Surf Report with John Veage: Cronulla Bodyboard Club celebrates 30 years

The Cronulla Bodyboard Club is the oldest running bodyboard club in the world and has been responsible for developing some of the world's best bodyboarders.

Andrew Lester, Adam “Wingnut” Smith, Shaun Pyne, Dave Ballard, Doug Robson, Nathan Purcel and many more athletes from the club have pursued a career on the world stage.

This year marks the club’s 30th birthday, quite a feat for a bunch of renegade and somewhat underestimated members of Surfing Sutherland Shire’s surfing community.

Birthday waves: Competitors from Cronulla Bodyboard Club are celebrating 30 years of camaraderie with Open, Masters, Women's and Grom divisions. Picture: John Veage

Birthday waves: Competitors from Cronulla Bodyboard Club are celebrating 30 years of camaraderie with Open, Masters, Women's and Grom divisions. Picture: John Veage

The club started from nothing, with Mark Sorenson initiating the formation with Cathy and Arnold Cohen from the Emerald surf shop in 1985.

The first contest was held in January at Cronulla Point and run by teachers Derek and Peter Hulme who were International Bodyboard Association judges.

“Without a club our sport doesn't grow or even exist – we are not mainstream, we don’t have a strong world tour that’s on TV. Competing at club level keeps things real and locally competitive,” club president Des Govender said.

Historically, Indigenous Polynesians rode "Alaia" boards, and Captain Cook recorded seeing Hawaiian villagers riding such boards when he visited Hawaii in 1778.

These boards evolved into the more modern "Paipo" board which were either made of wood or fiberglass.

On 9 July 1971, American surfer Tom Morey invented the modern bodyboard on Hawaii’s Big Island. 

Since then bodyboarding has experienced spurts of rapid growth both as an industry and extreme sport. The industry has shifted from a primarily American to a global industry phenomena. 

The Association of Professional Bodyboarders was formed in 1993, with the focus on developing all levels of the sport, both amateur and professional, male and female.

Alex Leon is the current chief executive of the Association of Professional Bodyboarding and a product of the Cronulla club.

“The club has always had a family friendly feel about it,” Leon said.

“With the support of Dez & Emerald Bodyboard shop over the past years it has been able to continue to run every month of the year. The club is a great initiative for junior development and I recommend it to all youths who aspire to ride waves and enjoy a social atmosphere.”

Bodyboarders have been accredited with pioneering and mastering some of the world's heaviest, most renowned surf locations: Teahupo'o in French Polynesia and our very own Shark Island.

Epic waves this morning as the biggest  South swell for years swept into Bate Bay making this week a special one on the calendar.

After two weeks of small surf the swell finally returned with a bang - Saturday morning the swell lines stretched to the horizon with the Northern reefs hitting the 6-8ft mark.

The Alley was the pick of the beach with rogue sets making Wanda pretty unsurfable. Cronulla Point Boardriders lucked in holding a contest at the Point and the Christians took on the Alley and all that entailed.

Saturday still showed promise with the whole beach looking good with a slight onshore kicking in at mid-day.I took today's pics on both weekend days ,the Alley and the Reefs on Saturday and Wanda on Sunday.

Swellnet predicted mid week to be excellent because a  substantial groundswell turned up on time on Tuesday and should pulse today as a result of south/southwesterly fetches on the back side of a low squeezing up the eastern and southern parts of the Tasman Sea.

They got this right with this swell peaking on Wednesday, with sets in the 8ft plus range at south facing beaches in Sydney, potentially up to 12ft across the Hunter ,which picks up southerly groundswells a lot better.

Thursday will likely see a steady easing trend as the southern swell heads north to Alaska-Northwesterly breezes should make surface conditions ideal.Clean conditions should persist throughout Saturday with 2-3ft waves, as west/northwesterly breezes become gusty and tend west/southwesterly. 

The first large scale World Surf League  Qualifying Series (QS) event to hit Japan in over three years has gotten underway with the Ichinomiya Chiba Open running through Men’s Round 1 and 2 and 14 heats of round 3.

The bad news is all the young locals (except Connor ) are gone- with Harrison Martin third in his first round heat,Shane Campbell exited second round with Jared Hickel after a good first round win.

Connor O’Leary didnt have to surf until round 3 and he didn't disappoint with a smashing heat win to take him into round 4 and into the points-The Ichinomiya Chiba Open will run from May 23 – 30 and be webcast live at and on the WSL App.

Masters surfers will restoke their competitive flame from June 16 – 19, when the HIF NSW Surfmasters Titles presented by Moby's Beachside Retreat kicks off at Boomerang Beach.

The prominent four day event will see over 150 competitors - aged 35 and above - battle it out in an attempt to secure a NSW shortboard title and a spot in the national titles at the 2016 Australian Surf Festival in Coffs Harbour.

Already entered into the event are former Championship Tour surfers Rob Bain (Avalon), Amee Donohoe (Macmasters Beach) and Jake Spooner (Bulli) as well as multiple Australian Champions including: Paul Parkes (Merewether), John Schmidenberg (Emerald Beach), Rod Baldwin (Copacabana) and Justin Lee (Redhead).

John John Florence (HAW) has claimed victory at the Oi Rio Pro, Stop No. 4 of 11 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, besting rookie Jack Freestone (AUS)in punchy four-to-six foot (1.5 - 2 metre) waves at Postinho.

“I love coming back here to Rio,” Florence said. “This is where I won my first World Championship Tour event. The waves are really similar to Hawaii with their power. Everyone here in Brazil has been so supportive. If it was not for everyone’s support on the beach cheering us on every wave, I do not know if I would have been as stoked. Thank you to everyone.”

Today’s emphatic victory vaults Florence from 13th to 3rd on the WSL Jeep Leaderboard, well within striking distance of the frontrunner position.

All I know was it was hard to watch back here!

Behind nearly all of Australia’s best surfing talent there is or has been a mentor, confidant or more commonly, a coach.

Recognising their importance, Surfing Australia has selected 15 of the best Australian surf coaches to take part in their new Elite Coach Development Program which is being held at the Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Centre .

The Participants have been identified as having the ability to work with elite athletes, and have excelled in their field.

Retiring elite athletes who have a desire to coach after their competitive days are over will also be a recruitment focus for the program.

The group includes: Matt Grainger, Ben Falvey, Jay Thompson, Samba Mann, Tim Macdonald, Dean Brady, Josh Fuller, Mike McAuliffe, Blake Johnston, Mick Cain, Dan Ross, Adam Robertson, Andy King, Clancy Dawson, Josh Secomb, Kate Wilcomes, Jenny Boggis, Amee Donohoe and Chad Collier.

Surfing Australia’s National Coach Andy King, who is participating in the program, spoke of the importance of unifying elite coaches across the country for the greater good of the sport.

“This new program will not only strengthen and unify the level at which Australia’s best elite coaches operate, but improve athlete performance across the board as well.”

See there is hope for everyone!-see you next week.


Discuss "Surf Report with John Veage: Bodyboard club 30 years older and wiser"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.