Gary’s whole life has revolved around the ocean in one respect or another. Hailing from Mona Vale, New South Wales, Australia, Gary started paddling a Nipper board in 1970 at age nine, switched to rowing surfboats in 1976, discovered SUP paddling in 2007, and most recently Outrigger Canoes in 2010. After competing in surfboat races for 25 years including winning gold and silver in the International Life Saving World Titles, Gary turned his competitive passion to SUP races. As a dominant presence on the Florida SUP racing circuit, Gary’s racing resume includes championships in the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum C2C (2007-2011), the East Coast Paddleboard Championships (2009, 2010), the Florida State Paddleboard Championships (2008, 2009) and the Key West Classic (2008-2010). Most recently, Gary finished first in the 2012 Hanohano Ocean Challenge, Long Course OC-1 Master’s Division.
Gary first became involved in Surf Lifesaving in Australia in the 1970s and now serves as the Beach Safety Director at the South Walton Fire District in his current home county of South Walton, Florida. He also teaches the World Paddle Association Instructor’s Certification Course, and has a background in sports performance coaching, sports psychology as well as being a PGA of Australia Professional. At YOLO Board, Gary focuses on the development of paddler and equipment performance. He is also sponsored by Human Sports Performance, Maui Rippers and Kialoa.
When not paddling, working or coaching, Gary enjoys time with his teenage sons Matt and Chris or playing a round of golf.
I try to be as active as possible, but most enjoy hanging out with my family, spending time on the water, traveling, or playing golf. As we get older I believe you should also try “give back”. By being able draw from past experiences I’m able to help others get the most out of their pursuits, coach surf lifesaving and help the WPA guild our sport.
Waking to light offshore winds, head high waves, paddle surf with my family and friends first thing, followed by a big breakfast. Back in the water until a late lunch, then a nap or maybe a quick nine holes on the links followed by a sun set surf and finished off with a quiet family dinner while listening to the waves…
I’ve always believed in the slogan “Till the End”. Playing hard till the end unfortunately has caused me too many operations. Having had my neck vertebrae fractured twice playing rugby and my left knee operated on 13 times now, including a knee replacement revision in Jan 2011. These days however it may be time to take it a little easier and leave the charging to the youngsters. But there are two things that will stay with me till the end, belief and respect. Belief in Karma, and respect to those who show respect.