I know that it’s been a while since I’ve written last, and if you were to ask me what I’ve been up to, I would give you the same reply that I give most people: surfing and working, though there have been a few little goodies thrown in there as well. I’ve been surfing upwards of four days a week, squeezing it into my schedule whenever I can. I don’t claim to be much good at it, but there’s just something about surfing that brings me back for more despite the bruises and wipe-outs. Maybe it’s the feeling of adrenaline rushing through your veins as you paddle for a rising swell, followed by that feeling of actually riding a wave, being pushed by the sheer force of the cold saltwater. Or maybe it’s that moment when you are paddling out and a seal graces you with its presence as it fishes for its afternoon tea. Either way, I am addicted.
Speaking of surfing, I can now say that I have experienced the thrill of being a spectator at a professional surfing competition. On the evening of Easter Sunday, I made my way to Torquay so that I could have a full day to experience the ASP Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach on Easter Monday. Bright and early Monday morning (well, not actually that bright, seeing as I woke up before the sun made its way out of bed), I joined up with another traveler and walked the hour through a beautiful coastal sunrise to Bells Beach. We got there just after the first heat of the men’s Round 3 had begun, with hardly any crowds yet on the beach, and we got a spot on the beach right next to the area where the athletes come in and out before and after heats, just in front of the interview backdrop. There are definitely benefits to being an early riser.
The women had the day off, and I was a bit upset because I am really into the women’s surfing but know very little about the men’s surfing. That being said, I have absolutely no reason to complain. I got to sit on the beach and enjoy the atmosphere that can only be described as the perfect combination of relaxed and competitive, with a definite feeling of excitement in that salty ocean air. And I got to see some of the best male surfers in the world compete against each other. Adriano de Souza, Kelly Slater, Owen Wright, and John John Florence are just a few of the incredibly talented guys that put on a show for us while doing what they love: riding waves.
In the afternoon, the men’s Round 3 finished up and the competition went into standby before the commencement of the men’s Round 4. Some friends and I hit the surf shops for some window shopping (and some real shopping too, in their cases) and a bit of lunch before going back toward the beach. We pulled over at one beach on the way back to Bells and I sat on a ledge and took in the sight of locals surfers of all levels and styles just enjoying it all. Unfortunately when we finally did get back to Bells, we had just missed John John Florence’s perfect 10, and Round 4 was finishing up. There was still some good surfing to watch, though.
In the end, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the surfing at Bells. It’s inspiring to watch people follow their passion, and it doesn’t hurt when that passion involved the ocean. So if you don’t hear from me for a while, I just might be following my passion too.