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.
“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.”