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Byron Shire
January 24, 2022

Lismore man wins Indigenous longboard title at Bells Beach

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Tom Avery of Lismore was the winner of the longboard section. Placing in second was Robbie Page (Kempsy, NSW) with Rhys Collins (Red Hill South, VIC) and Ash Zunker (Bargara, QLD) in third and fourth respectively.
Tom Avery (with his face painted) of Lismore was the winner of the longboard section. Placing in second was Robbie Page (Kempsy, NSW) with Rhys Collins (Red Hill South, VIC) and Ash Zunker (Bargara, QLD) in third and fourth respectively. Photo: Jordie Campbell

Lismore’s Tom Avery has surfed his way to victory in the inaugural longboard division at the Indigenous Surfing Titles held at Bells Beach in Victoria recently.

Mr Avery is a Gomeroi man who has been living in the Bundjalung nation for almost 15 years, where he is well known as a musician who plays by the name Blakboi.

But for the past week he swapped the guitar and didgeridoo for a longboard, and surfed his way through three days of heats to take out the title.

It was the first year that longboarding had been included at the event.

‘I’ve been campaigning to get longboarding included in the Indigenous titles so it is pretty cool to have my name on the plaque as the inaugural winner,’ Mr Avery told Echonetdaily.

‘I’m feeling pretty honoured to have won it but this really is more than just a competitive event for us … it’s more about the spirit.

Mr Avery, who began surfing at the age of six while living in West Australia, said he had always enjoyed being in the ocean.

He said the Indigenous Surfing Titles brought surfers from across Australia.

‘There are salt water mob from all around Australia and it’s growing every year,’ he said.

“Everyone here is connected by the salt water. It provides health and healing and allows us all to come together to have a good time.’


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