Arrawarra Surf Camp, Australia (14th Jan 2008)
At 6am we met up with Jonny and Sam and joined all the over tired looking faces that were loitering in the hostel lobby area. Predictably the bus arrived late and with yet another chirpy young chap who would be our driver for the next day or two. After a long day on the road we arrived at about 6pm to a load of crazy surfers cheering and jumping on the bus far too enthusiastically screaming and going mental. The most horrid of the bunch was a woman in her late 40's in a bikini that just about covered her, oh so sexy, orange leathery skin. To top off her look she had gone for the bleached whitey/yellow hair, covered herself with tattoos and piercings and it seemed she was on to swigging her tenth can of XXXX (Queensland's beer of choice)for the day?
No sooner had we pulled up and our bags were been thrown onto the floor by the staff there with the same enthusiasm that they welcomed us with, whilst at the same time they were shouting demands for us to pay up now so not to mess them about later! We managed to get our bags and pay without too much hassle as we had cash, which is obviously what these Hillbillies' prefer to deal in (probably helps with the taxman too). A young chap who seemed to be the head of the surf instructors then said he would show us to our room for the night and boy were we in for a treat. Sat on a bit of scrub/marshland were five shipping containers that had a door and a window on them and some rickety old bunk beds inside of them, we were gutted and also a bit annoyed since it had cost so much to come here! We later found out though that we had been the lucky ones as ours had a toilet in it and we didn't have to face the stinking communal ones that all the other 20 or so people did.
By this time it was getting on for 7pm, so we just quickly got refreshed and headed over to the communal area where a supposed all you can eat BBQ was being prepared for us and all the other guest who were staying on the site tonight. The BBQ was the highlight and let down of our entire time at surf camp, or at least Mark thought so; the food was really good, there were steak, burgers, pork sausages and kangaroo sausages as well as salad and veggie kebabs. The annoying thing about the BBQ was their attitude as it was meant to be all you can eat, this was not true, one burger and two sausages and that's your lot; and for the veggies they had a like it or lump it attitude so if you didn't like it, you didn't get any food. We spent the night around the fire and had having a few drinks and some dinner and just chilled out with the surf instructors and other Oz Experience people who we had travelled with all day. The site is pretty close to a residential development so they have a noise curfew of 9pm which is when the "surfer dudes" suggested moving on to the beach for a party even though it was spitting and cold, we chose bed instead since we had to get up for a early start surfing. Half way through the night it started raining and when I say raining I mean really raining and we found out in the morning that everyone had got soaked, covered in sand and regretted it.
When we woke up it was pretty cold and the last thing we wanted to do was jump in the sea but at least it seemed clear and that the sun might make an appearance (it didn't). We gathered in the common area for breakfast which didn't offer a veggie option for Kara so she managed half a plate of beans on toast and Mark did the same as none of it looks to clean or tasty for that matter. Shortly after breakfast we got our boards and squeezed into a wetsuit each. We both looked great clad in tight black neoprene, which hugged all the lumps and bumps and left nothing to the imagination. Once we were suited up and ready to go the instructors went through the theory with us before leading us down onto the beach where we had to practise on the sand first before going in the sea which felt a bit weird. It all seemed really easy whilst we were practicing on the beach...
Out on the water and Kara was stood up after attempt number two and was dead chuffed with herself. Mark was managing to kneel quite a lot and after a while started getting closer to standing up, which is an amazing feeling even just for a few seconds! By the end of things Mark had managed a few "Shories" i.e. riding a wave to the Shore/Beach without coming off, while Kara also had been up and surfing a few times for more than 5 seconds, which doesn't sound much but really is. After about an hour and a half in the water Kara was too cold and headed in to the beach to wait out the last bit, Mark however now loved the fact he could surf, kind of...sometimes... and was one of the last people to come in from the water.
All in all Mojo Surf offers Small cuts, big bruises, sore skin and aching muscles but most importantly good fun! Don't get us wrong, we had a good time and were very happy with our progress made surfing so far, but they could do so much better and make it a much better place if they wanted to and we might have even stayed a couple more night if we could only have dealt with the people and the shipping containers.