Surfing graduates


FOUR days of torture for the 32 members of the Billabong girls team is finally over.

But even though the bunch of surfers, bodyboarders and snowboarders will probably have nightmares of Yamba and Angourie's beaches for years to come, all of them agreed they want to come back.

Former pro-surfer and now Billabong men's marketing manager made a special trip down from the Gold Coast on Thursday to talk about his 21 years on the tour.

"I have enjoyed my time on the tour there is no doubt about it but now I have the chance to give something back to the sport," Egan told the girls after their final arduous training run on Angourie's Back Beach.

"Billabong is in the best shape I have seen it in my years with them and you should be proud you are part of that team."

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His inspirational message was not lost on the eager crowd.

Up-and-coming surfing sensation, 18-year-old Ashley Cheadle said she hoped to emulate the success of Egan, who spent 15 of his 21 years ranked in the top 16 surfers in the world.

"He really is an inspiration," Cheadle said.

"Instead of ending his career and doing nothing, Luke is now able to help others with his knowledge of the surfing world.

"It makes you want to follow in his footsteps.

Kira Llewellyn, who this year at 22 won the Female World Body Boarding circuit world title, agreed.

"Even though he is from a different sport, you can be inspired by what he has done and for how long he has done it successfully," Llewellyn said.

Team coordinator Kellie Hughes hailed the camp a huge success and has not ruled out returning with the team in the future.

"It has been great for the girls," she said.

"This is the second one we have done and for the girls to get out of their own area (Gold Coast) and come to this beautiful place has been fantastic.

"Everyone has been welcoming and we have had a good time.

"We hadn't really thought of it (returning to Yamba) but it is a distinct possibility," she said.

The team, which stayed at the Calypso Caravan Park, utilised all local retailers while in the town even hiring local caterers Ian Brophy and Simon Whitehouse with the task of making sure all the girls were fed.

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