Stoked!

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Well the last few days have been amazing. Surfing was tiring yet masses of fun. The Raglan Surf School prides itself on getting people 'up' on the first lesson, so the instruction was pretty straight forward and well delivered. After a few feeble attempts I managed to get up a few times, riding the waves in to shore, then plunging in to mere inches of shallow water where I met most of my injuries. I finished the first day with a couple of bent-back limbs, sore eyes and one hell of a bruised buttock. I'd also rubbed away the skin from the insides of my feet and the tops of my toes. By the end of day two, agony aside, I'd more or less cracked it - picking the right wave, flipping up on to my feet at the right time and riding it home. Most of the time!

Now I can understand what all the fuss is about. It's a lot of fun and gets the adrenaline really racing like an Aucklander at a set of traffic lights. It's completely simple and totally free, just a case of using the energy of the wave to bring simple, overwhelming happiness. I heard someone say it's like tapping in to an energy source, or rather 'mother nature's own' energy source.

After day two and alot more 'getting up', there was just no way I could leave it at that, so I booked myself in for a few more days. I was having far too much fun on the waves and even happier times at the lodge to be leaving yet.

My 'neighbours' in the dorms around me consist of some of the girls from the bus, a few German girls who were passing through and a group of young Canadian 'surfer dudes' that were already staying there when we arrived - Wyatt, Derek and Dustin. They were most entertaining. It is so refreshing to see such a laid-back, care-free outlook on life. They reminded me of Brett (who I met in Auckland) with his 'cartoon vision'. All that mattered to these guys was the surf, taking the piss out of each other, playing practical jokes, eating, drinking and sleeping. The worst, most stressful moment of the week for them was when one of them had secretly eaten too much jam. The entertainment for me was watching the whole drama unfold before my eyes, shortly after one of them found the empty jam jar. They really ought to be on television.

I also share the balcony and hammock with another Canadian, 'Craig', who is in the dorm on the other side of mine. Craig is travelling alone, slightly older than the others and a lot more reserved, on the verge of being a little shy, but a nice lad all the same. He too was enjoying the surf and absolutely loved the peacefulness and homeliness of the lodge.

I've probably spent most of my time with 'Chris' from Cornwall. He arrived in Raglan last week and knew instantly that he would be staying a lot longer than planned. He has been surfing for years and is currently enjoying a round the world 'surfing trip' carrying two huge boards with him wherever he goes. Like myself and so many others, he quickly fell in love with the lodge, its people and pets, and decided to stay on. He also commented that 'the surf' in Raglan is among the best he has come across yet, so is in no rush to move on.

The lifestyle here is completely chilled out. Each day, we get dropped off in the village for an hour (courtesy of the little surf bus) to get supplies, and to have a general meander. The afternoons are spent catching waves.

Most evenings, we chill out with a few beers, throw a couple of steaks on the barbie, then finish the evening with the guitar, singing or humming songs under the stars. The Canadian guys absolutely love it and provide a lot of the 'visual' entertainment.

Most people that visit or pass through here, usually end up staying. The hospitality is good, and it's completely peaceful. A good 'time-out'. Travelling constantly and moving around is great. It's ever-changing, the adventure is always fresh and you're always meeting great people. Sometimes though, it's nice to settle somewhere for a few days, so that you can at least 'unpack your pack', take a couple of days and chill for a while. This is certainly the place to do it.
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