During a celebration of surf and the coming together of Indigenous community, Lismore’s Tom Avery has won the Longboard section of the Wandiyali Indigenous Surf Classic.
The event is part of Surf Fest that was held in Newcastle at Merewether Beach.
The Northern Rivers local beat a strong field of competitors in Cyclonic conditions with waves up to 15ft in height.
Tom said it was a lot of fun and that he is totally at ease in waves in that size range.
‘I have been to Hawaii and surfed some mega swell’s. The weekend saw some of the biggest waves we have had for any Indigenous event in history so it is a great achievement to come out on top,’ he said
The contest boasts the richest prize pool of any event of the year and attracts surfers from all over Australia.
Tom rides locally-made boards and credits his win to his shaper Ed Sinnott.
‘I am riding ESP Surfboards which are shaped in Byron Bay by Ed Sinnott. They are unbelievable surfboards which held up through some huge sets and let me lay down some heavy turns. They are the best boards I have ever ridden,’ he said.
Tom is the current Indigenous Longboard Champion and has won 2 years in a row. When asked if he plans to travel to Bells Beach Victoria for the Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles and compete for three longboard titles in a row he simple answered, “Probably.”
Tom has been invited to compete in the Longboard Invitational Event as part of the Byron Bay Surf Festival which is happening in Byron Bay this weekend alongside Alex Knost, Jared Mel, Cassia Meador and Lola Mignot.
‘I think it is honourable that the Byron Surf Festival organiser’s have chosen me to be the Bundjalung Nation surfing representative for their event. It shows they are respectful of the land on which they are holding the event.’