Surfing with the Katz

Trip Start Jan 23, 2012
Trip End Jun 09, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

After saying our fond farewell to Diana, we jumped on the Greyhound and were in Byron Bay in less than four hours.

Byron Bay is best described as a lazy, laid back surfer town and it definitely lived up to the hype. As soon as we checked into our hostel, we went for a wander about town, and to the beach. The tree-lined streets were lovely and quiet, lined with cool, kitsch bars, restaurants and surfer shops. Quicksilver even had two outlets!

The following day, we woke up bright and breezy, and after a swift trip to the tourist info centre, booked ourselves a surf lesson that afternoon with Kool Katz.

Soon enough 2pm came around, and the owner, Terry, picked us up. Terry is best described as a surfer guy who's been there, done it, and bought the wetsuit! A really cool guy - and anything he doesn't know about surfing isn't worth knowing. He drove us, and about 10 other students to the nearby Shaws Bay, where we were given our wet suits.

Next up, we were allocated a surf board each and were given a quick safety briefing and a 20-minute how-to-stand tutorial by Terry. Terry is described as "the crocodile hunter of surfing", and it's fair to say we all picked up the technique pretty quickly. The trick was now applying this theory in the water! After the briefing, we went straight into the sea, and after forming a line about 100 yards out from the sea, all jumped on our boards.

To start with, we were told to lay on our boards - and as soon as a wave came along Terry pushed us along with the wave - one by one. Our job was then to use the technique we'd just been taught to stand...easier said than done! Neill managed to stand first time, and managed a good 5 seconds before falling off. Sophie wasn't quite so lucky, splashing down a few seconds later! Over the next two hours, we went back and forth, surfing in, walking back out, and then surfing back in. By the end, Neill managed to catch his own wave but in doing so, crashed into the back of Sophie's board! It's about this moment that we'd decided to call it a day...we were absolutely knackered, and had drank a ton of seawater!

The following day was a much more sedate affair. We checked out at 10am and after reading our books for a couple of hours, we walked for a couple more hours along Byron Bay's beach. As it was ANZAC day, a public holiday, the beaches were packed with people chilling, relaxing and surfing. Eventually, we ended up at the lookout point to the south of the beach.  We were told this was the easternmost point in Australia, so obviously took several photos to mark the occasion!

That evening, we boarded our second Greyhound bus of the trip - this time, a 13-hour journey to Sydney!
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