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Published: October 27th 2006
Derek and Mark are getting angry with me for spending so much time at internet cafes so I'm going to try to finish my Surfaris story today. We'll see....
My memories of Sandy Beach are getting really jumbled up, but I'll do my best to sort them out. When we last left our heros, we were just settling down to bed in preparation for an early wakeup. At 5am on Thursday morning Rosco came around and (apparantly) woke everyone up. Somehow I missed that wakeup call, but the sound of Derek's glasses case snapping shut woke me up. That's kind of my wakeup call these days. Smartly I had slept in my clothes so all I had to do was brush my hair and roll out the front door of the tent into my sandles. The sky was suspiciously light out and I was really afraid I'd gotten up at 5am only to discover I'd missed the sunrise, but it was OK. We ran down to the sand dune where I had seen the kangaroo the day before to see that the sun hadn't broken the horizon yet. It rose surprisingly quickly and we all snapped pictures while Rosco filmed it for the DVD. You can see a video of the sand dune under the Surfaris Update #2 entry. After a few minutes of sun watching I headed back to the campsite for some Surfaris granola and tasty, tasty Milo, then pulled on my wettie and set off for the beach with Mark. We were the very first ones to hit the waves! Keeners. Shortly, though, we were joined by the rest of the gang. High tide was around 6:20am, which created optimal conditions for us. The waves were soooooo good. We instantly forgot that we had just watched a sunrise. I was full of energy and confidence (must have been the Milo) and did my best to catch as many waves as possible. I was even trying to paddle out far, although the paddling was exhausting.
Before long Pat was down, complete with brown zinc on face and clever little tie-on hat with brim for maximum sun protection. I hadn't even put sunscreen on yet because it was practically still dark when I first went down to the beach. Whoops. It was OK though and I didn't get burned. There are skin cancer clinics everywhere here in Australia; it's really unfortunate. Anyways, Pat came down and invited me on to the tandem board with him. We set to work paddling out waaaay far out. I honestly don't know how he paddles so well. I was giving it my all and I'm sure I wasn't doing anything to actually move us forward. It tired me right out, though. Once you're out far you have to be a little more patient for waves and take your time until the right one comes. This was fine with me because I was exhausted and needed to give my arms a rest if I was going to be able to use them to push myself to a standing position. I lay on my stomach on the board and rested my head on my arms while Pat watched for our perfect waves. Eventually a good set came and we paddled hard... caught a big one... I stood up.... and almost immediately toppled off the board. Luckily it was just shallow enough for me to stand because there is no leg rope on the tandem board so it goes flying away when you fall off, and we had been out pretty far. That's how the Duke, the guy who started Australian surfing (see our History of Australian Surfing, Act 1, pantomime for details) became such a good swimmer. Unfortunately, I am not a good swimmer at all, and do not appreciate being without a board for floatation.
Pat brought the board back, I climbed back on, and we repeated the paddling process. Pat told me to forget my snowboarding stance and put more weight on my front foot, which was totally valid. It took the next 2 days for me to get out of that back foot habit (I'm not really sure if I ever got out of it). Anyway, soon we caught another big waves and I stood up again, but we were really far out and the wave was so big and I toppled off again. Nooooo! It had seemed so easy on the tandem board at Point Plomer. This time the bail did not go so well. I swallowed salt water and came to the surface gasping for breath, only to see the board way ahead and Pat hardcore swimming after it, leaving me out in the deep water where I couldn't touch. Ahhh!!! Frantically swimming towards shore, all the while chocking from my water inhalation and sure I was going to die, I discovered I could touch afterall. Even though we'd been out far there was a big sandbar which made it shallow even out from shore. Thank goodness! Pat really really wanted me to give it another go and head out again, but my arms were so tired from paddling that I was sure I wouldn't be able to swim at all if I fell off again. "I'm too tired for any more," I said. "I'll go again later." "No!" Pat said. "The waves will be shit later! Now is the time!" I really wanted to go and I could tell I was letting him down, but my near death experience was fresh in my mind so I copped out and headed in to rest on the beach. I'd already been surfing for two hours, which is a lot, and it was only 8:30am so I knew I had the whole day for more.
Now what happened? I don't even remember. We went back up to camp and some people had breakfast (I'd already eaten)... Oh yah!!! Quiz time with Quizmaster Pat! Some of us organized ourselves into teams to participate in a trivia test of Surfining/Random Knowledge. There was Team UK/Ireland, Team SAS (South Africa/Sweden), and Team Canada. Team Canada dominated on the actual surfing trivia questions, but unfortunately we fell flat on questions such as "What colour is Rosco's underwear?" and "How old is Pat?" (35, if you were wondering. We guessed 32. Team SAS got negative points for guessing 37. Hehehehe) After all the testing, including such highlights as me rolling around on the ground demonstrating an eskimo roll, Team UK/Ireland and Team Canada were tied!!! We needed a quiz off. Our final question was "How many kms do the humpback whales travel on their roundtrip migration up the coast of Australia?" There was confusion when the question was posed, but regardless both teams stupidly overestimated. Team Canada overestimated less than Team UK/Ireland, though, so we were crowned Quiz Champions! Yahhhhhhh!!!!! Pat promised us a prize to be awared at our final wrap up party on Saturday.
At this point it was around 11am and time for more surfing. Horay! Only some of us seemed to be hearty enough for this afternoon surf for some reason, but it was GREAT. The waves were really dumpy, but I loved it because they were powerful and I could catch every one I tried with minimal paddling. The tradeoff was that I got seriously WORKED every time I tried to make my way out to sea. I was continually bashed around and beaten down by the surf, and really the waves were nothing for real surfers. It gave me an amazing appreciation for the guys in the videos, and even the guys on the huge waves at Bondi. I had a great time, though, and caught a couple awesome, long waves (one of which I think is the final surf scene on the DVD, but I'm not sure). Dave, Jess2, Mark and I stayed out there long after everyone else had come up because we were having so much fun.
When we came up, it was time to really get to work planning Act 2. This was to be a huge act, and we had a lot of history to cover. We got a bit more in to it, however, once we started planning. Somehow we started incorporating everything a good movie/pantimime should have. We had a fight scene that spanned 30 years, TWO sex scenes (somehow I was the star of one.... ahem), a birth scene (I was also the star of that one. Who planned this?!), a drowning and a funeral, drug experimentation, and partying at the club. Oh, and an original love song composed by Derek. Hahahaha we really got out of control. You'll have to see the DVD to see how it all came together, although Rosco very, very skillfully edited out many parts that I was very happy to erase all record of. Good on ya, mate! For all this action, though, we needed a lot of props. However there was not time for prop gathering--it was time for more surfing!!!
The waves were great, again. Pat brought down his short board and even Rosco caught a few. (at least I think that was this time... with so much surfing I'm not sure what happened when) Once again, Dave, Jess2, and I were the last ones down there because we were having such a good time. It was a really great day of surfing. We must have been on the water for at least 6 hours total. The only reason we came in was because the waves just suddenly died and I couldn't catch a single one. Frustrating!
We were exhausted when we came up, but there was no time to rest. We had to get the props together for that evening's showing of Act 2. The problem was it was getting dark fast and our car-battery powered lighting system had died the night before. Patrick made a huge fire for us to work by, while I delegated tasks to everyone and drilled my workers into action. Dave and Jess had already brought up a board from the beach for the play, and I had earlier carried the 7' board the entire way, by myself, on my head. Other props included a sleeping bag for the waves, chairs for the job interview and birth scenes, and olympic torch, and duct tape ties. Phew it was a lot of work!
For dinner we had greek salad with delicious olives and huge chunks of tasty feta. Mmmmmm. We had other stuff too, but greek salad is all that matters to me. I want some right now. Yum.
Then after dinner it was SHOWTIME! We didn't have time for a dress rehearsal before this one, so Acts 2 and 3 were pretty sketchy, particualrly Act 3. Oh well, it was halarious and a success in its own way. Pat seemed pretty disappointed with the result and resolved to make it better next time. Act 1 was a hard act to follow. We pretty much set ourselves up for disaster =) Again, see the DVD for a good recap.
After Act 2 we were SO tired because it was 9:30pm and we'd all woken up at 5am, so everyone just collapsed in to bed.
Somehow, some of us managed to get up the next morning, Friday, at 5am again. I missed the sunrise but headed straight down to the water for the early surf. I was the first one! Can you believe it? Surfaris made a hardcore girl out of me. Since my arms were fresh I had the strength to paddle out way far, and spent the morning trying to catch some bigger waves. After minimal success I headed back in because I was freezing cold, even though it was finally sunny. Most people were just sumbathing onshore or back at camp. I came up for some Milo and to dry off. I packed up our tent and all of our stuff then headed back to surf for the final 45mintues before we had to pack everything up to leave for Byron Bay. I didn't really stand up on this final event, but I went WAAAAYY out and Dave showed me how to catch the really big waves. I actually caught two huge ones, but they were both so scared that I just immediately bailed for self preservation. The second time I saw the water drop away below me as I accelerated terrifyingly fast. It was too much! But time was up so I picked up my board and lugged it on the long walk back to camp for the last time.
Times up... one more update to come!
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