Travel Activities: Surfing

Surfing was something I had always wanted to try, but I had just never got around to it. When I was on the East Coast of Australia, however, it finally seemed my time had come to give it a try. After all, you should always get down with the locals- in this case, the Aussie surfer dudes.

As part of my bus ticket with the Oz Experience, I had a surf lesson included and a one night stay at Spot X Surf Camp, between Sydney and Byron Bay. We did have to pay extra for food but it was worth it. After a night of dinner and joviality, the bus load of us awoke in the morning, ready for our lesson. The sun was out (of course it was, this was Australia) and the sky was blue as I donned my wetsuit.

Between my travel buddy and I, we carried our boards down to the beach and lay them on the ground as the lesson began. Our instructor made us try out the necessary techniques on dry land first. Apparently we weren’t ready for the water yet.

When we finally made it into the sea, it wasn’t as easy. Annoyingly, some people took to it like a fish to water. I, however, did not. Instead, after three hours, I was simply thrilled when I was able to ride the waves, kneeling on my board. The instructors looked as me disapprovingly as I whizzed passed them, having given up on any hope of standing.

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I can’t say I was a natural. Our instructor had told us not to enter the water carrying the board horizonally across our fronts- the water would hit it and we’d go flying. I forgot that. But despite being battered constantly for hours on end, I was still grinning at the end. Even the words: “I think I saw a dolphin! At least, I hope it was a dolphin” were not enough to dent my spirits (FYI no sharks were actually spotted during the making of this post).

Apparently, my hopelessness was not entirely my fault. According to the instructors, the waves that day were not good for beginners and just dumped water on us. I held on to that but I didn’t hold it against the waves- at least they were warm, learning (and failing) to surf in the freezing sea around England probably wouldn’t have been quite the same.

Although I wanted to go again, it never happened. Going up the east coast, you cannot surf north of the town of 1770. I’m not sure why- maybe because of the Great Barrier Reef. My travel buddy won a lesson in a hula hooping competition in Byron Bay’s Cheeky Monkey’s bar. In hindsight, I should have gone along but at the time I was trying to conserve money. Instead, I had a day by the pool but I can’t say I regret that. It was one of the most relaxing afternoons of my entire life- unlike surfing.

Pictures purchased from Spot X Surf Camp

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