Academy pro­duces world-class surfers

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - Therese Colman

Sev­eral out­stand­ing surfers have grad­u­ated from Margaret River Se­nior High School’s Surf Academy, with many hit­ting the waves in the pro­fes­sional cir­cuit or cre­at­ing a ca­reer around the knowl­edge they gained in surf and hu­man move­ment.

Matt Bal­dock, 27, was one of the first to go through the academy un­der the guid­ance of John McTag­gart, and grad­u­ated from MRSHS in 2008.

He now co-op­er­ates Talalla, a surf and yoga re­treat in Sri Lanka. “The surf academy for me wasn’t just about surf­ing. It had a lot more as­pects that re­ally helped me through life,” he said.

“John has a mas­sive pas­sion for life, for surf­ing and for things he be­lieves in.

“His coach­ing ap­proach to surf­ing was sec­ond-to-none, al­ways very tech­ni­cal and spot on with con­test tac­tics, body prepa­ra­tion and men­tal prepa­ra­tion.”

Bal­dock’s close friend Jethro Hed­strom also went through the academy in its early days, and said the sup­port from Mr McTag­gart, academy co-orig­i­na­tor Scott Cameron and world cham­pion surfer Dave Ma­caulay was “world-class”.

“In ret­ro­spect it’s pretty amaz­ing we had one of WA’s most suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sional surfers, an ex­pe­ri­enced physio, and a re­ally sup­port­ive teacher with a back- ground in sports and nutri­tion men­tor­ing us as part of a school ini­tia­tive,” he said.

Ma­caulay’s four chil­dren Ellie, Laura, Bronte and Jack went through the academy, with Bronte con­tin­u­ing her fa­ther’s le­gacy on the world cir­cuit.

Ma­caulay and fel­low lo­cal surfer Ja­cob Will­cox, an­other grad­u­ate of the Surf Academy, are a step closer to qual­i­fy­ing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics af­ter they were the first surfers to re­ceive in­di­vid­ual ath­lete schol­ar­ships from the WA In­sti­tute of Sport. Creed McTag­gart, who grad­u­ated from the academy in 2010, said his fa­ther John and Scott Cameron “al­ways had our best in­ter­ests at heart”.

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