Capital of a country without a sea or an ocean, Budapest can nevertheless offer tuition in that most maritime of sports – surfing. Revered lido Palatinus on Margaret Island has recently revived the Pala Surf Camp, offering instruction to complete beginners over three days. Language barriers shouldn’t be a problem – not compared with staying afloat. How did the Beach Boys make it look so easy? We visit the Palatinus to find out.
The day starts early at Palatinus on Margaret Island, where the Pala Surf Camp has been revived this summer. The Palatinus lido was built around an iconic wave pool in the 1930s, and was recently renovated. Here, crowds gather from mid-morning. Before they arrive, you get time to surf.
After donning your wetsuit, before you attack the waves, you have to do a few mandatory stretching exercises in a circle. You then become acquainted with your surfboard – while the pros zip around, after a few falls, you gradually find your balance and the right technique.
The beginner’s course runs for three days, from Tuesday to Thursday, and by the end you should be able to stand on the board and move to the rhythm of the waves. Practising, getting used to the board and the power of the water, and meeting like-minded people – all in all, this is a great summer activity. Even in such a controlled, concrete environment, it is quite surprising to feel the power of the waves – making you wonder what it would be like on the open water.
Currently all courses for August are booked but organisers suggest that there may still be places available if you put your name on the waiting list. They provide wetsuits and boards – you provide the energy. Tuition is given in Hungarian but basic moves can be explained in English – just follow what the teacher does. And set your alarm clock early, as lessons start at 6.30am.
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District III, Margaret Island, Soó Rezső sétány 1
Usual working hours: Daily 8am-8pm
Surf courses: Tue-Thur 6.30am-8.30am