You'll find them everywhere. Football teams have them and so do surfers,
returned servicemen (RSL), the Catholic Church and many other large
organisations that can raise enough money and get a liquor licence. Most
I belong to a surf club. They are one of Australia's great institutions . Many have
bars and restaurants. That's one of the ways they make money for their main activity,
which is lifesaving.
Those bronzed young people patrolling our beaches are volunteers . They joined
their clubs at an early age and received instruction from older members . It is no
coincidence that many lifesavers on Asian beaches are Australian trained.
So, if you want an introduction to the Aussie way of life and you are a surfer, you
could hardly do better than join a surf club . Age is not a consideration. There's no
shortage of grey-haired surfers on our beaches and plenty of teenagers . The sport is
almost as popular amongst women as it is with men.
If you are not a surfer that is not a barrier. Go along and have a meal. You'll be
asked to sign the visitor's book to comply with the licensing authorities but no more is
involved. In many clubs, most of the staff are volunteers . You will be served by
lifesavers and surfers.
My part of Australia, which is the Gold Coast, is home to some of the world's top
ranking competitors. Go to the south of the strip for the best action. Despite its name,
Surfers Paradise is not the main hot spot. That honour goes to Coolangatta where the
incoming waves run along the beach.
On a good day at Coolangatta, you can stand on the shore and get a clear view of
the surfers as they travel down the tubes created by the breaking waves. It's a great
place for photographs. Major international surfing competitions are held there and
news teams gather from all around the globe.