Mon. 14th – Fri. 18th Hannah Bennett had an exciting week out at Waidroka Bay Resort surfing with some of Australia’s young and up and coming surfers. This is her story.
Having never been to Waidroka resort, I was excited for the adventure of a new scene but most of all, I was excited to finally be a part of a women’s surf clinic. Upon arrival, I could feel the warmth of hospitality in the air as the manager of the resort welcomed me and introduced me to all the women involved in this surf clinic including pro surfers Paige Herab and Bec Woods. The girls at first were a bit confused about who I was and where I was from considering that I looked polynesian yet spoke with an American accent. As we went around the room introducing ourselves and giving each other some background, I found that all but one girl were from Australia and all shared the same passion for surfing. Soon after I was led to my hotel room that overlooked the resort and beautiful Waidroka waterfront. At this point I felt so honored to be there and represent Fiji Surfing Association.
Later that day we were scheduled for an afternoon surf at one of the nearby spots. Although the weather didn’t permit promising conditions, we found something surfable at Pipes and dove right in. Only a handful of us made it out to the lineup due to the wind and rain most girls watched from the boat. That was my first moment with Bec Woods, WCT Pro surfer for almost 10 years. I asked her what would happen during a contest in conditions like this? She gave me the predictable response and said “you just have to charge it!”, “take what the waves give you”. Feeling inspired and privileged at the same time I caught the next wave coming and tried to make something of it.
That night we gathered for dinner, which by the way was amazing ahi tuna with steamed veggies and potatoes, while eating everyone had their eyes fixed on a live stream of the Portugal pro tour (total surfers). For the rest of the evening couple girls played some music on the guitar and we chatted up until the mosquitos gave us hell.
Day two, we woke up to miserable stormy weather and no hope of getting any surf in that day. That wasn’t going to stop us from having fun and so everyone got straight to work on creating fun activities. The program went like this:
12:30pm- Kayak/ stand up paddle up river through the mangrove forests
3pm- skurf behind boat
Even without any surf it was evident that everyone knew how to have fun and clearly got along very well. That night was an early night because we planned to wake up early for another adventurous day.
I came up with the idea that we should head to Suva, surf Lighthouse since the wind there wouldn’t be bad and the crew would get a chance to roam the city. 5am on the dot that morning we loaded up in the vans with all 17 boards and headed for Suva. Passing through Lami town I could tell the swell was big. I organized my friends double decker boat that fit all 17 of us and headed out to the reef. The wind of course was strong that day like everywhere else but the swell was a solid 3-4 powerful lighthouse. Surfed for about 2 hours then made our way through downtown Suva in and out of all the handy craft shops and curry houses.
That concluded my experience with the surf camp because I stayed in Suva while everyone headed back to Waidroka that night with a lovo and kava ceremony awaiting them. It was a great experience but best of all I made some wonderful friends that I hope to stay in touch with. In fact, I plan on going to Aus next month and hitting up some of these girls to have them show me the spots around the central and gold coast. Pumped!
Thanks again FSA and Waidroka Bay Resort for sponsoring me and hopefully we’ll get more opportunities like this in the future.
Check out the gallery here