The team’s first day in Ecuador was all about settling in. Getting familiar with our new surroundings, the climate and surf conditions on day one meant that although everything we achieved was extremely productive, it was all conducted at a relatively steady pace. After the early morning team stretch, Head Coach Lloyd Cole called a team meeting to announce that our second day was when things were going to step up to the next level. The team had a hearty breakfast of fruit, cereal, eggs and yogurt to provide them with all the energy they would need to surf a full morning of heats on both contest peaks.
As expected when pulling up at the beach for the morning session, more teams had arrived and the peak was more competitive. Lloyd split the team into two groups and they each headed off to surf heats on each podium. With the first days surfing to draw on as experience, it was encouraging to see our surfers compete hard for waves on the main point break. Everyone had better knowledge of the lineup and this was apparent in the wave selection and scores that were being achieved.
Throughout the morning everyone surfed two heats on peak A and two heats on Peak B, with a short break to re-hydrate in between. The two peaks couldn’t be more different. The main left is around 200 meters long from the first section through to the inside. The wave is flanked by a low level cliff that is perfect for spectating and makes the place feel like Steamer lane in Santa Cruz, only breaking the opposite way. The peak on podium B is a short, fast dumpy beach break, which demands a completely different approach. All our surfers adapted their performances well for each of the two different sessions and a steady improvement was apparent throughout the morning from everyone.
After a long morning on the beach, the team headed back to camp to shelter from the intense mid day sun. After lunch, team physio Lisa Piper got busy carrying out running repairs on team members. Having Lisa as part of the team has been fantastic, and her skills have already been a major asset. When the competition commences on Sunday, having Lisa on hand at the beach to perform warm up and cool down routines as well as physical therapy will be invaluable.
Once the intensity of the sun had mellowed, we loaded the vans back up with kit and returned to the beach for a final training session. The strong sea breeze never eased off and the training session was much lighter on the crowd factor, which allowed our surfers to achieve a high wave count, allowing them to carry on increasing confidence levels.
One surfer in our camp that has been high on confidence after a great first surf on the main peak yesterday, is Gearoid McDaid. As Irelands only representative in the competition, we are extremely stoked to have him join our camp. A great personality to have around and a huge performer in the water, the G Man is hopefully going to be our lucky charm for the event, and deserves all the support from everyone back home. He has been training hard all winter in Ireland and his powerful forehand attack is well suited to the lefts on the main peak. He is a fiercely competitive surfer and certainly one to watch closely in the event.
The day ended with the usual team stretch and evening meal. It was an incredible morale booster to be able to announce at the team meeting after dinner that the team had reached their £10,000 Crowdfunder target. Thanks to the incredible hard work from all the parents, especially Nigel Hudson, who has done a sterling job managing the fundraising effort. Every team member is extremely grateful to everyone who has been generous enough to make a donation. Having such support back home has really ignited the competitive flame inside everyone and there is a definite determination around camp to be able to perform as a way of a thank you to everyone back home.
The alarms are set for 6am and another busy day is scheduled.
Over and out…