Holiday Retreats

Hélène van den Broek

I am Hélène and this is my dog Chacho. I left Holland, to start a new life on La Palma.

I love to be outdoor and coach 50+ active people especially woman. The coaching will be 1:1 and based on the activity they personally like.

For example stargazing on the Mountain, cycling, walking, visit special places, making music with locals etc.


Surfing Holidays

Ori Surf El Medano

Tenerife Surfing Holiday

Private Surfing for Beginners in Tenerife

Personalized Surf lessons no matter age, gender, size or fitness. Get your private surf lesson with tips and a lot of fun. Surfing equipment included. Minimum 2 participants. Price 65€ per person.

Surfing with Boat Stay

Tenerife Surfing Holiday

Join us in Tenerife for your liveaboard boat holiday. We will liase with your recommended surfing instructors  to ensure your holiday meets your expectations, whether that’s surfing for the whole group, a more relaxed pace with Pitch n Putt for the family or maybe a mix and match holiday with diving, golfing, fishing, riding, walking – it’s all down to you with affordable options living aboard our private yacht.

Sample Prices with 7 day boat stay


Learn to Swim

Learn to Swim – whatever your age

As many people learn when they make the decision to learn to swim, almost all of the lessons available cater for children.

If you are lucky, you will find a learn-to-swim program at your local pool but it’s likely you will have to wait a long time for a place and in our experience it is unlikely you will have learned to swim a year after starting, that’s if you manage to learn at all!  Read what we have to say about public pools and learn-to-swim classes under our private lessons page.

Many people would like to learn to swim but fear they are the only ones with the sort of problems they have.  Frankly men are the worst for this (sorry for being sexist).  Trust me, you’re far from being alone and not learning to swim because you don’t want to feel a fool while you are learning or because you think you are too old is a real shame and so unnecessary.

We have taught so many people to swim that started out being embarrassed, fearful or simply disbelieving that we almost know what you are going to say when you walk through the door.  Just trust us when we say that whatever is going through your mind, others have gone before you thinking exactly the same and they DID learn to swim.

If you’ve made the decision to learn to swim, or even if you are simply just thinking about it, drop us a line and tells your fears or concerns, or what you would like to achieve, and let us tell you how we can help you learn to swim.

Do you feel that only children can learn to swim?  Do the adult swimming lessons at your local pool leave you cold?  Maybe you been there – done that – still can’t swim.  Maybe you can’t even pluck up the courage to think about it?

Let me tell you my story.

Above is me behind the camera, so sad watching hubby swim when I’m too frightened to even go close.  At 45 I got ME (chronic fatigue syndrome).  At 48, having been so terrified of water all my life – I wouldn’t use the shower in case water went in my face – I decided I was fed up of being a victim and I would learn to swim.

Below is me, age 54, in Egypt the day I qualified as an Open Water Scuba diver.  In between I learned to swim, qualified as an instructor, took a life guarding qualification, taught many many people to get over their own phobias and learn to swim, and finally I learn to dive.

I tried to learn to swim at my local pool and frankly was horrified.  For almost 3 months I went and steadfastly refused to put my face in the water or take my feet off the bottom.  I scoured the net looking for ‘learn to swim’ books that would teach me how to swim without putting my face in the water.  Needless to say – there aren’t any.  It was a long time before I made any progress during which time I saw the vast majority of adult swimmers give up along the way.  Eventually I met Irene who shared my fears and phobias and also had decided to learn (she’s even older than me <grin>).  Together we found TI swimming which teaches balance in the water and altogether different techniques to ASA swimming.

Long story short, Irene and I qualified as ASA instructors then took the best of all we had learned to put together our own ‘Learn to Swim’ methods. These we adapt for each and every student to suit their needs and swimming phobias.  We also address the fact that adult swimming/learning is or should be, very different to the way children learn to swim and also that every adult learns in a different way and has different challenges in life.

Finally, this is me below, diving in the Red Sea.  Take heart – you CAN learn to swim as an adult.

Residential Swimming Lessons

Our private pool is small and inviting and everyone that comes to us for residential swimming lessons tells us they wish they hadn’t wasted so much time, in some cases many years, trying to learn to swim the hard way!

Being residential means that once you have arrived, unpacked and settled in, you can concentrate totally on the task ahead, learning to swim, without worrying about travelling back and forth or forgetting what you learned last lesson because there has been a week or more in between.

When we say residential we mean just that.  We don’t put you up in a local B&B as many do, expecting you to drive back and forth.  Nor do we expect you to share with anyone unless you bring your partner.  The residential accommodation is private, self contained and next to the private pool.

You can cook for yourself or just chill with a glass of wine and order a takeaway, maybe visit the local pub – whatever you style, you will never regret taking residential swimming lessons with us.

Swimming With Dolphins

Depressed? Swim with dolphins

swimming holiday with dolphins

Taking a dip with dolphins can be a tremendous therapy for people with depression according to a study published on Saturday in the weekly British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Nature lovers – biophiles to give them their scientific name – have long argued that interaction with animals can soothe a troubled mind but this claim has always been anecdotal lacking the scientific data to back it up.

Seeking to find out more psychiatrists Christian Antonioli and Michael Reveley at Britain’s University of Leicester recruited 30 people in the United States and Honduras who had been diagnosed with mild or moderate depression.

The severity of their symptoms was calculated according to established yardsticks for mental health the Hamilton and Beck scales which are based on interviews and questionnaires with the patient.

No antidepressants

The volunteers were required to stop taking any antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy for four weeks.

Half of the group was then randomly selected to play snorkel and take care of dolphins each day at an institute for marine sciences in Honduras.

The other half was assigned to a program of outdoor activities also at the institute that included swimming and snorkelling at a coral reef but without the dolphins.

Two weeks later both groups had improved but especially so among patients who had been swimming with the dolphins.

Measurable symptoms of depression in the dolphin group had fallen by half and by two-thirds according to the two scales – twice as much as in the non-dolphin group.

In addition a self-rating measurement of anxiety symptoms the Zung scale found a fall of more than 20% among the dolphin group compared with a decline of 11% among the non-dolphin groups.

“To the best of our knowledge this is the first randomised single blind controlled trial of animal-facilitated therapy with dolphins ” say Antonioli and Reveley.

“The effects exerted by the animals were significantly greater than those of just the natural setting. The echolocation system the aesthetic value and the emotions raised by the interaction with dolphins may explain the mammals’ healing properties.”

Swim with the Dolphins

Wild and Free Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins – what you need to know

Learn to Swim Award


Zoe Bartlett is making a splash after earning a top award to mark her outstanding achievement in the water.

The seven year old from Rochester, had a major fear of water but this has not stopped her learning to swim.

Now her courage and perseverance have paid off and she is riding on the crest of a wave after she was presented with a Southern Water Learn to Swim Achiever of the Year award.

The successful youngster was one of fifty winners from amongst the 35,000 children taking part across the region. The awards are given to children who have shown great courage in overcoming particular difficulties or for their exceptional performance.

Zoe’s swimming instructor at Strood Sports Centre, Maureen Welsh said: “Zoe was extremely frightened of the water and was terrified of getting her face wet. She would not join in with the rest of the class, but fortunately she never gave up. With great courage and perseverance she has now overcome her fears and can swim and go under water. She is a very worthy winner of the award.”

Zoe was treated to a visit by the Learn to Swim scheme mascot Ollie the Otter, who dropped in to help her celebrate her success.

Nigel Smetham, Southern Water’s Water Manager presented the youngster with a bag of goodies, which included a sports watch, at a special ceremony at Maidstone Leisure Centre.

Mr Smetham said: “This is a tremendous occasion for these children. They have proved themselves in many different ways and made enormous achievements on the Learn to Swim scheme.

To win these awards is extremely significant because the youngsters have been selected from 35,000 children who were taught on the scheme last year.

We are pleased to be able to contribute to the community by helping children learn a very valuable life skill, as well as enabling them to reach their fullest potential.”

The scheme, now in its tenth year, teaches children from 4-12 year-olds and is sponsored by Southern Water. It is run in consultation with the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).



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Babies and Swimming Pools

Learn to Swim at Swimming Lessons 4All


Babies and Swimming Pools      Children’s swimming pools    Swimming lessons for babies

The following information will help parents make an informed choice about taking their baby to a swimming pool

Babies and Swimming Pools

Do babies need their immunisations before swimming? No. The advice to wait until  baby has had some or all of their immunisations before taking them to the pool, goes back to the days when polio was much more common and we were worried about its spread in swimming pools. This is no longer a concern.

Picture Courtesy of

The vaccines given to young babies protect against:

  • Diphtheria, Pertussis, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) and Men C (Meningococcal group C). These organisms are in the air. Swimming pools do not carry a greater risk of infection
  • Tetanus. Tiny spores from this organism exist in the soil and manure, NOT swimming pool water
  • Polio. It is extremely unlikely that water will be the means by which this infection gets passed on. It is more likely to be from hands soiled by stools containing the organism. It does get excreted in the stools of babies who have recently had the vaccine but this will not be a threat to others (including babies who have not had the vaccine). The important thing is to take care when using shared facilities to change a nappy and make sure to dispose of soiled nappies carefully.

The above infections are not contracted in the chlorinated water environment of a well-run swimming pool.

What about feeding? You should wait one hour after your babies feed before swimming.


Should baby swim if they are ill? NO! The temperature of the pool, changing rooms and outside are really important, as a baby cannot control their body temperature. Pool water should be at least 30oC. A child who is ill should not be exposed to big swings in temperatures. Take note of the following:

  • If your baby has suffered a tummy bug, it is important to wait two days after the first solid movement before going swimming
  • Babies with ear infections should not swim
  • Don’t go swimming with your baby if they have an infectious disease. This includes diarrhoea and a heavy cold


What should my baby wear in the pool? It is more hygienic to put your baby in a swim nappy such as kooshies or aquanappy. It is somewhat essential. It is important remember that stomach and bowel upsets can result if a pool is heavily contaminated with faeces. The following advice should be followed;

  • Avoid changing the nappy by the side of the pool
  • Dress toddlers in close-fitting swimsuits to better contain faeces
  • Occasionally check in their bathers for soiling
  • Reduce the risk of accidents by taking children for frequent trips to the toilet
  • Don’t rinse hands in the pool water after a trip to the toilet or after changing a child’s nappy. Use warm water and soap.


Are the chemicals in the water harmful to my baby? A baby’s skin is more delicate than an adult’s and the chemicals used to sterilise swimming pool water can irritate the skin and eyes of some babies. Your health visitor will be able to advise you on skin care products.

Where can I get further information about protection for babies?

  • Health Visitor or GP


Backstroke Ban

Swimming pool bans backstroke

A local council has banned it’s swimmers from doing backstroke in the pool as it fears they could injure themselves if they collide. Swimmers at the Daisyfield pool in Blackburn  have been told they can do only forward strokes during busy periods when the pool is divided into lanes, officials said. “This is not about threats of legal action,” said Kate Hollern, of Blackburn and Darwen Council responsible for culture, leisure and sport. “We are simply limiting the times when people can swim backstroke to prevent dangerous collisions. “We would expect that people would be concerned for their own safety as well as that of others so we are being proactive in introducing these rules.” She said the new rules complied with guidelines issued by the national Institute of Sport and Recreation Management, and were “designed be inclusive to ensure that all people can use our facilities in a safe way”.    


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Private Swimming Lessons

Why are private swimming lessons better than public pool lessons?

Let’s just look at the cost element to begin with.  You pay £4 per lesson and get 7 lessons per half term. That’s 42 swimming lessons per year costing £126.  You probably spend the same amount again practicing in between plus the cost of getting to and from the pool every week.  So you’ve spent maybe close on £200.  Can you swim a length at the end of that year?  Not one person at our local swimming pool moved up to the intermediate class in less a years lessons.  In the intermediate class the deep end was an terrifying experience with the instructor standing poolside with a long pole for those who got into difficulty which many did.

Is being in a public pool with other people and your instructor on the poolside a good way to learn?  What do you think?

Suppose you paid that amount for private lessons, learning to swim in the comfort of a private pool with your instructor in the water with you?  What would you achieve?  For most people this would get you almost there.  For some, these supportive individually tailored private swimming lessons will be all that’s needed, if you are really water phobic, then you will obviously want more support but you will be amazed at what you can achieve in a small private pool with the right instructor.

Contrast the 2 years at your local swimming pool taking lessons in a class against booking your private lessons today and knowing you can go on your next holiday and be confident in the pool or the sea.

But couldn’t I just have a private swimming lesson at my local pool?

A private lesson at your local pool is always an option but having been there ourselves and spoken to many many people who have found this wasn’t the answer for them, we feel confident in saying this is a somewhat pointless exercise.  You will simply get exactly the same for your private lesson as you did for a lesson shared with other people and it will cost you about 4 times the price for half the time.  Your swimming instructor will still be poolside shouting her instructions to you and usually your so-called ‘private swimming lesson’ will be in a pool full of other people.  Just because you have the instructions undivided attention for half an hour, in our opinion doesn’t justify calling it a ‘private lesson’.  What you gain from being the only student, you can lose by being fearful of other swimmers splashing and making noise during your ‘private swimming lesson’.  Not so private after all?

What proportion of adults fail to learn to swim because they don’t have private lessons?

Irene and Gay speak from personal experience.  We continued to go to our local pool for ‘lessons’ for about 3 years after we learned to swim simply because we enjoyed swimming.  Most of our skills came from taking swimming courses with TI and studying other methods such as Shaw and Alexander.  We also researched a great deal about fear and phobias and spent a lot of our free time in the pool helping each other correct our technique.

We didn’t learn a lot at the local classes and the ‘advanced’ class wasn’t all that advanced!  What we did learn was that the vast majority of people fell by the wayside.  Some had private swimming lessons, paying £22 an hour to be coached from the poolside in a public pool full of other swimmers.  As I mentioned above, not my idea of a private swimming lesson.

So how many succeeded without having private lessons in a private pool?  VERY VERY FEW!!! and that includes those that had some individual lessons in the public pool.


Private swimming lessons in a private pool with your instructor in the pool with you (and only you!) is the way forward.  Of course, just because an instructor offers private lessons, doesn’t necessarily mean they have what it takes to teach you, but we like to think we stand out above most others and our testimonials prove that.

So what are you waiting for?  Contact us now to chat about your fears and phobias and how we can tailor YOUR private swimming lessons.