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Surfing with Sport Lived in Melbourne

• Posted in Australia / Gap Year / Misc. • By Caprice

On Friday the 5th May at 8am, (yes 8am) a minibus greeted us to take us out to the start of the Great Ocean Road, on Ocean Grove Beach, for a surfing lesson, for what proved out to be another excellent social event. What a way to cure a hangover!  Despite the numerous headaches and pale faces, spirits where high and we all caught up on some much needed shuteye as we were driven to the beach.

Depict an Australian surfer dude stereotype and that was exactly what greeted us when we arrived. He told us to get into our wetsuits and then gave us a brief of how the day was going to work. He gave us our surf boards, which by the way were huge, making Oscar and Jethro look even smaller than they already are. We all struggled carrying our surfboards, eventually making it on the beach, where another of the instructors was waiting for us in a semi circle to give us his advice on how to stand up. Looks easy on the tele, doesn’t it?

The advice he gave us was simple enough, as soon as the wave hits, paddle like hell, keep your toes on the edge of the board, slide yourself up onto your knees, then twist and spring up into a standing position – simple, right? Even Sophie, the seasoned veteran of our group who was in the Summer group when they went on their surf trip, had a puzzled look on her face.

The water, compared to England, was very nice so getting cold wasn't an issue. It was trying to stand up that was everyone's agenda. Drake was first to stand up, although didn't quite have the Aussie surfer look that James had with his long hair (although it must have got in his eyes), as he had all the gear - much like Steve who even had socks and gloves to match the wetsuit - but quite frankly no idea; both having as much success as Michael Carberry when he was made to open the batting in 2013. Tom and Simon, despite being the different side of the spectrum when it comes to hair (balding) found limited success too, but managed to get up a few times. Dan, who at points looked worse for wear, still managed to get up and enjoy the sea. Olly and Matt both had flashes of brilliance as well as some remarkable wipe outs, as the photo shows. Kathy had kindly booked a photographer to come along and some of the snaps he took are nothing short of hilarious.

Chris and Kayleigh, the two oldest members of the group, and quite frankly two of the more mature members, couldn't surf due to injury; but they enjoyed watching on and probably had the best view in the house to watch their colleagues attempting and failing to get up - making a ridiculous amount of noise but having, as a true Aussie would say, 'heaps' of fun.

Once dry and fed, we got back on the bus and headed to Ballarat Wildlife park, and as a self proclaimed kangaroo whisperer I was pretty excited. First up was meeting Gracie - and no that wasn't our tour guide! Gracie was a very cute, very cuddly Koala that we were all lucky enough to meet and stroke. Seeing so many Koalas that day was incredible. I wish we had them in England… all we have are Pigeons.

After that we went to see all the Kangaroos, Emus and Alpacas roaming about; it was nice to see they had a lot of space to walk about. Kathy bought a bucket of food so we went over to them and fed them, they held your hand as they ate - which, as Chris said, was "unbearably cute, I wish I could marry one". My statement being the Kangaroos whisperer was correct as I managed to get one of the Joeys to pop his head out and say hello, they looked so warm in their mother's pouch so it took a lot of persuading (food) to get him out and say hello.

Next stop was what Australia is famous for, snakes and spiders. The snakes weren't too scary, mainly as I was love with one - Chris, but the spiders where terrifying, especially as James and I bravely fought one just last week. Tell you though, I wouldn't want to walk down a dark alleyway with some of those snakes, they were huge. We had a debate, would you rather be crushed by a snake, or bitten? Neither was my answer.

The next animal was Crunch, the 64 year old h5m crocodile. We thought it might have been fake with Steve saying "I think this is fake", but 10 minutes later he came up for a breath and my god, he was huge, like proper big...not big, but big big - if you get me? The day was perfectly finished as Kathy bought us all ice cream and we headed back into the city.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I'd like to thank Sport Lived, especially Kathy, for organising it all.

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