Whether you are still in the early stages of planning your stay in Australia, just arrived or already lived in Australia for quite some time, I am sure you have looked at all these pictures and videos of surfers with massive envy. I did. Before I came to Australia almost three years ago I was following all these surfer dudes and chicks on instagram, daydreaming of the moment when it would be my turn – my turn to become this sun-kissed, beach savvy goddess of the waves. Like, how difficult can it be? It’s just a surf board and some water, easy peasy… yeaaaaah, nah. Absolutely not. Reality, here represented by a massive wave, hit me in the face big time, knocked me out, and I almost (involuntarily) made my TV career debut on Bondi Rescue. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind being the distressing damsel being saved by a tan, longhaired Australian life guard, however, considering this TV show is also aired all over Norway, it would perhaps not have been the proudest moment in my life. It was when I was shamefully dragging my half-drowned self up on the shores of Bondi Beach I promised myself that I would not attempt this sport again before I had had some sort of training. And two days later, I was on my way to a whole week of SURF CAMP!
Let me give you five quick reasons as to why Surf Camp, no matter how cheesy or stereotypical it might be, is a definite must for anyone planning a trip to Australia.
- It doesn’t matter how many videos you’ve watched, YOU CANNOT SURF.
You may be thinking like me, that “oh that doesn’t look too hard, I’ll be doing flips and turns in no-time.” Don’t be cocky. I was, and I made an absolute fool of myself in front of heaps of cool surfer dudes, my friends and quite possibly the entire world (at least the countries who air “Bondi Rescue”). At surf camp nobody expects you to be Kelly Slater after one hour. In fact, they expect you to know diddly squat about surfing, and therefore teach you all the basics, and some more. You get assigned into groups and each group gets one surf instructor for the entire stay. This way you’ll get lots of advise and help, and few people to compete with for your instructor’s attention.
- Make heaps of new friends!
For starters, there may be anything from 20 to 80 people attending your camp, depending on where and when you go. In my case, I went to Seven Mile Beach with Surf Camp Australia, and we were quite a big group. At the camp you’ll be put into little beach houses, and you get to know all the people staying in your room – and you get to stay awake all night because one of them snores so loud the windows are vibrating. Nevertheless, as I mentioned, you will also be assigned into groups when you get to the beach. These groups will be your surf-buddies for the week, and you’ll share a gazilion laughs together over how much you actually suck at surfing. You’ll also share heaps of amazing moments together, for example the moment where one of you manage to stand up for the first time! Almost three years later and I still talk to the friends I made at surf camp.
- Learn a new skill!
I know some people actually do arctic surfing, and that that is now a thing. However, most people from places that go below 0 degrees (celsius) usually are not too familiar with surfing (but if you have ever done snowboarding or wake boarding you’re one step ahead). We do have a few surf spots in Norway, but they are far and few between. And, they usually freeze to ice for months at a time. So whether you’re from a country where surfing is not embedded in the general culture, or you just have never had the time or opportunity to try it, this is your time. How many of your friends at home are worldwide known surfers? None. This is your time to shine! Not saying you’re gonna be famous after one go, but you certainly are moving faster than those sitting on the couch watching Bondi Rescue.
One thing is for sure, surfing for eight hours every day for a week made me discover muscles I didn’t even know I had! Surfing for hours upon end, paddling towards the waves, standing up, falling off, relocating the water surface, relocating your board.. and start all over again! This is good exercise I promise you. You will be sore beyond reason the morning after, but it will all be worth it!The day is usually laid out like this: 1. get woken up at an ungodly hour 2. eat some breakfast (all meals are included btw) 3. jump in your wetsuit and head to the beach 4. attempt surfing for 4 or so hours 5. go back to camp and eat lunch 6. chill 7. get back into your wetsuit and head to the beach 8. surf some more 9. go back to camp, shower, eat awesome dinner 10. have a beach party, chill, watch a movie, go exploring, the world is your oyster, mah friend.
- Get out of your comfort zone and experience a new culture!
Exploring a new country is infinitely exciting. But it is not exciting sitting at your dormitory, hostel, hotel or home doing nothing. You will not learn anything this way. You will learn nothing from following famous surfers on instagram, or write 50 facebook-statuses about how awesome your trip is going to be. Nothing will happen unless you take the initiative. And the surf-culture is definitely something worth exploring. Coming from a busy everyday environment in cold Norway to this massive (7 miles long in fact, hence the name) beach, the awesome atmosphere and absolutely 100% chill vibe was a big turning point, and it taught me many things. It taught me that stressing is not going to get you anywhere, but also that you will not get anywhere if you don’t get your butt off that couch and jump out of that comfort zone of yours. And believe me, face palming in classic nose dive style in front of people who have surfed their entire life, WHILE having my picture taken, was way outside my comfort zone, and it was A-O-K !
And, btw, you might get to see some dolphins, so.. WORTH IT. Have you surfed? Tell us in the comments!