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 28 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 wins in the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum C2C (2007-2013), the East Coast Paddleboard Championships (2009-2013), the Florida State Paddleboard Championships (2008-2011) Key West Classic (2008-2011, 15), Carolina Cup (2012-2013) and the Big River Regionals (2013-2015). Gary first became involved in Surf Lifesaving in Australia in the 1970s and from 2006 to 2015 served as the President of the Emerald Coast Lifesaving Association and Beach Safety Director for the beaches of South Walton, Florida. In July 2016 Gary was appointed to be Team USA's Outrigger Canoe Coach for the South East Region. He continues to focus on coaching, teaching the World Paddle Association Instructor’s Certification Course, and utilizing his background in sports performance coaching, sports psychology, as well as being a PGA of Australia Professional to coach athletes in all facets of golf and paddling performance. At YOLO Board, Gary focuses on the development of paddler and equipment performance. He is also sponsored Maui Rippers, and Kialoa. When not paddling, working or coaching, Gary enjoys time surfing with his sons Matt and Chris, and playing a round of golf.
GARY NEVER LEAVES HOME WITH OUT THESE
WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN LIFE?
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.
WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO IN LIFE?
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.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF A PERFECT DAY?
Waking to light offshore winds, head high waves, straight out for a paddle surf 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 big recovery dinner and a few cold ones…