Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{Surfing Is Kellie's} {All-Round Fitness Plan}; Learning to Surf Almost Two Decades Ago Took Kellie from Being a Novice to Setting Up a Club and Entering Competitions

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{Surfing Is Kellie's} {All-Round Fitness Plan}; Learning to Surf Almost Two Decades Ago Took Kellie from Being a Novice to Setting Up a Club and Entering Competitions

Article excerpt

Byline: Fay Knight fay.knight@northernstar.com.au

KELLIE O'BRIEN is best known for her involvement in the All Girls Surfriders Club at Lennox Head. However, her interest in surfing didn't start until she was 25 and newly-arrived at Lennox with her partner, Max Perrot.

"We moved from Western Australia," says Kellie. "I had fallen in love with the ocean environment in Western Australia - I had an appreciation of surfing and the magic of that, but I'd never surfed before. I was lucky because my partner coached. I met Keryn Noach, one other woman surfing here with her two boys, as they were learning and I decided I wanted to learn to surf, too."

In the beginning, Kellie's ambitions went no further than being able to stand up on a wave.

"I'd done some bodyboarding, but I wanted some respect from a 'stand-up' surfer," she recalls. "I was a pretty challenged learner. I hadn't had very much experience of the ocean!"

While Kellie had worked as an aerobics instructor, she hadn't shone at sports at school, either.

"I hated school sport," says Kellie. "My family encouraged a healthy attitude, but I was never very good at sport, I was much more academic. It was a slow start (to surfing), but it's a very addictive sport. It's also a very beautiful thing to do, even if you're not very good at it. Surfing combines everything - mind, body and soul."

Kellie started out with an old, borrowed board. "I spent far too long in the whitewash, scared of the big seas," says Kellie. "Then I borrowed one of my partner's boards and put the effort in from there. He spent a lot of time with me, making sure I was in the right place to learn. He could have been surfing really good waves at Lennox Point, but he was in one- to two-foot surf with me.

"The male surfers have been very encouraging and very helpful. …

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