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Bunbury Surf School hits the water for April to August season

SUP or Surf: Bunbury Surf School founder Dave Cahill said the school was now gearing up for a busy, winter surf season from April to August. Picture: Pip Waller
SUP or Surf: Bunbury Surf School founder Dave Cahill said the school was now gearing up for a busy, winter surf season from April to August. Picture: Pip Waller

SURFING fanatic Dave Cahill was nine years old when he got on a surfboard at Hungry Hollow Beach for the first time.

Pulling himself out of the water and up onto a fiberglass surfboard that one of his mates let him use - Cahill was hooked.

He recalled "frothing straight away" over surfing, which resulted in "the washing of a lot of dishes" until his parents bought him his first surfboard in 1983.

The rest was history.

After recognising an opportunity to become the first and only Surfing Australia licensed and affiliated Surf School in town, Cahill founded the Bunbury Surf School in 2018.

"I went on a Bali trip with mates and they asked if I could teach them how to surf - so we hired some boards and went from there," Cahill said.

"I immediately thought it would be a great idea to bring home.

"Now we've been running for three and a bit years and it still blows me away - it started as a part time thing on the weekends, but because people had so much fun they just kept coming.

"It's been awesome."

The Bunbury Surf School offers surfing lessons for children aged five (Little Groms) to adults.

To help alleviate days with lower amounts of swell, the school also offers both twilight and day lessons of stand up paddle boarding.

Cahill said one of his favourite parts of the Surf School was seeing the "pure elation" on his students' faces when they stand up on the board for the first time.

"It's great for me because I remember feeling the exact same way - that feeling of fear and anxiety before getting on the board, which quickly changes to this sense of freedom and achievement.

"Surfing is a nice way to clear your head - when you get out there on the water you just forget about all your worries and immerse yourself in mother nature and the elements.

"It's definitely been my stress mitigation for years and that's probably why I keep doing it - I know I definitely get a bit crabby if I haven't surfed for a while."

Cahill said although Bunbury was commonly labeled as not an ideal surfing destination, there was still a "decent amount" of swell to run the surf school, both at the Back Beach and in Binningup, where the school surfs during the winter season.

He said next steps to improve the swell in Bunbury would hopefully include the installation of an artificial surf reef, following the Airwave artificial reef prototype which was briefly used at the Bunbury Back Beach in 2019.

"If we can increase the availability of surf spots along the coast with an artificial reef, it would be fantastic for the Bunbury region - just like what's happened in Margaret River and Yallingup.

"Those towns grew off the back of surfing, so if we can have a quality surf break, we can get some pretty awesome things happening.

"Bunbury is a great spot to learn how to surf when it's happening, but obviously there's patches in between when we rely on storms and weather to create swell.

"So it would be great to get people talking about it just so we can get to a point of putting something in the water sooner rather than later."

Visit https://bunburysurfschool.com.au/ to book your lesson before the season resumes in April.

When you get out there on the water you just forget about all your worries and immerse yourself in mother nature and the elements - that's what I love about surfing."

Bunbury Surf School founder Dave Cahill
To help alleviate days with low swell, the Bunbury Surf School offer stand up paddle boarding. Picture: supplied

To help alleviate days with low swell, the Bunbury Surf School offer stand up paddle boarding. Picture: supplied