Sydney – Fact Check

Playing with the blond Aussie gods

Kelly Slater of the United States performs an air during the Boost Bondi Beach SurfSho, which places a heavy focus on progressive aerial surfing. In 2010, it was the first international surfing event at Bondi in 20 years, when World Champion Slater was defeated by Owen Wright.

Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Sydney – Fact Check

Playing with the blond Aussie gods

Bondi Beach is a pioneer in the only culture for which Australia has become well known: surf culture.

Andrew Stone
Andrew Stone Travel Writer

“There’s an ongoing argument about whether Bondi or ‘Tama’ had the first surf club and it’s an argument that will never be resolved,” says surfer and film producer Marcus Gillezeau. “But there’s no question that in Australia it started around Bondi. Bondi is in the pantheon of surfing and surf life-saving.

“Part of the reason is that you get great waves at Bondi for surfers of any ability. You get world-class waves, yet it’s also the number one place to go to learn to surf. It’s totally fine to learn here, which on most beaches is not particularly tolerated. For some reason it’s acceptable to drop in on someone else’s wave here or kick your board out in someone’s face without it starting a fight.”

Far from being an elite, male youth sport, the surf culture at Bondi in particular has a wide appeal that will surprise many, he says. “I was out the back yesterday on Bondi and I counted no less than six languages being spoken. There were easily as many girls surfing as boys and the age range was from six to 70.

“It’s an amazing idea that you can be doing a sport associated with blond Aussie gods but actually find yourself in the most multicultural and tolerant surf break in the world.”

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and one in two Australians will develop...

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and one in two Australians will develop some form during their lifetime. During the 1980s, Australia's "Slip-Slop-Slap" campaign – slip on long sleeved clothing, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat – helped reduce the most common types but melanoma – the most lethal – has increased. Photo by Paul Lovelace

Paul Lovelace

Paul Lovelace

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Aperture
ƒ/10
Exposure
1/250
ISO
400
Focal
45 mm

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and one in two Australians will develop some form during their lifetime. During the 1980s, Australia's "Slip-Slop-Slap" campaign – slip on long sleeved clothing, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat – helped reduce the most common types but melanoma – the most lethal – has increased.