'Then vs. Now': What Bondi Looked Like 10 Years Ago Will Blow Your Mind

"What a difference a decade makes."

'Then vs. Now': What Bondi Looked Like 10 Years Ago Will Blow Your Mind

A lot has changed in the last ten years. Craft beer has replaced lager. Wide fit has replaced skinny. Youtube is replacing free-to-air TV. Longboards are vogue.

Oh, and we now have a global pandemic.

But even before 2020 threw us for a spin cycle, things had been changing in Sydney’s iconic Bondi beach.

Though the days of ultra-violence and 20 cent bread rolls had long disappeared even before 2011, we were still a way off the $7 sough dough bread rolls, the meditation mile and the $6 iced long black scene you see today.

Though crowds have been guaranteed for a long time now whenever the waves are good, a photo recently posted to Instagram by photographer Bill Morris suggests that things have changed even further since 2011.

“What a difference a decade makes. This time… ⏳ 10 years ago,” Morris wrote, alongside an image of the waves on an uncrowded winter’s day.

One commenter added: “2ft winter mornings were quiet for a long time, that was Bondi at its best, everyone thought it was flat. Very few rode longboards.”

Morris responded: “Or softboards.”

Another user wrote: “It was a great place to grow up in the 60’s and 70’s. Even in later years, like right through the 90’s, I often used to ride a coolite with stealthy fibreglass fins (painted white to deceive the beach inspectors) outside the board area on lovely rip bowls, usually with on one out.”

“Few people seemed to realise that taking a performance drop on a coolite was worth being able to surf perfect waves on a summer Sunday to yourself – with 10,000 people on the beach! There was a stronger coolite scene at Tamarama, I guess fuelled by how frequently you couldn’t ride a board there.”

This isn’t the first time Morris has made this kind of observation. On July the 18th he wrote: “A not too dissimilar, mid winter Sunday afternoon late session ten years ago…. Except for one thing?”

Comments rolled in lamenting the crowds.

In response to the question “except for one thing” one commenter wrote: “several hundred people?”

Another wrote:

“1000 muppets.”

Morris attributes this to the lack of other options right now (“Just goes to show that there’s not much else to do atm”).

Another user wrote: “I thought it used to be easier to get waves.”

The new pub? Image via Surfline

With lockdown now tipped to extend until September, don’t expect the work-from-home crowds to go anywhere any time soon. In fact, webcam footage from the weekend shows the lengths Sydneysiders are willing to go to in order to get their fix (that length being about 10″).

Image: Surfline Webcam footage

Where to next? Only time and mind-length sales will tell.

Though we aren’t as naive as to think people won’t make the most of what they are allowed to do (you are allowed to surf, currently, as exercise), maybe we could all reconsider our need to grovel en masse when the waves aren’t even that good?

Or find another bank, get a wave in, and jog off before the crowd follows you over…

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