5 June 2012
New South Wales is one of the world’s best destinations for surfing. When you think of Australia, one of your first thoughts is probably about surfing. You wouldn’t be far off on the idea that much of the country is influenced by the surfing lifestyle. New South Wales is no different, with countless beach towns and surfing communities.
When I first learned that I was going to NSW I was incredibly excited to explore the beautiful beach towns that I had only ever seen in photos. I was nervous about physically getting onto a surf board, myself, but looking forward to living the easy going lifestyle.
It was also pretty awesome to watch Surfest 2012 in Newcastle, at Merewether Beach. We spent two days on the beach, watching both the men’s and women’s finals, and we were there to see the wins of Willian Cardoso and Sally Fitzgibbons.
Surfing itself wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected. My fear of the ocean seemed to fade as soon as I stepped into the water, and I was able to concentrate on the activity at hand.
The instructor guided me out to the (beginner) waves that started around waist height. I took a few waves to muster the courage until I was comfortable with hopping up onto the surf board. At that point, my instructor pointed me in the right direction and told me to start paddling. A wave was coming.
I paddled furiously for about eight seconds, when I heard him shouting to stand up. I gripped the board at chest level and swung my left foot up onto the board just behind me. With one rash movement, I kicked forward to launch myself up into the air. Only, I didn’t make it up.
Suddenly, I was under the water. I splashed my way back up through another wave, and spat out a mouthful of salty water. Before I could even comprehend what had just happened, I began laughing hysterically. I could only imagine what that had looked like from the beach.
I tried again. And again. I definitely fell more times than I stood, but I wanted to stand for at least five seconds before giving up.
Finally, the perfect (beginner) wave was rolling in. I hopped on and began paddling toward the shore. As the wave lifted up from under me, I gripped the board and kicked my leg to my side. This time, in one swift leap, I launched myself to a standing position on the surf board. I was surfing.
Those five seconds seemed to last much longer than they really did, and I coasted along with a huge smile. I was gliding on the wave until it died down and the board sunk back.
With the completion of my goal I decided to call it a day. I returned to the beach, but looked out at the other surfers for awhile. I remember thinking that maybe with a little more practise and time, that I could totally see myself in the surfing lifestyle.