TORQUAY, Australia — Victorian kids traveled up to 13 hours for a rare chance to go surfing with their heroes at Bells Beach.
Freezing storm surf was no deterrent for the liliputian army of 60 kids who were invited by the world’s best surfers to catch some waves with them at one of the world’s most famous breaks.
The “Surf With The Stars” day — the surfing equivalent of a young golfer playing a round with Tiger Woods — is put together by the pros through their athletes’ union worldprosurfers.com, and is instigated by 2007 World Champ Mick Fanning. And Fanning wasn’t going to let a lingering flu stop him from hitting the icy waves with the grommets.
“Look how stoked they are, it’s all about giving them a connection and hopefully inspiring them … and it’s generally just a whole lot of fun for us too because we get to hang out and find out a bit about them as well.”
“It’s that simple,” World #16 Kieren Perrow added. “You’ve got to see these guys, some come from distant pockets of coast and they rip, especially the families that drove over six hours, each way, to come and surf with us.”
According to parent and designated driver Mark Traynor of remote Lake’s Entrance: “It’s a 13 hour round-trip.”
Sean Squires, 17, also of Lakes Entrance laughed, ”Yeah it was a long drive and we even had trouble from some bikies following us for part of the way, but it was definitely worth it just to see the guys surf up close and say ‘g’day’.”
Tom Harrison, 10, of Barwon Heads agreed, “It was crazy seeing them all out there. Mick Fanning said, ‘If you see any of us pros on a wave, just go for it’; so I rode the same wave with Bede Durbidge, I dropped in on him but he didn’t care. I got one good turn in too.”
The stoked kids came from local board-riders’ clubs all over Victoria and the day was put together with the support of Torquay Boardriders Club and the Mitchell Surfing Foundation.