My First Experience Surfing 

 

As I write this blog post, my fingers are pruney and numb, my hair a matted mess on top of my head and my teeth are chattering, but I’ve the biggest smile on my face!
I’ve just finished our last day with Mojo Surf Camp at Spot X, and I think it’s safe to say I won’t be a pro-surfer any time soon. But I’m still in love with it! We took part in a three day surf camp, where guests either sleep in their cars by the beach (like us) or in tepees.

 

 

Everyone wakes up in the morning super early (despite the hangovers!) to witness the absolutely breathtaking sunrise Arrawarra Beach has to offer. Then it’s breakfast, surf lessons, lunch, more surfing, followed by an activity like kayaking or ocean rafting, then dinner and a few bevvies around the campfire.

 

The camp is held on a beautiful beach called Arrawarra.

 

We weren’t the luckiest with the weather on our first day. It was dull and spitting rain. Despite the cold, surfing in the rain is actually so much fun! I’ll admit, I approached surfing rather cockily. I used to skateboard and love to swim so thought a surfboard would be a piece of cake. Oh how wrong I was.

 

 

In between the many, many face-plants and bellyflops, the few times I did manage to get up I very much resembled the “wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man” (google it if you don’t get the reference). That, coupled with a very unflattering wetsuit, made for some amusing pictures.

 

Your knees are meant to be bent at a 90 degree angle and arms should be kept shoulder level. I clearly didn’t listen to any of those instructions.

 

Eventually the very nice surfing instructor came to my aid. He gave me a few extra pointers and told me to stop waving my arms around like I was doing the YMCA. He held the back of my board, steadied me and hey presto, I was up on my feet surfing!

 

My first time riding a wave!

Every now and then when we glanced out to the horizon we would spot a whale breaching the water. My heart leaped out of my mouth when I saw a black fin skim the surface, only to realise then a school of dolphins came to join in on the surfing fun! After four hours on the waves I was getting the hang of it and couldn’t wait to get back out the following morning.

That evening, everyone was in such high spirits chattering about their morning surf. We sat around the camp fire boasting about the big waves we caught and laughing about how many times we nose-dived off the front of the board.

 

 

I was gingerly tending to a growing lump on the back of my head with some ice. I had gotten a little too confident on a particular wave I was riding and spotted the camp photographer clicking away at me. I immediately pulled out my best surfer chick pose. Unfortunately I put too much weight on the front of the board, resulting in an impressive Tom Daly-inspired front flip off the top. I was tangled up in my own limbs, choking on salt water when my board caught up with me and clattered me straight on the noggin. There wasn’t much posing for pictures after that.

 

Trying to act cool like the thump on the head didn’t bother me!

 

After all the goon was drank and stories were told, we dragged ourselves to our car, hopped in the back, and were out like a light. When my alarm rang at 5.45am the next morning, I knew something was seriously wrong. I lifted my arm to turn off the racket and it felt like my shoulder has been torn from the socket. Slowly, I tested my muscles one by one, and each felt worst than the last. My whole body felt it had been through ten marathons! Now I know why surfer dudes are all so ripped, surfing is bloody hard work!

 

My shoulders were particularly sore from all the paddling.

 

For a split second I considered pulling a sickie on our 7am surf lesson. Then I glanced out the car window and knew I’d be stupid to miss this. Throwing on a pair of flip flops I raced to the sand in my PJs and nearly lost my breath at the view in front of me. I’ll let these pictures do the talking!

 

The sun is just under the horizon here.

 

We had a quick group breakfast followed by safety chat on the conditions of the waves, tide and wind. Then it was straight into a warm up of tag and back on the boards for more surfing. Our first day we learned how to catch what are called “white waves”, where the wave has broken and you’re surfing on top of the white water.

 

I got the hang of catching white water pretty quickly.

 

For our next lesson we were taught how to catch “green waves”. These are waves that are unbroken and are still swelling. These were a hell of a lot harder to ride and I spent most of my time side rolling off the board like a pig on a spit.

 

The green waves were a lot harder to keep my balance on.

After a full morning of surfing I was happy to get to some dry land for an afternoon of kangaroo golf! We all headed over to the local driving range to hit some balls and admire the baby kangaroos!

There were so many kangaroos just chilling on the golf course!

 

On our last afternoon we were allowed out on the waves by ourselves. I was feeling confident and riding a few of the bigger swells. Our instructor took to the waves too and showed us what a real surfer is supposed to look like! Not only catching the biggest waves out there, he was hand-standing on the board, twirling on one foot and flashing his white smile. When I compare him to me huffing and puffing in my too-big wetsuit with a golfball lump on my head, I realise I still have a lot to learn when it comes to surfing!

 

 

If anyone is travelling up the east coast I would highly recommend stopping in Spot X and visiting Mojo Surf Camp. They have packages to suit everyone’s needs, ranging from two days to three weeks and longer! They also provide meals and accommodation in exchange for work in the campsite. If you’re a keen surfer and are thinking of taking your skills to the next level you can join the Mojo Academy and train to become a surfing instructor. For more information visit mojoaustralia.com

 

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Keelin Riley

Keelin is an Irish travel writer with a degree in journalism and a background in the Irish media. Based in Sydney, Australia she loves to blog about all things travel-related specialising in budget travel, ethical travel and off-the-beaten-track itineraries!

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