Meet the grandfather of the Lennox Longboard Classic
A STOLEN surfboard was enough to keep Ballina longboarder Eric Walker out of the water for several years.
But at 63, Walker will be one of the oldest competitors in the 16th annual Lennox Longboard Classic this weekend. He has competed in the event 13 times and it's one he always looks forward to.
Walker began surfing as a longboarder before buying a short-board.
"I went away from surfing for a number of years before getting back into it," he said.
"My surfboard got pinched off the top of my car and I thought that was it.
"I'm definitely glad I got back into the longboarding again."
Walker also competes in longboarding events at Byron Bay, Evans Head and Noosa.
But he always looks forward to the Lennox Longboard Classic and has won some of the divisions in previous years.
"I like to support it because it's local and a really well run competition," Walker said.
"It's a good spot to have the event and the conditions are usually pretty good.
"I really enjoy all the different aspects of longboarding and you always have plenty to contend with.
"You always seem to know who is going to be there and we all get along really well."
About 100 surfers are expected to take part in the event which attracts competitors from as far afield as the Bundaberg Coast in Queensland to South Australia and across the Tasman in New Zealand.
It is used by several surfers as a final hit-out before the Australian Championships which will be held in Port Macquarie next month.
Divisions include juniors through to under-18s up to over-50s.
The open nine-foot division is the main attraction with an open ladies division, old malibu, loggers and other men's divisions.
"The standard of longboarding is pretty good and the sport is in safe hands," Walker said.
"There is some good kids coming through."
The contest has supported local charities and organisations in the past including the Lennox Head Surf Lifesaving Club and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.