BIG WAVES: Ross Gibbings loves the water and is enjoying his time in Australia.
BIG WAVES: Ross Gibbings loves the water and is enjoying his time in Australia. Georgia Simpson

Aussie waves for South African

THRUST into the real world after finishing his 12 years of schooling, 18-year-old Ross Gibbings had no idea what he wanted to study at university.

A keen surfer back home in South Africa, Ross chose to do a gap year in Australia to for two reasons; his best mate from school was also coming to Australia, and he was keen to experience the surf for himself, first hand.

He's been working at a school on the Gold Coast through a gap year program where he assists in organising the logistics side of running a school.

He very nearly decided to do something similar at a boarding school in England, however the lure of catching waves at famous surf breaks like snapper rocks proved irresistible for his swell obsession.

He gets up every day before school and rides his bike with his board to the closest surf spot.

What's your favourite Australian destination so far?

I haven't been able to do much travel yet, but I really like Burleigh on the Gold Coast.

I just like the vibe and there's heaps of cool cafes, bars and shops.

It's expensive though, so I just window shop.

What's the weirdest thing about Australian culture?

Australia is a lot more multicultural than I expected and there also seems to be German backpackers everywhere.

What's something you'll remember forever

The last few days in the Whitsundays has been very memorable.

I did a two-day two-night snorkelling tour, and I saw George the giant Maori wrasse - he was a pretty big fish.

How do you think travel has changed you?

I've never stayed in hostels before this trip, so that has been a new experience for me; it's made me a lot friendlier because you're forced to go and talk to people.

What's your top Australian travel tip?

Try to steer clear of those meal deals like, "Pizza and Pint for $10”.

I got sucked into one of those in Noosa, and it was a waste of money.