This summer we visited the Surfvillage in Zarautz. It is a surf resort where surfers from all over the world meet! The Surfvillage is situated on the hill with an overwhelming look at the beach and city of Zarautz.
The city is just a 20 minutes drive away from beautiful San Sebastian in the Basque Country which is really really nice and worth a visit.
After having a great week there we talked with Eerik, the camp manager, about the camp and its vision.
What is the idea of the surfcamp?
The idea of the surf camp is to bring people together from different international backgrounds. So, we have a lot of German tourists, we have a lot of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Belgians – of course since it’s a Belgian company – and Dutch people who are really interested in looking into surfing and having a more active take on holidays. We are looking to be part of this segment and we want to be seen as an active holiday camp. Our holiday packages are meant for those people who want an international setting and learn surfing and all the activities that involves being in this beautiful place that is called Zarautz. That’s the concept, that it’s international and it’s a surf village for people who love surfing and who are interested in trying out surf camps. Everybody is welcome.
What makes the surfcamp different to other camps in Europe?
When we look at surf camps in general, like if you think about it usually people think of »yeah, the surf guys who live in a van and travel the world« and I think it’s really cool and interesting for some people, but others maybe want to go camping, but the feeling of camping is lost when you realize that you can not sleep in a nice bed anymore for example. But that’s what we want to do, and that is why we have the Tipi deluxe and Tipi dorms, which are really meant for the luxury seekers with a king size bed in the Tipi Deluxe and the Tipi Dorm for guests who want to sleep with four friends and each have their own bed, and then we have our tents. We put a lot of effort on making all our tents comfortable and as spacy as possible. With every package comes included the breakfast and the surf equipment, free for use for all our guests. You can also book dinners or choose to use our equipment to cook your own food if you want. That’s something we do differently to normal surf camps. I mean of course they maybe also have the possibility for making your own food, but the Tipi’s are our pride of the camp. The luxury experience is really important for us. And if you look at our bar – we put a lot of effort into it to make it as appealing as possible.
What can we expect when we are guests of the Zarautz Surfvillage?
Very friendly, very social people (as you have probably noticed when you came here). Everybody who works here is working with us for years and we make sure that they are ready to put 100 percent of effort on every will of the guest. We want to make an unforgettable week for everybody who comes here. So, when they go home they’re like »ah, I want to go back to Zarautz again«. We have our surf lessons and we want to make unforgettable memories for everyone. Things to tell your friends about when you’re back home about the personal experiences at the camp – hopefully in a good way. (all laughing)
How many guests can come?
Currently the maximum capacity is around 50 people. Of course in case of suddenly a boom of guests we can add a few more tents. But right now we are 40 people. The amount of guests varies mostly between 25 and 35 guests. So it’s nice and small and very cosy.
Since when does the camp exist?
It’s the first year of this camp. The concept was created by another company that used to do their own camps here, but that was only for Belgian people. But this year with the change of the requirements in Zarautz and the general atmosphere because of younger tourists we wanted to make sure that everybody is plus 18. That’s why we started this whole concept. Since only 18 year old people in Belgium are limited, we thought why not open it up for international guests as well. We we’re sure there is definitely interest to it.
What is the daily routine ?
The guests wake up in the morning hopefully between 9 and 11 am when we have our breakfast buffet waiting. We serve everything and we try to take it to consideration everybody’s dietary needs, so that somebody for example lactose intolerant or vegetarian, we try to make sure that there is something for everyone. Then people usually take their stuff for the day and we go to the beach to our spot. Some people decide to take surfing lessons with our surfing teacher in the morning. And then we all hang out at the beach. Some of the monitors come up to the camp to prepare the food for those guest who book the dinner. And in the evenings we hang out, we talk to each other, we organise activities and games, just to make the guests like a holiday with friends but in a different place and with new people.
Eerik, what is your job in the camp?
Hi, I’m Eerik. I work here (together with) Rosie, the girl who leads to camp. I’m here to ensure that the camp runs smooth and when the guests have any questions or problems I’m here to solve them as well as doing some tasks around the camp. And of course some smaller tasks like communicating with the central office in Belgium and also doing some research to find out what kind of guests we have and how to reach them for the following years and things like that.
And personally what do you like most in this Surfvillage?
On this camp I like that everybody is plus 18. I’m really happy about it. I had some good times with the junior camps also, but It’s nice that I don’t have to think about if we gonna have problems with the local authorities. And it’s also nice because I’ve noticed that the older the guests are, the more they talk with each other and we can do a lot of activities together and organize things all in a group instead of small groups around. So I really love that. And also the feel of the camp, that friendly and international vibe that we want to give out to the guests.
It’s good that it’s not such a big group, isn’t it? So everybody get’s to know each other.
Exactly. When you have hundred people, you very unlikely will remember all the names, but here everybody becomes friends. A lot of the times when we had smaller groups in my previous years those groups became very good friends even after they left the camps. Of course me too. I have a lot of friends that I met here and I still meet when I’m back in Belgium.
Thank you very much for your time, Eerik. Finally do you have something to say, which is important for you to say?
Everybody is welcome. Here we are in Zarautz from now, the end of June until the beginning of October. Last week is the last week of September and then we’re finished.
If there are any people who really want to feel how luxury can be combined with surfing, this is the place and we’ll be waiting for you. (all laughing)
Personally we can recommend the camp especially for people who want to try out surfing, enjoy the community and the city of Zarautz and San Sebastian. The campground and its Tipis are really deluxe and the crew is awesome. Zarautz beach and its waves are nice for beginners and good to have fun in the water.
Website Zarautz Surfvillage
Pictures: ©Katrin Behrens