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For me, as for most Australians, summer holidays have always meant going to the beach. I grew up swimming and playing in the waves, eventually moving on to a body board, but somehow missing out on learning to stand on a surfboard.

I finally made up for that omission when I was in my 50s — too old ever to become good at it, but young enough for surfing to give me a decade of fun and a sense of accomplishment.

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