I brought my Eric Arakawa 5’7 Element and 5’9 Pilot with me to Sydney all the way from Honolulu, and the best thing was that it was free to check in my surfboard bag! The Hawaiian Airlines flight from HNL to SYD is the only flight I know that lets you check in your surfboard bag as your 2nd free luggage. I recently had to buy another set of fins for my 5’7 board because I forgot my FCS fins back home (my 5’9 Pilot has Futures). I’ve been trying to go fit surfing in my busy schedule at least once a week! One thing that is really convenient in Australia is that you can take your surfboard with you on the bus and the ferry for free! My friend Dan even brought his 9 or 10 foot board on the bus with him—you definitely can’t do that in Hawaii! I’m pretty lucky to live right on Coogee Beach, because it’s fairly close to the other surfing beaches. Coogee is more like Sandys because it has a mean beach break and barrels up on most days, but its hardly ever surfable. It’s also like Sandys because it has one of the highest incidents of spinal injuries in Sydney. It’s pretty funny to watch tourists who don’t know how to bodysurf go in the waves and get pounded. The reason why Coogee doesn’t get surfable waves is because there is an island offshore called Wedding Cake Island, and pretty much blocks most of the swells that would normally come into Coogee. I’ve only seen Coogee get surfable twice since I’ve been here and those two times had waves that had a decent take off, but lost its form in a few seconds.
Maroubra Beach is a 13 minute bus ride south of Coogee…Bronte and Bondi Beach are both about 20-25 minutes north of Coogee. The northernmost beach I’ve surfed at so far is Curl Curl Beach. It takes a 40 minute bus ride to Cirqular Quay in downtown Sydney, another 30 minute ferry ride to Manly Beach, and another 15 minute bus ride to Curl Curl. Such a journey!
One of the best purchases I have made this semester is my 3/2 Roxy full suit I bought from Dripping Wet at Manly beach for $150 AUD. It’s a great wetsuit because even though it’s a girl’s size 14, it fits me perfectly! Surf wax here is expensive, like the rest of everything in Australia! I bought a bar of sticky bumps and it was $4! Back home, I would pay about a dollar for the same thing.
Some things I learned about wetsuits: 1. Wetsuits are probably the best kind of sun protection. You don’t need to wear sunscreen except for your face! The first time I went surfing after buying my wetsuit, I put sunscreen all over, and only after I was done I realized that I was just going to wear a wetsuit. Also, no more leash tan!
2. There’s a difference between sealed seams and non sealed seams. My wetsuit has no sealed seams, so it lets in more water than sealed seamed wet suits, but I like it better because sometimes you get really warm in your wetsuit when its really sunny.
3. Peeing in your wetsuit is even better than it sounds! It’s inevitable, and really warms you up. Also, nobody can tell when you’re doing it. There’s even a Facebook page on it, believe it or not— https://www.facebook.com/PeeingInYourWetsuit
4. Last but not least, wetsuits protect you against sealice! I decided to toughen it out and surf my 15 minute heat at Curl Curl without a wetsuit (I was the only one surfing without one) even though I brought it with me. It was a really sunny day and I figured I could last 15 minutes easily! I was actually fine during my entire heat, but when I went for a quick surf afterward, I got bitten ALL over my body by sealice! Apparently they come from the seaweed in the ocean and are like little invisible jellyfish. The next week the bites got really itchy and I was pretty miserable.
Here’s a short video I made for the IES blogger site on my surf adventures:
It’s been 2 months since I first set foot in Sydney, and I realized that I have really been slacking on writing new blogs and posting pictures! I won’t be able to put everything that I’ve experienced in this one post but there will be more soon after this one! 2 months has gone by way too fast, and I feel like I will soon be on a plane going back home within no time. With that said, I still haven’t booked my return flight, so who knows when I’m going to go back home. I am now proud to say that I’m a pro at crossing the street here, and knowing how to catch the bus. In Australia, you have to wave down the bus so that the bus drivers know that you want it to stop. There have been a few times where we totally missed the bus because we forgot that it doesn’t stop unless you signal it to stop. So in the past 2 months, balancing my new schedule is probably the hardest part of studying abroad. The best thing is that on most days, I don’t have a set schedule and that is probably the best parts of studying abroad. I’ve been trying to be my own travel agent, keeping up with my workout schedule, trying to surf and skate as much as possible, hanging out with my crazy American and European flatmates, exploring everywhere and anywhere in Sydney, relaxing in the new $900 hottub we just got, going to the UNSW longboarding and surfing club events, trying to find the best bars and clubs in downtown, and finding the cheapest alcohol because it is so expensive here! Oh and I should add homework to that list… I was going to try to find a part time job nearby, but it’s probably not going to happen!
It’s February 10, 2012 ALREADY. 6 days until I’ll be in Oz and still haven’t found out our living arrangements..this is ridiculous! Things on my mind…which dresses I’m going to narrow down to bring, if I can narrow down the amount of bikinis to bring, do I bring my skateboard along with my surfboards??, if our study abroad program participants will get along with us, if I should buy a spring suit or just a 2mm wetsuit, am I reeeally going to get to see julian wilson, if I’m allowed to bring kakimochi on the airplane, if I can get cheap tix to bali and/or NZ while i’m there, if I’m going to survive in this crazy continent filled with more deadly creatures than I can even imagine, and a bunch more random things..but all I know for sure is that embarking on this four month journey is going to be the wildest experience of my life…and I’m getting to experience it with my crazy island-girl-sojalover-secretwildfro-hapa parter in crime maitai. We’ve been anxiously awaiting this mid february date ever since the middle of fall semester..all of that waiting and feeling scared that we weren’t going to get accepted feeling is OVER and now its almost time to open our eyes to this new city down under called SYDNEY.
A splattering of sunspots is pretty much inevitable unless you’ve spent your entire life indoors or avoiding the sun. Yeah, not me. I’ve got a plethora. But thankfully they are fading off into the sunset solely by pledging allegiance to sunscreen, a clarisonic skin brush, and a few easy, all natural homemade DIY sun spot erasers.
So never fear, the spot faders are here. Below are three home remedies to help diminish those spots without any expensive lasers or light sabres.
Fringe isn’t just for moccasins, handbags, and bangs anymore folks. It’s made its way into the genre of the bikini top. Trendsetting brands like Tyler Rose, L* Space, Acacia and Thayer have all adorned tops with bold or subtle fringed trim that makes you want to shimmy and shake a little bit more than usual. Bonus: it’s really flattering to your bust line, and channels your inner Shakira or Tina Turner at the same time. So, I took an old bikini top, and with a little bit of thread and the aid of a tee shirt, was able to spice things up a bit.
How to take a simple bikini top from blah to fringe-tastic.
Tools: Bikini top, tee shirt you don’t mind cutting off 6” or so from the bottom, scissors, needle, thread