Mellowmove turns 20! If that's not a reason to celebrate? But maybe also time to learn a little about the history of the surf camp and what has happened in the last 20 years.
20 years - the key points:
A visit to a good friend who works as a surf instructor, a ransacked camper and an interrupted surf road trip lead us to meet surf pioneer Uli. He is the founder of one of the oldest German surf camps and lives at the campsite next to us. A few surf sessions and social evenings later, we decide to make common cause.
Bonjour la France
We put our idea from last summer into practice and set up our tent city for the first time in June 2003 at the Camping Municipal de la Plage in Mimizan in the south of France. There is a kitchen tent, community area, materials storage and room for 14 guests. This cozy surf camp(ing) setup should accompany us for a few summers.
Winter Surf Special
The camp of our buddy and Canary Islands pioneer Sigi on Fuerteventura has always been our winter destination. We know by now that not only us the waiting time until the next summer is too long, and therefore we start to offer surf lessons and surf guiding on Fuerteventura for a few weeks in winter.
Austrian Surfing Instructors
Mellowmove and Austrian Surfing have always had a very good relationship. Add to that the right location to hold it in France, and the surf instructor training courses of the Austrian Surfing Association were born. With 3 participants, the history of Austrian Surfing courses begins in 2007 and continues to develop today, already taking place in France, Portugal and the Canary Islands.
We say goodbye to France, grateful for the wonderful summers in Mimizan, and head south. Fate has handed us a house by the sea in Portugal. Surprising, but what we had always dreamed of. In May we start with a short and intensive renovation of our “home by the sea” and welcome our first excited guests in June. In October, when the season ends, we know: we have come to stay!
Ericeira – World Surfing Reserve
Ericeira was still more of a fishing town than a surfing stronghold when we arrived. This was about to change, and the world was about to learn about the region’s incredible waves: Ericeira is named Europe’s only “World Surfing Reserve”. The quality and density of world-class surf spots is decisive for the award of this title, which can be understood as a nature reserve of the coast and waves.
Austrian Surfing Champs
The cooperation with Austrian Surfing continues and after many years of break, Austrian Surfing Championships are to be held again. Where, if not in the World Surfing Reserve Ericeira? Co-organized by Mellowmove and in close cooperation with the Ericeira Surf Club, the first Austrian Championships in Portugal will take place on 2 days in September. A huge swell and highly motivated participants make it a great event that will become an annual classic from now on.
The (Mellow) Move
We find a building that can not be closer to the sea and fits our idea of a premium surf camp even better than the current house. At least with a lot of imagination to imagine the result of a complex project with renovation and addition. We have this fantasy, of course, and so in June 2017, after a hard 6 months of total renovation, we move into our new camp house. Sea view from every room included!
After moving into the current “main house”, the project is far from complete. Our plan is to create a pool area on the site: Two small buildings, the “pool houses”, and a swimming pool in the middle. Almost 2 years after the renovation, we joyfully announce the completion of the entire project. The main house, the two pool houses with double rooms, an apartment and a studio as well as our new saltwater pool are now located on almost 1800m2.
The Covid Dilemma
In March 2020, the world suddenly seems to be a different place. Covid has everything firmly under control! Two of our team members nearly get stranded in the Indonesian jungle, and our newly expanded camp remains closed. For how long, no one knows. Just as little how it will continue. We create a coupon campaign to keep our heads above water and get great support from many dear regulars. From the end of June, the measures will be relaxed to such an extent that it will be possible to cautiously think about traveling again. With the guests who dare to take a plane, we spend a short but beautiful season. We think “the worst must be over now” and look to the future in a positive frame of mind.
20 Years Anniversary
The Covid dilemma now seems to be finally over, and to our delight this liberating feeling coincides with the year of our 20th anniversary: “When you are having a good time – time just flies”. The last 20 years could hardly be better described. And it also explains why it feels much shorter to us. For most of our guests, too, the time in camp passes much too quickly. A sign that they are having a good time and at the same time an invitation to come back. In any case, we are looking forward to the next 20 – may they pass as quickly as the ones before.
The Mellow Tales:
Episode 1 - The very beginning
It is the early summer of 2003. The sun burns through the sparse branches of the southern French pine forests and animates the cicadas to chirp even louder. A few hundred meters away, the Atlantic Ocean crashes against the longest continuous beach in Europe. In between lies only the steep dune that blocks our clear view of the sea...
In our corner of the Camping Municipal de la Plage, we actually manage to drown out the summer soundtrack of cicadas with the clatter of tent poles and the banging of a hammer incessantly driving nails into wooden pallets. In between, the sweat is wiped from the reddened forehead and speculated about when the best time would be to pause the camp setup and insert a cooling surf session.
It is the birth of Mellowmove and would probably be the beginning of the book about its history, if one were ever written.
First flyer of Mellowmove from 2003
It’s been an incredible 20 years since we started pulling up a small tent city at the local campground in early June. Our little Gaulish village of tents of various sizes and a few old buses has everything you need here and more. Much more! The air we breathe smells not only of salt water and sunscreen. Above all, it smells of adventure, freedom, friendship and lots of love! We wake up with these vibes in the morning, and we go to sleep with them at night. In between are wonderful days and evenings spent here with our guests.
Shortly after our attempt to spontaneously set up a surf camp and get it up and running, we already realized that it made us want to do more. Probably for this very reason, it did not remain a one-time thing, but was to repeat itself from now on every summer for several weeks. Every year we made a pilgrimage in our hippie buses to the French Atlantic and set up our tent city there. Summer after summer, new guests joined. “Old” ones came back and became friends….
To be continued...
Watch out for Episode 2
A bowed thank you at this point to the obstetricians, the people who have contributed to Mellowmove seeing the light of day: Uli Scherb, Stefan Kerschbaumer, Gerda Lechner, Martina & Johannes Kerschbaumer, Christoph Haiderer, Christoph Schipp and Billy, Lisi & Arthur.