What happens when you take a kid from the midwest, used to living 3,500 miles from the beach, give him a bus ticket and send him to one of the best surf beaches in the world all by his lonesome? He learns things. Like:

1) Waves look a lot bigger when you're paddling into them than they do from up on the boardwalk

2) The whitewash from a broken wave can be over your head

3) 9ft waves are HUGE

4) Being nice to the hostel staff can get you far

5) Drunken rugby players will take your dry top, forcing you to chase around the hostel and miss your early-morning tide

6) Offshore winds will try to push your boat out into the ocean

7) Breaking 9-footers are powerful enough to implode your skirt and dump you end-over-end onto your head

8) If you lose your contact lens on a windy beach you will never, ever find it.

9) It's possible to transport your 6ft kayak by bus and sweet-talk the driver into not charging you for it

10) If you have a 40lb boat and a 60lb pack full of wet paddling gear, you shouldn't opt to hike the couple miles home instead of calling your flatmates. Straping the kayak to the pack won't work. It will still be heavy. You will be sore the next morning. Trust me.

It was quite the weekend.