This past weekend the beach club from university went to Torquay: home to two or the surf industry’s biggest names, Rip Curl wetsuits, and Quiksilver clothing. The party got started as soon as we got in the vans (I guess it's not illegal here, but hey, "When in Rome"), and it took us almost 2 hours to get to Bells Beach Lodge. This was pretty much a stereotypical hostel, with a great atmosphere and a good mix of people other than our own group of about 25.
A few of us rented surf boards and wetsuits and then we all walked down to Torquay surf beach where I was met with the view in the first picture. This is pretty much the beginning of the Great Ocean Road and the coastline is spectacular from here westward. I spent no time at all on the beach since I was in the water for the next 2 hours surfing. These were the best waves thus far and made for some of the best rides I've had so far as well. We had spaghetti for supper and hit up the Torquay motel until the wee hours that night.
The next morning we all went back to Torquay surf beach for a few hours and out near the point was once again the best surfing I have done yet. The waves were more like swells since they didn't really break and mostly disappeared before getting to shore where they built up and eventually broke again. Longboards (which I used) are meant for riding these swells which never get a really steep face like the breaking waves do near shore.
A few of us left Torquay to go back to the hostel and then go about 10 minutes further down the coast to Bells Beach: one of the famous surf desitnations of the world where the Rip Curl Pro surf tournament is held every Easter (It is the oldest surf comepetition in the world dating back to the 1960's). I am in the picture with the beach in the background and as you can see it wasn't busy at all for late on a Saturday afternoon. There was literally 10 other people on the beach. We went down to check it out and swam out a ways since we heard it was all reef and was kind of dangerous. We heard right, a few metres out from the waterline there were rocks covered in weeds so it would indeed be dangerous to fall off a wave and get plowed into them.
That night we had a BBQ (it's still the season), and headed back again to the Torquay motel. After it shut down at around 2:30am, a few of us decided it was warm enough to swim, so we walked down to the empty beach and went for a swim under a perfectly clear sky with the milky way streaking across the sky above us. Such a cool experience.
The next day we went shopping in the morning and we found some factory outlet stores so I picked up a rash guard since I was planning on boogie boarding and not wearing a wetsuit in the afternoon since we were going to Bells Beach and I didn't want to become a part of the reef and since I was tired of paddling. The waves were much bigger that day (~2metres) and when I managed to catch a wave in just the right spot and drop down the face right in front of the barreling crest it was easily the coolest thing Mother Nature and I have ever done. It was suprisingly fast but a bit nerveracking to catch glimpses of the sea weeds under water in front of me. I spent the next 3 hours in the water doing it over and over again and also moved just past the point in the picture above to where the waves were a bit bigger but breaking on sand. (Here are 2 other links to other cool pictures that weren't great quality, but still give an idea of what it was like). Another guy in the group and I managed to catch the same wave and we just flew with it; him standing on his surfboard just a metre over from me laying on my board. Stoked is the word that best describes it.
Here is another picture I took that is now my desktop background. This is on the point in the background of the picture of me and Bells Beach. Notice the sedimentary rocks that make up the reef and also how clean the wave is breaking; one long line with the break moving across it which makes for awesome rides on surfbaords and boogie boards.
So that made for another weekend full of sun, sand, surf and parties and very little sleep. I was completely exhausted when I got home. I should be recovered for this coming weekend where I will celebrate my birthday in the Grampian Mountains. It should be interesting since it is the area that was affected by bushfires this past summer and we will be climbing Mt. Abrupt (~800 metres) and visiting waterfalls, a sheep farm and a winery.
That's all for now!
To view photos from the weekend, visit www.ryandownunder.blogspot.com