Hi and welcome to our spotlight on series
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Paul White, I have been living in Portland since 2007. I have a Human Movement degree with a major in Sports Coaching. I am Physical Education teacher at Portland Secondary College. I have three young children, who keep me quite busy with sport after school, which is great.
So where did your interest in surfing begin?
From a young age I always wanted to give it a go, but grew up inland in Ararat. The closest thing to it back then was to pick up my skateboard. Growing up I was into most sports.
Can you give our readers a quick rundown on your surf career.
I have been surfing very regularly since I arrived in Portland. Not much of a career really! I just love it, and find it quite addictive.
You are SWAS’s surf assistant coach and manager, can you tell us about what lead you to SWAS?
I saw it as a great chance for the young people in this area to have an amazing opportunity. To gain the support of SWAS and work with coaches such as Adam Robertson and Marcus Eldridge is unreal. At the same time as coaching our group, Robbo is supporting Kelly Slater, 11 time world champion! Both Adam and Marcus are still among the best surfers in the state. It’s an insane opportunity for our group!! I myself learn a great deal too.
What is it about coaching young up and coming surfers that you love the most?
The stoke that they get from learning, persevering and achieving something that can be quite hard.
What is your favourite thing about the ocean?
The sunsets. The relaxed feeling I get from being out there.
Where is your all-time favourite place locally to surf?
Yellow Rock. Although, whilst not exactly local – Bird Rock, at the end of last weekend’s SWAS camp was pretty fun.
Where is your favourite place in the world, or somewhere you would dream of surfing?
I think I’d like to hit the Maldives. I did get the chance to surf Cloudbreak a few years back, which was pretty cool. Lucky for me I hit the reef at the end of that trip!
If you could give one piece of advice to a young surfer what would it be?
Keep at it! Such a great sport.
If you could go back in time and talk to your young self about where surfing would take you, what would you say?
Listen to advice from your coaches. Don’t forget everything as soon as you hit the water!
Is surfing an expensive sport to pursue, what are the necessities that someone starting out would need to be aware of?
Not expensive at all. Just need a wide/stable board that is not too long, so that you can push through the white water and is easy to learn on. A decent wetsuit will keep you warm and be more enjoyable. Sometimes these things can be a little costly, however you can’t put a price on being happy and healthy.
For someone who has never surfed before, where would you direct them to go to learn or try?
Your local learn to surf company, boardriders club. Or you could just go out with a few mates.
Finally who inspires you, makes you get in the water on those cold winter morning’s when most of us are tucked up warm at home?
To be honest, now that I am a bit older, I find it a bit hard – unless it’s perfect – as my back and hamstrings tend to wake up a little later than the rest of me. One example was this morning, when I decided it might be better off staying at home and helping get my kids out the door.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
Clare and Marcus Eldridge, Adam Robertson and Nic Kaiser in particular deserve more than a shout out. They have been generous with their time and efforts. Couldn’t have happened without them and I have been learning a great deal myself from these people. Very much appreciated.