This is what I figured to myself when the opportunity to head to Surf Camp landed in my lap. Australia, so famed for its world-class beaches, is deeply a surfing culture. So, as they say, why not give it a fair go?
… Wanna know the result? I AM BEAT UP. My fractured toe, knees, and feet have taken a slight bruising, and my arms and shoulders are an almighty sore. But, in a good way. This is how the weekend unfolded:
We left Friday night and arrived at Gerroa, NSW at the Seven Mile Beach National Park late that night. Things unloaded and dinner eaten, I, with the accompaniment of a few friends decided to fumble around in the dark to find the beach.
Preface: I somewhat believe that deep down I am part sea creature. I love the ocean and everything about it and have been happiest in my life in the sea, floating around. I mean, this is basically how I imagine myself:
With no direction, I suggested we shut up and listen for the ocean, and followed the sound in the dark. Eventually, we found a promising sandy pathway and with growing anticipation walked, then sprinted up a pitch dark sand dune and finally found the great Pacific. Thrilled, I led a sprint to the shore in the moonlight and waded into the water with a real, sudden, onset excitement— I AM REALLY IN AUSTRALIA.
We ran around in the dark water, considered skinny dipping, decided against it, and settled for listening to the incredulous thunder of the ocean hitting the shore in the darkness, full of happiness and a pensive calm. It really hadn’t hit me until this moment. A couple beers and quite a few laughs later, we took our sandy asses back to camp for an early morning of surfing ahead.
Surfing ain’t easy, folks. We had a morning and afternoon of nice baby waves in ninja-looking wetsuits and a lot of effort. Being in the ocean and playing in the pacific was blissful at first, but I grew mad at the waves for repeatedly wiping me out. at first the waves seem playful. As you grow angrier, they feel like they are bullying you. My injuries weren’t that bad, but one girl chipped THREE teeth. I was after a long day, able to actually stand on the surfboard momentarily a couple of times. As my readers, I will let you in on a little secret. This is the photo I put up of my surfing adventures on facebook:
Hehehe, here is the uncropped version, with the instructor’s, help for the photo op…
More often than not during that first lesson, I looked like this:
Whoooopsie. This isn’t to say I wasn’t able to do it by myself, too though! I had a great time, and will likely actually give surfing a go again at a local Sydney beach.
The highlight of my weekend though was actually a quiet moment I had in our last hour in the ocean. With a lot of effort, I paddled my way way past the waves, out to sea. I sat on my board, accompanied by my friend Brittney, took off the top of my wetsuit as the sun came out and together we just floated on our boards and enjoyed the calmness of the water and escape from the crowded surf lessons. It was a beautiful moment. In a silly way, I love that Australia is in the Pacific Ocean because it feels strangely connected to home, in Seattle. It was peaceful, something I needed. The big, green, unbroken waves lifted us, without washing us up for once.
When we were ready, we paddled back in as a HUGE wave came in behind. I decided to go for it. Big strokes, I remembered. Feet straight. As it came up, I actually CAUGHT it and legitimately RODE THE GIANT WAVE in to shore. My proudest Surf Camp moment, by far.
More to come soon.
P.S. the hang ten is real! These surfer dudes that were our instructions were totally the surfer stereotype that “rock on duuude”-ed to you whenever you did well. Quite funny.