Bondi Beach. I'm updating the blog (Sarah) today so here goes:
With withdrawal symptoms from the sun, surf and sand, we headed off to Sydney's renowned Bondi Beach for a couple of days, only to arrive to rather windy, chilly, bleak conditions with only a couple of hardcore surfers out there braving it down at the big end of the beach. Walked from our hostel down a rocky costal path and watched them battle against the biggies, whilst the surf crashed against the jagged rocks only a few metres to their left - quite spectacular as it exploded into a saltwater pool that was just under our view point - wouldn't fancy swimming in it!.
They were the kind of waves that made me feel a bit sick inside just watching, so couldn't imagine what it would feel like being out in them. Walked to the far ended of the beach while Nick contemplated having ago!!!! Checked with a local surf school instructor about conditions and hiring a wetsuit. He said the swell was pretty big and building during the afternoon and was probably the hairiest conditions we could have possibly picked to have a go.
Undeterred Nick hired his wetsuit and off he went, with me looking on very nervously from the windy beach. With strong currents and a pretty big beach break luckily for me my worries were short lived as it was impossible to actually get out into the take off zone, so he gave it up as a bad job, a bit disappointed. Went back to the hostel for a warm shower before heading back into town for a late afternoon beer, by which time the sun had come out and we caught the last rays reading our books and catching up on the journal. As we walked up to the RSL (Returning Services League Club - weird choice for dinner but recommended for value for money meals) my face felt a bit tight. By the time we left I had a bright red nose and rosy cheeks and forehead - can't believe how strong the Aussie sun is - we were only sitting in the late afternoon, early evening sun for an hour or so on a relatively chilly day. Plenty of sun block and a hat required for tomorrow.
Day two at Bondi and the sun is shining, and the swell manageable - this is more like it. Nick thought he'd brave the water in just his board shorts, only to come leaping back out of the surf seconds later with his knees in the air and up the beach to get a wetsuit! Once wetsuited up to the max and back in the water he paddled out to the take off zone - no problem today. There were quite a few surfers already out in the water, but he pitched up in front of the crowd, turned his board around and caught a legendary wave in a matter of seconds. It was so good I didn't think it was Nick until he came back into the beach a little while later and talked me through his best wave ever!!! I was so proud and Nick was well happy!! Nick also reported back that although the waves were manageable for me, there were too many other surfers and some idiots in the water, (knocking on 40 by now) which would be difficult for me to navigate through (I get quite nervous when there are too many people around to run into, or be run over by,) so decided to wait a while.
I so wanted to say I've surfed on Bondi Beach, and spent the whole day trying to persuade myself to take the plunge. By late afternoon the swell had dropped, and I thought now or never. Ran up and hired a board and wetsuit and gingerly entered the surf. Felt really nervous, not sure why as I've been out in far more extreme conditions than this and paddled out a little way, only to be caught in a current and sent miles down the beach. After a second even more feeble attempt I gave up and felt miserable. On reflection I shouldn't have bothered - there were too many people, the surf by then was crap and I was in the wrong frame of mind - think I liked the thought of surfing on Bondi Beach more than the reality - think I'll save my surfing for breaks I'm comfortable with.
Did manage to find a new bag for Geoff (Nick's surf board and new best friend) that was a much better fit and should mean he can travel comfortably and safely without the threat of injury - thank goodness for that!!!