Winter winds and waves. If this had been anywhere else but Australia, I might have been standing in a down jacket. Now I'm in a windbreaker and shorts. I enjoy the warm breezes a little. The sun's rays are even warming, although there is absolutely no need for large amounts of sunscreen in Sydney's winter sun. We are in Manly, one of Sydney's stylish suburbs and one of the world's most famous surfing spots.
The beach at Manly is 1,3 kilometers long and stretches from Fairy Bower to the southern part of Queenscliff. As in so many other places in the world, the waves here are created by a combination of perfect sand and perfect currents which in turn create perfect sandbanks which create waves. There is a whole science to how perfect surf waves are created.
You will find the biggest waves in the northern parts of the beach, the surf schools are on the southern beach. Today there aren't any huge waves, but no one seems to think that's a problem. As a beginner you have respect for the waves, most people find it difficult enough to get on the board. It almost looks a little funny with all these surfers lying around waiting for the perfect wave and the perfect timing. Bobbing around on their boards in their wetsuits,
The foam from the waves remains for a long time in the soft sand. The foam even blows away in the air sometimes, like soap bubbles in the wind. During the summer months, the beach is more visited than now. The bikini factor is high. Today I don't see a single bikini.
It's strange how I can tell who are good surfers before they've even caught a wave. There is something about the way they stand, walk and place their hands on the board. Something about the confidence and happiness when they paddle out towards the waves. They just lie there waiting and suddenly when the wave comes they just stand there. Like they've never done anything else in their entire lives.
I have often thought about what it is like to surf. It doesn't look easy, but how hard can it really be? Harder than learning to ride a bike? Harder than skiing slalom? Harder than doing a pirouette on a pair of skates? I wonder if I would dare to surf here, the waters off New South Wales are frequented by great white sharks. Although both wasps and horses are statistically more dangerous than great white sharks, the cold waters here don't really feel inviting. No matter how perfect the waves are. I google statistics. Manly beach sometimes closes when a shark is seen nearby, but there hasn't been a shark attack here since 1936. Considering all the surfers bobbing in the water out here, I just shouldn't be afraid of sharks. Statistically speaking anyway.
How do I get to Manly?
Manly is located northeast of Sydney, an easy commuter boat ride from central Sydney. There are plenty of cozy restaurants and a nice brewery here. At dusk you can (if you're lucky) meet some of the little penguins that live on Manly's North Beach.
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