One of the most humble, friendly and talented locally born surfers you will ever meet out in the waves of the Byron Shire is Daniel Wills, or ‘Willsy’ as he has become known throughout the surfing world.
Willsy is the epitome of a self-made man, yet he would most likely deflect that praise and point instead to his family and friends along with boardrider clubs and sponsors for assisting his career as a professional athlete.
‘I was always just this young kid,’ he told Australia’s Surfing Life magazine in 1998, ‘who had a really lucky life’.
His surfing career started early and he has now transitioned into the role of local businessman, with his share in the Quiksilver stores, and surfing mentor to the up- and-coming surfing talent from the Shire.
Just like his surfing approach and style he has seamlessly flowed through many changes and challenges in life with poise and precision.
He started surfing at four and was one of the stars in a Quiksilver surf movie called All down the line at the age of 13.
In 1998 he finish number three in the world at the professional level and spent thirteen years traversing the planet on the world pro tour.
Even though his family and business interests keep him very busy nowadays he still competes in selected events such as the local BK Surf Classic, team competitions representing his club Byron Bay Boardriders and charity events such as the Board Meeting that raises money for disabled children.
This year Wills showed he is still surfing at a top level as an over-40-year-old when he dominated the 2016 NSW Open Shortboard Championship against a very talented field of younger competitors.