It feels like I’ve been surfing for as long as I can remember, even though I didn’t actually start until I was 11. Born and raised in Woolgoolga – or Woopi as the locals know it – my first real surfing memory there is at Main Beach on a red-bottomed single fin surf board. I had to ride my bike down the big hill and then push it back up – not easy when you’re small and carrying a surfboard!
By the age of 13 I was surfing competitively & I won a Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain School Surfing Scholarship just before I turned seventeen. I spent the next three years on the local surf circuit, surfing my way into many finals including first place in the Open Mullaway Surf Classic in 1987!
Throughout my early surfing days I was sponsored by Hot Tuna, Prana Surfboards and Blue Lines Surf Centre, and couldn’t imagine doing much else with my life. However, I was always good at maths at school and when it came to the time to apply for university, accounting was my first choice.
I still surfed as much as I could when I was at uni, and in January 1991, I got my first job as an assistant accountant in an abattoir (nice) in Grafton NSW. Life got pretty busy for a while; I started my own business, and in 2003 Jaylan my son was born. With so many other priorities, surfing just took a back seat, and I stopped – probably without even realising it.
Fast forward about nine years, and a new client came into my accounting office on the Gold Coast. We were having a good chat about life, and surfing came up. I said “Oh, I used to surf” and they said, what do you mean you used to surf?!
One weekend they invited me out for a surf, so I ended up getting my boards out, cleaned one up and got out there amongst the waves. It was like I’d never stopped! I have surfed every week since without fail – huge thanks to my now friends Nam & Devo from Equalize Training Company for getting me back out there.
One of my favourite surfing memories (as a grown up!) is at the Maldives last year, surfing barrelling left-handers for over 4 hours, it was just epic! I want to go back there again soon, it’s the trip of a lifetime but hopefully not just once in my lifetime!
The best thing about being an accountant is seeing clients grow both with their business and personally. When I’m involved in that process it’s very rewarding, and so many of my clients have become good friends. It helps that most of them surf too – I’m not sure if that’s a coincidence or if it’s just how it’s ended up!
I get a real connection with the water and the waves; I just love sitting out there on my board, it recharges by batteries and I get this sense of total freedom. It really helps me to stay balanced and deal with pressures of life and running a business. So, you could say that surfing is now vital to the success of my accounting career – and for that I’m pretty grateful.