I love the beach. Why else would I call Charleston home for the last six years? Sadly, I don't make enough time in my life to enjoy the beach. Something that has been on my bucket list since I moved to Charleston and had yet to do was learn to surf. As a kid, I remember spending my days at Cherry Grove Beach with my brother boogie boarding all day and having the time of my life, so I knew surfing would be something I would most likely enjoy. Thanks to Isla Surf School I was able to check surfing off my bucket list and perhaps find a new hobby.
My Surfing Experience
I arrived at Folly Beach on a breezy Thursday afternoon. I parked near the Tides Hotel and walked over to Isla's spot on the beach at 3 St W. on Folly. I was greeted by the team which included Peter (the owner), Tommy (the Head Instructor), and Trip (another Head Instructor). I was also joined by the Cocktail Bandits (Johnny and Neka), as well as, Jessica with the Red Sunflower.
Prior to hitting the waves we participated in a "land lesson" lead by the comical Tommy. The land lesson is designed to teach you everything you need to know about surfing, including the board, how to paddle, and lastly, how to standup on the board. After laughing and learning (and admittedly struggling a bit to learn how to stand up on the board), we were ready to put on our rash guards, strap our boards to our ankle, and hit the water.
As I mentioned earlier, it was rather breezy out with a pretty strong current. You could definitely see a storm brewing off in the distance. With the pretty aggressive current, it was important that we stuck together in groups. Jessica and I headed out with Peter.
Actually carrying the board against the wind and getting it in the water was one of the hardest parts. By the time I laid down on the board, I was exhausted. However, I was determined to catch a wave. I paddled out to Peter and waited for Peter's cue to start paddling to catch my first wave.
A few minutes later, Peter yelled "paddle" and before I could blink, I was catching my first wave. I paddled hard and aggressively, a little unsure of when to stand. I waited for Peter to yell "stand" and up I went. I really surprised myself that I was even able to stand up. My first wave didn't last long as I felt super wobbly and ended up bailing out. However, the first wave gave me the biggest adrenaline rush!
I quickly got back on the board and paddled back out to Peter. After a few more minutes, I caught another wave, and to my surprise, was able to stand and ride the wave for a good distance. All in all in, I was able to catch about five waves, and stand up and ride about three of the five. The current was aggressive and paddling wore me out. We decided to call it a day just to be safe rather than sorry. I was really amazed to hear Peter say that if you could catch a wave in those conditions, then you could easily catch a wave in calmer conditions.
Overall, I highly enjoyed my experience with Isla. Peter was super patient and chill. He was a great teacher and easily calmed any fear I had. Surfing was the most invigorating yet relaxing experience I've had in a long time. It is definitely a great way to escape and decompress from everything that is going on in life.
(Photos courtesy of Parlay Vous)
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.