Go Surfing to Catch a Wave

Both professional and amateur surfers live for the exhilarating experience of riding the biggest wave they can find. If you’re heading to Hawaii, California, or another tropical destination, going surfing can be a great way to experience local culture while enjoying the ocean. 

History of Surfing

Surfing has been around for several centuries. The earliest known record of surfing is from 1767 in Tahiti, and it is believed that the sport has likely existed in some form since ancient times. While the first surfing competitions as we know them today did not appear until the 20th century, early Polynesian cultures are believed to have chosen their village leaders based on their surfing ability. 

Surfing Equipment and Safety

Choosing the right surfboard is the most important step in planning a memorable surfing experience. Surfboards are generally made of coated foam or other lightweight materials, and they come in a variety of sizes and types. Be sure to select a board that is appropriate for your height and matches the type of waves that you plan to surf on. 

Always dress appropriately in order to protect yourself from the sun, your board, and the water. Depending on where you are surfing, wear a wetsuit or a rash guard and board shorts, rather than a bikini, t-shirt, or other clothing. Other essential equipment includes a leash to keep the surfer connected to the surfboard, surf wax to help the surfer avoid slipping off the surfboard, and surf earplugs to protect the ears from extreme temperature or pressure differences.

Always bring plenty of water, and avoid surfing during the sunniest hours in the middle of the day whenever possible. Never go surfing alone, and use extreme caution when surfing in unfamiliar areas.    

Competitive Surfing

Tourists surf occasionally on vacation, but natives to top surfing areas often participate in a variety of competitions that may lead to careers as professional surfers. Children, teens, and adults who live in Hawaii, California, and other tropical areas often spend part of the majority of their days in the ocean, and natives to coastal cities often begin building their swimming and surfing skills from a young age. Bethany Hamilton, a Hawaiian surfer, became well-known as a teen, and she continues to inspire both surfers and other women around the world.     

Where Can I Go Surfing?

While surfing is often thought of as a Hawaiian sport, it can be done in virtually any coastal city that is located in a tropical climate. According to the Travel Channel, some of the best places to catch a wave around the world include California, Costa Rica, Australia, Morocco, and Tahiti, in addition to Hawaii. Many top tourist destinations offer surfing lessons and equipment rental.  

If you’re heading to Hawaii or another popular ocean destination, be sure to add surfing lessons to your to-do list and get ready to have some fun in the sun!

Camping Under the Stars

There is nothing in the world quite like a hot cup of coffee, from an old fashioned percolator, first thing in the morning on a campsite. Surrounded by the sounds of nature waking up as the sun filters through the trees. Camping is a family tradition for a lot of families. 

Through Time in the Trees

Thomas Hiram Holding was the man to put camping on the map, so to speak. Britannica writes, Holding was moved by the experiences he had as a boy which lead him to write two books on the matter and create the first camping association (Association of Cycle Campers) in 1901. By 1932 the first international camping organization was formed (International Federation of Camping and Caravanning). According to CampTrip, the 1960s saw a large increase in the number of families that took to camping as a vacation. It was cheaper than the previous alternative and lent itself to more time with nature. There was a significant improvement in the quality of the gear and a reduction in its weight. 

Nature Heals

Both the Huffington Post and the National Parks Service agree that going camping is good for your overall health. Being in nature for even a few minutes a day can help relieve stress, but staying out in nature without any screens can improve your circadian rhythms (which can aid in a better night’s sleep), reduce depression, and allow you the ability to truly appreciate all the beauty there is to be had in the natural world. Bringing people you care about with you can help build relationships and give you even more memories to share. 

Getting Started

RootsRated has a very comprehensive list of what you need and how to decide which type of supplies are best for you. To add to that list, a wire rack to go over the fire can be a great cooking tool. It’s cheaper than a stove if you are just starting out, but it takes more practice to cook with. A kitchen tent (a tall screened-in room that can be assembled over a picnic table) can be very helpful to store food and provide a place to eat without as many bugs. A hatchet to split your own wood can also be a lifesaver. You can’t go wrong with some rope and clothespins for an easy clothesline. Water Jugs will be needed along with the water bottle because you will most likely need to walk to a water pump for water, and one bottle just won’t cut it. A tarp is also a good thing to keep around. The more you camp the more you will tailor your supplies to your needs. Camping truly is a wonderful experience everyone should have at least once. 

The Old Gum Tree’s Place in South Australia’s History

Many of us as children learned the words to a fun song, “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, merry, merry king of the bush is he. Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra, how gay your life must be!”

The song originated from a contest in 1934 organized by the Girl Guides’ Association of Victoria, Australia. It was penned by Marion Sinclair, a former teacher, poet, and composer from Werribee, Victoria, who was very familiar with gum trees, and most specifically a special one.

Glenelg’s History and its Gum Tree

Gum trees are smooth-barked trees, members of the Eucalyptus family, and native to Australia. It was under the shade of one particularly large, bent over gum tree that in December 1836, a proclamation was read establishing South Australia as a British province.

Ships under the direction of Colonial Secretary Robert Gouger had landed on that hot December day with settlers developing a makeshift camp, and Rear-Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh declaring that proclamation. Hindmarsh was named governor of the province. That gum tree resided in Glenelg, recognized today as the oldest European settlement on mainland South Australia. It is located along the southern coast, about a 25-minute drive from the city of Adelaide.

Glenelg Today

The old gum tree is gone, having died out in the 1900s. Attempts had been made to preserve the tree including its base being surrounded by cement in hopes of keeping it from collapsing. It wasn’t until 1963, the tree’s decayed outer shell was encased with cement and plastic.

This area of Glenelg is now a park known as the Old Gum Tree Preserve. It is open daily for visitors with all hometown park facilities including picnic areas, BBQ pits, playgrounds, and a memorial to the old gum tree and its part in Australia’s history.

There are approximately 900 species of eucalyptus in Australian forests. The historic gum tree is believed to have been a red gum. The kookaburra is a member of the kingfisher family and native to Australia and New Guinea. Also known as the Laughing Kookaburra, its laughing cackle can best be heard in the early morning or evening before nightfall.