Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

My Place

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

My Place

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Wilson

PROFESSIONAL surfer Richard Sills has competed in surf contests around the world, but is most often to be found surfing at Tynemouth, where he lives with his medical student girlfriend Rachel.

He recently won the British Professional Surfing Association contest in Sri Lanka and came second in the UK Kitesurfing Wavemasters in Scotland.

Richard will be taking part in the UKPSA North East Surf Open on October 24 and 25 in Tynemouth alongside surfers from around the world.

The competition is part of Xperience09, an extreme sports festival held at the coast in North Tyneside. As well as surfing on Longsands beach in Tynemouth, there will be snowboarding, BMX and skateboarding. Spectators can also try the free snow-tubing ramp and mountainboard 'have a go' sessions.

Where do you live? I live down the coast in Tynemouth, but that's not where I'm from. I was born and brought up in Durban, South Africa.

How long have you lived there? Just a little over a year now. My wife-to-be brought us here for her studies. She's at medical school and we wanted to be somewhere that offered city and coastal living so we had the best of both worlds, and that's exactly what we found in the North East of England.

What's your dream home? A mansion overlooking the ocean somewhere where the sun always shines and the surf is always good. Oahu in Hawaii is an amazing place so I guess that would be my ideal.

How do you get around? A car, a surfboard and by flying a kite down at the coast. We call this a downwinder, just like sailing a boat.

What is your favourite part of the North East? I'd have to say the beautiful coastline that the North East offers. It's incredible and certainly takes a lot of beating. It's got everything from superb beaches and fantastic heritage to great people!

What is your favourite building in the region? Bamburgh Castle, an amazing structure with an awesome view. Hadrian's Wall comes a close second, truly a feature of human endurance.

What is the best holiday you've ever had? I've had some of my best trips in Indonesia. On a boat travelling through the Mentawaii Islands visiting uninhabited atolls with the best surf you can imagine.

What's the favourite thing in your home? My laptop so I can see what the surf is doing down in Tynemouth. I'm constantly checking on the weather and at any given opportunity I'm straight down to the beach to catch the waves!

If you could have one luxury what would it be? A thermostat to control the temperature outside. Coming from a tropical country, the North East weather was certainly a shock to the system. We're gradually adjusting and certainly feel fresh with the constant sea air.

What are you working on at the moment? My van and the way to have a balanced lifestyle. …

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