How I Learned To Surf In Torquay

How I Learned To Surf In Torquay

Boasting the world-famous Jun Juc and Bells Beach surfing beaches, Torquay is where Australia’s surf culture began.

But, before I hit the waves, I called into the Australian National Surfing Museum, right next to the Torquay Visitor Information Centre.

The ultimate lesson in surf culture

The team there are big surf fans themselves and fantastic story tellers. I learned why Torquay has the best swell in the world and about the transformations of the surfboard throughout the years.

It’s still unclear when and where people started surfing. The oldest image of a guy lying on a surfboard is from 1890 and was made in Hawaii. The ‘surfer’ wasn’t actually standing up in the image, but was just paddling his way through the water.

Other interesting facts I learned:

  • Back in the 1960s the first surfers in Australia were all professional sportsman. The wooden boards they used weighed around 40kg. You can imagine that walking up to the beach with a board that weighs that much isn’t something anyone could do!
  • Nowadays, boards weigh around 5kg and some professionals even have boards that don’t weigh much more than 2kg.
  • Because the boards are so light they tend to break very easily. Top surfers will take around 10 boards to a game and just work through them in one day.

My first surf

I signed up for a two-hour lesson with Go Ride A Wave and learned the basics on the beach. When I got the hang of these, I hit the water and tried it for real.

The first waves wiped me out when I tried to jump up and stand. The next few I had fun just riding them, sitting on my knees, At this point my surf teacher helped me; holding onto the nose of my board and, whenever the time was right, he would signal me to start the drill I’d learned on the beach.

Thanks to him, I stood up my board a few times and got the confidence to try it without him!

Not every attempt resulted into actually catching the wave, but I’ve stood up a few times. I must say that standing up didn’t look as cool as I hoped it would, but we can work on that next time.

Riding the few waves that I managed to catch was so much fun that I totally understand why people get into the water for hours, just for the thrill of catching that one perfect wave.

To truly understand that feeling, I will definitely need some more practice, but after this weekend in Torquay, I decided that I will definitely come back for some more lessons and surf fun.

  • Go Ride a Wave offers multiple passes if you would like to come back for another lesson. Alternatively, you can just rent a board and go by yourself.

Places to eat in Torquay

  • I liked 4 Pines, which makes great burgers. It’s above Boardriders and from there you can have a stroll through the small shopping area where all the surf brands are located.
  • If you feel like dinner on the beach to watch the sunset, Fisho’s on the Esplanade has freshly caught fish (that morning) and great specials depending on the catch. Try their corn as a side dish…yum!

Torquay is a great place to stop at if you’re doing the Great Ocean Road, or if you want to escape Melbourne for a day trip (or longer). I will definitely come back for another attempt at surfing!

About The Author


Story of my World is an online travel magazine. It’s written not by journalists, writers or travel companies, but by travellers who share how they experience the world. Honest, real and often hilarious stories about their world full of adventure, exploring new cultures, meeting people, and discovering new exciting destinations.

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.