Four Australian Olympic athletes enjoyed a taste of home by taking to the South Korean coastline for a morning of surfing.
After competing at the Winter Olympics and waiting for the official sign-off at the closing ceremony, most athletes wind down by watching teammates in action or by enjoying sightseeing trips.
But there was nothing that laid back for four members of the Australian team as they took to the waves some 8,046 kilometres from home.
Danielle Scott, Scott Kneller, James Matheson, Harry Laidlaw and Rohan Chapman-Davies all threw on a wetsuit, grabbed a board and bravely took to the the four-degree-Celsius waters at Yeongjin Beach in Gangneung – a city that hosts the skating and ice hockey Olympic venues.
“It’s no bikini weather here but the waves we had out there were pretty sweet,” freestyle skier Danielle Scott told Reuters Television.
Scott said that she had never expected to be surfing during one of the coldest Winter Olympics in history.
“We had so many layers on while we were competing and just to have a wetsuit on right now in this water. Unbelievable, never would have dreamt of this.”
The South Korean east coast can’t quite match Byron Bay for spectacular waves, but surviving the sub-zero temperatures of the water was challenging enough.
“It’s a different kind of coldness but it’s fun out there,” said giant slalom skier Harry Laidlaw who requested a “hot shower as quick as possible,” after his frosty stint.
Scott believes that Australia would have a “shot” at winning gold if ice cold surfing ever became a Winter Olympics sport.
“We’ve got a good start over everyone so let’s see how we go. But that was awesome, I am so happy we came down here.”
The surfing was organised by the Australian Olympic Committee for athletes who are no longer competing in the Games which end on Sunday.