A month ago, yes a whole month ago I went on a surf trip. We left the last weekend in August and spent four lovely days living it up as Australian Surfers.
It was a Thursday afternoon at one o’clock that we departed Uni for a seven-hour bus ride south to Spot X in Arrawarra. Once we got on the bus I was ready for some R&R but that did not happen. Our bus driver (who was not your typical bus driver- he was attractive, and a surfer, and funny, and attractive, and a surfer…) ANYWAY our bus driver made us play a game so we could all get to know each other aka we had to play an icebreaker game… my favorite—NOT. The game was get up in front of the entire bus, walk to the front, speak in the microphone, say your name, where you are from and—what turns you on and what turns you off. I said what everyone said because on the spot with 40 some eyes starring at you it is hard to think of something witty and true to say. Turn on: Good weather. Turn off: Bad weather. Original huh? After being about 4 hours into the trip and the game far over with I FINALLY thought of something that I SHOULD have said- I mean yes who does like bad weather of course that is going to be something people do not like but something that I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY do not like—Swooping Birds. Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda said that. Anyway, after that riveting game was finally over we got to watch a movie on the bus and enjoy the drive through Australia’s country. We arrived at Spot X camp at around 7:30, just in time for dinner. Then it was time to ‘get loose’ and scope out who our surf instructors were.
After an evening of fun, going down to the beach at night with lighting in the far off distance, and a brief swim in the sea we had to go to bed because our first surf lesson was at 9:00 o’clock am sharp. During our first lesson we all placed our boards on the sand and had a lesson on land before heading out to the merciless sea. We were taught how to paddle, and to embrace the art of catching a wave before we try to stand up. Once we all understood the importance of catching a wave we were taught the pop-up. Holy smokes, the pop-up is not so easy. When the instructor showed up how to do it he made it look so incredibly easy- it is so incredibly not easy. Then we learned the number one rule—always look cool.
Our land and sand lesson was done so it was time to hit the waves, brah. I could not count how many times I broke the ‘always look cool’ rule… I was an embarrassment out on the waves. Although, saying I was an embarrassment might be an extreme understatement. One of our instructors was… a surfing god. I mean, to put his looks into perspective he was a man that EVERY female and I would not be surprised if every male wanted to marry. Well, this lucky lady got him behind her board (the instructors hold the back of your surfboard and push you into the waves so you have a better chance at standing up) he pushed me into a wave, I was all geared up to do my pop-up and impress him so he knew I was a true surfer chick until… My pop-up turned into a fall backwards onto the dreamboat’s face… Leave it to me honestly. So, for day one we had a session that I spent more time under the waves than on top of the waves. Then we had an afternoon session that I spent more time under the waves than on top of the waves… again. Spending a full day [attempting] surfing, we were all rather knackered (Australian for tired) but that did not stop us from having yet another evening of fun. Surfers truly do have the best lifestyle. We had to awaken early again the next morning because we had one more surf lesson to go- one more opportunity to prove that I am a surfer that I can stand up on a board. My friend and I were not sure we wanted to go to this last lesson though. We were cold, and tired, and did not want to bother with putting on a wet wetsuit (optimistic aren’t we?) BUT we went anyway. I mean, we did not pay for a surf trip to not go surfing. Our last session was the best session I will ever have surfing- I stood up… three times!
Now, I cannot take full credit for my amazing surfing skills. I had a quite a good coach- by that I mean he was the only surf instructor that did not give up me and my amazing talent of falling into the waves. This coach was just as determined as I was to get me to stand up and ride a wave. My hero, I mean, my coach pushed me into a wave and yelled ‘pop-up, pop-up’ so I went for it and I SUCCEEDED! I was officially a surfer (in my mind anyway). We celebrated because I believe he was just as surprised as I was that I ACTUALLY stood up, then it was time to give it another go! He pushed me into another wave and BAM! Stood up… again. Just call me Kelly Slater from now on please. Needless to say, I was really happy that my friend and got rid of our grumblie status and decided to go for that last lesson. We even got great photos taken of us because in the words of my friend ‘if you make enough of a scene they take your picture!’ we made quite the scene!!
After our last lesson- the lesson that I officially became a professional surfer, it was time to peel our wet wetsuits off, fight for a shower stall and get ready for our departure to Byron Bay!
Byron Bay is one of the best places I have ever been to. It is a nice quaint village rested right by the sea. It is also the most east you can get in Australia. There were many streets of shops, cafes, and bars. I am probably going to live either in Byron Bay or very near to Byron Bay and become a beachcomber (I smell a new major- hope it SNC offers it). When we were in Byron Bay we went out with all the people on our surf trip plus the instructors. We had dinner at this one place then after dinner our plates were cleared and the table we had just ate off of became one of the hot spots to dance on… pretty nasty when you think about it. There was a market going on the last morning that we got to spend away, I was able to find some goodies there. I personally believe that some of the best treasures can be found at a market. After the market we walked the streets of Byron Bay a little more then went to lunch at a burger place (Bayger) and digest our delicious meal on the beach while gazing out to the ocean blue.
It was a quick four days that we got to live through, full of partying, fun, laughs, travel, and a lot of time in the ocean! I was able to leave that weekend saying I am Kelly Slater and with a new place to live.
Hillary Hubertz is studying at University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.