This past weekend was the first spent with dreary, rainy weather since I’ve been living Down Under.Thankfully, this didn’t stop us from attending “Surf Camp Australia” and learning how to catch waves all weekend. My program offered us a package deal in which we left Friday evening for 7 mile beach (North of Sydney about 2.5 hours by bus) and stayed at a quaint little camp until Sunday afternoon. Meals and accommodation were included, as well as ample opportunity out on the beach for surf lessons. After arriving around 10pm Friday night, my friends and I immediately hit the beach for a drink and to check it out for a bit before getting some rest for our full agenda the next day. Our morning started with breakfast at 8 am since we were the second group, and I was more than okay with that because the first group had a 6 am start. Even though the waves are apparently better closer to sunrise, I value my sleep and had no problem getting out there a few hours later.
Surprisingly, my first lesson happened to be my most successful in the fact that I stood up during my first attempt, and continued to stand up without the help of the surf instructors. This was also because the waves were smaller, which is perfect for beginners to learn on. Some people may call that beginners luck, but I like to think that it’s a stepping stone to going pro.. kidding. Plus I had a harder time in the afternoon lesson because my body was beginning to feel sore and fatigued from the morning lesson. I’ve always known that surfing was definitely a workout, but I now have a whole new appreciation for all surfers, especially their sculpted bodies. Every surf instructor at the camp was lean with a muscular build, and I found myself watching them suf for a majority of the afternoon lesson. They were also very helpful in telling us when to paddle harder, when to position our bodies, and when to hop up on the board. I was almost always able to stand up on the board with their assistance. It was also really nice that the camp had photographers on the beach at all times snapping photos of our successful moments, as well as our major wipe outs. One of the best parts that evening was viewing the photos from the day. We would cheer loud when we saw a photo of one of our friends standing up, and laugh even louder when the photographers captured a complete fail.
The next day, the waves were much more intense due to a storm that had hit over night. The swells were massive, and I quickly learned that waves show no mercy. Even paddling out to the back waves was exhausting, and my whole body would clinch as I let my board take me over each upcoming wave. I was only able to stand up a handful of times that day, but it was much more satisfying to overcome my original hesitation. This uncertainty started after my first few attempts to stand up, because the waves just tossed me around like a rag doll. I was pretty beat after only half an hour out there, so I just sat on my board out in the water. This was probably the most peaceful and serene part of my weekend, so I stayed adrift for a while. I was even fortunate enough to witness a school of dolphins out in the distance. Eventually, I decided to give it another try, and I caught a couple more waves before calling it a day. We all made our way back to camp to shower and pack before the bus came to get us. Overall, the weekend was extremely successful and I loved testing my limits and learning new things.