8 Jun

Family, friends, loyal blog followers, I would like to announce the beginning of my surfing career. I haven’t actually ran this by my parents but I’m sure they’ll be okay with me dropping out and just becoming a surfer. Right? Man, what a weekend.

It all began Friday with rain – lots and lots of rain. When I left the apartment it was just a drizzle and I thought for sure it was going to stop so I left my umbrella behind. That, as it turns out, was one of the worst decisions I have ever made. I made it to work in a light rain and managed to stay relatively dry. While at work, the rain really picked up. Some of my co-workers were shocked at the amount of rain. They obviously aren’t used to this amount of water and it showed in the city. There was rain flowing down the stairs into train stations, the drains were overflowing and people were building arcs (okay, I made that last one up but it crossed my mind). Meanwhile, I was still umbrella-less. By the time I made it back to our apartment I was soaked. It looked like I had been swimming. I was beginning to worry our surfing trip was going to be rained out. I love being wrong.

We got on the big green Mojo Surf bus at 6:00 at a bar (I love the way Aussies think). Half the students had just gotten out of a wine tasting class and most of the students were doing there own crash course on wine tasting. Let’s just say it wasn’t your typical coach bus experience (I’m gonna try to keep this blog as G rated as possible). Seven hours and many hilarious moments later, we arrived at Crescent Head National Park and it was still raining. By the time we got settled in and situated, it was about 2:30 in the morning – enough time for a nap.

At about 7:00I Saturday morning we were awaken by AC/DC blaring through a megaphone and surf instructors yelling at us – a pretty good alarm clock if I say so myself. We grabbed a quick breakfast and it was time to go surf. The beach we were surfing at was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. There is literally no sign of human life on it. It was pristine, just absolutely surreal.

I had surfed once before in Maui. It was a very enjoyable experience. We got a very in-depth lesson, went out with an instructor and one-by-one we would catch waves and try to ride them in – a very structured experience. This time, not so much. We had to go in two groups because of our size and I was in the first group. Now in the instructors defense, I am sure teaching a group of 50 college students (half of which are hungover) is probably there worst nightmare BUT we got a board about a five minute lesson and then they threw us out in the ocean. It was trial by fire; well water but you get the point. We were bouncing around being pulled every which way and even catching some waves. I rode one all the way in during our morning session and stood on many others. It was a great time. I felt like I had only been out for about ten minutes when they called us in to end our morning session. I couldn’t wait to get back out in the afternoon.

After a quick lunch, it was time to head back out and again, I was in group 1. We were all really starting to get the hang of it. For me, the hardest part was getting myself in position to take the wave. You really have to battle and Mother Nature is pretty strong. You can spend about 30 minutes getting to where you want to and then one wave hits you and you end up back where you started. It gets frustrating but is all part of the fun. I understand why you don’t ever see fat surfers. There really is no greater exercise in the world. Anyway, our afternoon session went by too fast and I wasn’t about to stop so I sneaked into group 2 and spent another couple hours catching some waves. It was a great and very tiring day but the fun had just begun.

Um okay, mom, dad, just skip to the next paragraph. Saturday night is a designated party night at the camp – instructors included. Um, trying to keep this g-rated, we had fun. That’s an accurate description. There were two different bonfires the main surf house was open and obviously, the beach was right there. It was an awesome atmosphere and it was all happening under more stars than you can imagine. It was beautiful. It was a great time. At one point, I wondered (stumbled) into the surf house where they were selling hoodies and photos and actually bought the last large hoodie they had. I then convinced one of the instructors that I looked so good in it, they should hire me to be a salesman and they did. So I got a new job. I stood behind the counter and acted like I knew what I was doing for a while and started calling all the instructors my co-workers. It was fun until they temporarily fired me but it was only temporary I’m sure I can get the position back whenever I want. Either way, it’s going on the resume. I then went around the rest of the night informing everyone that I worked there now and instructing everyone I ran into to look at the stars multiple times. It was a great night filled with lots of great (fuzzy) memories.

We finally crashed at well, I don’t know what time but it was late. On Sunday morning, the instructors were a little gentler waking us up. They knew we were probably still feeling the effects of Saturday night and they themselves were probably a little slower Sunday morning as well. Wow, I was sore. I could barely stand straight and my hips felt like they were made of cement but I had to loosen up there was still waves that needed to be surfed. After two bowls of rice krispies, two bananas, half an orange, a couple pieces of watermelon and a piece of toast, I was ready to go. You know, nothing like a light breakfast before being thrown into the ocean. Many chose to stay behind (sober up) but it was the learn-to-surf weekend not the learn-to-sit-around-and-do-nothing weekend so I headed on out. Again, I was in group 1. The ocean was much calmer on Sunday and it was easier to know what to expect. I jumped on my first couple of waves and stood right up. I even rode one all the way to the beach. However, Saturday had begun to take its toll and I was just physically spent. My feet were cramping and my shoulders were exhausted. There was no way I could stay out with group 2 so my surfing for the weekend was done and I don’t regret any of it – an incredible experience. I just have to figure out how to make a living out of being a below average surfer.

Some of us guys still had some time to kill and heard one of the instructors talking about cliff diving. Obviously, we were intrigued so we had him lead us to the cliff. Mistake #1. It was very small trail but absolutely gorgeous. The scenery was incredible. After about ten minutes we made it to the cliff. I thought he was joking. The landing area was very small and wedged back between two cliffs. I had done some cliff diving in Hawaii but there were no waves and a wide-open landing area. This was a bit different but off he went. He lived and now there were six of us guys standing at the top of the cliff with our manhood at stake. Um, yeah of course we all WANTED to do it but actually DOING it was tricky for whatever reason. One went in, two went in, and a third went in. Mistake #2. I was considering it at this point and a fourth was about to go in when all hell broke loose. The three guys who were in and the instructor were sitting on a rock at the bottom the cliff when a huge wave hit the rock. One of the guys missed the wave barely. The instructor at least had the instinct to go limp and let the wave take him. Two others tried holding on the rock. Mistake #3. After some serious worrying and about ten minutes they all made it back to the top of the cliff. One cut open his hand pretty bad and the other had pretty bad cuts on his feet, legs, arms, back and chest. It was a project getting them back to the beach but we did it and they are doing just fine (I think) now. They were very fortunate.

After a delicious lunch of burritos and chips and salsa (which was home made and delicious) it was time for the trek back. We’ll just say that the contrast between the bus ride to and from was night and day. We were all exhausted. My body is so very sore and my feet feel like they might just stop working all together but it was worth every bit of pain and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I really am extremely blessed and fortunate to have such an amazing opportunity and I just want to keep making the most of every single moment. It’s a great group we have and we are having a great time.

Unfortunately, I have to go back to work tomorrow so I hope you enjoyed your one interesting blog for the week. I just hope I can get my feet into my dress shoes. Maybe I’ll call in sick 😉 I don’t really have any plans for this week but am looking forward to whatever Sydney gives us (likely rain). Until next time….



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