The Beginner's Guide to Surfing in Australia

surfing in australia

Surfing in Australia: Australia is famous for being one of the best places in the world to surf, and not just for experts, we were beginners and we found it perfect. 

Before Australia neither of us had ever been surfing. My fiancĂ©, Tanbay, was very eager to do so, and I was not. This is because Tanbay is excellent at skateboarding and snowboarding and I am not. I am appalling. So you can understand why he was eager and I was not (what can I say? If I'm not hitting someone in the face, it's not a fun sport - I am a kick boxer). Nevertheless I knew surfing is a must do activity in Australia and I was willing to give it a go. 

Surfing in Surfer's Paradise, Queensland 
surfers paradise australia sign
Even I could appreciate that there would be no better named place to learn how to surf than Surfer's Paradise so we decided to go for it. 

surfers paradise australia beach
We took a lesson. First you learn how to lie on the board whilst on the beach, then you do it in the water. Then we were taught how to stand up, which was taught in two ways: a quick jumpy way and a slower slidey way. 

As predicted Tanbay was excellent and I was appalling, though I am a better surfer than a snowboarder or skateboarder (at least I managed to stand up)! It was still lots of fun and my only regret is not having a photo of us surfing for the first time, but I do have a photo of how tired we were afterwards: 

We definitely recommend that you learn to surf or just surf at Surfer's Paradise, it was fun and beautiful. They also taught us about riptides and not pointing your board directly at swimmers. 

Bodyboarding in Manly
When we were staying in Sydney, we were lucky enough to get to go to Manly:

manly beach sydney australia

Unfortunately Tanbay was unlucky enough to have a broken arm, so I had to bodyboard by myself:

manly beach australia bodyboard

manly beach australia bodyboard
I found it a bunch easier than surfing and thus way more fun. I only wish T bay could have done it too. Body boarding is so easy, even easier than swimming it's just point and go. 

I also saw a sting ray in the water! He was cute and small, but I was worried that he'd sting me, so I asked a kid if we should get out of the water, and he said 'no no that's just for sharks' and then laughed at me. Ha ha ha. 

Surfing at Bondi Beach
During our last days in Australia, Tanbay wanted to surf again, and I wanted to go to the famous Bondi Beach, so we combined the two! 

This is the iconic Bondi Beach: 

bondi beach australia
We hired a surfboard for AU$25 for two hours from a guy on the beach. We shared the board and two hours was plenty of time - we were knackered afterwards! 

Here I am wasting time and posing with the board: 
bondi beach australia surf

And here is Tanbay, he's meant to be posing with his board, but he was too eager to get in.

bondi beach australia surf

We both enjoyed it a lot more than the first time, and I even enjoyed it more than body boarding. In fact I'd go as far as saying that I absolutely loved it! Go Bondi!
bondi beach australia surf

Tanbay was even more excellent: 

bondi beach australia surf

In fact we enjoyed it so much we came back the next day, but this time we hired a smaller surfboard: 

bondi beach australia surf

It was only our third time surfing, and all the surfperts (surf experts) said that it was too soon to have a smaller board. But we both found it so much easier...

So in the end we really really enjoyed surfing (and I loved bodyboarding). It's now on the top of both of our lists to do in lots of countries :) 

Here are some dos and don'ts when surfing: 
  • Don't surf between the flags - that's for the swimmers
  • Ask the life guards where the riptides are and keep away
  • Look before you set off so you don't hit anyone on the head 
Clearly though, I'm no expert so ask a life guard/ real surfer :) 

I would like to thank Australia for making me love surfing and for having excellent beaches :D


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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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