Meet Ella. Her world has just been turned upside down when her parents decided to move their whole family interstate. Gone is downtown Melbourne, her dance studio, best friend and boyfriend, and hello Newcastle, where the town lives by the daily surf report, everyone knows everyone and her mother is apparently a local legend. Everyone seems to be adjusting; even her crazier-than-normal sister Creaky, yet Ella can’t help but long for her home town, where everything has its place and where she knows what is expected of her.
Nothing will replace the life in Melbourne, but as Ella starts to settle in and see the beauty of her surroundings, Newcastle may just come close. School brings new opportunities for Ella, new friends, new surroundings, new people who have no idea who Ella is. As she settles into the life in Newcastle, Ella finds what she was missing, a new dance studio, close friends and as Ella begins to accept her new life, her conflicted feelings of missing her old life but enjoying her new one start to play out. At the forefront of this is Jamie, her ex-but-still-kind-of-together boyfriend from Melbourne. Ella and Jamie never really broke it off, and when Ella starts to become close to talented surfer and fellow classmate Snowy, tensions between Ella and Jamie start to climb.
Unable to resist the lure of the surf, Ella becomes completely entrenched in the surfing culture of the town. Mornings are spent at the beach, afternoon’s training, and every second of free time is somehow related to surfing – documentaries, magazines and the all important surf report. All through this, Ella hears whispers of her mother’s former surfing ability, yet before the move, Ella and Creaky were un-aware that their mother even liked the beach, let alone spent enough time there to be considered a surfing legend.
As Ella struggles to find a balance between surfing and dancing, the question must be asked, and Ella needs to make the biggest decision that could very well change the course of her life forever.
Surf Ache is debut novel from Australian writer Gerry Bobsien, a resident of Newcastle. As a first novel, it is something fresh and new in the young adult genre. I’m yet to read a novel on surfing that I got to the end of, this being the first. However, I felt that there was room for much deeper character development and exploration, as with some of the characters their decisions and actions lacked believability for me. I felt that there was too much covered in the way of events, without a definite conclusion. That being said, this novel could be setting up to a possible sequel. I personally would have loved to see more of Creaky and Luke, as I felt this story arch was set up then forgotten towards the end of the novel, but that could be me and my love of wacky characters! Overall, an enjoyable and light read that kept me occupied and reading to the end.