*from June 17, 2015
You guys didn’t think I’d spend a year in Australia and not try surfing, did you? OK, maybe those of you who know how scared of sharks I am might have thought that, but I did it anyway! Katie had heard from a friend that Byron Bay was a really cool town, and since I hadn’t been yet, it was the perfect place to end the “road trip” portion of our East Coast adventure before flying to Sydney. Facing another poor weather forecast, we took our chances and booked a morning class with Byron Bay Surf School. Against the odds, we lucked out and had a cloudy morning with no rain. Our instructor’s name was Simon. He was from Victoria and had THE BEST Australian accent I’ve heard this entire year. We wiggled into our wetsuits and hit the beach.
We did a bit of stretching before diving into some more surf-specific techniques, all of which made me wish I had done a few pushups or burpees to prepare for the workout that the surf lesson ended up being. Once we (sort of) got the hang of standing up on the board properly on land, we jumped into the water and headed out to the sandbar where the baby waves were rolling in.
I’d like to tell you some fantastic story about how I’ve had some hidden surfing talent all along and that I was a pro by the second ride, but the only miracle that happened while I was near a surfboard was that I wasn’t eaten by a shark. Surfing is not my sport (and not really something I recommend for people with perfectionist tendencies). I was horrendous. I stood up a few times, only to fall immediately off onto my butt or to find that the wave had passed and I was going nowhere. It was 150 shades of frustrating and really made me miss how effortless swimming used to be. One of the “intern” instructors gave me a tip to start further up on the board late into the class, and I got a few rides that were better than the first half of the class, but I was so tired by that point that I wasn’t super psyched about it.
I guess what I can take from the surf lesson is that practice makes perfect, and good surfers obviously practice A LOT. Also, I again confronted the recurring theme in my year Down Under: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Simon said at the end of the lesson that the best surfer is the one that’s having the most fun, words that I’ll definitely take into it the next time I decide to give it try.