Sandon Point surfer Jake Spooner will take a trip down memory lane when he heads to Ecuador for next month's World Masters.
The 39-year-old qualified for the event with victory in the over 35 division of last year's Australian championships at Port Macquarie, defending the title he claimed in 2011.
A regular on the world championship tour in the 1990s, Spooner climbed to a career-best 24 before walking away from pro surfing in 1997.
The Thirroul-based lifeguard got to know several of his surfing rivals and as a result formed friendships that still endure today.
The World Masters will give him the opportunity to catch up with old mates.
"Sunny Garcia, Shea Lopez and other guys I surfed against on the CT in the '90s will be there. It'll be like a reunion," Spooner said.
"I stay in touch with Sunny and Ross Williams. I'm looking forward to seeing all the old faces.
"Most of the guys have got kids and families. It's a different life to those days."
Not all of Spooner's surfing peers from the 1990s have moved into the twilight of their careers.
"[Eleven-time world champion] Kelly's [Slater] the only one left from that era and he's still winning the opens," Spooner said.
"He'll be still matching it with them at 50."
Spooner will make the trip overseas with his American friend, Chris Demito.
The pair leave Australia next Tuesday and will spend nine days in Florida with Demito's family before making the six-hour flight to Ecuador.
"He's travelling with me as a mate to support me, because he knows all the issues I've faced over the years and always been there," Spooner said.
"He's a real level-headed bloke and he's the best guy for me to be going with. For him to go out of his way and travel with me, he's a top bloke."
Spooner's Sandon Point clubmates chipped in $1000 for the trip, while Ed Sinnott and Carve Surfwear provided boards and clothes.
"It's good to just go and represent Australia and represent Sandon Point Boardriders," he said.
"Surfing's been good to me in a lot of ways. It allowed me to see the world.
"The club gave me $1000. I couldn't believe it. I didn't really want to take it. I felt bad, but they insisted I take it."
Spooner isn't going with high expectations.
"One of the surfing magazines mentioned I'd won the Aussies two years in a row and said I'm a serious contender, so that was nice of them," he said.
"It's a nice right-hand point break, which suits me coming from Sandon Point. It's not as long as Sandon but it's similar.
"I'm looking forward to going. It'll be interesting just to see how some of the guys [are] surfing, because I haven't seen some of them for years."