Surf­ing men­tor retires

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - Therese Colman

Margaret River Se­nior High School teacher John McTag­gart has re­tired from the school’s Surf Academy pro­gram af­ter more than a decade as tech­ni­cal and com­pe­ti­tion coach.

The phys­io­ther­a­pist and hu­man bi­ol­ogy teacher un­der­went a hip re­place­ment five years ago and is on the wait list for an­other.

He said he was proud to be part of the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment’s en­dorsed gifted and tal­ented pro­gram, and would con­tinue fol­low­ing the suc­cess of stu­dents who had been through the academy.

“Be­tween my­self and Surf Academy co-or­di­na­tor Scott Cameron, our goal was to help the kids reach the pro cir­cuit,” he said.

“We make sure to guide them through not only surf­ing and school, but life too.

“We teach them that just be­cause they can surf doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean they’ll make it on the pro cir­cuit — they need other skills.”

Mr McTag­gart said in or­der for stu­dents to be ac­cepted, they needed to com­pete at high-level com­pe­ti­tions reg­u­larly and main­tain good grades at school.

“One of the things we are over­com­ing is the men­tal­ity that surfers are lazy drop-outs,” he said.

“That’s not the case with our pro­gram . . . if you’re go­ing to be a good surfer, you need to be a good stu­dent too.

“The Ma­caulay sis­ters, Jethro Hed­strom — they have univer­sity de­grees now, as well as do­ing well in the surf.”

MRSHS has re­mained un­de­feated in the WA School Surf­ing Ti­tles, claim­ing 12 con­sec­u­tive wins since the start of the com­pe­ti­tion.

For­mer Surf Academy stu­dent and MRSHS grad­u­ate Matt Bal­dock said Mr MacTag­gart’s “pas­sion and le­gacy in the academy will al­ways live on”.

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

“John al­ways had our backs and I’m sure will be sadly missed from the academy.”

Pic­ture: Warren Hately

John McTag­gart with Zali Hew­son and Ai­dan Flynn.

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