Tom Avery has won the longboard section of the Wandiyali Indigenous Surf Classic, a celebration of surf and the coming together of the Indigenous community.
The contest was part of Surf Fest held in Newcastle at Merewether Beach last week.
The northern rivers local beat a strong field of competitors in cyclonic conditions with waves up to five metres.
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 swells. 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, a total of $22,00 for males and females, 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 shaped in Byron Bay by Ed Sinnott. They are unbelievable surfboards that 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 the title two years in a row.
It is ‘probable’ he will go to Bells Beach Victoria for the Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles and compete for his third title.
Tom was invited to compete in the Longboard Invitational at the Byron Bay Surf Festival alongside Alex Knost, Jared Mel, Cassia Meador and Lola Mignot.
‘I think it is honourable that the Byron Surf Festival organisers 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,’ he said.