Taking a Stroll Through the New Neighborhood. Photo by Michael Assim.

Last Saturday, I reached the ripe old age of 22. Normally, my birthday coincides with Thanksgiving, so the sun goes down at five, and I get pumpkin pie instead of cake. However, this year, I escaped my late autumn birthday, by switching hemispheres! I just got to Byron Bay early last week, and spring is quickly transitioning to summer, with air and water temperatures in the mid 70s. Every year, I try to get my friends to hang out with me at the beach all day on my birthday, but they are always relatively forced, and end with numb toes and runny noses. This time around, I finally got to achieve my dream of the perfect beach day!

I couldn’t have asked for better weather or waves at The Pass, and I have already made some awesome friends here who helped make my birthday one for the books. I clocked in about eight hours of surfing, drank a couple warm beers and ate some sandy cake, and soaked up the beauty of Byron Bay. The surf was so good that I even had 500 of my closest friends to share waves with... think Malibu style crowds. Despite the busy lineup, I got plenty of rides that lasted forever, and by the end of the day I had probably surfed the length in miles that it would take to get me across the ocean and back to Encinitas.

In the evening, despite my surfed out exhaustion, I went out to see a surf movie premiere and listen to some bands play a warehouse show. I ran into some fellow members of the longboard community, and for a moment, forgot that I wasn’t at some sort of trendy surf event in Costa Mesa. I danced the night away, feeling right at home in my new town. The best part is, I managed to make it through the entire day without hearing Taylor Swift’s “22” once.