Surf Camp

Well, here I am, back again to tell you all about my surf camp experience. First let me say that it rained. Every single day. I think that one day it was sunny for the first half, but we were back to thunderstorms by the next day. Here is the day by day.

On Monday we drove up to surf camp fairly early in the morning (the bus picked us up at 7:30). The ride was about 2 hours, and along the way we saw a RedBull car driving alongside us, and our bus rider/surf camp owner thought it would be funny to mess with them and stare them down as we drove by. So, as we drove by, everyone stared out the window at the RedBull girls. Of course they noticed and they were like “Hey guys! Want some free RedBull? Just drive up to the next parking lot! Our plan backfired, but we got free RedBull! I had never had RedBull before, but it was REALLY good! I was always afraid it would taste nasty so I never tried it. No one ever told me it tasted like liquid smarties! Yum!

After our RedBull pit stop we continued on to surf camp, and when we got there we had to immediately suit up into wetsuits and get on down to the beach. It was raining, but it wasn’t raining TOO hard, just a light rain. Of course, that meant we had to put on wet suits in the rain, which was a challenge. In fact, putting the wetsuits on was probably the worst thing about the trip.

We got to the beach and they gave us a two hour lesson on surfing. It was raining it wasn’t very windy so the waves weren’t too bad. I wasn’t able to stand up on the board the entire first two hours, but I didn’t feel too bad because a lot of the other people were in the same boat. After the lesson we had lunch and chatted with each other a bit, then we went back to the beach. It was still raining. This time around the waves were a bit nicer – not really bigger but not as messy as the last lesson. And it was during THIS lesson that I stood up, twice! One of them was such a good wave too, I went ALL the way to the end. It was fantastic… but of course they didn’t get any pictures of me catching this wave.

The lesson was over after two hours, and we went back again for dinner. Now it started raining pretty hard, so pretty much there was no way for us to be dry, ever. We had to walk to the bathrooms, walk to the outside area for lunch (although it was sheltered on the top, when the wind started picking up the rain blew in, making sure we were kept nice and wet).

Afterwards, it was time to party! There were many cool people who I really liked at surf camp, and a lot of them were Canadian. There were also people from Sweden, Norway, Germany, and pretty much all over. We couldn’t really go anywhere to party, normally at surf camp they go down to the beach and make a bonfire and all that, but with the rain, we really had no choice but to hang out in the roofed eating area. We still had fun, and I had my first taste of…

Hahn Beer!

It’s not a very POPULAR beer here, I think because it has a pretty low alcohol content (2.7% or something like that) but I of course had to get it. It’s funny, whenever I tell an Australian (only the guys though) what my last name is, they always ask, “Oh, like the beer?”

The next day we had another surfing lesson scheduled at 9 in the morning. But overnight it rained… HARD… all night long. When I woke up, it was POURING. We had breakfast, and the instructors told us that we could go to the lessons if we wanted to, they would probably stick us all in one big group because a few instructors called out because of the terrible weather. I decided not to go, because seriously, it was raining so hard, being out there in that and trying to see where you were going would have been insane. About half of the people actually went, but most of them ended up leaving the lesson early because it was hailing. For the second lesson in the afternoon, the weather was about the same, but now everything was flooded and the waves were crashing. Once again, I decided not to go to this one. Probably only a quarter of the people actually went. This time everyone who went left early because the rain and wind brought in a huge family of bluebottle jellyfish. A lot of them got stung (but don’t worry, those aren’t the deadly jellyfish, just the painful stingers).

By dinner time it had mostly stopped raining so we all hiked down to the bar and spent a few hours there and then came back to the camp and walked over to a park where we could be extra noisy. It was a great night and everyone forgot about the terrible surfing day as we drank away our worries!

The next day it was actually SUNNY! It was fantastic surfing weather, but the problem was that the water was disgusting and muddy from the terrible weather the night before and the waves were bigger and crashing. I think it was during this lesson when I realized that I am kind of afraid of big waves. Seriously, I have never gone deep in the ocean in my life, and going deep in the ocean where there are big crashing waves was not fun. At all. So I continued to do pretty poorly for this lesson, but on the second lesson in the afternoon I was able to stand up. The picture isn’t that great because in the afternoon it had started getting overcast and rainy, but here is a pic of me standing up on the board:

This was actually the end of the wave which is why you don’t see much wave behind me. The waves kept getting worse and worse though, and I was not enjoying my surfing time. The waves kept beating me up, throwing me off my board, knocking me around… and it wasn’t just one wave at a time. There were always like 3 or 4 rows of waves (you can see the one behind me breaking).

Most of my time surfing ended up with me in this position:

And I have a lot of pictures where I’m just halfway up because I wasn’t able to stand without losing my balance. I thought that was more fun actually :) I usually only would fall when I tried standing up!

So anyway, there is one more day of surfing to go (we all went to bed early on Wednesday night because the first surf was at 6:30 on Thursday).

Thursday – Of course, it was raining in the morning. But I made myself get up and go to the 6:30 surf lesson. I hated every minute of it from putting on my wetsuit to taking it off. I just am not a surfer. The waves are not my friend. I love the sound of them and I love playing in the waves maybe up to my hips, but by the time I’m up to my shoulders, it’s terrible. I got banged up quite a bit from all of this, but at least I did try something new… and I went in the deep waves even though I was afraid. I didn’t go as deep as everyone did, I stayed in the first 2 rows of waves when some people were out in the back waves where they were even bigger.I did have fun during the trip. It was a good experience. I would have had MORE fun if I was a better surfer or if it didn’t rain so much, but it was still fun, and I met a lot of cool people.

After we finished our two surfs for the day, we packed up and went back to Sydney for free pizza and beer at the Scubar. Unfortunately, the people who had the 5 to 7 day packages (me) had to leave after about an hour to catch the greyhound to Byron Bay. It was a nice 12 hour overnight trip. I tried to sleep for most of it but it wasn’t easy. We got to Byron Bay at about 10 or so in the morning on Friday, and checked into our hostel here. Let me tell you, this place is SO nice, it’s like a hippie paradise! The shops are amazing, the people are all so laid back, and the souveneirs you can get here, instead of coffee mugs and kangaroo paw scratchers, you can get fairy things and aura photographs. Haha, I don’t know exactly what those are. I think it’s just a picture of you with some really nice background or something like that and not actually a picture of your aura, but I didn’t ask to find out.

I’m not going to talk much about this city on this post, since I’ve already written enough for one day, but I’ll do more on my next one. I’m going to this really cool hippie village tomorrow where we are going to swim in a waterfall and have free watermelon and all that. Fun!

But, I’ll leave you with one more picture…

This was taken on the one sunny day at surf camp, our wetsuits are halfway down because it was hot. You can see that I haven’t gotten much of a tan here, and wow you can really see my ribs can’t you? Don’t worry, I am eating in Australia despite the croissant incident. Ok, lunch time, talk you all later! Oh, and I’m 29 years old now! Hoooray!