I flew to Sydney for linux.conf.au and given that it was my 5th time there, I didn't quite go see the basic tourist attractions, given that I had already seen them once or twice, or more.
So this time, I opted for a few different museums:
Finishing the week (albeit not quite the trip)
with Australia Day celebrations by Sydney Opera House, didn't suck too much :)
On my last day, I went back to try learning Surfing south of Sydney and while I didn't do great, I at least learned some during the day.
On the last night, I went to Black Bar and Grill in a fancy hotel/casino to try some Wagyu. Sadly, the smaller and more expensive one of the two was actually the lesser one as far as melt in your mouth, went. Thankfully the 2nd one was not Japan good, but still pretty good:
It was then time to take the airport train back to Sydney Airport and fly home after trying 3 different lounges in the airport :)
Since I had seen a lot of Sydney already, for my 4th visit there, I figured I would try and learn surfing. I signed up for a so called surf school with wavessurfschool.com.au which supposedly supposedly had 2x 2H of surf instruction, but really it was 15mn of very basic instruction with maybe another 30mn of help in the water, and then that's it. We got maybe 2.5H in the water with very little instruction, and few waves (often a 5mn wait between 2 rideable waves, sucks when you're trying to practise).
We had to get out of the water by 15:00 and basically I learned virtually nothing and wasted my day :(
too many people going to the beach that day and clogging up everything while interrupting our class
While I mostly lost a day not learning to surf, I went back, the next weekend with a different company, Australian Surf Tours, and this time booked a private set of lessons on a farther away beach by Thirroul (1h30 train ride away):
we started by looking at surf boards to get a feel for what exists
this was hard
too many times, I ended up like this :)
Long story short, I definitely learned a lot more. My instructor Tom Berridge did a good job, and while at the time I felt like after some rest I could have done another session, I was definitely getting tired after the 2nd set of sessions after lunch, and struggling to get up and pick the right waves. Tom saved me tons of time by choosing the right waves for me, and pushing me on the right ones so that I got a lot more training than I would have anyway.
Just to show how much I suck, or that it's not super easy, a compilation of failures:
and probably my only time successfully getting up later in the day when I was getting more tired:
It was definitely a good learning experience, but I sure would need a lot more practise before I feel like I'd be self sufficient
A few notes for myself if I try this again later:
Toes on the back of the board
Lift up and lock the arms straight up without grabbing the edges of the board
Stand up with back foot first
Try to have front foot as close to perpendicular to the board as possible
Quickly-ish put front foot forward without putting a knee down and taking off one hand but not the other
Keep enough weight in the back not to nose dive (it will happen anyway if the wave is breaking)
Don't put too much weight back that the board, it brakes and stops
Look for rip currents where waves break last, and use that to paddle out to the next wave
You can catch waves after they break or before. While they break will flip the board over.
I've done a couple of Australia Days before, but doing it in Sydney was definitely the best one so far. Jake got us an awesome dinner table with sweeping view of the Sydney Harbour and Opera House in the background, not counting a fairly good multi course Japanese dinner:
And great views:
The fireworks were good, even if we were downwind and sometimes saw too much smoke: