For as long as I can remember I've been someone who loves learning new skills; once my mind is set on something it's a matter of how and when not if. Whilst this desire to thrive sadly hasn't yet amounted to being able to speak seven languages or build myself a successful business empire it has certainly aided and elevated my adventurous spirit!

Growing up we had access to basic sports such as running or athletics in school but the more specialised level of sporting was only available to those with the expendable cash to try it, meaning for most of us, sports that involve certain equipment or climates are set aside for us to try for the first time as adults.

I learned to ski at the age of 30, it was both thrilling and nerve racking to take on a new hobby with an anxiety-fueled thought process of a 'grown' woman but it was one of the most satisfying achievements when I eventually managed to make my way down the colour coded slopes. Now skiing is something I can tackle solo, my next sporting 'quest' was to learn to surf. Just last week I had my very first lesson!

After extensive research on what was the best option to learn as a total novice I decided to book in for an intensive surf camp in the affluent area of Cascais, Portugal. Surfing throughout the country is famously popular year-round but the small fishing village of Cascais and it's idyllic looking beaches naturally caught my eye. I booked in with the reputable company 'Surf Cascais' on a 4 day intensive surf and stay package which would amount to 12 hours worth of lessons.

Turns out that was the perfect amount of time to get me up. I was a natural when it came to surfing and whilst no two sessions were the same it was an incredible few days.

There's a physical element to surfing that is unlike any other sport, it goes without saying you need to be a strong swimmer (getting out to the waves with your board is tougher than the surf itself) but there's also the element of getting your heavy beginners board to and from the water each time, I'm a sucker for an intense workout but these seemingly chilled surfers have us all fooled over the level of strength and exertion that goes into every single session!

Surfing, like many sports, is a skill that must be nurtured and developed so there's definitely a downside to learning late on in life. To truly master it you need to be surfing regularly and being based in London makes that difficult for me but I'll be keeping it up when I can!

What struck me most profoundly about surfing however was the effect it had on my mind. Learning something with our bodies as an adult has a mental power that we unknowingly take for granted when young. It's an especially perfect sport to learn if you are someone who is used to being an overachiever as no matter how well you 'master' the board, how well you pick up the skills or perfect the steps required to surf, you are always under the control of the ocean itself. Even professional surfers can struggle when the waves aren't playing ball and every single lap of water is a totally fresh start.

What surfing taught me was a lesson no other sport has, I can enjoy trying new things without expectations of excelling. I loved every moment of being alone with my board and for the first time in my life, rather than counting my failures I was counting my blessings.

The ocean was in control, not me. It's a feeling I'm desperate to get back as soon as possible! 

Written by Sabrina Chakici, TV Host & Travel Writer. Follow her travels at

MORE FROM TRAVEL: Why you need to book your post-lockdown holiday alone