Former 400-metre champion Roger Black, his friends and family gather at the Bay each year.
I’ve many great memories of Watergate Bay Hotel, but perhaps my favourite is of the first time my twin sons, George and Max, went bodysurfing and loved it.
We’ve been coming to Watergate Bay with several other families – good friends of ours – once a year for the past six years. The weekend away is part of our life and what we do as a group. Each year, there are probably between 60-80 of us in total.
The boys had tried bodysurfing before, but it was a couple of years ago, when they were about eight, that they really got it. Seeing them among friends, having fun in the water was pretty special.
We tend to come in November when there’s enough room for us all. The weather’s not an issue – you don’t need to surf in the sunshine. We make the journey on a Friday, each family driving down and arriving at different times. I head straight for the pool and for the rest of the weekend spend a lot of time there throwing kids in the air. It’s fantastic fun.
The children love playing in the Kids’ Zone – not having their parents around all the time while being in a safe environment. That’s what I love about Watergate Bay: you can go down as a family and just stay at the hotel. It’s about eating, drinking and just being with friends. You have the amazing beach. You have everything you need. There are lots of areas to relax. You’ve got the main bar upstairs and the ocean room beneath it, overlooking the beach – I love that space. Families get a real sense of freedom and relaxation. The hotel caters for all ages and the teenagers in our group are still keen to keep coming back. They don’t want to miss it.
Take to the waves
Outside, we all spend hours on the beach. My wife, Julia, just loves being in the sea with the boys. The great thing about bodysurfing is that everyone can do it. You catch a wave and, once you do, you’ve just got to go back for more. Another great memory is of the four of us catching the same wave and riding it in together – pure excitement!
We hire wetsuits and boards from The Extreme Academy. They always have enough. We often think maybe we should get our own, but we never do. There’s no point. The guys there make it easy for you – they’re patient, enthusiastic and always accommodating.
As for the running, it’s good at Watergate Bay. You can get up on the cliffs for a challenging few miles. But I tend to stick to walking when I’m there. We go out every morning to walk on the beach. It’s about being social with the people I care about. As life goes by, I know more and more that what’s important is creating memories and spending quality time with friends and family. Watergate Bay gives us that year after year.