3 minutes. It’s perfect for pro surfers and beginners, providing both freesurf sessions and lessons in the academy for ages 5 and upwards.
We went for three days and two nights (Sunday-Tuesday), staying onsite in one of their Eco glamping pods. Our surf Academy sessions, accommodation and wet-suit hire were provided by Surf Snowdonia for the purpose of this review.
On our arrival my eldest daughter was first up with a Groms group lesson, a session for 8-13 year olds.
We can safely say that my eldest LOVED her first taste of surfing and couldn’t wait for her next lesson the following day. My youngest daughter spent the whole time moaning about why she couldn’t go in and trying to figure out how to get in the water! Her session was the following day, Little Rippers for 5-7 year olds. In these group lessons a parent/guardian accompanies the child to help them onto the board.
She managed to kneel up and even stand up on her board! I was so impressed with how well she did on her sessions and how coming off her board a few time didn’t even phase her a little.
When it came to my lesson I was actually really excited to give it a try for myself. My eldest girl, fresh from her Groms lesson the previous day, was able to take part in this beginners session with me. It’s no surprise at all that she was a lot more confident in the water than I was. We had a safety briefing and instructions on how to master the basics before heading out to the lagoon.
See that pink surf board in the air. Yep. That’s mine. Wiping out on my first wave.
I did better from then onwards – thankfully! I nearly managed to stand up on one wave… before falling off! At least I gave it a good go though.
We had an hour in the water and towards the end of it I was exhausted! It showed me just how unfit I’d become that’s for sure! As tiring as it was I really did enjoy it and would be really keen to give it another go.
The Academy instructions were all fantastic, clear in their instructions and all so encouraging. There was no need to be nervous or feel intimidated at all.
That afternoon we did a family Crash and Splash session, think Total Wipeout on a smaller scale, unfortunately I have no photos of this as we were all in our wetsuits taking part. This activity was WAY out of my comfort zone and after one circuit round I sat and watched the rest of the family throw themselves around it and have an absolute ball. I’m really pleased that I gave it a try though.
On our last day my biggest girl and her dad did a beginners freesurf session where there is no instructor, this takes places near the shore of the lagoon in the same place as the beginners lessons usually are. We booked and paid for this ourselves as we weren’t ready to go home without squeezing in another few sessions!
As I mentioned earlier, accommodation wise we stayed in one of the onsite glamping pods. They are right by the lagoon and opposite to the main Surf Snowdonia buildings. The one we stayed in could fit in four people, so perfect for our little family. You bring your own bedding with you… They aren’t that big inside but all you are doing is sleeping in them, we hardly spent any time in ours apart from during the night – obviously! There’s toilet and shower block facilities close by too.
You don’t need to stay onsite to enjoy the facilities, you can pay for the sessions as you go or just come for a visit and enjoy a meal in the cafe while watching the surfers on the lagoon. We are planning on going back in the October half term for a day of activities, though I think I’ll give Crash and Splash a miss this time! If you are looking for some family fun for your adventurous kiddos or want to give surfing a try then I keenly suggest you pay Surf Snowdonia a visit. For more information please head on over to their website – SURF SNOWDONIA, and feel free to leave any questions in a comment below.
What do you think?
Would you and your family be up for this kind of holiday or day trip, to surf or learn to surf at Surf Snowdonia?
Morgana is a social media coach for small businesses and entrepreneurs, specialising in Instagram and Pinterest. Based in the North West of the UK, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She particularly enjoys a Netflix binge watch and cannot function without black coffee and dark chocolate digestives.