Friday, February 8, 2008

Well, here I am, back again, to tell you all about my surf camp experience. First let me say, that it rained. Every single day. I think, one day it was sunny for the first half, but we were back to thunderstorms the next day. But let me tell you in a bit more detail... I'll give you a day by day...

On Monday we drove up to surf camp fairly early in the morning (bus picked us up at 7:30). The ride was about 2 hours, but along the way we saw a giant redbull car driving along side us, and our bus rider/surf camp owner said we should mess with them and stare them down as we drove by. So, as we drove by, everyone stared out the window at the redbull girls... Of course they noticed and they were like "Hey guys! Want some redbull? Just drive up to the next parking lot! Hah, our plan backfired, but we got free redbull! And I must say, I have never tasted redbull before... but it was REALLY good! I was always afraid it would taste nasty so I never tried it... but no one ever told me it tasted like liquid smarties! Yum!




So after our redbull pitstop, we continued on to surf camp, and when we got there and after getting our room keys etc, we had to suit up into wetsuits and get on down to the beach. It was raining, but it wasn't raining TOO hard, just a light rain. Of course, that meant we had to put on wet suits in the rain, which was definitely a challenge. In fact, putting the wetsuits were probably the worst thing about the trip!


So, we got there and they gave us a two hour lesson on surfing... although it was raining it wasn't very windy so the waves weren't that bad. I wasn't able to stand up the first two hours on the board... but I didn't feel that bad because a bunch of other people were in the same boat. So, after the lesson, we had lunch, chatted with each other a bit, then we went back to the beach. (it was still raining). This time around the waves were a bit nicer, not really bigger but not as messy as the last lesson. And, it was during THIS lesson that I stood up, twice! One of them was such a good wave too, I went ALL the way to the end. It was fantastic... but of course they didn't get any pictures of me catching this wave.


So, the lesson was over after two hours, and we went back again for dinner. NOW it started raining pretty hard... so pretty much, there was no way for us to be dry, ever. We had to walk to the bathrooms, walk to the outside area for lunch (although it was sheltered on the top, when the wind started picking up and some rain blew in, making sure we were kept nice and wet).


Afterwards, it was time to party! There were a lot of cool people at surf camp, and actually, there were a LOT of Canadians. Also there were people from Sweden, Norway, Germany, pretty much all over. And there were a lot of hot guys ;) We couldn't really go anywhere to party, normally at surf camp they go down to the beach and make a bonfire and all that, but with the rain, we really had no choice but to hang out in the roofed eating area. We still had fun, and I had my first taste of...


Hahn Beer!

It's not a very POPULAR beer here, I think because it has a pretty low alcohol content (2.7% or something like that) but I of course had to get it. It's actually funny, whenever I tell an Australian (only the guys though) what my last name is, they always ask, "Oh, like the beer?"
So, anyway, after we all went to bed, we had another surfing lesson at 9 in the morning. But overnight... it rained... HARD... all night long. When I woke up, it was POURING. We had breakfast, and the instructors told us that we could go to the lessons if we wanted to, they would probably stick us all in one big group because a few instructors called out because of the terrible weather. I decided not to go... because seriously, it was raining so hard, being out there in that and trying to see where you were going would have been insane. About half of the people actually went, and most of them ended up leaving the lesson early because it was hailing. On the second lesson, the weather was about the same, but now everything was flooded and the waves were crashing. Again, I decided not to go to this one, and probably only a quarter of the people actually went. This time, everyone left early, because the rain and wind brought in a huge family of bluebottle jellyfish. A bunch of people got stung (those aren't the deadly jellyfish, just the painful stingers).
Anyway, by dinner time, it had mostly stopped raining, so we all hiked down to the bar and spent a few hours there, then came back to the camp and walked over to a park where we could be extra noisy. It was a great night, and everyone forgot about the terrible surfing day as we drank away our worries!
The next day, it was actually SUNNY! It was fantastic surfing weather... but the problem was, the water was disgusting and muddy from the terrible weather the night before, and the waves were bigger and crashing. I think it was during this lesson when I realized that I am kind of afraid of big waves. Seriously, I have never gone deep in the ocean in my life, and going deep in the ocean where there are big crashing waves was not fun. At all. So I continued to do pretty poorly for this lesson, but on the second 2 hour lesson of the day, I was able to stand up... the picture wasn't that great, because on the second 2 hour lesson, it had started getting overcast and rainy, but here is a pic of me standing up on the board:


This was actually the end of the wave (which is why you don't see much wave behind me). The waves kept getting worse and worse though, and I really was not enjoying my surfing time. The waves kept beating me up, throwing me off my board, knocking me around... and it wasn't just one wave at a time, there were always like 3 or 4 rows of waves (you can see the one behind me breaking).
Most of my time surfing ended up with this:
And I have a lot of pictures where I'm just halfway up because I wasn't able to stand without losing my balance. I thought that was more fun actually :) I usually only fell when I tried standing up!

So anyway, there was one more day of surfing to go (we all went to bed early on Wednesday night because the first surf was at 6:30 on Thursday).
Of course, it was raining in the morning, but I got myself up and went to the 6:30 surf lesson, hating every minute of it from putting on my wetsuit to taking it off. I just am not a surfer. The waves are not my friend. I love the sound of them and I love playing in the waves maybe up to my hips, but by the time I'm up to my shoulders, it's terrible. I got banged up quite a bit from all of this, but at least I did try something new... and I went in the deep waves even though I was afraid. I didn't go as deep as everyone did, I stayed in the first 2 rows of waves when some people were out in the back waves where they were even bigger.
I did have fun during the trip, it was an experience. I would have had MORE fun if I was a better surfer or if it didn't rain so much, but it was still fun, and I met a lot of really cool people.
So, after we finished our 2 surfs for the day, we packed up and went back to sydney for free pizza and beer at the scubar, and the people who had the 5 to 7 day packages (me) had to leave after about an hour to catch the greyhound to Byron Bay. It was a nice 12 hour overnight trip... I tried to sleep for most of it but it wasn't too easy. We got to Byron Bay at about 10 or so in the morning on Friday, and checked into our hostel here. Let me tell you, this place is SO nice, it's like a hippie paradise! The shops are amazing, the people are all so laid back, and the souveneirs you can get here, instead of coffee mugs and kangaroo paw scratchers, you can get fairy things and aura photographs. Haha, I don't know exactly what they are, I think it's just a picture of you with some really nice background or something like that... not actually a picture of your aura, but I didn't ask to find out.
But, I'm not going to talk much about this city on this blog, since I've already written enough for one day... but I'll do that on my next one. I'm going to this really cool hippie villiage type place tomorrow where we are going to swim in a waterfall and have free watermelon and all that. Fun!
But, I'll leave you with one more picture...


this was taken on the one sunny day at surf camp, our wetsuits are halfway down because it was hot. You can see that I haven't gotten much of a tan here, and wow you can really see my ribs can't you? Don't worry, I am eating here in Australia despite the croissant incident, I think it was just cause I was jumping up...

Ok, lunch time, see you all!

Oh, and I'm 29 years old now! Hoooray!

6 comments:

Matthew said...

sounds like your having a good time despite the rain. Glad to hear it. Oh and happy birthday.

Cheryl said...

Can I tell you that you look hot in a wetsuit? ;) I'm sure you're beating those aussie guys away with a kangaroo!!!

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Karen,
Happy birthday to you!!

Turn your phone off tonight.. maybe I'll have the kiddos call tomorrow and sing to you. ;) Don't want you to wake up in the middle of your night!

PMH said...

Okay, now I really want to come out there. You seem like you are finally having a really great time. And I don't blame you for not wanting to get real far into the waves...don't want to feed those Great Whites, right? Ah, they probably wouldn't want you anyhow...not enough meat. hehe

Oh yeah...Happy Birthday - again!

One more thing...hey Kaz from Oz...thought you said that you guys are not having any rain out there? Doesn't sound like much of a drought with rain every day - and hail!

lisah0822@comcast.net said...

what a wonderful post this was!!! and the pictures were beautiful!! omg, i just love the surfing pictures!!
i'm so glad your having fun. i can't wait to read more. i check every day!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY IN THE USA!!! (don't know if its still your bday in Australia, lol)
MISS YOU!!!

Dad said...

Great post Karen. Sorry to hear that surfing isn't your thing. Thankfully there are so many other things. Try them all (Well, maybe not all).
Hope you had a great birthday.

stacy122982 said...

First, as for the redbull...I HATE REDBULL! I could have told you about the horribly disgusting smell/taste of smarties it has! I want to vomit every time someone (nicola) cracks open that can in my presence...so please...leave your new found love for that stuff IN AUSTRALIA!!

Second, your pictures are awesome, my fave is the pic of you all jumping, followed by the one of you standing up.

Third, Can you please smuggle me a Hahn beer home??? Or two???

Fourth, Cheryl would be in hippy heaven if she were there!! Take lots of pics for her!! Hahah!

Fifth, please bring me back the worlds best souvenir.

Thanks!
Hope you enjoyed your Bday!