The beautiful beaches around the Great Lakes area will witness some of the best bodyboarding action available in the world from July 24th -26th, as the 18th annual Jeff Wilcox Memorial takes centre stage. Aaron Dodds invites us to Come and see some of the best bodyboarders from both the local area and much further afield compete, with plenty of surf action thrills guaranteed!
Hi Aaron. It’s been a little while since FOCUS last caught up with you. What’s been happening in the bodyboard world lately? Any big news with the Association or with bodyboarding generally on the local front?
Many thanks FOCUS. Bodyboarding in general is currently in a shifting phase, with a massive drive on development and sustainable models, as opposed to professional focus – allowing grass roots to shine at the moment.
On the local front, Forster Tuncurry Bodyboarders is continuing to grow, with many members being recognised at State, National and Australian Tour levels, and all members becoming more active in our community.
The Jeff Wilcox Memorial, the most recognised and prestigious bodyboarding event in Australia, returns to The Great Lakes for the 18th year, with a massive line up on the 24th – 26th July. Please introduce us to Jeff Wilcox … Who was he, what is he most remembered for, and what is the legacy he’s left behind?
The late Jeff Wilcox was a community minded sportsman of the Great Lakes. Jeff Wilcox passed at the age of 14 from a rare form of Bone Cancer. Jeff was an amazing sportsman and ambassador for the Great Lakes, community and Sport.
A mad bodyboarder and hockey player, he had a bright future ahead of him, and he has left a legacy of passion and pride for bodyboarding development and love of community.
The Jeff Wilcox Memorial event was designed and built in 1990, around a young man’s legacy, with pride and passion for grass roots youth involved in sport and the community.
Starting as a simple bodyboarding competition, it quickly evolved into one of the most respected and prestigious competitions held in the sport of bodyboarding. From day one, this memorial set out to showcase the life and enthusiasm for the water and friendly competition that Jeff had, and it succeeded in abundance.
The best riders from all around the world have come to the Great Lakes area to compete in this event in the past, and that is why this event still commands the respect it holds today.
Drawing some of the world’s best bodyboarders and talented locals, the event has a renowned respect amongst top performing competitors. Past winners in the last 18 events include Ash Murray, Troy De Coque, Ben Holland, Ben Player, Andrew Lester, Damien King, Levi Wagner, Mitch Rawlins, Shaun Peterson, Grant Molony, and Dave Winchester, to name a few.
To think that the event has now been running for 18 years … that’s a phenomenal effort from local organisers and supporters … What are the dates for the 2015 event, and what time will action kick off each day?
We agree – amazing effort! Our community has the need and requested the event’s ongoing presence. The dates for the 2015 event are 24th to 26th July. The action each day will kick off from 7am.
Where will the event be held this year, and where would you suggest are good spots for spectators to catch all the action?
The Jeff Wilcox Memorial is an event requiring the best surf conditions. Working with local Great Lakes Council and National Parks, the event has gained the opportunity to roam. Each day once the venue has been confirmed, the public will be notified.
Spectators, come down to see the best extreme sportsmen put on a show in honour of the Late Jeff Wilcox! There will also be market stalls, races, competitions and more, all available for the public to get involved with each day.
Fill us in on the various divisions/categories that will be contested on the day …
Showcasing the best in the land, the following divisions: Open Men, Open Women, Open Drop Knee and Junior Men will shine a spotlight on these extreme athletes.
The Masters Division will give the past competitors and champions of the Memorial a chance to celebrate it, and show the bodyboarders of today how to really belly slide.
There’ll be Youth Coaching Clinics each day with Dave Winchester and Steve Bullet MacKenzie (Boogie Youth Ambassador).
Who are some of the bodyboarding greats you’re expecting to turn up for the event?
We have many past champions and many of the world’s best registered, including Dave Winchester, Shaun Peterson, David Lohan, Grant Molony, Gary Thatcher, Emma Cobb, Lilly Pollard, Jake Stone, Davis Blackwell and many more.
Who are some talented local bodyboarders we should keep an eye out for?
Local guns include Josh Aurisch, Jeremy Coombes, Brody Hill, Zach Williams, Kallan Bragg, Jacob Dunn(2014 Juniors Division Champion), Flynn Dunn, William Kennedy, Jesse Galloway, Tom Ditchfeild, Adam Cheers, Ben Fletcher, Seth Hamon, Thomas Donnelly, Mitch Baker, and the currently on fire Josh Smith.
Who would you like to thank for supporting this year’s event?
The Jeff Wilcox Memorial is proudly supported by many local businesses: Major Sponsors LJ Hooker Forster, Bellevue Hotel, Great Lakes Tourism, Hogs Breath, NMD Bodyboards, Sevan Apartments, Golden Age Media, MS Viper, Gyroll, Shane Chalker Photography, SullyVision, Sam Elbourne, Raw Edge Media, Cut Loose Hairdressers, Tuncurry Chicken and Meat, Colleens Bakery, Primary Printing, and the list could go on.
Coaches: Steve Bullet MacKenzie, Dave Winchester, William Kennedy.
Our volunteers, the amazing work crew, and commitment members behind the scenes, Craig and Daniel Smith, Simon Patterson, Greg Hill and Mullet.
Are you still looking for people to assist with the event, as volunteers, coaches, judges, or with other positions? If so, how do they get involved?
This event is currently seeking market stall vendors wishing to help celebrate life, our community and the late Jeff Wilcox.
The event is also seeking paid and voluntary workers. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org call 1300 552 085 or visit: www.facebook.com/jeffwilcox
What’s the closing date for bodyboarders to enter the event, and where can they register or find more info?
Entries are available at www.jeffwilcox.com.au – all divisions are at 80% capacity, entry to the event closes on 10th July.