We headed down to Ocean Grove Beach today with a couple of other surfers, Sebastian (from the Netherlands) and Eric (from California). I decided to brave the left side of the road again and rented a Holden Commodore station wagon. It was bright blue, big, and fast. Holden Commodore is like the Chevy of Australia. We piled in the car around 10am and arrived at the Ocean Grove Town Center at 11:30am without incident.
Once at Ocean Grove Town Center, we rented our boards and bought Aubree a wetsuit. We weren't expecting to have to buy one today, but there weren't any 'for hire' and Aubree was going to need one eventually. We were a bit rushed as the guys were waiting, but we ended up getting a good deal on a nice suit. I decided to put off buying a board for another day.
We got to the beach around 12pm and the guys we were with said the surf was really really bad due to choppy waves - the worst conditions they've seen in Australia. It looked fine to me! There were lots of really big waves rolling in again and again due to the strong onshore winds. We paddled out, and I soon discovered that choppy waves are bad. What you want is the long breaking waves and the steady sets. So the other guys quit about five minutes into it as Eric broke his board against his back and Sebastian didn't want to chance breaking his. But being the adventurers we are, Aubree and I kept on surfing. We took a good beating from the constant assault of wave after wave for two hours but managed to catch a few good rides and had lots of fun.
Oh yeah, and this place is known for sharks! I looked up reviews of Ocean Grove and one said: "It's crazy... surfing here is like a death wish." The guys we were with confirmed sharks congregate there, especially in summer (due to the fishermen). Sebastian actually saw two sharks there last weekend. When the sharks were spotted, all the surfers were supposed to get out but instead they huddled together in the water, thinking they stood a better chance together. Not to worry folks, we didn't see any sharks this weekend. But if we did, our comrades said we'd be okay because you can spot their fins fifty meters off :)
After the surfing, we stopped in for fish and chips, and discussed starting a fish and chips blog where we review fish and chips places in Australia. Don't think that idea will take hold, as all the fish and chip places seem to taste the same, but it is delicious nonetheless. We made it home and watched the kite surfers for a bit until the sun went away. Tomorrow I start my first day on the bench at work. I suspect I will get staffed this week and am very excited to start working again, as it's been a while. I'm also anxiously awaiting the location of the project, as there is a chance we could move to where the project is for a temporary period of time.