I had a great weekend in Torquay despite having a bit of a meltdown as I lay in bed unable to sleep on friday night. As I stood on the beach Saturday morning in the hot sun staring out at the breaking waves with a board in my hand I couldn't help but grin and I knew this was exactly where I was meant to be.
It was a beautiful day and the surfing conditions were perfect for me. Nice clean breaking waves with a long period and enough time between sets to paddle out. It was grouse.
So I was out there doing my thing, catching some waves, eating shit - and I met this guy and he asks me if it's my first day (am I really doing that badly?) I tell him no I've been doing it for a little while but I'm still getting the hang of it. So he decides he's gonna help me out and give me some pointers.
First thing he makes me paddle, a lot, surfing back home in Washington I almost never paddle, we just walk out into the waves and hop on the board and go when you see a wave coming at you. Big mistake because a) you need to start paddling for the waves a lot sooner than I ever got a chance to, and b) you don't have a chance to get balanced on your board and are in too much of a rush therefore falling off when you try to get up.
So he got me paddling around on my board, paddling out and paddling back around to get in position and paddling for the waves - more paddling than I have ever done before in my life. It's good though because 90% of surfing is paddling and it was about time I started doing it. In conclusion the guy was totally awesome for helping me out and I really made progress and found it a lot easier to stand up and stay up after that. Although it wasn't very long before my arms felt like complete jello and it didn't matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get that last blast of speed to put me onto the waves.
Lesson learned I packed up and lay down in the sun for a while to rest before trekking back to the hostel with my board and all my gear, exhausted but completely happy. I spent the rest of the afternoon checking out some of the surf outlets until the other surfers got back and we hung out in the back yard and had some beers until dinner was ready.
A lot more backpackers arrived and the hostel was jumping that night, everyone hung around outside, and a couple of us more beginner surfers sat down with this Italian guy who moved to Melbs about 3 years ago to surf and he shared a lot of his surfing and life wisdom with us and gave us some tips.
I finally crawled into bed around midnight and set my alarm for early as I'd agreed to go out for a morning surf with two Canadian girls who were staying in my room. At six in the morning I dragged myself out of bed and into my swimmers and got all my stuff together and we piled everything in the car and took off.
I'd read the surf forecast on friday and wasn't expecting great things for the day but thought it would still be worth riding but when we pulled up to Torquay Surf Beach and looked out and the beach it was flat. Nothing. So we decided to go to Jan Juc maybe it would be better. The parking lot was empty when we pulled in and we knew it was gonna be bad, it was and we debated going home to bed but decided to go check out Bells just in case I mean we had got up at six in the morning for this and it was our last day. So we drove out to Bells and saw some roos on the way but when we got there it was more of the same, nothing.
So we drove back to the Hostel and sat in the car and ate snacks and talked shit. After a while we decided we couldn't sit around any longer and headed off down the Great Ocean Road for a bit of a drive and we would check out the surf on the way down and see if there was anything rideable.. but there wasn't so eventually somwhere around the historical marker we turned around and headed back to Torquay. We stopped off in Anglesea to check out the surf shop and grab some coffees then made our way back to the hostel where we had brekkie and talked to the rest of the gang about their morning surf.
Deciding that we had to go out, even if it's just for a bit of a paddle, we headed out once again, two of the German guys in tow, to Jan Juc. It was still bad and choppy and just a mess, but we went anyways. I lasted about an hour and caught maybe one wave and did a bit of paddling about but it was just no good. Rebecca stayed out the longest and came back to the car well after we'd all changed and were relaxing in the warm car.
If there's one thing this weekend made me realize it's that I love the surfing life, well I kind of already knew that but this weekend just cemented it. And I've got the hair for it, the curly mess that I always hated has been vindicated, in Westport before heading over the guy at The Surf Shop told me I had a classic surfer grom look and yesterday one of the girls complimented my salty windblown curls. I love it.
Now I am looking into buying a car because not only would it make surfing a lot easier but it will help me with finding fruit picking work and allow me to buy a board and take it around with me once I start travelling around and want to head up the coast. It will just make life a lot more convenient. The only thing now is finding a cheap car with registration.
And thanks to a Danish girl at the hostel I finally found the Australian equivalent of Craigslist - Gumtree. It's weird but I've kind of been lost without it. Being in a new city where I don't really know anyone or anywhere and it's just a great resource to find and sell things, meet people, arrange rideshares, look for jobs, whatever.
Well now I'm down to my last week at the Law Firm and although I like the pay check it will be nice to be done. I can plan my next move which will probably be down the Great Ocean Road or fruit picking.