Former pro surfer Jake Spooner showed there is still life in the old dog when he defended his national over-35 masters crown at Port Macquarie.
Spooner, who rose to 24 in the world during a five-year career around the mid 90s, has qualified for next year’s world masters championships in Panama.
‘‘I’m definitely going,’’ the 39-year-old said.
‘‘I passed up the chance to go last year but the family’s going to come with me next year and we’re really looking forward to it.
‘‘Winning the Aussie title was harder this year because it’s another year on and there were new guys coming in, but thankfully I managed to win it again.’’
Spooner dedicated his triumph to a close friend who recently lost his life in Bali.
‘‘A mate of mine lived over there and died – a lot of people from Sandon Point knew about it,’’ he said. ‘‘I wrote his name on my board and I was really motivated to win it for him.’’
A full-time lifeguard at Thirroul Beach, Spooner still lives at Bulli.
He has endured a few personal battles over the years but is enjoying being back in a happy place.
‘‘I’ve had a few rough years and it’s good to have things going well again,’’ he said.
‘‘I got to know a doctor named Anthony Durrell and he’s played a key role in helping me get my life back on track.
‘‘Everyone goes through
a bad patch and he definitely helped me.
‘‘I’ve got a fiance and a beautiful five-year-old daughter ... I’m so happy now.’’
While he never captured a world title on the pro circuit, Spooner can always say he got to taste a life most waxheads only dream about.
‘‘I was on the tour from ’93 to ’97,’’ he said.
‘‘I got to 24th in the world, but I think I could’ve done better and a few other people thought that too. Anyway, that’s the way things go.
‘‘I hit the circuit so young and obviously I’ve got an older head now. I reckon if I was thinking the way I think now I would’ve done better.
‘‘The pro tour was a bit different back then. It’s definitely come a long way with the personalised trainers and sports psychologists.
‘‘It’s just so big now,’’ Spooner said.