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Global Boarders Team (front) Mod and Ed Le Froy, Directors,

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Surfing in Safe Hands

Jennie Wilkinson takes to the Cornish waters to learn how to surf with Global Boarders

I have been surfing twice before. When I say surfing, it was more a case of spending most of my time desperately clinging on to the board. I love the water and can swim, snorkel and even bodyboard quite well. Knowing that I am not exactly a natural surfer, it was with a sense of adventure (and anticipation), with my cozzy tucked under my arm and a vague sense of disbelief that I was about to spend the day in the freezing water making a fool of myself, that I met Directors Mod and Ed Le Froy, Head Coach Chris Brown and the rest of the team at Penzance surf company, Global Boarders.

Global Boarders provides luxury surfing holidays, surfing days, school, family, corporate trips and even hen and stag weekends. Guests can arrange to stay in the company's beautiful self-catering accommodation near Penzance, or it can arrange hotels, as well as restaurants and transfers for guests. The company puts its energy into making your experience with them as enjoyable, fun and relaxing as possible, and will tailor your break to your needs.

It had arranged one of its Surf Experience Days for the media, and in a small group, we set off in a convoy of two vans for our morning session at Gwithian Beach near Hayle. The beaches in this area of west Cornwall are quieter and emptier than others along the coast. We were privileged to have the use of a private beach and, driving along a track surrounded by sand dunes and protected land, it struck me, again, just how beautiful the Cornish coast is. "We like to keep our team of coaches small so that they have work all year round," Mod explained. "All our instructors are qualified to British Surfing Association standards, with years of experience and, most importantly, we share a passion for surfing and a respect for the water and the environment."

We changed into our wetsuits, gloves, rash vests and boots and were handed new boards. Later, for the afternoon session, we were given another set of wetsuits so we didn't have to change into wet gear, which we were all very grateful for. Before we hit the beach, Chris, our coach, sat us down on a sand dune to explain a little about the company's philosophies. "If you see any litter along the way, give me a shout and I will pick it up. As surfers, we feel that we have a responsibility to keep the beaches clean," he said. One of the best things about Global Boarders is that the company wants you to have fun. "People have such busy lives and surfing is an ideal way to put worries aside and concentrate on something different and challenging," Mod said, "not to mention the health benefits both physically and mentally you get from surfing."

The standard was varied in our group and I was one of the people with the least experience, but the emphasis was on having a great time, irrespective of capability, at your own pace. We all had an aim for the day; mine was to be able to stand up on the surf board, but I wasn't convinced I would. After having identified what a good set of waves looks like, listening to important safety procedures and admiring the gorgeous empty coastline stretching before us, the time had come to warm up. We had a lot of fun racing into the water and rolling around on the sand. Mod and Chris gave me a few instructions on when to try to catch a wave. The conditions in the morning were perfect and the feeling of being pushed along by the waves' energy was addictive. I am proud to say that I did stand up on the board - once in the morning and once in the afternoon!

We were taken to another beach in the afternoon, Porthmeor in St Ives, as the waves were better there. Lunch was a delicious and much-needed picnic, supplied by local company Jordan's Caf in Marazion, in a beautiful spot overlooking the sea. Chris, who has an infinite amount of patience, spent nearly all his time with me and kept lining me up for a good wave. "There you go, Jennie. Now I've lined you up for a great wave, all you need to do is stand up," he enthused, time and time again.

After a couple of hours we packed up and headed to the company's self-catering accommodation, a beautiful barn in the middle of the countryside. Tea and coffee, with a spread of sandwiches, cakes and other delicious food, made from local ingredients by the Lime Tree in Penzance, was waiting for us there. The perfect

end to an unforgettable day.

Global Boarders has achieved many accolades, not least of which was the 'Winner of Winners' category in the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2008, as well as a gold in the 'Leisure Experience of the Year' category and silver in the 'Sustainable Tourism Award'. What this company does best, from a novice's point of view, is encourage, teach and support with real enthusiasm, whatever your standard. Global Boarders wants you to become as enthusiastic as they are about the sport - and it works!

For further information on booking and costs, call 01736 711404 or visit www.globalboarders.com

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