Surfing in Manly



Sydney’s skyline from the Manly ferry

No Australian experience can be complete without a day of surfing. As the resident Californian of the group, a few were surprised that I had never been surfing. After an explanation that summer was cold, surfing always requires a wetsuit, and I just never dug into the opportunity, the group accepted that I was a first timer.

One of my co workers pointed out how much Naval presence there is close to a major city here in Sydney.

When releasing major versions of software, Atlassian likes to celebrate. With the release of Git Essentials, a number of teams headed out to Manly for an afternoon of surfing. Git Essentials is a new solution from Atlassian for software teams established with or looking to migrate to Git.

I remember as a kid “boogie boarding” and standing up on the board up at the lake. That was many moons ago when I was more flexible. I was curious though, how good or not so good I’d be out on the open water.

We all took the ferry out from Circular Quay to Manly. I don’t often ride the ferry, but it’s one of Sydney’s fun things to do.

Bryan lives out in Manly and always comments how great the ferry ride is. I think he’s right!  This ride is awesome. Sydney Harbour is much different than San Francisco. The harbor is smaller, so it has a more intimate feel. Rather than feeling a great distance away, and the other side of the harbor seems touchable. It’s an easy walk over Sydney Harbor Bridge so it feels more like one cohesive unit.


It’s also a warm water harbor so there are more people out enjoying the water. The harbor is always full of sailboats and recreational boaters much like I remember Florida.



Surf school started out with a lot of basic handling of the board. We probably spent 45 minutes on the beach learning how to paddle and stand up on the board. The instructor went through three different types of moves to stand. Since they were labeled beginner, intermediate, and advanced, I figured I’d start with beginner.

I was surprised that we were all in wetsuits and that the water was colder than I had expected it to be. The overcast day helped keep things cool, but still, I was expecting Gulf of Mexico warm. The surf was significantly stronger than the Gulf of Mexico. After about 45 minutes of manhandling the surfboard to did begin to tire.

Megan came out to photograph the group. I was lucky in that she caught me in my three seconds of fame were actually surfed!


Afterwards, in true Australian fashion, we all had beers at one of the local pubs. Australia has a very strong beer culture. It’s stronger than California, which is something to be said. We all hung out quite a bit in the sun slipped behind the sky unnoticed.

The ride back to Circular Quay was equally as fun. My camera was struggling as the ferry was anything but stable and there was little ambient light. Apparently Sydney has the island out in the middle of the harbor where they keep criminals much like Alcatraz in San Francisco and Robben Island in Cape Town.



I know I photograph the Opera House way too many times. Every time I see it though, it’s a reminder that I’m in one of the world’s great places. The Opera House was always the feature about Sydney we’d learn in social studies class.



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4 responses to “Surfing in Manly”

  1. Brittany Avatar

    That’s awesome! We surfed in Costa Rica and it is super hard- I feel your pain! Glad u had a fun time and tried a new thing- at least u can say u did it!!

    1. Me Avatar

      Oh wow, I didn’t know you went surfing in Costa Rica. Were you able to stand up on the board?

  2. Es Avatar

    Surfing truly is hard! I had my first try on the Gold Coast. The instructor thought I was trying to be “cute” when I had trouble getting on the board and then made a few derogatory comments thinking I was with the Chinese group (i.e. he thought I didn’t catch all that he said). I ended up yelling at him which was very unusual for me. Aside from the fact that I can’t stand it when girls try to be “cute” when playing sports, it didn’t help when he confessed that he only said those words to me because he thought I wasn’t a native English speaker. I’m glad you had a better experience. 🙂 Have a few VB’s for me. I have yet to see VB in Music City.

  3. Me Avatar

    Wow Esther, that’s pretty insane. Hopefully he fessed up when you called him out. what is VB?

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