Are you curious to find out what it’s like on a Surf Sistas course? Surfing, especially if you’re new to it, can be quite daunting. Wondering how hard it is, who is gonna be on the course with you, what the coaching is like, whether you’ll even enjoy it!
Whether I’m heading to a new restaurant, booking an air bnb, or finding the best spot in town for a coffee, I check out reviews or go by recommendation. What you seen online could be different to what it’s actually like. So it’s useful getting a first hand account on what to expect.
The same goes for picking a surf retreat, you wanna know what it’s actually like being on the course and what you can expect. It helps you make the decision if it’s right for you.
Not only do we want to share reviews from past Surf Sistas with you but we also want to celebrate how far these women have come in their surfing journey and where a course with Surf Sistas has taken them to next!
We caught up with one of our past Surf Sistas, Tab, who joined us on several courses in 2022. We noticed on Insta she is aiming to surf her way across South-East Asia in 2023 and we were curious to find out more!
Read on to get the lowdown on Tab’s time with us at Surf Sistas and how she balances her work with her love for surf and travel.
Hey! So, tell us about yourself, where you live, what you’re up to in life? And what do you do for work?
Hi! My name is Tab and I’m a self-employed TEFL teacher. I’m also a content creator and freelance writer! I live just outside London at the moment but I’m about to head off on a 4-month backpacking trip around South-East Asia. I’ll be documenting it all on my blog, Instagram and YouTube channel. I’ve been teaching English as a foreign language since 2019, and these days I teach adult students from around the world.
When did you first learn to surf? What inspired you to try?
I think that my fascination with surfing goes way back! Surf culture and skate culture are closely related, and I was obsessed with Avril Lavigne and the California skater girl vibe when I was a kid. It felt a million miles away from land-locked, suburban Surrey! So, I’ve always thought surfing and skating was cool, but I didn’t try surfing until I was an adult. My best friend was living in Cornwall and I used to go surfing with her friends, who were really encouraging. When I finally caught a wave, I was hooked. It was an amazing feeling and I wanted to do it again and again.
What courses have you done with Surf Sistas? How did you get on? What did you enjoy?
The first course I did with Surf Sistas was the week-long beginners’ course with Jeffa, Becca and Emily (the instructors). It was a rollercoaster! It’s incredible to see how much progress you can make in a week, from feeling like you’ll never be able to stand up to catching white water waves consistently. It was frustrating at times but taught me so much about perseverance and resilience. You feel really proud of yourself after wiping out and getting tumbled by a wave, and then jumping straight back on the board to try again. One of my favourite things about surfing for a whole week was seeing how the conditions changed each day. The instructors encouraged us to assess conditions and do a bit of forecasting, and each day was a little different. After the beginners’ course, I went back later in the year for the Surf & Yoga weekend – it was a blast!
“It’s incredible to see how much progress you can make in a week, from feeling like you’ll never be able to stand up to catching white water waves consistently. It was frustrating at times but taught me so much about perseverance and resilience. You feel really proud of yourself after wiping out and getting tumbled by a wave, and then jumping straight back on the board to try again.”
How has Surf Sistas helped your surfing journey?
The Surf Sistas team is just awesome. Kate has created an amazing space for women to try something new in a fun, inspiring and supportive environment. The instructors made us laugh every day and pushed us to grow. I was nervous to get started because I didn’t know if I was strong enough but the great thing about Surf Sistas is that the course is so tailored. 1:1 coaching in and out of the water means that you learn how to play to your strengths and find your style. I’ll be taking that confidence with me on future surf trips.
What are you up to for the next year? What are your TEFL and Surfing plans?
The big priority for this year is TRAVEL. So far, I’ve only surfed in the UK (Bournemouth and Cornwall) so I’m pumped to hit some warmer waters! As I’m self-employed, I can work from anywhere so I’m planning to travel around South-East Asia until the summer. I’ll deliver English classes remotely and work with brands on content pieces over the course of the trip. The plan is to explore Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Borneo and Indonesia. If I have time, I also want to island-hop in the Philippines and visit some old colleagues in Singapore. I’m super excited to surf in Cherating (Malaysia), which is my first stop on the trip!
Digital nomad life! How do you make that work for yourself?
I’m really fortunate to manage my own schedule, so I’m not restricted by time zone differences too much. I don’t enjoy the traditional 9-5 schedule and it’s important for me to have the option to work from anywhere. Usually, I add my teaching availability to Italki (the main platform I teach on) two weeks in advance. This gives students enough time to book and it gives me lots of flexibility, as I only need to know what I’m doing in the next fortnight. I’m going to be staying in a mixture of hotels, Airbnbs and hostels to get a good mix of business and pleasure. If there’s an internet connection and a power outlet, I can make it work!
For anyone thinking of a Surf Sistas course, what would you say to them/advice would you give?
My number one piece of advice for new surfers? Wear more sunscreen than you think you need! Saltwater on a sunburn is a vibe killer… In all seriousness, the beginners’ course was one of my highlights of last year. And if you’re nervous about spending a whole week surfing, why not try a Surf & Yoga weekend first? You won’t regret taking the plunge (literally). I went alone to both Surf Sistas courses and met so many brilliant women. I’m still in touch with some of them, so it’s a great way to meet people. Finally, don’t believe the myth that you can’t learn to surf in later life. You’re never too old to try something new and the instructors will work with you to get you catching waves in no time. “Go surfing in 2023” – now wouldn’t you like to tick that off your bucket list?
And if you need advice on sunscreen – Read our blog on the best eco friendly (reef safe) sunscreens.
We’re going to be following Tab’s adventures this year, so can you by following her on instagram. If this sounds like the sort of experience you’d like for yourself – check out our 2023 Surf Courses and Retreats and get yourself booked in!