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Not many Australians know where Kansas is. They know Texas, where I go to college, they know California where the American surfers tend to catch their waves, but Kansas is relatively unknown. Kansas is arguably the most landlocked state in the United States and, unfortunately, where I grew up for 18 years. My surfing experience consisted of the one lesson I took on vacation that included a regrettable bout of forgotten sunscreen followed by one of the most painful weeks of my life. So it must have been fate that I decided to study abroad in the surfing capital of the world: Australia. With my much more adventurous friends with snowboarding and skateboarding pasts in tow, I found myself at Surf Camp Australia the very first weekend after my plane landed. Jet lag doesn’t get a say when surfing is an option. 11401056_10152886403546931_6407815304652435774_n The day after we arrived we found ourselves zipped into wetsuits, carrying our boards, and listening to our instructors tell us that we would be standing up and riding waves by the end of that day. Needless to say, I was not convinced. My snowboarding career had ended when I was 15 after wiping out all the way down the mountain so my previous experience on a board—surf or otherwise—wasn’t giving me much hope. So naturally I was the first person the instructors decided to GoPro video for the end of camp movie. We had paddled out and I was avoiding my first wave like the plague when they sprung the news on me and had me in position to catch a wave within the minute. Without any time to panic and bail off my board, the wave was hitting my feet, I was paddling 1-2-3 times, and standing up in seconds. 11393014_10152886356791931_6092057879390190531_n Don’t get me wrong, I managed to nose dive plenty of times that day but the feeling of catching that very first wave—no matter how small it ended up being—had me thinking of heading back out to the water for the rest of the trip. The thought of putting on a damp wetsuit in 55 degree weather wasn’t as daunting when I couldn’t wait to get back out to the waves. For the rest of the afternoon I jumped at the chance to ride every wave that came my way. This of course resulted in me deciding my skills were much more developed than they were and wiping out spectacularly after a particularly large wave, but I couldn’t have cared less and was the last person out of the water that afternoon. It’s easy to see how people end up on the legendary journey to finding the perfect wave for the rest of their lives. I only have seven weeks to find my perfect wave, and chances are my surfing career will begin and end with the little waves I rode to shore on Seven Mile Beach this summer. But if I end up back in landlocked Kansas for the remainder of my life, I can rest easy knowing my perfect wave was the one that I thought would never happen on my first weekend at Surf Camp.11329778_10152874864121931_6893439358920952187_n -Madison Silvers

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"What a week! Who knew I'd like a water sport!? Surf Camp has been amazing and I made some great friends while I was there. Ramos, Beck and I teamed up and hit the front of the coach on the way there. Got the conversation going with a few of the others and made a few more friends before we got down to Seven Mile Beach, which is about two hours south of Sydney. When we arrived one of the instructors, Jord, gave us a run down of the week, the rules and what to expect. He tells us by Wednesday night we'll all be so tired we'll barely be able to lift a glass. We've jumped into a dorm with a few of the people we were talking to on the bus so there's no awkward first meetings while we are all getting ready for bed which is ace. There's a big group of people though, around 60, so it's a good mix of people from across the globe. Lesson one we covered the basics, getting on the board and pushing up into a push-up position. Nailed a couple of waves back to shore doing that. Our second lesson taught us how to get to our knees and things started to get a little more tricky balance wise. It s tiring, especially carrying the boards around and getting back out into the water, but it's exhilarating when you catch a wave! During lesson three we were finally taught how to pop up and try to stand. Here's where things get difficult. You have to be roughly central on the board, maybe slightly towards the back and getting your back foot up under you so you can push up and stand smoothly is difficult when you aren't very bendy! Or have a bit of a gut.... But, I still managed to nail one wave! What a rush! Granted I only stayed stood up for a few seconds, but man I was pleased!! After that it was just practise, practise, practise! I did start getting better at standing up but I fell off loads... And then, on Thursday, we did what you can only do in Australia for Christmas Day. Spend it on the beach! We had fantastic weather for the morning and we built a Sandman in place of a Snowman. It rained during the afternoon but we had a proper Christmas dinner washed down with goon and beers. Not everyone surfed the next morning unsurprisingly. I got up and get it one last bash, it really is an excellent hang over cure. Although, I was tired beyond belief when we got back to Sydney. But, this time I'm staying with Beau and don't have to worry about noisy roommates! Just a bloody cat." december surf camp 3

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1. SEARCH GPS

The Rip Curl SearchGPS Watch is like no other in the lineup. It is the best technology we have seen come out surf watches. Sync your data to the Rip Curl Search App or Website to re-live your surf with location maps, image sharing and graphic charts which showcase your session. A1111_BLACK_1 Features including:
  • Top Speed and distance records
  • Wave count
  • Track every wave with assisted GPS
  • 10 hours GPS surf time
  • Sync your surf to the cloud
  • One touch auto-set with 1,360 tide locations
  • Learn more…
  • Cost: $389.
 

2. RAGLAN TIDE TITANIUM

The Raglan Tidemaster Titanium features Rip Curl's famous Automatic Tide System. The solid titanium construction means maximum durability at a very light weight. Meticulous dial detail displays tide height and direction, moon phase, date, and seconds. The rugged custom screw down crown ensures 200M water resistance. 711A-HabFrL._UX342_
Features including:
  • Heat Bezel-A countdown timer on an analog watch.
  • Keeps track of time for anything from surf heats to the remaining time on a parking meter.
  • 200M water resistance.
  • Spring and Neap, Moonphase
  • Learn more…
  • Cost: $475.
 

3. K55 TIDEMASTER SILICONE STEEL

The new K55 - Tidemaster is the latest edition to Rip Curl's product line of tide watches and has all the necessary functionality as the original analog tide watch but re-designed with a stealthy fresh look to keep you low-profile when you're on The Search for the perfect wave. It features a high grade 316L marine grade stainless steel case to resist any rust or corrosion when exposed to a marine environment, scratch resistant mineral crystal lens. A1091_0090_1_zoom Features including:
  • 9 jeweled internal movement for precision accuracy
  • ATS tide function
  • spring/neap moon phase function
  • Water resistant up to 200 meters
  • 5 year warranty
  • Learn more…
  • Cost: $250.

4. MF TRESTLES PRO WORLD TIDE

Our best selling tide watch the Trestles now comes as a signature team rider edition called the Trestles Pro. The (Mick Fanning) Trestles Pro uses our World Tide technology and is packed with local knowledge for over 500 waves around the planet and each spot is pre-loaded with best tide, wind direction and swell size information to help you score the best surf. It has an , and comes with a silicone wrapped 44mm case and silicone strap for our most comfortable fit yet. A1100_0090_1_zoom
Features including:
  • internal digital compass
  • sunrise & sunset times
  • Water resistant up to 100 meters
  • 5 year warranty
  • Learn more…
  • Cost: $250.

5. NIXON LOWDOWN II

"Lowdown II" by Nixon is stronger, smarter and more comfortable than ever before. Pre-programmed with tide info for over 270 beaches worldwide, countdown timer, day and date, wave counter, chronograph and light. A289-1781-NIXON-1 Features including:
  • Countdown timer
  • wave counter
  • Pre-programmed with tide info for over 270 beaches worldwide
  • 2 year warranty
  • Learn more…
  • Cost: $179.
 

6. SUPERTIDE

Time your surf sessions right and you don't even have to think. Dissolve your brain in saltwater. With the rhythm of the tide displayed in high-resolution detail, the Supertide syncs you up with the motion of the ocean so you know exactly when to go. Whether you're sitting in the line up at your local break or frothing in your car, stuck in traffic, one exit from the beach, you'll know what you need to know. Features including:
  • High-resolution detail
  • Custom Digital Module 
  • Pre-programmed with tide info for over 230 beaches worldwide
  • Water Resistant 100m
  • Learn more…
  • Cost: $249.
 

NOTABLE MENTIONS

The "Brig Tide & Train" is Vestal's surf watch including a digital tide graph that features current tide height and tracks the tide at over 200 beaches worldwide, for the next 20 years. It's worth the $155. The "ED01 - T NATO" by Electric is a simple surf watch with tide prediction, moon phase, calendar, alarm, countdown/heat time, chronograph with 30 lap recall, and light functions. It can be yours for $90. The "Mariner Tide" is presented by Freestyle. It includes sunrise and sunset times to compliment its 150 beaches of pre-programmed tide data. The brand calls it "the perfect surf watch" and can be yours for $84.   

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