Matty ~ "I couldn’t say no when the crew at Soul & Surf invited me to join them as a surf coach on their retreat to Chicama Peru. The world’s longest left is not only a heaven-sent wave with sections for all levels of surfers; it offers a bounty of close-by mystical sites full of culture and fun photo ops."
Words by Matty Weiler | 10th December ‘19
The wave, the focus of our trip, is absolutely hypnotic. I enjoyed making the long walk to El Cape, one of the wave’s many sections while getting to know Frankie, Min and Rachel - the Soul & Surf crew. It was a great way to drool over the wave together, share some laughs and look for treasures on the beach. Getting along was easy since we were all surf junkies: foaming at the mouth for rides so long you forget what planet you are on.
Here are a few of my favourite memories of the trip...(and why you should probably join us on our next one..)
It was incredible to see our new friends’ surfing improve so quickly. Expert surf video analysis from Frankie and me and opened new doors and people were staying in the pocket more and using much more of the canvas this ola de ensueño provided.
How it works - we zip by zodiac to the Cape, a fun relatively easy section of the Chicama’s 4km stretch and while friends surf their brains out, one of use or our local partners films and we watch it later all together. It’s a super casual space where we kick back with a beverage and share the day’s fun with some concrete strategies giving out to get everyone surfing their best. As the sun sets we chat about people’s surfing and offer 1 or 2 tips on improving. We try to keep it simple and not overwhelm anyone with a million things to work on.
Then, while waxing up and applying zinc on our gorgeous faces before the next session, we reminded guests individually what they should work on. Some highlights of that include - one friend bending at his knees more than hips and significantly extended the length of his rides, and hall of fame guest Sam, aka Sam La Cruz (named after the cross on the hill near the wave) catching a gopro-recorded wave for 1:18 (minute:seconds:) Sam was overloaded with excitement that lasted long into the night as we sipped some pisco sours, munched some ceviche and re-lived it all again and again.
On this trip we were firing on all cylinders. The group dynamic was charming. Our group had people in their 20’s and some in their 70’s (and all in between), both men and women. We ate meals together, (thanks to everyone for sharing their leftovers with me), cheered each other on in the lineup and even did some relaxing yoga with Rachel.
We took a day off and visited the coolest pyramid and shaman just a quick shuttle ride from the hotel. Our gracious host Min played tour guide and helped translate and share the rich cultural history that pours out of Peru at every turn. Did I mention we talked to a Shaman? Thanks to Min for facilitating that too. What a cleansing and unique experience that was. It definitely added depth and connection to my relationship with Peru.
I’m about to start a line of t-shirts socks and trucker hats that say “ceviche all day” why? Because the sexy spicy fish plate, a traditional Peruvian dish was a twice-daily treat for me and almost unanimously loved among the group.
Seriously, the culinary skills of the humble kitchen staff will blow you away. They are sweet, kind, approachable and make an honest effort to remember your name and serve you quickly. My other favourite dishes include papa rellena con salsa huanciana, a hearty stuffed potato dish that will fuel your fire after a sliding session on Chicama. Its complimented, or at least I order it as a side, with a sauce whose origin is from Huanchaco, an international surfing reserve that hosts the world’s original surf craft - the Caballito de Totora - seen below.
I’m stoked on all levels to join the Soul and Surf Crew again as we takeover the Chicama Boutique Hotel and surf Chicama again in April 2020. I have been learning so much more about surfing techniques tips and tricks including incorporation some gentle mindfulness to it all in my tool box of surf coaching.