What a morning! After having a rather anxious dream about missing a flight, I woke up startled. It was 6:10AM and I had 5 minutes to pack my bag, check out of my hostel, and run 6 blocks to the neighboring hostel where I was scheduled to meet up with the Mojorsurf team and begin my surf adventure. I flipped on the light (which my dorm-mates thankfully were very understanding about), and, not having enough time to think about things such as dignity, proceeded to strip down and give them quite an eyeful while trying to manage to get my pants on (still half awake and quite unbalanced). After successfully managing to clothe myself, I forced all of my belongings (“all” being a hopeful term) into my pack, grabbed my food bags out of the kitchen, and pausing only momentarily to drop my key at the front desk, took off in a full sprint down the street and through central station, arriving at Wake Up Sydney to the beautiful site of the Mojosurf bus!
I was immediately greeted by Nat: a scruffy guy with shaggy, dirty-blonde hair, and a very warm personality. Nat is the founder of Mojosurf, and would also be our bus driver for most of the day. After everyone was on-board, we fired up the bus, cranked some Bob Marley, and began our trip up the coast from Sydney up Spot X. About an hour into our trip, we made a quick breakfast stop, and upon returning to the road, watched “Endless Summer 2” to set the mood for the week to come. Upon arriving at Spot X, we threw our bags in the common room, and immediately grabbed some boards and headed out to the surf. The wind was cold, the water was warm, and the sun was shining, overall a good day to surf! The waves were quite small, but it was actually kind of perfect for a bunch of beginners. We spent the next two hours trying our best to catch some waves, most often failing miserably. The few waves that we did catch though were enough to keep us pumped up and pushing forward, a truly exhilarating feeling! After surfing, we returned to camp, cold, hungry, and generally exhausted. After dinner and a few beers with new friends (and failing to get a fire going), we called it a night.
Our second day greeted us with clouds, rain, wind, and generally anything that would make one feel cold when wet. We got up at 8 for breakfast, and were in our wetties and on the beach by 9. After a quick warm up, we plunged into the surf to take our second try and surfing. I had pinched a nerve in my back on day one, so I found it a bit frustrating (see also painful) trying to get up on my board. Each time I’d try to jump up, my back would pinch, my legs would go limp, and I would fall off the board. This didn’t exactly encourage the learning process, but I did my best to push through. By the time we finished our morning session we were all freezing and exhausted. We returned to camp, grabbed a quick shower, then collapsed and slept for the next hour until lunch. Lunch was good, but didn’t seem to quite give us the energy boost we had hoped for (the thought of putting on a cold wetsuit and going back out to freeze again didn’t exactly provide much inspiration either). Regardless of how we felt, we pushed through it and jumped back into the water. After another 2 hours my back was really starting to bug me, but I was doing the best I could to enjoy the experience. The afternoon brought a much needed yoga class (instructed by the Yoga for Surfers DVD), which I hoped would also help to sort out my back. During the evening, we ate dinner, had a few beers, then watched a rather intense limbo competition (which I gracefully sat out). I decided to head to bed early and rest up for the next day of surfing.
Day 3: After a good nights rest, I was still quite exhausted, but ready to get back out in the water. Breakfast, wetsuits, surf. The waves were quite choppy this morning, and we were getting pounded by the surf. Despite this fact, the morning was a lot of fun! The sun even made a few (much needed) appearances! We finished our sessions with a fun group swim, diving through waves, attempting front flips into the surf, and watching in amazement as Rob (aka Handsome Rob, our instructor) somehow swam in the waves as if he was part dolphin..
– 9AM session, another cold, cloudy morning, with pretty huge swells. Once again, got my ass seriously handed to me by the waves. It was more an exercise in paddling, and managing to get out past the waves, than it was in surfing. I basically spent the better part of two hours getting smashed by wave after wave and just trying to stay afloat. That being said, it was good fun, and I am getting more comfortable sitting on my board.
– Afternoon session: Still tired from the morning, and struggling to drag myself out in the cold (see also rain, see also wind, see also huge, choppy waves) we once again jumped in and hoped for the best. Fista (my instructor) took me “out the back” past the break to help me find a few good waves to try and ride. I once again found myself getting tossed around like a ragdoll in the wild surf. I got sucked under a few times and properly thrown through the wash, finding myself disoriented from having so much water forced up my nose and into my ears. At the end of the day I managed to catch one huge wave, and rode it all the way in, feeling quite comfortable on my board once I managed to find my footing. This single wave made the hours of getting beaten down by the ocean worth it. I felt the high, the zen of surfing for the first time, and I loved it!
Day 5: My right ear is properly fucked from yesterdays beating, so I’ve opted to sit out the last session this morning. I’ve been up most of the night with a stabbing pain in my ears and really don’t want to push it any more at this point. It’s been a good week at Spot X, an experience I will truly cherish in years to come. This afternoon I catch the bus up to Byron bay where I plan to spend the next week kicking back (and praying for some sunshine and warm weather).