When traveling was a normal thing to do... Most of our team riders usually spent the whole year touring around the globe. To contests, training destinations, photoshoots, demo tours, etc.. This year was different.

We caught up with our riders to learn more about their year and how it went spending more time at home.

 

Let´s start with our water women Maria Andres, who spent this summer in Los Caños de Meca.

 

Since I turned 18, I have been spending the most part of every year abroad. I loved driving to Essaouira and staying there for weeks … The last 8 years I would spend half of the year on Maui, combined with 3 more months traveling and competing. The other 3 months I liked to be home, spending time with my family and enjoying the winter conditions of the South of Spain.

Even though there are spots in Spain that I was wanting to visit one day, and knowing that I was missing the fall swells in Cadiz, it never stopped me from traveling. It was like, if I had the chance to explore far from home, I wanted to do it. But in the back of my mind, I still wanted to try the famous “el Rosita” in Almeria, or some spots in the north of Portugal and Galicia…

Los Caños de Meca, locked in paradise.

During the big lock down in Spain this past spring, not only did we have to cancel our trips to Maui and Baja California. Like most of the rest of the world, we also had to stay at home, with no right to leave the house for 3 months. We normally live in Spain during the winter, when housing is cheaper, so we were the lucky ones that were confined in a beautiful house by the beach, and when I say by the beach, I mean it. From the whole living area, we can see the conditions out there.

 

Our house is located to the north of the Trafalgar Lighthouse of Los Caños de Meca, a very historic, energetic and picturesque point of the Andalusian geography. A land with its particularities, where we wouldn’t be surprised to see a “patera” arriving with immigrants or “narco activity” at some point - we are just across the Strait of Gibraltar from Africa, on an empty beach... The majestic lighthouse that also guides those boats is part of our everyday view and it’s installed in our retina, it is like looking a beautiful postcard! Its beam trespasses our windows when we sleep so we don’t forget the amazing place where we are.

During the complete lockdown, having this view, more than a blessing, it became almost like a nightmare, as we watched the ocean every day, knowing that Los Caños de Meca was just 3 km away.  Windsurfing is not only my passion, it is also my job. That, combined of course with all the other reasons to be worried that we all had at that point –health, financial, family, uncertainty...- it was an anxious time. We started to redirect our energy and anxiety in a constructive way, starting a clothing brand with my designs, Windy Lines. Guess what was the first design? Of course, the Trafalgar Lighthouse! Haha. 

When the darkest moments started to dissipate, the new rules allowed us to go outdoors, but not to use a vehicle. That meant we couldn’t go to Los Caños, but had to windsurf just in front of the house, with the crazy shore break and strong currents, known as a dangerous beach where swimmers and divers have drowned. Even though we live here, it is a spot that as always scared me and that I have always avoided.

Re-discovering home.

The reason we live here is because we love the surrounding beaches for surfing and sailing in Los Caños, where we don’t drive more than 5 minutes to sail with any wind direction. Los Caños is a watersports paradise that offers plenty of possibilities. What I had never realized, was the true potential of the beach just 30 meters from my door that I had always been scared of. It is a known spot for advanced surfing with barrels braking way too close to the shore and I was discarding it in advance because of what I thought never giving it a try, so I would always drive to the well-known windsurf spots instead.

Forced by necessity and having no option, we had to face our fears and sometimes, not only our fears, but a massive shore break. The interesting part is that we realized we could sail here with a lot of wind directions, actually more directions than some other beaches because of its shape and sea bottoms. We can get amazing wave-riding port tack, breaking a little bit too close to shore for comfort, but let’s just say it makes it that extra little bit more exciting! Haha. There are also super fun side-on starboard tack days. When there is no swell and the wind is offshore, the water surface gets incredibly flat and it turns the most vibrant tones of blue, and a slalom and freestyle paradise, and there’s never anybody sailing it! The surf, what can I say, it is just epic! Sometimes during the winter it’s a bit too heavy, but most of the time it is ok. We are learning to enjoy it and to understand its possibilities.

Home is amazing!

This place is amazing, and we had it to ourselves. Most days, Tom and I were the only people at the beach, with perfect waves all around. We could only smile and laugh. I can’t believe I had this treasure in front of me all this time!

After a little break from the lockdown during the summer, exploring the north of Spain, we came back home. With Andalusia recording increased numbers of Covid-19 infections, a perimeter restriction was put in place, limiting us to our newly discovered homespot and our beloved Los Caños, on the other side of the lighthouse, and not any further. I have to admit, that it feels like we don’t need to go any further! It is a funny feeling, that after traveling around the globe non-stop for so many years, I could never imagine myself being completely “ocean satisfied” within just a 3 km radius! Hahaha, isn’t it crazy?

Is it me, or is it really paradise?

In these times of universal chaos and intermittent isolations, sometimes I ask myself about the objectivity of our perceptions of realities that we are experiencing, in a context impossible to disregard. It could be because we weren’t allowed on the water for over 2 months while locked in (while seeing these amazing conditions everyday), or because us humans must adapt to survive and Los Caños is my only option, or that I am living through some kind of Stockholm syndrome… or, because this place is simply amazing!  The truth is that the immense connection that I’ve developed with this little piece of Earth is real, is growing, and I love it!

More about Maria:

Maria Andres