Yamba’s Joel Hede-Skinner, 14, finished second in the Byron Bay Junior Malibu Classic.
Yamba’s Joel Hede-Skinner, 14, finished second in the Byron Bay Junior Malibu Classic. Trevor Skinner

Malibu dream

MOST 14-year-old surfers have posters of Kelly Slater hanging from the bedroom door.

Not Joel Hede-Skinner.

His room boasts pictures of locally based longboarding world champion Taylor Jensen, which he takes himself.

"Taylor is my surfing role model for sure," Hede-Skinner said.

"I often go out and take photos of him and Bryce Young (surfing legend Nat Young's son) and I learn a lot from watching them," he said.

The Yamba teen said had learnt so much since taking up surfing 12 months ago, that he may be the Clarence Valley's next longboarding champion.

"I finished second at the Byron Bay Junior Malibu Classic, which is Australia's longest-running longboard competition," he said.

"I've only been in three competitions so far, but also did pretty well at Evans Head in the Old Mal comp (5th) and at Woolgoolga (3rd) too."

"It's definitely an advantage to be able to watch the best in the world and learn from them."

Hede-Skinner says he prefers longboard surfing to the short board form of the sport for many reasons.

"I just reckon it's way better, it's more cruisy and you can surf in just about any conditions.

"I started on a short board, but since the Evans Head Old Mal comp, I've been basically only riding the long board."

The Maclean High student is now preparing for the Crescent Head Malibu Classic from May 24-26.

When he is not riding the waves around Yamba, Hede-Skinner is also a keen amateur surf photographer, and had some of his work displayed at the recent Centenary of Australian surf photography exhibition organised by The Daily Examiner's Debrah Novak.



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