Summer is here. The sun is out, our beaches are crowded and surfers are riding waves from one end of the coast to another so it must be the perfect time to talk about… football!
With the 2020 football season still a fair way off surfers from all clubs have been descending on the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula to catch a few waves and escape the demands of the AFL.
Lachie Henderson from Geelong is a regular to the Surf Coast. A quick surf is often followed by a coffee in Juc. Dangerfield is a well-known surfer down Moggs Creek way. He only has to literally step out the front door and the surf is there for him to enjoy (nice surfing in the suit by the way). Carlton/Collingwood legend ‘Daisy’ Thomas has also been seen hitting the waves around Jan Juc a fair bit this summer.
Cats Captain Joel Selwood has been seen cruising around the Rip Curl Pro at Easter time while former Cats Captain Cameron Ling loves hitting the waves. Back in the day, Gary Ablett Jnr was a keen surfer and his Dad was spotted on the odd occasion paddling a ‘goat boat’ out the back at Torquay.
Dermie was also a keen surfer in his day and could occasionally be spotted out at Bells and Winki Pop. Former Cat legend Michael Turner was another who loved to hit the waves when he wasn’t streaming down the wing and kicking goals at Kardinia Park.
Surfing during the offseason is the way to go. A few years ago Fremantle dropped young gun Connor Blakely who pretended he was sick so that he could skip training and go surfing.
Surfing Cats made the news a few years back when Lachie Henderson was surfing at Bells with good mate Jarrod Waite when a surfer was attacked by a shark. Rather than paddle in, both AFL players chose to stay in the water and wait for the shark to leave.
When nominating the best surfing footballer, many can’t go past Phil Read who played for West Coast and Melbourne. Upon retiring from the AFL, Read took to riding many of the big wave spots south of Perth near Margaret River. In 2014 he was nominated for the Billabong Ride Of The Year after catching a monster at The Right.
Next time you’re down the coast you might spot a surfing footballer or two… or a surfing tennis player or two…. I’ll save the Mark Philippoussis story for another day.
Written by John Foss