Surfing without Surfaris

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October 31st 2006
Published: October 31st 2006
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Happy Halloween! It seems to be kind of a non-event here, but you still see the odd kid with a witch's hat or a broom or something. Derek and I are planning on dressing up tonight when we go to the bar for another fooseball tournament, anyway. We bought $1 masks from a grocery store. I'm going to be a pig and he's going to be a bear. There's a cow mask for Mark but he seems less willing to play along, so we'll see what happens.

Yesterday we too the ferry to Manly Beach with Erich, Troy, Mark S., and Jeff with the intention of hitting up some of those great learner waves we saw on our last visit. We went to a rental/board shaping place we saw on our last visit to rent, and I'm really glad we did. The people were really nice and helpful, and seemed excited that we were excited about the opporutnity to surf again. The boards they gave us were PERFECT for our ability level. Really boyant, stable, and long, but lightweight and easy to turn, as well. Plus they were hard and not softboards, which we were happy about (softboards are a bit safer if you get whacked in the head, but they're not as manuverable and I don't really like them). Plus, they had full body wetsuits available for rent. GLORIOUS! Ohhhh if only Surfaris had full bodied wetties available to us--things would have been very different. So warm and comfy, with knee padding and everything! My knees are only moderately bruised today, as opposed to the 6" diameter black and blue swelling they endured after my first day with Surfaris.

The waves were awesome. Quite big for us, but still doable. The currents were really strong so we had to keep coming and walking back to where we wanted to be, but it wasn't a big problem. The stinging Blue Bottle jellyfish positiviely litering the beach were a bit disconcerting, but we managed to remained sting-free for the two hours we were out there. Derek, Mark and I all had great success catching waves and standing up. Derek rode a huge, long wave all the way in, which he was really proud of. The other 4 guys had a bit less success, but they still had a good time. Mark S., Derek, and I were the only ones that rented wetsuits, so everyone else had to deal with fighting off extreme cold as an added obstacle.

We were all SO happy that we were able to surf without the safety net of Surfaris. It just goes to show how great their lessons are. We were able to look at this huge beach, pick the right waves of us to surf, and even read the water a bit to find the best currents and the rip to get us out to sea with minimal effort on our part. I'm not saying we surfed and paddled in the absolute best location for us, but our choices were definitely a lot more educated than they would have been after a couple one hour lessons with some other surf school. Yah Surfaris!!

After surfing we wandered around a bit, ate some food, and some of the guys did some shopping (I'm really trying to avoid it because I'm OBSESSED with beach clothes and am insanely, insanely over budget already). Then we went back to the beach to this area where a big row of volleyball nets was set up. There were some people playing with a huge bag of balls, and they lent one to us. We lay out a court using flipflops for the corner markers and lines drawn in the sand, and played some good 3 on 4 for a couple hours. Eventually this chem major guy, Dan, from Pennsylvania came up and asked if he could play, too, so then we played 4 on 4.

After getting a bit cold, we took the 5:15pm ferry back to Sydney. We played a card-heirarchy guessing game to keep us occupied, where everyone picks a card and shows it to everyone else without looking at it themselves, then you have to guess what card you are based on the way people are treating you (aces are treated like royalty, twos are treated like crap). Troy **gasp** slept with his feet up on the seat. There are signs everywhere warning of fines for people who put their feet on the seat. We had planned to go for dinner at this place where you can eat kangaroo, emu, and crocodile, but we didn't actually have any idea where it was. After a huge 30 minute ordeal,we finally found that information, but also discovered it was going to be $45 a plate. Yah.... so that put an end to that. We ended up just eating at Subway and a kebab place just seconds before they closed.

Then, Erich, Derek and I walked back to a church we had passed on the way to Subway because a 600 voice choir was rehearsing Handel's Messiah, and we wanted to listen. It was just kind of an unproffessional, volunteer choir, but you can't ever sound too bad with 600 voices in a church with good acoustics. I reallllly wanted to join in because I still remember all of my part, but I (mostly) kept quiet. The conductor was surprisingly young, but he was really good. He also had a WONDERFUL tenor voice. Erich was pretty impressed.

Ahhhh 1 minute left before I have to pay more! Noooo! Gotta go!


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