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Career change pays off for surfing champ


Zuleika Henderson
1 August 2008
A Southern Cross University student and former professional soldier has taken out gold in the Men’s Shortboard surf event at the Australian University Championships held earlier this month.

Kirra based Diploma of Sport Management (Surfing Studies) student Garry Davies competed against around 37 other students from all over Australia at Narrowneck Beach at Surfers Paradise earlier this month to take the title.

The victory is another step on the path to a career in surfing for the former bombardier, who last year swapped a six-year commitment to the army for a shot at success in the surfing industry.

Garry said the decision to follow his passion had been worthwhile.

“I’ve surfed since I was four years old, but while I was in the army in Brisbane I had to pretty much give it up,” said Garry.

“I just put it out of my mind for those years, but then I broke my leg really badly. It was the trigger I needed, and I decided to leave to make a career in an area I felt passionate about.

“It’s been a whole lifestyle change – I’ve lost a few kilos and got healthy. Some of my friends have said it’s inspired them to get into what they love too.”

Garry, who was sponsored by Rip Curl while surfing competitively in his younger years, works for Surfing Queensland as site crew at weekend surfing events and is preparing to begin a two-day a week internship with Surfing Australia.

He has also gained ongoing work experience sanding and glassing surfboards with Gold Coast based surfboard manufacturer ‘Sel Surfboards,’ who also now help him out with surfboard supplies for his competitions.

Garry said that his course at Southern Cross University had helped him to work towards his career aspirations.

“I’ve accessed lectures online and taken flexible study options so I’ve been able to get work experience, work to pay the bills, train for surfing competitions and study at the same time,” Garry said.

“I’ve put in quite a bit of work and it was great to get a result in the Australian University Championships - words can’t explain it.

“It’s so good to be doing something I am passionate about – it’s like the fire has been re-lit.”

Photo: Garry Davies