Okay, it’s time to talk about surfing in Australia. On the outside, Australia is portrayed as a country with countless small beach towns where everyone that lives there wakes up and heads to the beach for a nice surf before starting their day.
To be honest, this assumption is not far off. This is due in part mostly because of the sheer number of amazing surf spots to check out.
No matter where I am in Australia, I will always pass a beach inhabited with surfers. So, naturally, with the high prevalence of surfers in this beautiful-beached country, it became an Aussie rite of passage to participate in the surf scene. After all, if you visit Australia and don’t take a surf lesson… did you really visit Australia?
I found Epic Ocean Adventures a while back and knew right away that I wanted Backpackerdeals to partner with them. The main reason for this (other than their 5-star rating on TripAdvisor), was that they put an interesting twist on a traditional surf lesson: Double Island Point.
Double Island Point is their secret surf spot. What’s so cool about Double Island Point? Well, to start, it is absolutely gorgeous. From a surfer’s perspective, however, it is home to some of the longest waves you can surf in Australia.
But the real kicker? You can only access Double Island Point by driving 4WD along the beach. So what does that mean (other than a fun 4WD beach driving experience)? Secluded waters away from all of the tourists. Driving to Double Island Point genuinely made me feel like I was about to surf in a private remote location that only few know about. And that is something that you can’t get from most other tour companies here in Oz.
With high expectations for my very first surf lesson, both in Australia and ever, I wanted to go on an epic adventure with Epic Ocean Adventures.
Epic Ocean Adventures
3 Hour Surf Lesson & 4WD Experience
Rainbow Beach, Queensland, Australia
Our day began at 5:45AM (yes, I said 5:45AM), by meeting at the Epic Ocean Adventures office on the main street in Rainbow Beach. Why so early? Well, the departure time of the surf lesson will change throughout the year because it is entirely based on the tide. There are two reasons for this: one being the ability to access Double Island Point safely, since you have to drive along the beach to get there. The other is to allow for the best possible surfing waves during your lesson.
After checking in and meeting Ty and Sean, the owners and tour guides, we set off for Double Island Point by 6:00AM.
I think it is important to note that not only was this about to be my first surf lesson, it was also my first time driving on a beach. It took about 30 minutes to get to Double Island Point from Rainbow Beach, and 25 minutes of that were 4WD on the beach.
That first moment that we turned off the sealed road and just drove straight onto the beach was so surreal! How strange that you can just literally drive your car on the beach? The ocean was directly to our left, so close that we even drove through the water a few times. The sand was flat and smooth, making it easy to cruise along… and fast.
Ty and Sean told us along the way that beaches in Australia are treated the exact same as sealed roads. They have a speed limit, you drive on the left side when passing other cars, and police do patrol the beach. I thought this was amazing… only in Australia would this be a real thing!
The general speed limit for beaches is 80 km/hr, which is actually very fast considering that the conditions of the beach can change very rapidly. There are certain areas that are reduced to 40 km/hr for safety, and you will actually see a road sign on the side of the beach indicating how fast you can go.
Along our drive, we searched the waters to spot dolphins, which was another perk to waking up so early for the lesson. Occasionally, Ty and Sean would notice a few dolphins pop their heads out of the water and direct us to see them. In my eyes, there was nothing cliché about watching the sunrise while driving along the beach and spotting dolphins.
As we got closer to Double Island Point, Ty and Sean made note of the famous Coloured Sands that we were driving past. These colourful, sandy cliffs lining the beach are a top attraction in Rainbow Beach. With 72 known colours of sand, these cliffs are likely to have been forming since the last ice age and got their colours from years of erosion.
As a part of the 4WD experience, you will definitely go through some more treacherous parts of the beach where the sand is a bit deeper or there is only one narrow passageway to continue further. These parts were the most fun of the drive! It was a bumpy ride, but that brought quite the adventure to our journey.
Finally, we arrived at Double Island Point around 6:30AM and got ready to surf. As it is winter here now, we were given wet suits to help keep us warm. To my surprise though, I came to find that it was actually much warmer in the water than standing on the beach!
Sean was our surf instructor for the day, and he started out by laying our boards on the sand to teach us the proper surfing technique. He helped us determine where to position your body on the board when you were paddling, how to “pop up”, and which foot to place in front. We practiced the procedure several times, with Sean correcting us on anything we were doing wrong. Sean didn’t want us to go into the water until he felt that we could pop up a few times correctly on the sand. This was very helpful, as I already felt more confident with what to do before we even entered the water.
Sean then led us into the water to the best spot to catch waves. The waves were, from my standards, the perfect size to surf for the first time. They weren’t too big as to intimidate me if I crashed (which would happen a lot), but not so small as to make it hard to stand up and balance yourself.
What I liked most about surfing with Sean was that he made it his priority to optimize our time in the water. As soon as we arrived at our starting point, he immediately got the first person paddling up to their first wave.
It was my turn to go, and Sean instructed me to paddle, giving me a gentle push as the wave got closer and said, “NOW!” when it was time to pop up. I managed the pull my body up to get my feet flat, but I realised quickly just how wobbly the board would be when riding the wave! I wiped out right away.
But here was the awesome part: right before I fell off the board, I saw a small sea turtle swimming by in the wave below me! I would like to say that getting distracted by the beautiful sea turtle was the reason I fell, but who am I kidding. This was a very rare sighting and I feel very lucky to have seen it!
Back to surfing, I paddled back to Sean, who watched for any mistakes I had made to improve my ability to stand up on the next go. And right then I was paddling up to the next wave.
Already improving, even on the second go I was able to (sort of) stand up. Every time, I would catch a wave, wipe out, and go back to Sean for guidance.
Finally, on the fifth attempt, I stood up! I was able to balance myself in the proper position and I surfed the wave for about 10 seconds. It was incredible! I see what the buzz is about when it comes to surfing; it is great fun and every time, you want to get better and better, surfing again and again until you catch that perfect wave.
As we started to get better, Sean let us go on our own. His philosophy was that if you feel confident and want to try it on your own – go for it! But he was always there if you wanted some extra help or advice.
Throughout the lesson, Sean gave personalised tips to each of us. If he saw that we were popping up too close to the front of the board, he would tell us to scoot back and show us where our feet should be. Any mistake he noticed, he would not only bring it to our attention, he would show us exactly what to do to fix it and improve it.
But I have to say, my favourite part about surfing with Sean was that every time I stood up, I would look back at Sean and he would be cheering for me with his thumbs up high in the air. He genuinely cared about getting everyone to stand up, and I could tell that every time someone surfed a wave, it was a small victory for him that brought him much joy.
Our last 30 minutes in the water, Sean gave to us to have free time to catch as many waves as we wanted to. I had an absolute blast, paddling up to as many waves as I could, standing up, and wiping out. I could have done that all day! Even wiping out is fun; I think I was smiling and laughing the entire lesson.
What I learned about surfing is that they key to improving is simply not to get frustrated. Just have fun with it! Laugh at yourself when you wipe out and go back and try again.
When Sean called us back onto the beach to return to Rainbow Beach, I knew that couldn’t be my last time surfing. I was very satisfied with the 2-hour lesson, as I felt it was plenty of time to learn how to surf, practice, and actually enjoy surfing. But as I’m sure all surfers out there would agree with me, any time limit is not enough!
Around 8:30AM, we packed up the car and made our way back to Rainbow Beach. The return trip was even better than the first because the sun was up and really highlighted the amazing colours of the Coloured Sands. Ty and Sean pulled over at one point and let us take some photos.
We were back at the Epic Ocean Adventures office by 9:00AM. I couldn’t believe how much I had already done when most people were just starting the day! My first surf lesson couldn’t have been more epic.
I want to personally thank Ty and Sean for letting me tag along on the awesome surf adventure! I had an amazing time, and you two have a wonderful company.
If you would like to join Ty and Sean on their next epic adventure, see the link below to book your 3 Hour Surf Lesson and 4WD Adventure today!
For more amazing tours and experiences, visit https://www.backpackerdeals.com/ .