Saturday, June 28, 2014

Surf, Yoga & Fun Retreat in San Sebastian!

Some of the pics displayed are courtesy of internet, and other are mine


If you're a group of friends who are looking for spend a week improving your surf and having a nice time, discovering one of the greatest cuisines in the world, this package is for you.
I'm a globetrotter and freelance photographer, living in San Sebastian for several years now. The summer and fall in San Sebastian are the coolest seasons to discover the city with a great vibe at the streets, and a nice agenda of activities to do.
Every season like this, I've been enjoying myself showing around the city to all my friends visiting, and I thought it would be awesome to do this for others and making them discover why I fell in love with this city.

Well, here's is what I prepared for you! Hope you like the package.

- 7 days of Accommodation and Breakfast included from Friday to Friday. You will be staying at our Airbnb accommodations located very centric, close to downtown and beaches all at a 10-15 minutes walking distance from anything you might want.
We dispose of double rooms with one double bed each, that's why it'd be ideal that you come by groups of two. Ask me if you want to come by your own, so we can arrange the best for you in therms of availability.

Here are the links of the apartments we have and the references of me and my friends hosting them:

- 5 days of Surfing lessons. We offer you in collaboration with Zurriola Surfeskola, 5 days of surf lessons of 1,15 hour per day with one of the best surf schools in the city. Wetsuits and boards are included, and for an extra 20€ during the week you'll have your board and wetsuit available if you want to free surf another time in the day. They have all the material by the beach, so you don't have to carry around with anything!

- 3 days of Yoga lessons. As part of your surf training and flexibility, Yoga lessons will help you to get your balance, stretch and relax after all those hours out in the water. Lessons are offered in English and Spanish in collaboration with certified Yoga teacher ,Sunny Breger, and they're specially designed for this purpose. All the material is included.

- 2 nights of Pintxo Tour. As I said San Sebastian is considered one of the best cities in the world to eat, so I would love to take you to my favorite places in the city for a drink and a pintxo/ tapas.
The tradition here at the Basque Country is to have a tour through different bars, where everyone of them has its own specialty. Every night we will be eating in 3 different pintxo bars.

- The price of the whole package is 615€ per person per week.
- To make the reservation of the package is required a 200€ deposit non refundable under the unique case we don't reach the minimum quota for the package. In that case you will refunded your total (some bank transfer fees may apply). The remainder 415€ will have to be paid one week before the date of arrival.
- Dates and available places are:

  • 1- 8 August. Limited to 6 people. Reservations must be done before July 15th. Remainder must be paid by July 25th
  • 12-19 September. Reservations must be done before August 15ht. Limited to 10-12 people. Remainder must be paid by September 5th
  • 26- 3 October. Limited to 10-12 people. Reservations must be done before August 29.  Remainder must be paid by September 19th

- You have plenty of flights available to San Sebastian airport; but also to Bilbao airport, and Biarritz, France airport from many points in Europe.
- Also train and buses lines are available directly to city downtown.
If you have any doubts about how to get here, ask me, I'll be happy to help you with this matter.

If you're interested in this package, and you need extra info on how to reserve
Send me an email to:
Add me to Skype: aleromomarquez1
Or call me: + 34 627122 148

You want to know more about me? 
Check out the links provided in my signature, and my blog of travels and adventures

Thank you, looking forward to have you here!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Ibiza and its secret coves

Around the summer of 2010 I went with my friends to Ibiza, the famous Ibiza! After all these years living in Spain, going to Ibiza wasn't in my list really. All the english-drunk-huge clubs scene wasn't very attiring for me.
Anyway, I don't remember why, I allowed myself to be convinced by my friends and ended up discovering smashing nature spots around the island.

We spent one week going to one cove to another just diving, eating and being naked here and there. Yes, there's a huge culture of nudity around the islands and even if you're not a regular on the "being nude" at the beach, it feels so liberating having a swim and lying in the sun with no more than sun protection. 

Here we are enjoying a great sunset in one cove at the north of the island. Ah, que saudade!!!

Perfect summer, enjoying a sunset with friends at Ibiza

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Inspirational Wednesdays: Thomas Castets, a mission of acceptance for gay surfers

I’ve been telling you I did a couple of nice interviews during the Surfilm festival in San Sebastian.

This movie “Out in the line up” was making a big noise at the social media, and I thought it was a good idea to interview Thomas Castets. I knew very little about him and the movie, but the few things I heard captured my attention.

I met Thomas in a very hot afternoon here in Sanse at the beginning of June. We met to take some pictures of him, and have a small talk about the movie in general.
My first impression was that he wasn’t like other surfers I interviewed. Right away he’s very proximate and open to talk about anything I’d like to know. 
His personality matches perfectly with the message of his movie and that’s very inspiring in every sense.

He seems a little bit threatened by my bulky camera at the beginning, but then he just relax, and starts to be the cool guy I thought he would be. 
All smiles he tells me what led him to found the internet site "Gay" and why this documentary is not only a surf documentary, but a mission of acceptance.

“Out in the Line Up” is the beginning of a huge change in the surf scene, and is helping a lot of gay surfers around the world to live a free full life in and out of the water. Like he says in his movie “the spirit of surfing is freedom, and every surfer should be able to feel this way”.

This is what I talked with Thomas; I hope you get inspired as I did in this short, but effective time of acquaintance. 

He doesn’t know, but he planted an inspiration seed in my head: If you want to see things change, be part of that change, proactively. If you can do it yourself, why wait for others to do it?

Merci Thomas pour l’inspiration! 

Thomas, all smiles while interviewing him in San Sebastian

- Thomas, can you tell us about the moment when you decided to create Gay What happened and what was the inspiration?
Back in 2010, I just have never heard of any other gay surfers, I thought I was the only gay surfer in the world !
When my friends started to get married and have children they had a lot less time for surfing, I ended up surfing alone most of the time, and I thought that it would be nice to know 1 other gay surfer.
I posted a blog page on the internet and suddenly I found thousands in just a couple of months! There were many gay surfers who were in the same position as I was!

- How was to fund a project like this in Australia as a foreigner? How Australians responded to that? What about France?
When I travelled around the world and met the members of the website I realized all these people shared more with me than just being gay and the love for surfing. None of them fitted in the stereotypes of being a surfer or being gay. Like me, they were stranded between 2 cultures they did not belong to. And I thought that would be interesting to make a documentary about this. When I was in Australia I met up with David who decided to travel with me, then Ian who accepted to direct the film, with Cam who accepted to edit it, etc… No one was paid and more than 60 people worked on the documentary. Everywhere we filmed we would post on the website and we would find volunteers. It was an amazing feeling to see that everyone we spoke to wanted this film being made. We raised $35,000 with a crowd funding campaign through kickstarter and also all invested our own money to pay for the post production, travelling and marketing.

Official poster of "Out in the line up". Photo: ©Gay Surfers

- What did you expect to be at the beginning and how that vision has changed during the life of the site?
I expected to meet a couple of people, but I never expected to find so many! There are more than 5000 members today and thousands of people follow us on Facebook, twitter and other social media media networks.
At first it was just a joke, now it has become my full time occupation :)

- Why a documentary was needed?
Many gay surfers I meet tell me that they were looking for a website like this for a long time and were so happy when they found it. So the documentary is important because it will reach people beyond the borders, on the internet, but also in film festivals and the press.
I think it is also important to show a different image of homosexuality than the one that is portrayed in the media. It is important to show that some of the athletes we admire so much on TV, well some of them are straight, but guess what, some of them are gay! We're just trying to make homosexuality visible so that it becomes easier to accept that some people of different.

David, part of the movie. Photo: ©Gay Surfers

- At the movie you tried to interview Dave Prodan of the ASP, but at the end you couldn’t use his interview. What was the main issue for them in your opinion?. Is the ASP changed its mind after the release of the movie?
We first started the documentary by asking people “have you ever heard of any gay surfers” ? And most people have not (until they met us)
Many people we interviewed told us “you should interview the bodies governing the sport of Surfing like the ASP and the ISA, they are the one who can help with this.”
So we reached out to them and they did not want to talk about it. I am not sure if they were scared or did not want to reveal secret stories of the past, but we could never get them on camera.
That’s when I realized that homosexuality was a real taboo in surfing, and this was part of the reason why gay people were scared of coming out, and straight people were scared to talk about it.
After months of chasing Dave Prodan, the media officer of the ASP, he finally gave us a quick interview, but 2 weeks before finishing the film he asked us to remove his interview from the documentary.
That was really disappointing, we asked him why and tried to find solutions but we never heard back from him.

- Can you tell us a memorable experience while filming?
Surfing around the world, meeting surfers, discovering new spots and cultures, the whole experience was amazing, but some of the best moments happened during the interviews themselves.
Most people who are not used to the camera are quite shy at first and then slowly relax and sometimes unveil and say a bit more than they would have wanted to. 
Craig Butler, who is six-times Irish Surf Champion, wrote us a letter at the start of the process saying that there is no way he’d ever be able to tell his parents or his surf mates that he was gay because they just wouldn’t understand. But through the course of the documentary – over about a year between when we started and when he contacted us again – he wrote to us saying that he had changed his mind and that it was important that he told
everybody who he was. If we can inspire people to be who they are like Craig, then that’s what the process is all about.

- What was the most difficult thing that you recall of putting together the whole filming project?
Money :)

Gay surfers reunion. Photo: ©Gay Surfers

- What are the next steps for this film and for gaysurfers? is still growing everyday as it reaches the most remote parts of the world.
The film just won 5 awards at film festivals around the world:
• Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival (20th Feb. 2014) – AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY
• Byron Bay International Film Festival (7th March 2014) – BEST SURF FILM AWARD
• Newport Beach Film Festival (30th April 2014) – BEST ACTION SPORTS FILM AWARD
• San Diego Surf Film Festival (9th May 2014) – AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST FILM
• Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival (13th June 2014) – RAINBOW AWARD
And it will be released on DVD and digitally on the 28th June on

- How people can get involved with this cause?
Gay surfers, straight people and anyone can join, it is a social network for open minded people who want to promote diversity and inclusion in the line-up.
And you can watch the film online or buy a DVD on

- Any other important info or thoughts you want to share with us??

David, enjoying a wave during their trips in the movie. Photo: ©Gay Surfers

Friday, June 20, 2014

Surfing pic of the day: Maderas surfing gallery to commemorate the International Surfing Day

Today is the International Surfing Day in all over the world. To commemorate such a beautiful day, I gathered a few surfing memories of my stay this winter in Nicaragua.
Surfing is sharing!
Surfing is a deep connection within ourselves, and a state of pure romance with mother nature. This is how I see it. This is what surfing taught me and I want to share this blessing with you all.

Let's celebrate surfing today and everyday being aware of the beauty that surround us, in and out of the water.

This is my most romantic surfing shots in Nicaragua. I hope your heart melt, like mine did during three months down there.. enjoy your weekend!

Felipe Avendaño, impressing the ladies in a sunset session

Felipe, black & white

Surftripping with friends is always a bless

Great light, great surfer

Norwin, local surfer

One cloudy day, surfers and a dreamy beach

Murray, the surfer dog!

Green gems

Local surfer, snapping a glassy wave 
This wave is just very "right"

Local and a vanilla sunset session

Surfing's better with buddies :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The spectacular Corniche Basque and Belharra break

I took this pic in 2012 at the summer. My family were visiting me here in the Basque Country, and while getting back from Biarritz, we passed through La Corniche, a fabulous wild and rocky spot that stretches from Hendaye to Saint Jean de Luz.

This is a protected natural site with 65 hectares, and what always fascinated me the most about this place, is the stunning plaques of rocks disposed this way due to the tectonic movements of the earth. Another plus, the Belharra spot, worth the watch in winter with big waves.
This last winter for example during the "Hercules" swell, this spot scored some of the biggest waves in Europe. Check out some of the waves here. Even Shane Dorian traveled this winter all his way from Hawaii just to surf this brake.

If you have the chance and you're around, don't miss this great view.

La Corniche basque in summer

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Inspirational Wednesdays: Kayla Rocca, Maderas Village photographer

I met Kayla with a camera in hand and a big smile in her face. Since the first time she stepped in our dorm in Maderas Village, Nicaragua; I knew she was a cool lady to be around.
She improved my time in Maderas in so many ways. Oh the times we passed together! She taught me "good English", she inspired me everyday with her photography and the way she used to love fruits and vegetables down there, made me appreciate some simple things I didn't pay attention anymore like food.

I hope this interview inspires you as much as she did with me in our time together in Nicaragua. Within this interview you can see some pics I took of her, and some other she took of me.

Thanks Kayla for all the love and the nicest pictures no one ever made me!
For more Kayla check out her just launched site:

- Kayla, how did you ended up taking photographies as a way of living, and what’s your favorite style?
My favourite style of photography is environmental portraiture. I love photographing people in their natural habitat. People are so interesting and capturing the essence of someone being themselves is something so special to me.

I ended up being a professional photographer simply through passion and hard work. I photographed things that inspired me, and through that, people saw my work and hired me.

Kayla, all stoked eating one of the sweetest pineapples we ever tasted
I took this picture in our dorm in Maderas one Saturday very early in the morning, what an angel!

- What brought you to Maderas and what was the main catalyst to go there? 
What brought me to Maderas Village is a little thing called fate. I knew I wanted to do some more travelling, but I wasn't sure when and where. My friend Laura suggested I check out Maderas Village. I went online, fell in love with what I saw and wrote one of the owners (Matt Dickinson) and emailed asking if he needed any photography services. I didn't hear much until one of my clients in Toronto gave me an e-introduction to, again, Matt Dickinson. It turns out that Maderas Collective was having a pop-up shop in Toronto and needed a photographer for the weekend. I instantly said YES. I photographed the pop-up shop and ended up hitting it off with the Maderas Family. From that moment on, I knew something special was about to happen. I flew to Nicaragua in January, planning to only stay for a couple weeks, and ended up staying for several months photographing and doing social media for the brand. It was one of the best times of my life.

- Things you absolutely miss about Nicaragua and what you won’t try again?
Ha! Great question. I miss Toña beer, Victoria Frost and sipping on fresh fruit rum cocktails while watching the sunset over Playa Maderas. I miss all my friends I met travelling, they truly became family to me.

- How was the whole experience in general and what did you learn?
Living at Maderas Village was one of the most extraordinary experiences. To be surrounded by such amazing, creative, and passionate people, in such an incredible environment was something one only dreams about. I learned a lot! I learned some Spanish, some surfing, some traditional cooking and how to live in a room with 4 other people, ha!

Having fun at the beach every day at sunset time 
And we all went for a surf trip. This old jeep was a legend
- What are you doing now and what are your next plans?
I am currently in Toronto and doing some work in Brooklyn. I am photographing a lot and in the process of launching my new website ( Life is good!

- Next travel or destination?
My friend and I are in talks of driving from Toronto to Portland and bringing our cameras with us. We want to stay in really eclectic places on the way. If anyone knows of a yurt we can sleep in, let us know!

- Anything you want to add to the interview that you seem interesting?
As Anthony Hopkins says, “My philosophy is: I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. ”

Me at a trip on a katamaran. © Kayla Rocca
Me and my surf buddy Nikki early in the morning just finishing a session. © Kayla Rocca
I wasn't possing, I promise. © Kayla Rocca
Me and Vincent caught in a lovely moment by Kayla. © Kayla Rocca

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Inspirational Wednesdays: Léa Brassy, a nomad surfer exploring the Lofoten Islands

I knew about Léa not long ago. I knew about her because I began conversations with Patagonia about sponsoring some events, and just watching at their site I found her. Then, some friends of mine wanted to interview her for their surf movie "The Old, the Young and the Sea". That's when I really started my interest towards her, so I started to follow her blog "Simple-Voyage".

I took this photo of her while she was telling me about her trip to New Zeland. We actually have a friend in common. 

At the very beginning I thought she was like other surf girls, just doing surfing travels and selling her image for media and sponsorship.
Then I discovered she was the real deal and she is not only a hell of a surfer, but a true sports woman in every sense that really embraces a simple life. This young woman has set up an inspiration path of what a real modern nomad is.

I had the opportunity to interview her a few days ago while she was presenting a short film "Catch it" by Sarah Menzies at the Surfilm Festival of San Sebastian, about the time she passed in the Lofoten Islands, Norway.

Surfing freezing conditions, that's what she likes. Photo: Vincent Colliard

Here is what I asked her. I hope you like the interview and you can get inspired to go explore out of your comfort zone my friends!

- Léa, when did you do your first solo traveling and what was the situation that pushed you to do it?
My frist solo trip was probably at age 17 when I left to study one year in the French Caribbean islands to study tropical agriculture. It was at the end of school and I wanted to combine surf and travel.
After that, my first solo trip in the van was to Portugal at age 19 just before I started nursing school. Then I went for a longer solo trip in New Zealand. I’ve always felt like solo traveling was opening me to more intense and genuine experiences with locals that traveling with friends but that’s until you find the right person to travel with!

- How is to be a surf girl and a nomad, traveling by your own? Have you had some difficulties yet, or any extraordinary experience you want to tell us?
It is awesome. People are curious of you and welcome you very easily. Especially women. It’s lovely. I’ve never been in trouble being a girl on the road. I for sure had to pay attention several times but I’ve always preferred safety. I mean the only difference with a man traveling solo is human behavior and I’ve always been careful not to be in place I could not have help if I needed to.
And unlike any expectations, I’ve made amazing friendship with locals, men or women, that might not have happened the same way if I was not a girl by herself.

During her Greenland-Iceland journey. Photo: Laurent Masurel

- Léa, you’re very much a minimalist and the opposite of “consumerism”. Did your parents raised you like this or was a personal choice that took you through a process? Can you tell us about this?
I was raised in a minimalist way, that is for sure! But It was not any choice of my parents or any lack of money or anything like that. The part of France I am from is a post-war backcountry area where it seams to be written in the genes that everything should be built strong and last. Before the war, it was a poor area but after the war, it was even harder and I do believe it builds the minds for generations to come. I believe even though I’ve never suffer of any lack of anything, I’ve been transmitted to respect what I have and save and think many times before buying something new. That’s why my girlfriends hate shopping with me and why my mechanic bills add up!

- You were talking in the movie about how surfing was so hard physically in Lofoten Islands due to the extreme conditions. Do you pursued an special training before going to live there?
Yes it was pretty demanding and No I have not been training for that, not more than my usual routine. But it could help.

- What was your best experience so far living in Norway?
The Northern Lights. It’s like nothing else, probably the most fantasy natural manifestation I’ve witness my entire life of travels.

Surfing the Basque Country. Photo: Stefan Leitner

- How did you met Sarah Menzies and what appealed you most of this project?
I randomly met Sarah on the beach up there. She was with a common girlfriend. It was a little lonely at times up there and I was so happy to see a young lady doing stuff, good stuff and smiling that much. Her project did touch me deeply since she was so interested In my lifestyle and it gave me lots of confidence to talk about it. She brought an amazing energy along and I loved it.

- What are the next projects to come?
I’ve just been back from Iceland were I was with my boyfriend Vincent Colliard on a self-supported surf and ski trip. I’m gonna work on a short film about it. Hopefully in San Sebastian next year!

If you want to start to follow Léa's adventures, here's a couple of interesting links about her:

Léa and Zurriola beach in the background

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cosmic Children 2014. Soul Surfing in its pure state

In no more than 3 days, we're gonna celebrate the 9th edition of the funniest surf festival of all summer in the north coast of Spain. The 14th and 15th June, the Cosmic Children Festival in Cantabria will reunite people from all over the coast to celebrate a festival based in the very roots of the surfing culture.

Cosmic Children 2014. 9th edition

Every year the festival has an excellent program for all ages, and the special guests will be revealed at the perfect time.
Among the program to be highlighted, the artistic and environmental activities, and of course the classic encounter between the surf pioneers, the pros and the surf lovers; all of them accompanied by their families. Coz after all this event it is made and for surfing families.

Rasta, invitee of a past edition having a great time in Cantabria

Basque legend Kepa Acero, and his team
The program has no big variation, but one; the intention of concentrate the best national shapers and some other international shapers invited. They will be the main protagonists of diverse activities and tests, still to be revealed. The organization expect to have the presence of shapers from Asturias, Galicia, Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, Cataluña, Canarias and Cantabria. At the same time shapers from France, Italy, England and California are confirming their assistance.

One of the funniest tests, is with no doubt the Tag team "Pura Vida", where last year rewarded the best psychedelic outfit, or the most classic one of the 60's-70's.

One of the most psychedelic teams ready to rock
If you're somehow around the area, don't miss this great chance to have a great time! They have extra activities like yoga, art expositions of surfboards, hawaian dancers, concerts, etc.

If you want to know more about the festival and its program go to their site here:

All the pictures are courtesy of Cosmic Children festival.

Ukulele concert at the beach. Is all about good vibes! 
The little ones having a great time too!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday quote for an open soul

In our Monday quote, I have this pic of Lorenzo I took in Maderas early this year.Let's try to get away from our daily distractions and try to focus in what matters most to stay healthy in our bodies and spirit. Happy Monday and have a good start of the week!

Lorenzo posing for a session in Nicaragua

Friday, June 6, 2014

Surfing pic of the day: Gabriel Medina sequence, Hossegor

Last year in September I took these pics of Gabriel Medina while competing at the Quiksilver Pro in Hossegor. So amazing to see this guy just flying all over that people.
Hope this year will give me killer maneuvers for great shots.

Enjoy your Friday!!

Gabriel Medina sequence 1

Gabriel Medina sequence 2

Gabriel Medina sequence 3

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Elena and the waves of Cantabria

For today's TBT pic I choose a picture I took of my very good friend Elena back in 2010 when we were doing a surf trip through Cantabria. We somehow ended up in this great beach called Langre, and literally had one of the greatest sessions of that summer there with great company.

Elena, misty morning in Langre, Cantabria

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Surfing pic of the day: Reflections in Salinas

I just love this after surf pic I took in Salinas, Asturias last year, I hope you'll like it too!
Much waves to you my friends!

Surfer and reflection. Salinas, Asturias

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Zarautz, sprays all around!

Summer has started officially in this part of the world, all beaches around are more than ready to receive all the frenetic tourists coming for some little sun even though for us is not that warm to use a bikini.
With that in mind it means also that big swells are officially over and it's time for small little sessions.

For finishing that season, here you have a recap I did last year of Zarautz and some big waves last December. Gonna miss those views but, also I can't wait to wear my summer wetsuit, yewwww!!

Have a nice day, and happy summer!