The parks in Australia have a lot of facilities, in each park there are showers, toilets, drinking spots for human and dogs, barbeque places and playgrounds which you can use freely. In the weekends almost all Aussies move towards the beach, at 8 o’clock on Saturday morning the beaches are full with people. They are not only surfing, body boarding or peddle boarding but are also backing bacon and eggs for breakfast. Whole families move towards the beach to spend a day on the beach. They bring their own tents, toys, barbeques and furniture to enjoy their outdoor day.
Last Saturday I joined the Australian national sport: I had my first surfing lesson. I can tell you, if you have never been even near a surfboard, it is quite an experience. First we were divided into groups of age, after an instruction on the beach we went into the water. Then, the challenge began: getting into the ocean with your surfboard. The waves were, compared with the Netherlands, very high and strong. It was a struggle to get far enough into the water before you get on your board.
The coaches were very professional, they positioned you correctly for a wave and if a wave came they would hold your board steady at the back and told you what to do, so that you can try to stand up. It seems so easy to get on your board and to ride the waves. Well, I can tell you from my own experience, it is not as easy as it looks.
If you lay on your board the first step is to push yourself up, then place your knee under your belly bottom, next move your other leg in front of your knee, then turn into sort of a squat position and finally stand up. The time in which you have to perform all those steps is about 5 seconds, so you need to be fast but also very firm. If you are not paying enough attention to the steps and do not look in front of you to the beach, you will lose balance and fall under the waves. I can assure you that can be very painful, especially if the boards fall on top of you. After one hour of trying I finally managed to stand on my board. Although it was very painful, it is also a beautiful experience if you ride the waves.
Since there are so many surf related sports in Australia I want to try a few of them to see which one suits me best. A lot of kids are performing surf sports and I think it is easier if you learn it at a young age. Although the water temperature is very attractive here (around 21 degrees) you need to were a wetsuit because of the sun. The sun if very powerful, in the shadow it is a nice temperature (around 20 degrees) but as soon as you step into the sun, you feel it’s burning power. Even with protecting myself twice with factor 50, I still was burned after being in the sun for 2 hours. So if you are in the water, protect yourself and wear a t-shirt or a wetsuit and cover your head. Some people are even walking with an umbrella in order to stay out of the sun. Even during playing sports everybody is wearing a head or a cap.