Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Building on a previous blog, you remember, the one where I basically explained how Oscar winning actor Geoffrey Rush and I were best friends. Well, this chapter builds a little on that and demonstrates not just how surf clubs are the greatest way to meet and stay connected with your local community. But also, how surf clubs, and more to the point surf lifesaving nippers is the greatest breeding ground for athletic talent and the greatest un-tapped talent identification program in the world.
In the book I do touch on this in a little more detail and even share a story of how the worlds most infamous dictator sent a reconnaissance team to learn more about Aussie nippers and athletic identification at the beach.
I also expand on how within a 15-kilometre radius of Nobbys Surf Club you could name multiple Olympic medallists and even Gold Medallists, Rugby League, Union and AFL players and even the greatest Queenslander of all time, the King, Wally Lewis, who all started their sporting journey as nippers.
What I didn’t discuss in the book was the enormous amount of sporting talent that has come through all surf clubs and in particular, to this blog, through Sydney Surf Clubs.
I have included some amazing images of some of the present-day super star athletes that have come through nippers, people like Origin and Melbourne Storm Hooker Harry Grant, Rabbitohs and NSW Origin forward Cam Murray and current Dally M Player of the year Tom Trbojevic.
But what about this trio. Thanks to friend and two time Olympic Swimmer Tom Fraser-Holmes I was able to get these images.
Imagine being in the Under 9s in 2001 and finding out your State’s Board Paddling Champion was Roosters, New South Wales and Australian Rugby League Captain Boyd Cordner, or that the second-best board paddler in the state was two time Olympic swimmer Tom Fraser-Holmes or just when you thought you could relax out of the water and in the beach sprints you had to take on Wallaby captain Michael Hooper.
What an age group to grow up in living in NSW, the Australian Rugby League Captain, The Australian Rugby Union Captain and a London and Rio Olympic swimmer all the same age group….wow!!!
Imagine growing up with those guys, sharing their sporting journey and success and knowing that their surf club experience, however big or small helped to mold them into the leaders they are today.
Now imagine being their age, living in their area and not growing up with them. Inclusion isn't just for those with a disability. Growing up with inclusive sport, school and attitudes allows our leaders of tomorrow to better understand everyone in their community.