Surf Camp Australia

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Considering I caught a green wave this weekend, I think its safe to say that you can call me an official, local “surfer” here in the down unda 😏

This weekend, I went to Surf Camp Australia down in Gerroa (Southern Australia). I have only been surfing once in my life, and ironically, it was in Australia 5 years ago. However, I barely remember that day and had no skill coming into this weekend trip…so no expectations here in Emma Land.

DAY 1 - Friday

We finally arrived Friday night after (what should have been two hours) a THREE and a HALF hour bus. The group of girls that I was with sat with some international boys in the back of the bus and we had enough time to get to know each other. Yay new friends!

When we got to the “camp site”, I was taught the real word of this emoji —> 🤙…have any guesses other than ~narly~?? Well, apparently its called a “shuckaaaaa” (I hope I wrote that correctly) with emphasis on the “aaaaa”. Now say it out loud and make the hand gesture. Pretty fun eh?

We were asked to find a group of 7 people to fill up a cabin after they gave us the low down of what the weekend looked like. Our group was 6 girls, but we needed one more person. Somehow, I caught eyes with a boy that I met in my Mate’s Abroad group way back a couple of weeks and before he knew it, he was told to sleep in a cabin with six other women. It seemed like a fine idea, until I was wide awake at 4 AM, unable to go to sleep due to his ear-splittingly snores :-)

DAY 2 - Saturday

Cabin 10, minus Joshua :-)

Cabin 10, minus Joshua :-)

Because our cabin was assigned in Group 2, we didn’t have to wake up for breakfast until 9 AM. Which seems great. Until you are unable to sleep at the crack of dawn and have nothing to do for 4 hours when breakfast is served. However, I survived. (Barely.)

Our first surf lesson lasted for 2.5 hours, where they taught us techniques on the sand for a good bit before letting us into the ocean. I was just ready to go ~catch some waves~ and my patience seemed to be running out, but I sheepishly admit I am thankful for the long, “on land” lesson.

Because I have never swallowed so much salt water in my life.

Narly!

Narly!

I have a new, found respect for surfers because that shit is HARD. Once you are standing, it is easy. But getting up on the board? No, thank you. The first lesson of the day truly just consisted of me getting eaten by massive waves. I had a hard time getting my front leg around to the nose of the board, but one of my instructor showed me a tip of starting on my knees that helped tremendously. I did catch a few (like two) waves that first lesson!

They weren’t kidding in their slogan “Surf, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.” After our first lesson, we had lunch and then was told to get back into our wetsuits for round 2. Yes, wetsuits do keep you warm…but they are NOT fun to put on when they are already wet…just an obvious FYI for you all.

We had a lower tide for the second round of lessons with waves much more gentle than the morning rollers. This time I focused on sticking with the smaller, white waves and gained more confidence as I caught a couple more solid waves.

Since we were in Group 2, we had to wait FOREVER for dinner. Or what felt like forever. By the time dinner was served, I thought I was going to scream from hunger. Surfing definitely makes your body work. They catered to my allergy needs, and I was served some delicious gluten free pasta with sausage and chicken. But tbh, I could have eaten anything.

Why does food taste 100x better when you are hungry?

The night ended with a walk to the local pub, where families of the beach town hang out. There were happy, ~relaxed~ moms swaying from side to side and a one man band, singing songs that I didn’t know. The whole surf camp crew was there though, and we had a blast jamming to the music. By the end, we convinced the live musician to sing some “American” classics with of course, the first song being “Sweet Caroline”. Those stupid Americans.

DAY 3 - Sunday

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Some girls from my cabin and another girl I met in my surf group decided to wake up for the sunrise and giving up on actually sleeping on this trip. We were switched to the 7AM wake up call group anyway, so we figured might as well take in the scenery if we have to be up. As you would expect, it was beautiful and intoxicating to sit on the beach and listen to the waves crash on to shore with no interruptions. Huge sunrise/set girl over here.

Our last lesson of the camp began with crawling into our SOAKING COLD wetsuits. Let me tell you…that took some mental strength. It’s basically stepping into a cold shower after spending a few hours out in a winter day :-).

Sunrise on 7 mile beach (why miles and not km, the world may never know).

Sunrise on 7 mile beach (why miles and not km, the world may never know).

BUT of course…it is worth it. This time, the conditions for surfing seemed perfect. It was the calmest it has been all weekend and the instructors showed us how to catch some green waves (basically, green because they haven’t quite crashed yet). I felt like such a pro, paddling my way out to sea to turn around and ride a wave back in. I can see how they say surfing is addicting. With the ocean at your fingertips, you feel like you have endless opportunities.

And singing Moana while you wait for a wave is also just super entertaining.

We had some time to relax after the last lesson and lunch before having to catch (what we thought) the bus ride home. It was nice getting to know the people I met and laying in the warm sunshine.

As I said early, we thought we were taking the double decker bus back like we had on Friday to Sydney, but the lucky cabins of 9, 10, 11 and 13, were selected to take the train all the way back. What was suppose to be a 2 hour excursion, turned into almost 4.5 HOURS! By the time we got back to central station, I was just ready to call it a night. As you would expect.


So yes…I have found another reason to why I do NOT want to come home in December. Practicing surfing all weekend has given me the confidence that I could rent a board on a beach and go catch some waves. I mean…how cool is that?? If you have any recommendations to what my new surfer name should be, send me a message ;)

Thanks for reading my traditional, basic abroad update folks! I will be here all week.

TravelEmma Ecklin