13.01.2009 – 16.01.2009
Back on my own again and venturing up North along the coast and I decided to kill 3 birds with one stone – meet some more fellow travellers, get to Byron Bay and also master the art of surfing! Meeting fellow travellers on the road you get to listen to whats good and whats not so on the sound advice of someone I had met the previous week, they had suggested I try a 4 day surf school – Waves Surf Camp. On Tuesday morning 8.00am I arrived at central station in Sydney and meet up with my new family and fellow “classmates” for the next 4 days – 16 of us in total (5 Canadians, 3 Swiss, 3 Brits, 2 Irish, 2 Dutch and 1 Danish). We were then greeted by our Surf teacher – Harley. Harley was every bit the archetypal surfer dude you`d find in any surf magazine – tall, well toned, rough growly voice, blonde flowing locks, backward facing baseball cap and big sunglasses and said awesome and dude in every sentence. Our first mission was to get to base camp at Seals Rocks which was to be our home for the next 2 days from where we were to be taught the basics of surfing – learning the board and drink beer! After a 3 hr drive north from Sydney we arrived at Seals Rocks and met up with Dylan (our second instructor) then we dumped our bags, grabbed our boards and wetsuits and headed for the beach.
We arrived at Boomerang Bay a quiet and secluded spot where we were shown the basic steps of getting up on a board and standing up and looking cool, apparently to Dylan surfing is more about looking stylish rather than the actual technique. After our quick lesson (only 15 Min`s) we were told to get out there and get on with it so our teachers could nurse their hangovers. Surfing as we were told is about persistence; falling off and just getting back up. Its also important to remember all the steps taught to you and not to get into any bad habits. seeing as the boards were around 9 feet tall and made mostly out of foam I thought this was going to be a breeze! Oh how wrong I was!! My first attempt ended in a nosedive – a very undignified way of entering the water head first at the front of the board which results in drinking a few litres of water through the hose and being tossed around and upside down in the wave like a washing machine!! After falling of in such undignified style I looked around to see that no-one was looking (they all were!!) I was determined that I could do this!! After 2 hours in the water I had only managed to get on the board and stand up twice!! As I said earlier its all about persistence so after a short rest it was back out into the water for a many more attempts!! I was determined to catch my first wave which I managed at my second to last attempt for a whole duration of 7 secounds, but that was enough. I now understand why surfers have good physiques – it was shattering!! We returned to base camp amidst jubilant stories of how were were going to be the next Kelly Slaters – or not in some cases!! That night we ate well and bonded as a group and met other fellow surfers (there were around 4 groups of 16 – 25 people all at base camp at various stages through surf camp) and consumed a number of beers! We were awoken the next morning at 7.30am and the seeing as the night previous had gone on into the early hours the prospect of a full days surfing was not greatly anticipated by some.
When we arrived at our next stunning golden location of Elizabeth Bay and jumped in the water the previous nights indulgences soon vanished and were again keen to perfect our surfing skills! The next days followed a very familiar pattern – wake up early, go surfing till lunch, eat, rest, surf some more, come home, feed and drink, chat and party till the early hours! The last final days of surf camp were spent traveling up the coast towards Byron Bay taking in some awesome shore lines like Harrington Bay, Yuraygir National Park and wonderfully named Booti Booti National Park! By the end I managed to stand for at least 10 seconds, ride switch and even turn (slightly) however I was a long way off conquering the colossal waves you see in the epic videos. We were getting into the spirit of it some much our vocabulary had changed some what to awesome, dude, chick,sick and sweet!!We were all gutted that the the trip came to an end in Byron Bay but on the other hand we were glad that we could finally heal our bumps, bruises, blisters and heads!! The trip was well worth it and I would recommend the trip to anyone, I met some amazing people and some of us are still travelling together now and others we’ll meet further up the coast. In fact our family got on so well together we hung around in Byron bay for another week partying and surfing together..