It’s not really acceptable to spend more than a couple of weeks in Australia and not try surfing. The climate, beaches and surf all lend themselves well to this sport and it’s a lot of fun, even as a beginner. As part of the BEACHES AND REEFS tour run by Contiki, I visited Spot X at Coff’s Harbour to learn more from Mojo Surf.
TAKE AN ADVENTURE WITH CONTIKI…
…AND HAVE NO REGRETS
Before I launch into describing our surf lesson, I need to emphasise something. This tour was – and always will be – one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had. This coming from someone who’s spent over four years backpacking almost solidly is no small claim. It’s the best way to ensure you have a big group of fun people to travel with, and there are exciting, adventurous activities to try out every day. I often find myself wishing I could go back and do it all again!
HISTORY OF SURFING IN AUSTRALIA
Surfing was first recognised as a sport in Australia in 1915, when the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku came over to the northern beaches of Sydney and demonstrated a so-called ‘ancient Hawaiian board riding technique’.
The Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club still has his board on display, and there’s a statue in his honour overlooking the bay. His shorts might be a little outdated, but with a physique like that, we’ll forgive him.
COFF’S HARBOUR FACTS
Two important things you need to know about Coff’s Harbour before you visit (aside from that it’s amazing for surfing) are that it has the most liveable climate in Australia (apparently), and it’s home to a giant roadside banana.
Having gawped for some seconds at the fruity monolith, we continued up the coast to Spot X, dumped our bags in the shipping container-style dormitories, queued up for a burger and chips and then stayed up far too late drinking goon bags and playing Ring of Fire.
SPOT X AND MOJO SURF
The accommodation at Spot X is only one minute’s walk from the beach and you can see the ocean from most of the rooms. It’s primarily a surf school, but there’s also a strong focus on socialising in the evenings.
If there’s one piece of advice I can pass on from this experience (because I’m definitely not the person to ask for surfing tips), it’s to not drink too much the night before a 6 am surf lesson! While the refreshing water temperature can knock a hangover on its head in seconds, inhaling a few litres of salty water through your nose will bring it back again surprisingly quickly.
A MOJO SURF LESSON
An impressive number of us dragged ourselves stoically out of bed before sunrise and assembled for our lesson. After struggling into wetsuits, we carried our boards two per pair down to the nearby beach.
Before we were allowed in the sea, we gathered round our instructor as he showed us the basics of positioning ourselves on the board, paddling at the right time, jumping (or crawling) to a standing position and trying our best not to mow our friends down as we rushed towards the beach.
A QUICK DEMONSTRATION
To demonstrate, our instructor paddled out effortlessly, caught a wave, stood up immediately, rode it to the shore, jumped down onto his feet and finished it all off with a flick of his long golden locks.
HELL BREAKS LOOSE
This was the third time I’ve tried surfing and I can safely say I’ve gotten worse with each attempt. Some would call it quits before their surf board hit them in he face, but it’s so much fun I can guarantee I’ll be back for more.
MOJO SURF PACKAGES
Mojo Surf offers two- to five-day ‘Surf and Stay’ packages at Spot X with prices starting at $265 for two days. This includes:
– A daily surf lesson
– Dorm-style accommodation
– Breakfast, lunch and dinner
– Board and wetsuit hire during lessons
– 2 hours board hire per day
They also offer a ‘Stay and Play’ package for the more experienced surfers, with activities such as river kayaking, kangaroo golf and surf rafting.
My Beaches and Reefs Tour from Sydney to Cairns was sponsored by Contiki. While they requested that I write about my trip, the choice of topics has been left entirely up to me. Any opinions expressed are a genuine reflection on how I felt about the experience. I will earn a small commission if you follow one of the affiliate links on my website. I wouldn’t endorse it if this genuinely hadn’t been one of the best travel experiences of my life!