How it Happened

How it Happened

As I have been travelling up Australia’s east coast for the last several weeks, commencing what one of my friends has described as my “surf/life journey,” I have landed in Bondi. Yes, Bondi, the touristy and supposedly overrated beach suburb in Sydney’s east that is well known for its TV-famous surf lifesavers. It turns out, however, that Bondi has a unique combination of hip café culture and surfy vibes that make it the perfect place to sip on a nice chai latté and get my thoughts together between surfs, which is exactly what I have been doing.

Finally, after immersing myself in the creative, arty atmosphere that surrounds Bondi, I have managed to harness some of the bits and pieces that have been floating around in my head and come up with some concrete ideas for what to put in the Ocean Girl blog. One of these ideas will be a series of installments based on my personal journey as a surfer girl.

I would love to be able to say that I surfed from a young age, but I actually grew up right outside of Washington, DC, where there is no surf within a three hour drive. And even that is never really much good for anything other than swimming and body boarding. It was only as a 20-year old redhead studying on exchange in Australia during my last year of university that I rode my first wave. Little did I know how profoundly it would impact the course of my life.

During that first six months in Australia, I began my journey of becoming a surfer girl in cold southwest Victoria, but it was only after I returned on working holiday a year later that I really got into it. I suppose it was the year that I spent away from the surf that really made me miss it, but I came back fully intent on becoming a true wave rider. And indeed, I quickly became known as that super keen chick who would go out and surf even on the coldest, choppiest days.

There is just something so addictive and so humbling about being a surfer. Some days I can catch green waves and ride along as they peel perfectly, but more often than not I miss a wave or fall off and get tumbled around relentlessly. The ocean is an ever-changing and often unforgiving classroom, constantly reminding me that there is always room for improvement. But I have felt the exhilarating sensation of riding a wave, and it keeps me wanting more. It is an addictive combination of adrenaline and pure joy, often with just a pinch of fear. It can’t be fully described in words, but every surfer knows what I am talking about, and every surfer lives for that feeling.

As I continue to relish all that comes with this amazing way of life, I want more and more to share the stoke with other women. In the chilly waters of southern Australia, I was one of the only females that I knew who surfed regularly, and I know very well the feeling of being the only girl in the lineup. Of course surfing with the boys can be really good fun, but I would absolutely love to see more girls out there soaking up this amazing lifestyle.

So stay tuned as I track not only my life and progress as a surfer girl, but also all of the ups and downs, lessons learnt, and random little moments that go along with it.


Maddie Buresh is a writer and photographer with an unquenchable desire to explore the great outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. She finds joy in trying new things, living in community, and crafting stories that encourage people to go outside, have adventures, and enjoy this big, beautiful world.