To put it simply, today was quite epic. Once again I awoke to see that it was sunny 85 degrees outside without a cloud in the sky. We, the 12 or so students heading to Western Australia, started the day with a short drive over to Long Reef Beach where the enthusiastic Manly surf school instructors greeted us. After donning our appropriate attire and being fitted with a surfboard we walked over a large sand “dune” and the most magnificent beach and surf came into view. After a brief instructional, which basically entailed 20 min of how not to hurt yourself, we were paddling out into the 9am surf with the locals. I was immediately conscious of my body on the board and just how powerful the ocean really is. I did happen to catch the first wave that I paddled into and rode it for about 20 yards before it died. It was really something special for me to catch the first wave that I paddled into. Following that epic moment it took a while to catch my second wave successfully but after just two hours I had successfully rode, and even got in a few turns, 6 waves. We did have a run in with some blue bubbles (blue’ys), which are essentially small jellyfish that look like a bubble blown with gum. Our extremely laid back surf instructor pointed them out to me and said that they would hurt a bit if I happened to brush up against one. Translating that “would happen to hurt a bit” from Australian to “American” means that if you brush up against one it will hurt like hell…so I avoided them. Surfing was hard in the sense that paddling out, keeping your balance and trying to put all the many steps in the right order when catching a wave required quite some focus and motivation. I have to say that I was really stoked to surf and it has DEFINITELY been the highlight so far. The surf was amazing and I think I will definitely be looking to buy a used board as we were told that Perth has the best surf in all of Australia. After surfing for the entire morning and realizing that I have a little bit of a natural skill for it…I might say “a guy could live here.”
Following the surfing we had an informational session about Murdoch Uni…which was good in the sense that I was reminded that I am here for school and not a continual party and surfing filled 6 months.
The remainder of the day entailed another trip to the beach to lay in the sun and continue my sunburn that has progressively developed and to body surf some 10 footers. We capped off the day with an traditional aboriginal dance and smoking session. The dancing was extremely interesting and it incorporated some very sweet didgeridoo playing (another thing that is on my to do list is learn to play the didge).
Anyways now the Murdoch Uni fellas and myself are sampling some Australian and NZ wine (monkey bay and fifth leg)…both are outstanding.
Tomorrow we are finally heading to Perth. I am really really excited to see the place where I will be living for the next 5 months….Until then Peace