LOCAL teenagers were given a surfing lesson from some of the world’s top surfers in Warrnambool yesterday.
World tour surfer Bec Woods and top juniors India Payne and Jess Laing were at Lady Bay for the girls’ Surf-Off and Play it Safe by the Water surfing clinic.
Clinics are run as part of a statewide tour which aims to encourage more females to take up the sport.
Fifty local girls participated in the clinic, which Woods said was a fun way to deliver an important message.
“We ran a basic surf lesson, which was heaps of fun,” she said
“But then we went on to teach the girls some basic lessons in surf rescue.
“A lot of the beaches we surf at are unpatrolled (sic), so being able to have the skills to help someone out if they get in trouble is really important. I know that India, Jess and I have all had to do a board rescue before, so that just shows how important it really is for all surfers to have those skills.”
Woods, who is ranked number 11 in the world, said the surf-off was a great way to introduce girls to the sport. “I did the tour last year, and it was great to see so many of the girls back again,” she said.
“I know it’s a cliche but it is always great to see people fall in love with surfing.
“The girls were having so much fun in the water and that’s the best part of surfing.”
Woods said she took up the sport as a 12-year-old at the coaxing of her father.
“Dad had always surfed and wanted to pass on his love of the ocean to me and my sisters,” she said.
“It just seemed to naturally suit me.”
Woods won an Australian junior title at 16 and went on to become the world junior champion at 18.
She is a two-time professional junior series champion and joined the women’s elite world tour as a 19-year-old, fulfilling her dream of surfing among the world’s best.
Woods said she was looking forward to season 2013, which kicks off in February on the Gold Coast.
“I’m hoping 2013 will be another full-on year,” she said.
“My main aim this season is to crack into the top 10.”