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Beach lifestyle pays off

AFTER “wasting my life on the beach”, Damon Wilmhurst decided to put what he’d learnt to good use and become a bodyboard coach.

Mr Wilmhurst has been bodyboarding for the past fifteen years and has competed on the Austra-lian bodyboard tour – finishing tenth in 1996.

After completing coaching qualifications and gaining the necessary licences, he started Smiles Bodyboard Coaching.

The twenty-three year old said bodyboard coaching did not exist in WA until he started his business but was popular in the eastern States.

“I started out with Surfing WA but they sway more towards stand-up surfing so I went out on my own,” Mr Wilmhurst said.

“When I started coaching, my friends laughed at me – even those who are bodyboarders themselves.

“Yet these days bodyboarders outnumber stand-up surfers ten to one on WA beaches.”

Mr Wilmhurst said the public perceived bodyboarding as a stepping stone to stand-up surfing.

“Bodyboarding is a sport in its own right,” he said.

“There is an international bodyboard tour, an Australian tour and various State title events.”

The current world bodyboard champion is South African Andre Botha but two Margaret River boys are making a name for

themselves internationally.

Mr Wilmhurst coaches students from both primary and high schools such as Penhros and Mazenod Colleges and Applecross Senior High School.

He also coaches as part of the University of WA Recreate program and demand for his services is expanding.

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