Native Moments by Nic Schuck: A review

Native Moments is a novel written by Nic Schuck focusing on surfing and adventure. Nic got in touch a while back to ask if we would like to review his book and we were more than happy to oblige. Once again we dipped into our extensive pool of talent and decided that Grace Melville, one of our bloggers, an avid traveller and an English Literature student was the perfect person to write our first ever book review! So somewhere in-between all the turkey and red wine she sat down during Christmas and put this review together for you and we hope you enjoy! It may even inspire you to read the book?

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Native Moments is a novel that takes the reader on a journey with the main character, Sanch Murray, as he seeks escape from traditional American life. With his arrogant, ex-pro surfer friend, Jack, the two embark on an adventure to Costa Rica, attracted by the low cost lifestyle and the great conditions for surfing.

The author presents the reader with two imperfect main characters who, despite their flaws, the reader cannot help but love and become invested in. Schuck gives much attention to character development, slowly unpicking the personalities of the characters in the story. The result is an intimate narration and the attraction to the characters is so strong that it makes up for occasional lapses in the quality of writing.

The story is easy to follow, keeps good pacing and also manages to surprise the reader at times. Most notably Sanch’s relationship with Andrea. It is left ambiguous whether she really cares about Sanch or whether she’s using him as a ticket back to America. Plus her being referred to as a ‘whore’ really muddies the waters around the authenticity of her attraction to Sanch. Regardless the characters are displayed with vibrant humour and colour, and we’re sad to see them go when the story pushes on.

Ultimately this book is a homage to the free spirited world of surfing and a celebration of a life not tethered down by materialistic wants and needs. Sanch Murray is escaping a life back home which would see him enter the Navy, a future he does not want for himself. This trip is a way to depart from his childhood and family tradition and carve out a new individual identity. What’s more the reader supports this decision and actively encourages him to continue down his chosen path. Schuck gives those who are stuck in a rut in their lives, uncertain of their future, a character to root for and hopefully a character to aspire to be.

Schuck clearly has a soft spot for Costa Rica and this shines through in his writing. If Costa Rica was not on your radar before, it will be after reading this book. This novel is one for those who are seeking adventure, and for those who already have the travelling bug, this story will leave you dying to get back out there and on your surfboard.

 

You can find Native Moments available to buy on Amazon here.

Surfing Taghazout – By Sam Warren

We first came across Sam Warren on Instagram when his amazing surf photography caught our eye. You will often see his work gracing the pages of our Instagram and our blog. Late last year Sam headed to Morocco for a surf trip and has been kind enough to let us know his top tips for the famous surfing destination of Taghazout. Hope you enjoy!
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We headed over to Taghazout in December 2016 and would highly recommend it! We stayed with Surf Berbere, a surf house/hostel in Taghazout who were incredible! They catered to everyone’s needs, all dietary requirements covered, incredible staff and instructors, super duper friendly!
Whilst there the hostel also arranged for us to go on a series of different trips as well as surfing. I’d totally recommend checking out the Souk (market) in Agadir, it’s quite an experience and you can pick up some great souvenirs! It is also apparently one of the more relaxed Souks in Morocco, so you can wander round at ease!
We also headed over to Paradise Valley. It is about a 45minute drive from the hostel and is a series of rock pools hidden in the desert. It’s beautiful and there’s some sweet cliff jumping spots!
It was however the surfing that we had made this trip for so the spots that I’d recommend are:
Banana Point – The break is by the next town over from Taghazout (Banana Village). It’s a lovely right hand point break which works both on small and large surf depending on tides. It can get busy when the swell is good, but I’ve had a great time there when the tide is high and swell is smaller which resulted in us having the break to ourselves.
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Devils Rock – can be dumpy as the swell picks up but can also produces some nice left and rights. I’ve typically surfed here when the swell was 2-3ft so not crazy sizes, but still fun on a foamy! Gets a bit shit at high tide from my experience so probs best for a low to mid tide surf. There’s loads of beach salesmen here too, so if you fancy a donut (I don’t recommend the chocolate ones) or camel ride, I’m sure you’d be able to haggle a good price! (Will also have these guys at K17)
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K17 – a sorta point break between Devils Rock and Taghazout. Righthanders peel off a mini reef in the middle of the beach marked out by a ‘Magic Buoy’. You can see the reef at low tide, so it’s easy to avoid surfing on it, but at high it’s submerged so it’s best to keep the left of the buoy when you face the horizon (to the right if you’re facing the shore). What we found was just sitting right next to the buoy was the perfect take off point for most days, there’s a slight cross-current which drags you away from the reef which you’ll have to paddle against to maintain position but I’ve caught a few good long rides at this break when it doesn’t close out. Similar to Devils rock, can get dumpy when the wind and swell is strong enough.
Hash Point – situated right opposite Surf Berbere (check my insta for a photo of the lines coming through), this break is probably the most beautiful place I’ve surfed/watched surfing. Surfing here at sunset is incredible for visuals, and the waves are generally very nice! Can be a battle getting out back with the strong currents, but if you’re feeling brave you can jump in off the rocky point, although you might get smashed if you time it wrong! Popular spot for locals, but it’s totally worth getting in there just to give it a go. From what I’ve seen, it’s best at mid to high tide, but it still has surf at low. I tended to see surf of around 4-6ft here but can get bigger on the sets! Just be careful not to surf too close to the point or you’ll get smashed into the rocks!
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Sewers – Just next door to Hash Point, very similar case to Hash Point all round from what I saw.
Anchor Point + Big Swell = Heaven (either you die and go to heaven, or you think you have as you’ve just caught the best wave of your life!) Never surfed here, I value my life too much!!
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Imsouane – 1 hour north of Taghazout (totally worth the drive!) – famously the longest righthander in Africa, this is a beautiful place to surf, a very interesting wave which wraps around the headland and sea defence to scoop around the bay. I went when it was fairly small, but it was perfect for beginners. Been told on larger days it’s an incredible ride! Not sure about tides here unfortunately.
Imsouane (Cathedral Point) – point break off a headland which is very popular! The entire beach has breaks so doesn’t have to be crowded but by the headland it’s very busy. When I went it was low tide and it was nice, 4-6ft, sometimes bigger!
The dunes just south of Imsouane are another great place to to visit, amazing scenery and a little bit of sandboarding! Take the fins off a foamy and take the short hike up the dunes to witness beautiful landscape as far as the eye can see! There’s multiple slopes you can ride down, but we found the higher up you went, the better/steeper the slopes became! Probably best to ask a local or a surf camp about this as it’s pretty remote location and easy to miss the entrance of the dirt road which leads to the dunes!
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We had an absolute blast during our time in Taghazout, eating well, surfing well and even seeing a few sights! Who can ask for more!
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You can follow Sam on Insatgram here.

A Wintery Weekend in Croyde – by Nick Corkill

We love to see people getting out and enjoying the British surf – no matter the weather! Nick has once again made us get itchy feet and we can’t wait to get back out on the water!

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Surfing Norway – With Nick Corkill pt.3

And so we bring you the last instalment from Nick and his travels in Norway. It is always such a struggle for us when he sends in his pictures to decide which ones to pick, but we hope you have enjoyed them and we look forward to seeing what he has in store for us next!

DAY 5

We decided to go for a hike today. I say hike, It was a small mountain that we had to traverse with none of us having any real ‘mountain walking’ experience other than wearing North Face jackets and going to climbing walls ( I don’t even do that) but I think we did a good job! Even if Adam was dressed like he was going on a night-out and I had the worst sprained ankle I think I have ever had…. “Lets go for a little walk shall we? We’ll can surf later” …….. 9 kilometres and 1000 ft later we made it, apart from not being able to tweet or get a good latte at the summit I was pretty chuffed!

We didn’t surf….!

Later that evening my mate James from Bristol turned up with a friend at our lodge (as you do, just passing by in the Arctic) and joined us for dinner. Later that evening we had our first taste of the Northern Light’s which blew our MINDS!!!!! 6 lads running ( me hobbling) around a field shrieking with delight and annoying James into lending me his camera gear and to get some pictures! (He  had also basically brought a small ‘Jessops’ store with him!)

 

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DAY 6

Last day so Mee-Mee ( French surf instructor empress) took us to Kvalvika where the film ‘North Of The Sun’ was made. We hiked in, surfed, had a bonfire, hiked out, saw more northern lights (yawn) got back to the surf lodge (Unstad Arctic Surf Camp) where the camps owner, local shredder, Tommy had prepared a traditional Norwegian hot tub (outside)….the whole thing was very, very, VERY cool! ( bordering on ‘Hipster’ but no one has to know that..!)

 

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DAY 7

Our final day was another long day of travel back to Bristol

It was an incredible trip with some incredible people and given the chance I would go back in a heartbeat!

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Surfing Norway – With Nick Corkill pt.2

Nick’s journey continues with the second instalment of his blog from Norway. If you would like to read part one, you can find it here.

DAY 3

We decided to stay at Unstad again as its been pumping all day but still super windy and rainy! We had a morning surf north of the beach with faces of  about 15ft! The boys managed to get in a few barrels. Even a few double overheads and super chunky! BEAUTIFUL!

We got out after a few hours to have some lunch and then decided to try out the south of the beach ( the break here is named ‘garbage’!) I have never seen wind like it! The guys in the water said they couldn’t see anything on the take off because of spray!

I shot from the boot of the car, and felt like even that was going to roll away with the wind! The highlight was seeing a French girl, Mimi, paddling out on a FLOATY, no hood or gloves! BEAST! There were a couple of South Africans who also rocked up and I’ve never seen surfing like it, definitely pro standard! 

We had news that the wind was dying off to 20mph tomorrow which apparently is good?!?!  

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DAY 4

We headed up the coast to Delp to change it up a bit. The spot is north facing and needs a big west swell to get up there. The boys were lucky and had a westerly swell, 10ft@13seconds with a light southerly wind and we surfed here for around 3 hours. Oh and those Saffers that I mentioned, low and behold were there and not only that, one of them, Steve ‘stezzy’ Sawyer is ranked WSL 49th and SA longboarding Champion whilst the other, Shannon Ainsleigh is a pro-surf instructor/mentor and SHARK ATTACK survivor! The pair of them were absolute gems !

That evening we went and watch Steve play an acoustic set in a local bar which he nailed, obviously! ( not jealous much). I bought his CD for my mum…..!

 

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Surfing Norway – With Nick Corkill pt.1

Many of you who have been following our Great Venture Surf Co. blog for a while might know, we work with a network of talented photographers and bloggers and Nick Corkill just happens to be both!

A few months ago Nick told us he had been invited to go to Norway on a Surf and photography trip by Tim Nunn who is another talented  photographer and runs The Plastic Project . We were obviously incredibly keen to be kept up to date on every detail of this trip and Nick thankfully agreed! So we hope you enjoy his amazing story

DAY 1

The first day started off with a very early 3am start. The journey to Norway was not going to be a quick one! We flew from Bristol to London > London to Oslo > Oslo to Bodo and then a Ferry to Lofted. All in all taking a mighty 20 hours to reach our destination. The group consisted of Jamie Gatley; Nick Rees and Adam Parsons.

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DAY 2

We headed down to Unstad beach which is next to our lodge and the most consistent break in the region. It has South Westerly swell direction – cross/offshore wind – gusting 30-40mph, head and a half high. I entered the water from the rocks on the north side of the beach and surfed a right hand point break, breaking over shallow Kelp covered rocks. Surfing with a seal and a load of cormorants was a pretty special experience and surfing a beach the size of Croyde with only 4 of us was even better! It also rained all day!

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Keep y0ur eyes peeled for the second instalment from Nick

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Meet the Bloggers! Maria Korzeniowska

Maria Korzeniowska – a very warm welcome to the freshest member of the blogging team!
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Maria is not just a pretty face with a an extremely long surname, believe it or not she’s also a medicine student with a touch of a modern day “renaissance (wo)man” – basically her interest list is never ending! In keeping with her nomadic nature, when Maria’s not too busy balancing Med School and actually having a so called ‘life’, she’s a keen tropical traveler, fitness addict, wannabe DJ, blogger, photographer and an all around creative spirit. Still unimpressed? Her travel writing & photography has even appeared on Billabong’s blog and whenever time permits, she continues to innovatively collaborate with various brands.
To keep up with Maria, follow her Instagram here and personal blog here.
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Lisbon- The Forgotten City? By Caitlin Russell.

We love getting posts in from Caitlin as she has a fantastic passion for travel and a keen eye for some amazing pictures! This latest instalment follows Caitlin through Lisbon with her boyfriend Paul and was the first part of a 9 week journey spanning Europe and Indonesia!

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Our entire first day was lost to travelling and we didn’t arrive at our hotel – Residencial Mar dos Acores – until two o’clock this morning. The metro link is available from the airport and an unlimited 24 hour card costs only €6 each. We alighted the last train around 1.15am and it took us an absurd amount of time to find the hotel due to the lack of public wifi, thankfully when we did arrive our room was still waiting for us. With a 7.3 rating on Booking.com and one bathroom per floor which is shared between eight rooms, the €25 per night fee for us both seemed fair. It’s located a steep five minute walk from the Anjosnmetro station and is surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants. When we got there, the amenities were beyond what we had expected; immaculate kitchen stocked with beers and drinks for a fee, stunning mosaic interiors and a lift. The room itself, albeit compact, was spotless and included a sink, TV, air conditioning unit and a fan – both of which are necessary even at night. The bathrooms pleasantly surprised me, again immaculate and cleaned several times a day. After one night past, €25 seems like a steal.

From what I had read online, on WordPress as well as the Visit Lisbon website, I would be lying if I  told you I expected much from the Portuguese capital. Combined with the heat, how tired we were and the pending game against Poland this evening, I really thought today would have been lost to relaxing and watching football. Thankfully, for me at least, that was so far from the way the day unfolded, and I’m really glad our curiosity pushed us towards spending time in a lesser raved about location, because after only a few hours out in the beating sun we have both fallen for this beautiful city.

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We took the metro from Anjos to Rossio, the city’s main plaza in the Baica district. From there, we headed uphill through the narrow, pastel coloured streets. We had no plan, but our route allowed us to see so many glorious buildings. We followed the steep steps upwards to a higher plaza, from which we could see the city’s port. After deciding to head towards the water, distraction after distraction pulled us in all directions. Every street we passed  one of us found something intriguing; from intricately mosaiced walls to hidden churches, the rich pastel colours of the city are so attractive we couldn’t help but walk around with our necks craned, while I photographed everything my eyes met. Eventually, when we reached the water we sat at a waterfront restaurant and watched the world go by with a cold beer in our hands. Across the water, sailboats and cruise liners sales past and the vast red suspension bridge leading across to the historic Almada district stood stark against the bright blue sky and water. Behind it, a Christ the King statue stands tall, towering over the district and overlooking the rest of the city from across the water.

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From the harbour, we walked along the waterfront, through the Praça do Comércio and underneath the Rua Augusta Arch; the city’s trump gal arch, a vast Neoclassical monument flanked by Baroque buildings (which are very reminiscent of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna). Through the arch and much to my delight there was a wine festival taking place before the shopping district began. I tried local whites whilst Paul did some shopping before heading to the Elevador de Santa Justa, a tower with panoramic views of the city, but also with an extensive queue and so we decided to head further uphill to have an undisturbed and unrestricted view for ourselves.

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Without realising,  we had done a complete lap of the city on foot and found ourselves back at Rossio square almost three hours later. I took the opportunity to photograph what I had not already and afterwards we headed away from the square in the opposite direction from before, towards the  Cathedral and Castle. We climbed even steeper streets on this side, but there are teams, tacos and tuk tuks available if the walk isn’t for you. Pauls trying to catch up on my tan from Canada, so I think that’s why he has been so keen to walk so far. On this side, streets were beginning to be decorated with Portuguese flags and tinsel in the flags colours. Music played loudly from pubs and the smell of seafood bled out into the streets from the many homes and restaurants that lined the cobblestone streets. Once at the top I found the view I had been searching for all along; a sea of terracotta roofs and off-white walls, plastered against an uninterrupted blue sky. We found the Cathedral atop the hill, but the castle sadly evaded us, and we were too tired to look anymore.

I feel Lisbon is sadly overlooked in favour of the more popular European cities such as Barcelona or Rome, and I can say that because I too overlooked it. After visiting so many in Asia, I have a really great appreciation for European cities and am trying so much more to explore the world a little closer to home before venturing out across continents again. Lisbon was the perfect starting point for this new adventure of ours because of its relaxed atmosphere, the lack of need to rush to pack sights in and the proximity of sights from one to another. Without a map and any idea as to where we were or where we were going, in a few hours Paul and I seen the majority of the sights on the to see lists. I found it to be an incredible romantic city – something I don’t think I’ve ever said about anywhere on earth. The colourful buildings and sun constantly shining makes it near impossible to not stroll around with a smile on your face. I was so pleasantly surprised by the proximity of the water to the city centre, and the rich variety of architecture and sculpture across the city.

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I feel relaxed, which is odd to say after a day of walking around in the heat. In truth I feel really lucky to have spent time here, and I can’t wait to see what the Portuguese city of Porto has to offer over the next few days.

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You can see more from Caitlin and her travels here and follow her on Instagram here.