At an Urbnsurf Surf and Sip session, no one’s going to scream at you because you dropped in on their wave. The surf guides are there to be your cheer squad and point you to the best spots, and the lifeguards are all women, too.

This kind of friendliness is hugely important to Urbnsurf’s sunny lifeguard manager Caitlin Foot-Connolly, who grew up on the Victorian coast and has been devoted to surf safety ever since she joined the Nippers. Now she gets to combine that mission with Friday-night fun times.

“Surfing is becoming so much more inclusive and this is a passion of mine, to create the kind of environment where women can learn,” she says.

Surf and Sip is a knock-off drink with a difference. Held on the last Friday of every month at 7pm, it’s a bonding experience and it’s a drop well earned. As Australia’s first surf park (and the biggest surf park in the Southern Hemisphere), Urbnsurf offers a controlled environment in Tullamarine for beginners and intermediate surfers to experiment, or to just have fun floundering in the shallows.

The lagoon is divided into two sections, split up by the wave generator - also known as 'Roary' - pumping out perfect left and right handers. There's also a lawn area to catch your breath post surf or just watch the action. The lagoon is able to accommodate 84 surfers, if both sides are in use.

“It really is like entering a completely different world,” says Foot-Connolly. “It almost looks like you’re in the Maldives because of the scale and the colour; it really doesn’t look like a pool environment. It’s more of a magical turquoise lagoon.”

Surf and Sip punters can choose from one of two levels. The Cruiser session ($75) is suitable for beginners and intermediate intent on catching unbroken waves. There are 10 wave sets, with a 30-60 second break in between. “The name speaks for itself – it’s a cruisy session,” says Foot-Connolly.

Then there’s Play in the Bays ($35) in the shallower end of the lagoon where the waves have already broken. This level’s perfect for learning the basics of standing and riding forwards; or some people prefer to grab a boogie board and ride a wave in lying on their front. There’s the option of booking a surf lesson beforehand, at an extra cost. In spring and summer, surfers tend to wear bathers, though you can always choose a wetsuit, booties and a hood from the hire store.

“It attracts such a mixed bag of women,’ says Foot-Connolly. “In sessions that I’ve seen, we’ve had a group of mums come in, a group of high school friends, older women, and girls who come in on their own.”

After an hour in the water, there’s a space reserved for you at the Three Blue Ducks, either outside overlooking the lagoon, if it’s a nice day, or upstairs in the mezzanine with a view. There, you can kick-back with a well-earned complimentary beer, wine or non-alcoholic drink. Stay on and check out the restaurant if you’ve really worked up an appetite.

Surf and Sip returns this coming Friday, 26th of November at 7pm.
More here.