Could I have landed in an alternate universe where everyone is happy, super chill and insanely stylish? I prolonged my stay in the Surfer’s hot spot Byron Bay to attend the annual Byron Bay Surf Festival and get a firsthand insight into surfing culture. Since my attempt at standing on a board on temperamental waters was a big fail, I would not consider myself to be a surfer but no need. I felt instantly included and there is so much to appreciate with the culture of surfers.
Can You Feel the Vibes?
For one, there is this underlying attitude that everyone is the same and we are all just an extended part of the big wide world, seeking connection through riding waves in our pursuit for happiness. It sounds hippie, but is part of a fundamental difference in the mindset that is really caring and open minded. If you had listened to one of the many lectures held in a tent with everyone sitting on hay stacks during Byron Bay Surf Festival, listening to surfer dudes resting their arms on a surfboard table or take one of the surfing yoga classes and you will get a clearer picture. It is really gripping.
Strolling from tent to tipi, I admired the handcrafted accessories and fashion items, workshops where eager surf lovers were busily crafting next to stores that offered amazingly painted ready made boards. I should not forget the food, which was all organic and healthy but at the same time so perfectly presented, it all somehow fit together perfectly, just like the community that had gathered on this weekend to celebrate the ocean.
Literature, Food and Music
With all these loving, open people, I wanted to get a piece of that feeling as well and tried my first surf yoga lesson. Not a good idea in skinny jeans. Preventing clothing drama, I soon found myself trying out Chia pods, tasting lavender cake and listening to some mellow live music. Being a literature nerd, the Surf Lit Tent was soon my go to place and I listened to a few of the talks and lectures on philosophy, publishing and sustainability. Who knew all this was connected to surf culture?
Talking to amazing people, eating great food and watching the sun set over the blue ocean while I was sitting in the white dunes, I thought the day was over when the first chords came blown over to me from the stage where live musicians were playing all night. That certainly was a festival I would highly recommend to absolutely everyone. If you can, visit Byron Bay Surf Festival!