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Surf Camp Australia

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Surf Camp for beginners at Seven Mile Beach or Byron Bay, Australia. Get the ultimate surf experience.

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      31.07.2009 19:41
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      A great introduction to surfing

      Surf Camp is pretty much what it says on the tin. It is a camp where you learn how to surf. It is located a few hours outside of Sydney, and they pick you up from and drop you off at the YHA Central in Sydney.

      It is aimed at complete beginners, so you don't need to know anything about surfing before you go.

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      Location:
      7 Mile Beach, Gerroa. This beach is specifically chosen because it is very good for beginners i.e. there are waves, but not ones that are too big.

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      Packages:
      5 Day Surf Camp $675
      4 day Surf Camp $525
      Weekend Surf Camp $295
      2 day Surf Camp $275
      1 Day Surf Trip $145

      Prices include transport to the camp and meals; although how many meals you will be given depends on the time you are picked up/ dropped off. They'll let you know this when you book. All equipment is provided, including wetsuits.

      How to decide which package to choose:
      Obviously, your personal budget will be a big factor in deciding which package you would take. I would definitely recommend doing at least a 2 day camp. Firstly because I personally think you will need more than a day to actually learn how to surf and get some practice in. Secondly, this will include staying overnight at the camp and it is a great way to make some new friends.
      A friend of mine did the 4 day camp, and she said it was extremely tiring. She said it was basically the same as the two day camp but with two extra days of practice. She enjoyed it, but felt it wasn't necessary to do the two extra days. Of course, this is really up to the individual person, and some people might really benefit from these extra two days.

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      My Experience:
      I'll try to keep this as brief as possible, as this is a review not a journal, but hopefully give you an idea of what the surf camp entails. I did the weekend surf camp. (I am adding this now after having written the whole thing, and actually it is quite long, so if you're not interested in hearing all about it, you can skip to the end section: Would I recommend it?)

      Friday Evening:
      I was picked up about 6 o'clock, and we stopped off at a burger place on the way before arriving at the camp about 8 o'clock. We were allocated to rooms; I was sharing with 5 others, but you can pay extra for private rooms or twin shares. The camp is actually a small area in a larger holiday park. Camp doesn't literally mean you are camping, we stayed in cabins. There was a table area in the centre and the cabins were around it in a square. Bedding is provided. This first evening some of us sat around and chatted for a bit, but we went to bed fairly early as we had an early start in the morning.

      Saturday:
      Up at 7 for breakfast. After this, we got into our wetsuits (which by the way were still wet and it was extremely cold at 7 in the morning!). We then headed to the beach (walking distance from the camp) for our first lesson. We were allocated boards, which were larger than regular surfboards but easier for beginners (easier to stay on!). We were then put into groups of about 8-10 and each group was allocated an instructor. There were also two other floating instructors and a guy (I think his name was actually Guy) taking photographs.

      Firstly we did stretches then we were given a surf lesson on the beach, showing us the basics of how to paddle out and how to stand up on the board. We then went out into the sea to practise. The instructors were there to help out. They managed to give everybody in the group some one-on-one time, whilst keeping an eye on the whole group and cheering anyone who managed to stand up. I did not manage to stand up in the first lesson, but I had a lot of fun falling off! This lasted two hours then we headed back to the camp for some lunch.

      We headed back out for the second lesson about 1.30, which was basically practising what we had learnt earlier. It lasted two hours and I did actually managed to stand up this time! Very exciting, even if I fell off after about 5 seconds! After that, we had some free time before dinner. After dinner we were shown our pictures of the day. They had a screen at the front of the room so everyone could watch together, and Guy sorted them out into folders for each individual person as we went along. I was surprised that he managed to get pictures of every single time I stood up. He must have been very quick with the camera!

      In the evening, we went to the fisherman's club for a few drinks (there weren't any pubs locally), but didn't stay for long as we had another early start the next day...well some people stayed for a while, but severely regretted in the next day!

      Sunday:
      I had hurt my back the previous day, but was determined to keep going, and I managed to catch some good waves in the first lesson of the day. We learnt about how to catch green waves, rather than white ones which we'd been doing the day before. Again, this was two hours, after which we headed in for lunch. After lunch my back started to really hurt and I nearly fainted, so I sat out the second lesson this day. From what I gathered though it wasn't a great session as it was windy and this made the waves difficult to surf. Back at camp, everyone was also given a lesson on surfing etiquette (basically about not getting in each other's way and things like that).

      We left about 4.30, stopping in a small town to get some food. Here we were also given our surfing photos. We were given them on CDs and you could either get one for $30 or all of them for $50. Obviously this is a really easy opportunity for them to make money as you can't take the pictures yourself, but it is definitely worth getting, and he managed to get some good shots of everybody. This CD also included some generic shots of the beach and surrounding area. We were also given a free surf camp t-shirt and bag and a surf DVD.

      We were dropped off in Sydney outside the YHA, and everyone was invited into Scubar (the bar next door) for some free pizza.

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      Meals:
      Meals were very good, and were cooked by separate kitchen staff (they kept themselves to themselves so I don't really know much about them). Lunches were usually sandwiches or burgers, and dinner was pasta bake. There was plenty of food to go around, and vegetarian options were available. I had a couple of friends do surfing lessons somewhere else, they had been told lunch would be provided, and it turned out to be just an orange! Believe you will need more than just that as surfing is a lot of hard work, but we were well fed on this camp.

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      The instructors:
      All the instructors were fantastic. They were really good at teaching, and very supportive and encouraging. They were also very enthusiastic about surfing, and it was great to be around people who love what they do for a living. My instructor also took really good care of me when I hurt my back, so I felt especially grateful to him.

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      Would I recommend it?:
      I would definitely recommend this surf camp. It was one of the highlights of my trip. It is a great introduction to surfing. It teaches you enough of the basics to be able to go hire a surfboard and practise yourself. Or you could also do top-up lessons at a later point if you wanted to learn more. I think that the lessons combined with the camp element created a really great experience, and is a good opportunity to make new friends.

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