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Surfing for the First Time in Yamba, Australia
Monday 14th February 2011 – Yamba, Australia
It’s fair to say I was looking forward to today immensely, and the prospect of surfing for the first time in my life. This is one of the main reasons for me coming to Australia, and today it was happening. I was very excited indeed.
I awoke nice and early and made my way to the reception where a few others were waiting. A confident surfer off on her daily surf was among the small gathering of people. Two pretty German girls were also waiting for their second surfing lesson this morning. I was the only surfing virgin.
After a short wait for everyone to be ready, we eventually set off in the mini bus. Shane drove us around the nearby beaches, looking for the right conditions, and we finally settled on one in particular. The weather wasn’t great this morning, and the sea looked a little rough, but I guess this is good surfing weather. Either way, we grabbed our boards and headed to the water.
We had a brief lesson from Shane then went out into the ocean to try our luck. The two girls seemed to be comfortable on their boards, and were managing to ride the waves somewhat effortlessly. I attempted my first wave, forgetting all the information I had taken in on the beach from Shane, but actually managed to ride the wave. I stood up from the start and stayed standing right to the end, albeit wobbling about a fair bit. I was ecstatic, and shared an applause with the others. I hoped this would be a sign of things to come, and eagerly swam out for my second attempt.
My luck would run out here though, as every attempt after this ended with me face down in the water, much to the enjoyment of the others. I was having a lot of fun though. We stayed for a short while on this beach, then headed off to another beach, one with bigger waves. I was a little nervous about this.
The sea looked decidedly more fierce here, and I wondered how I would get on. We jumped out the mini bus and walked down to the water. We wasted no time in diving into the sea and swimming out to the bit before the waves break. We were given a brief lesson on how to duck under the waves by jumping off the board and pulling the front down under the waves. The waves were coming thick and fast, and were extremely sizeable, making it hard to get past the breaking, and I was very worn out once past this. Looking back to the beach it was clear we were very far out, and Shane told us we were in the part that the pros go to.
I spent a long time sitting on my board catching my breath in between failed attempts at surfing, and became a little annoyed that I wasn’t getting the knack of it by now. The girls were finding it equally difficult. The rain that was now lashing down was making it difficult to concentrate. I was finding it exhausting trying to get back onto the board once wiping out, and swimming back out to meet the others, all the while being battered by huge waves as a result of the stormy weather moving in. I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped, and wanted to spend a while in the shallower waters, just until I got the hang of it, so I made my way back to the beach.
I fell off my board some way out still, and found myself in a ‘Gutter’, being battered in every direction from the waves, constantly knocking my board out of my reach. The pull on the board was pulling the cord attached to my leg, forcing me out into the deeper water. I was on tip toes as it was, and the strong current was ever pulling at me, dragging me out to sea. I tried in vein to swim horizontally to the beach, and I was out of sight of the rest of the guys. I struggled for at least 10 minutes to edge my way back to the beach, and thankfully, I made it, but used all my energy in the process. This had been a sobering experience for me, and I didn’t intend to go back out today. I much preferred the first beach, and feel I could have grasped it if we had stayed there. Nonetheless, it was an experience.
The others soon returned, also exhausted, and all collapsed on the wet sand. I think we were all ready to go home now as the rain was pouring down. So we washed off our boards and headed back to the hostel. It had been a fun morning, and one I am sure I will not forget in a hurry, and had given me a desire to try it again as soon as possible.
Back at the hostel I showered and had lunch, and thought about what else I could do for the rest of the day. The rain had limited my options. I decided on a laundry day, and chilled around the cool hostel, meeting some of the other guests.
Once the rain had stopped, I chanced going for a walk, and obviously I had gotten to the furthermost point away from the hostel before the rain lashed down once more. I had to dart in and out of shops on the way back to the hostel, stopping at a café for a coffee along the way, then relaxed in the TV room for the remainder of the day. I was tired by the evening. Clearly I am not used to the surfer lifestyle just yet, but I had stepped onto the first rung of the ladder. The only way is up from here.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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