When my alarm went off at 5am yesterday morning I rolled over and quickly hit snooze. I had arranged to meet some friends at the beach to take part in a pre-work surfing lesson dressed as santa – as you do – but having tossed and turned for most of the night, I was in desperate need of more asleep. When I then woke an hour later, to a text from my friend Sarah, suggesting we meet at North Bondi in 30 minutes, I was slightly more awake and so threw on my bikini and running gear, and jogged down to the beach.
By the time we approached the seafront, there were santas and surfboards everywhere; a collaboration between mental health charity One Wave, local surf school Let’s Go Surfing, and gift retailer Red Balloon, Tuesday’s event was an attempt to break a world record for the amount of people partaking in a surf lesson at the same time. The previous record stood at 250 people, and for every person taking part yesterday morning, Red Balloon had pledged a donation of $10 to One Wave.
Suffice to say it was certainly surreal to be donning a santa suit over my bikini, before being shown by the Let’s Go Surfing instructors how to use a surf board. Having never surfed before, I was nothing short of dreadful and when it was my go to get in the sea, I was barely able to lie flat on the board without falling off, let alone attempting to stand. And awful though I was, there was something both invigorating and inspiring being in the water under the early morning sun, surrounded by fellow santas, not only hoping to break a world record, but also contributing towards an incredible charity.
The thirty minute lesson went by in a flash – and though slightly bruised and bedraggled by the end of it – what an experience it was. There was a short wait before the Guinness World Record official announced that with 323 participants, we had indeed broken the world record, and cheers could be heard across the beach. It’s not every day that one gets the opportunity to help make a new world record – and that such a great cause was able to benefit, made it all the sweeter.