Boom teenager welcomes encouragement from surf legend
JOEL Skinner is a young man on a very hot streak.
Fifteen-year-old Joel has made the finals in every surfing contest he's entered in the past 12 months and according to his father, Trevor, it all comes back to the great waves at Turner's Beach, Yamba.
"Turner's is the perfect spot because you get to practise everything," Trevor said.
"You get lefts and rights and all sorts of different sections."
As a goofy-footer growing up on the North Coast, Joel is no stranger to taking on long right-hand point break waves on his backhand. But at a recent contest at Wategos Beach in Byron Bay, his skills even caught the eye of surfing legend Rusty Miller.
"He just came over and said I was surfing good and to keep it up," Joel said.
"The waves were great that weekend, but the best surf was on Monday at the Pass (also in Byron Bay) with everyone from the contest," Joel said.
The board Joel took out the under-18 division on was shaped by local board maker Cal Liddle.
Liddle has been shaping Joel's boards for a few years now.
"That board he won Byron on - the white one - is really interesting," Trevor (Joel's father) said.
"It's shaped in the older style with 50-50 rails and a rolled bottom."
"He had to ride that board in the contest because it was for single fins only."
On May 23 the Skinners will be making the trip down to Crescent Head where Joel will contest the under-18 division of the Malibu Classic.
As the event is open to longboards with any fin design he will be riding an orange tinted performance mal also shaped by Cal Liddle.
The board has proved magical in recent months resting under Joel's feet for wins at both Arrawarra and Scott's Head.
"We've got him riding all sorts of different boards," Trevor said.
"The short boards help with turns and the longer boards smooth out your style, so it's a good balance."
During the weekend the Valley witnessed one of the larger swells of the year so far, and father and son were among a brave few who paddled out at Turner's Beach.
"It was unreal but pretty heavy," Trevor said.
Ditching the longboard, which is almost uncontrollable in big surf, Joel went with a shorter board.
"He rides pretty much everything from a 70s-style single-fin to a performance thruster and even twin-fins and Alaias," Trevor said.