Ambrose Bierce summed up our fascination with the ocean like this “Ocean: A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man – who has no gills.” With this in mind it’s not difficult to understand the appeal of surfing. The ocean is such a vast, compelling and, in many ways, unknown force that to harness even some of its power, even for the briefest of moments, must be hugely exhilarating. Besides, how awesome did Keanu Reeves make it look! Gnarly. This must have been what Michelle had in mind when she booked us in for a wicked surf lesson on Bondi beach. Or maybe she and I had a clandestine chat about the most hilarious activity we could sign Marketing Managing Leah up for and this fit the bill perfectly.
We met at Lara and Jacob, our instructors for the day, at Bondi’s north end. They were friendly and very awake for a weekend morning. Leah was looking longingly at the coffee shop beside us but there was no time for that. Lara handed us a couple of wetsuits with a massive smile and a huge dose of enthusiasm. I think it must have been catching because even Leah seemed excited without the aid of a caffeine injection. As was I. I had been craving a swim in the ocean since the end of June, when I foolishly went on the Bondi to Coogee walk without wearing swimmers. It had been unseasonably warm that day and I had been jealous of all the heads bobbing around in the ocean. There’d be plenty of splashing around today to make up for it.
Leah and I stepped out of the dressing rooms looking absolutely stunning in our amazingly flattering wet suits. Not really. I think you must have to be Kate Moss in order to avoid a camel toe in what is essentially a tightly fitting onesie made of foamed neoprene. Never mind, we worked it. Lara and Jacob led us on to the beach where we sat for a couple of minutes and introduced ourselves and shared our favourite movie. Nobody said Point Break. What was wrong with these people? We split into two groups, 1) the experienced and 2) the centre of gravity challenged. Or 1) everybody else and 2) Leah and I. Lara gave us a quick run down of rips, surf, currents and surfing basics. Surfing basics go a little something like this:
- Step 1: Paddle, paddle, paddle
- Step 2: Push up
- Step 3: Back foot forward
- Step 4: Front foot forward.
Learn to surf in four easy steps. And two of them are literally steps. What could go wrong? We grabbed our boards and headed for the waves. Of course Leah and I being bastions of rebellion in a largely conformist world we decided to throw the rule book to the sharks and blaze a trail of our own in the surfing realm. Our steps went a little something like this: