Surf tourism is a key market in Australia and more and more surf schools are being setup to cope with the high demand – from luxury surf camps for those with a bigger budget through to single day lessons for beginners. In Part 1 of this surfing series we asked Chris Stevens, surfer, traveller and photographer, to round up the best surfing beaches in New South Wales. In this post he gives us his tips on where to find lessons and how to get hold of a decent board.
Surf lessons are by far the best way to get started in the world of surfing. They offer expert advice to get you riding and also teach you the ropes on surf etiquette and beach safety for when you venture out on your own.
There are a variety of routes to go depending on your time, budget and also commitment! Single lessons are around $30-$40 (Aussie dollars) including all your equipment and guide and are ideal for people just wanting a taster. Check out Kool Kats Surf School in Byron Bay.
For those who want to further progress their skills weekend warrior or week long sessions are available – allowing you to get confident enough to go out on your own.
If you’re a surfing fan and are looking for an alternative way to get around Australia then you should consider a ‘Surfari’. These are longer surf packages which take in a variety of surf spots and also include accommodation and food. Companies such as Mojo Surf offer some great packages which run from Sydney to Byron Bay as either a one way or return package – the perfect way to get fully immersed in Australia surf culture.
To buy or not to buy?
Once you’ve had a taste of surf life you’ll no doubt be hooked – so it’s a case of whether you invest in a board or buy. If you’re in Oz for a while and are keen to surf most days then buying a board is a no brainer. Unless you’re flush for cash second hand is the way to go – Pawn shops are slightly overpriced so help out a fellow backpacker and buy from someone on the road. Just do your research – a 5 foot performance board may look the part but it’s an uphill struggle to learn on one – most average size and weight people will be best off with a board between 7 and 8 foot, the thicker the better!
Renting a board is a great way to test how much you want to surf – it’ll also allow you to try a few different boards to see what suits you, and the shop owners will be great for advice on this. It’ll save you money if you’re only surfing for a few days or can’t lug a board around, but over a long period of time it can be quite costly so think long and hard.
Either way you’ll be saving heaps of dollar by enjoying the sea – as that’s free!
See you in the water…
You can see more of Chris on his blog. Flight Centre currently have some great deals on surfing packages with Mojo Surf, call 0208 045 4186 and ask for Lizzie Kempson who can tell you more.