Question:

What is surfing?

Australian Sport: Surfing

Thousands of Australians regularly journey to the coastline to surf some of the world´s best-known breaks. Bell´s Beach in Victoria, the town of Margaret River in Western Australia and Sydney´s Bondi Beach are all world-famous surf breaks, but locals will tell you the lesser-known spots are home to the best waves.

Australians have long been at the top of professional surfing. Mark Occhilupo and Shane Powell rank among the elite men, and Layne Beachley sits atop the women´s world rankings. Nude surfing is a popular novelty event. The sadly now defunct Sydney Fringe Festival Night Nude Surfing Contest was once a yearly favourite at Bondi.

Surf lifesaving in Australia

While there are some young people in remote rural areas who can only dream of their first trip to the beach, most Australian kids grow up with the sand between their toes and embedded in their swimming costumes. Around age 6, kids get serious about surf safety. Many join junior surf-lifesaving clubs, known as Nippers, and as teenagers spend their summers patrolling the beaches as lifesavers.

Surf lifesaving was established in Australia in 1907. Lifesavers patrol the beach under the direction of a captain, setting out flags on the beach to direct swimmers into safe areas. Since the establishment of the club, the volunteers in their colourful caps have rescued more than 350,000 swimmers.

Surfing life in Australia

Surfing life
Australia's thriving surf culture is world-renowned. Both the men's and women's world champions, Mark Occhiluppo and Layne Beachley, are Australian. Every day, from dawn until dusk, thousands of Australians paddle out in search of the perfect wave that will carry them to fame and fortune.
While surfers generally are a laid-back lot, certain courtesies must be observed. The worst sin a surfer can commit is dropping in — catching a wave another surfer is riding. Young surfers, known as grommets, also must respect older riders who have surfed the same beach for years and don't take kindly to pushy teenagers

Australian Ironmen

Those who take their beach-safety skills particularly seriously can enter Iron Man and Iron Woman events. Each summer, superbly fit lifesavers test their endurance in the water and on the sand. Besides facing grueling running and swimming legs, they paddle on surfboards and surf skis, the main tools of lifesaving. A surf ski, a narrow fibreglass craft propelled with a paddle, resembles a shallow kayak. From October to February each year, men and women contest a series of seven events, accumulating points. The events are held on Australia´s best beaches, or occasionally in New Zealand or the United States.

Sydney's ocean beaches

Sydney's ocean beaches

Sydney's coastline is blessed with a glorious stretch of sandy beaches, running from glamorous Palm Beach in the north to Royal National Park's secluded bays in the south; in between are around 50 beaches, each washed (or sometimes pounded) by the Pacific Ocean, each with their own personality. The city's most central ocean beaches, Bondi and Manly, are justly famous and worth a visit. However, the Sydney beach menu is far more diverse than these two specials........Read On: Sydney's ocean beaches

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