Learning to surf in OZ

Australia Travel Blog

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Australia �" the land of the toned and tanned surfers and surfettes! Doesn’t it look breathtaking when you see them ride meter high waves, and don’t you get jealous when you see them hang around the beach all day with nothing else to do than to look out for the next good wave? Well, I do. That’s why I had to go try it for myself. Can’t be too difficult,” I thought. This was before I tried to catch my first wave.

With a lot of enthusiasm I joined a day trip to the Great Ocean Road offered to international students by my university in Melbourne. Melbourne surfers generally head SW to the famous Bells Beach area, which is at the eastern end of the Great Ocean Road. As soon as our group of about 20 people arrived, we got a friendly hello and a quick briefing by our surf instructors. We started squeezing into wetsuits that were handed out, which I was very grateful for. The Victorian coast is open to swells from the Antarctic and therefore the water is freezing, especially in winter.

Everyone set and ready to go? We started heading down to the beach and got a little surf lesson before we were allowed to jump in the water.

So if anyone wants to go surfing for the first time, here is how you’re supposed to do it:

1. Lie down on your board with your toes touching the water at the end of the board. With your board facing straight to the beach you wait for a good wave.

2. Once you see it coming, start paddling to catch up with the speed of the wave.

3. As soon as you are pushed by the wave, you grip the board with both hands at shoulder level. (My instructor called this: the chicken wings, because your elbows are supposed to stick out)

4. Then you push your upper body up. (Like when you do push ups, if you’re into that :) )

5. Stay like that and bring both of your knees to the level of your hands so you kind of kneeling on top of the board.


After that you try to keep your balance while standing up.

7. SURF!!!

Well, that’s the theory. Reality often looks a bit different :) So we all started heading into hip deep water (surprisingly warm with 19 C) and I have to say: I was really good. No seriously, really really good. After a few minutes I caught my first wave, and I even managed stay on top of the board for a few meters �" standing up. And if I hadn’t had to maneuver my board through waters full of other surf beginners I could have been even better :) The longer I was in the water and the more waves I tried to catch though, the worse I got. My arms and legs started to hurt and after an hour I was totally exhausted. Yes, that’s why they call it a sport. It actually is physically challenging. But I loved every minute of it! I’m planning on organizing a trip with a few people soon and go out there again, to catch the perfect wave!

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