Surfs and turfs / by Jessica Lee

Hello again.

I'm a little grumpy today.

I spent most of the day looking for a better place to live.

I'm currently living in an "okay" place, but it is a half hour commute to school and I have decided that I don't want to spend my precious time in Sydney commuting everywhere. My four months should be spent where the action is! And there is nothing particularly interesting happening in Burwood.

I went to poke around a couple of areas the last couple of days. Today I went to Newtown, which is a walkable distance from the university. It's a pretty hip neighbourhood. If I were to compare it to a neighbourhood in Toronto, it would be Queen West. There's lots of fashion and art going on there. I wouldn't mind living there because of the bookstore and coffee shops and its proximity to campus.

I also checked out a few beaches (because who wouldn't want to live on a beach at some point in their life?)

It sort of made me depressed though- visiting the area, I mean.

I was watching the kids, who were maybe 10 years old, surfing. And they were so young and such experts already. And I thought: why couldn't I have grown up next to a beach instead of in a city where the weather is gross for half the year?

But I suppose I should be happy that I'm even in Sydney in the first place. This city is so lovely. (except on the trains at night- I don't even want to tell you what happens on the trains at night)

I was also at the Australian Open Surfing competition at Manly Beach the last two days.

Some pictures:

You have to take a ferry to get to Manly Beach. Being on the ferry was one of my favourite moments so far in Sydney. I just love being on water.

Here is the wharf at Manly:

A surf lesson going on:

So relaxing...

Here is the skateboard competition

A picture of the crowd:

It's kind of crazy what boarders will do. What gravity can do to this skater scares me.

Okay, one more photo of a skater:

After a while, we moved to the surf competition. It was quite crowded as you can see.

Look at all these people!

Some photos of pros:

Oops! Guess he fell.

Here is a photo of Matt Banting (the winner) paddling to a wave.

To be honest, I kind of wanted him to win. It sounds strange, but I really liked his name. He has such a winning name. The other finalist, though he was cute, didn't really have a winning name. Evan Taubenfield.

Here is a picture of the crowd at the shoreline. Note the lady with a huge zoom lens! I thought she was pretty cool, greying hair, wrinkles and all.

Here is Evan:

And Matt:
Here he is approaching a wave:

Climbing it...

A huge jump!

And landing it.

I didn't know much about surfing at the time I was watching.

Here are a few facts I know about surfing competitions:
1. There are things called "heats" where a couple of (2-4) surfers are judged.
2. Like any sport, there is strategy. You have to wait for good waves so you can do tricks. However if it's not a good day for surf, it's better to ride a crappy wave than no wave at all. (What happened to one of the surfers was she took too long and the clock ran out before she could ride a wave, so therefore no score for her)
3. Like I said before, heats are timed. Around 15 minutes each heat.
4. The tricks are given scores by judges. According to the commentator yesterday, the judges score based on how long the surfer rides a wave, how they ride it, where they ride the wave (on the inside/outside) etc.
5. You get to do around 3 tricks per heat.
6. Once a surfer has claimed a wave, the other surfer(s) can't ride it (safety reasons).

This is Matt after they announced he won:

Note the bikini award girl:

A few quick facts about Matt:
1. The guy is only 17!
2. He is Australian
3. He beat out world champ Kelly Slater in the Quiksilver pro when he was 16

One thing you notice about surfers is that they all have relatively huge chests. Probably from paddling.

Here are the two winners:

Anyway, time to look at more housing.

Do you guys think $1400/month is too steep? It's a single apartment (no one will have to see my messes) and I'm only here for four months anyway. Leave your comments!