The Port Macquarie Bodyboarding Association has been around for 30 years now! Long term members Luke Filipek and Clayton Pickworth have many stories to share from their time with the club – which is actively seeking new members in 2018. Bodyboarding is a fun way to keep fit and meet new friends, so if you’re 10 years of age or older, head down to one of the club’s registration days this year.
Hi guys. How long have you both been involved with the Port Macquarie Bodyboarding Association?
Clayton: I have been a member of the PMBA since 1990 and received Life Membership in 2007.
Luke: 1990 also. I left for a few years and then came back – and that’s the good thing with the club! You’re always welcome.
The association celebrated its 30th year last year, which is amazing! What have been some of the highlights for each of you?
Clayton: There are way too many to mention, but the highlight for me in the early years was the success over many divisions from our club members at state and national level. PMBA members have secured, on average, at least one national title since the club formed in 1987.
Another great inclusion outside of the club but has benefited our members was the introduction of the Mayor’s Sporting Fund. This has allowed many of our members to travel to state and national title events outside of NSW, which involve a heavy budget to attend.
Luke: There have been a lot, but when Michael Eppelstun won the word title in 1993, it really created a great vibe around the town and made people recognise we are as good here as anywhere in the world. Also, when our inaugural president, John Eppelstun’s dream of having Port Macquarie officially recognised as the bodyboarding capital of Australia was fulfilled in 2010 was another real highlight.
Luke, I believe you’re now the oldest member of the club. How many years have you been bodyboarding – and what’s kept you interested in the sport for so long?
Luke: I’ve been bodyboarding for just over 30 years now. I’ve always loved the ocean and riding waves, and for me the bodyboard is the most fun way to ride them. Unlike other forms of surfing, you can ride a bodyboard in any conditions, and there are a lot more moves you can do. As I’ve grown older, it’s become a good way to stay fit and active.
Clayton, you’re the recently elected President of the association. What are your hopes for bodyboarding locally, moving into 2018 and beyond?
Clayton: Just for it to become more stable. I am not reinventing the wheel, but more getting back the interest of locals and offering their parents a fun and cheap alternative sport for their kids. Bodyboarding is a fun, healthy and active sport that teaches not only sun and surf safety, but club values as well. We have always been well supported by local business and have a long, illustrious history, so we’d like to this continue.
I think we have underestimated the power of the parents, current and new parent members, and what they bring to our club, so it’s important that they are made aware of how they can play a vital role in rebuilding the PMBA.
I also would love for our two historic main events outside of our normal monthly comps, the Teams Challenge and the Goose Gosby Memorial to be reignited and become even bigger than previous years. These two events are on a level of their own in our sporting history, so we will make sure they keep powering on into the future.
Luke, what age barriers are there to becoming a member – and why would you encourage others to join?
Luke: There is a minimum age of ten, but there is no maximum limit. If you like bodyboarding and keeping fit, I’d recommend joining the club; you get a fun day out at the beach once a month. It also improves your riding by watching others and seeing what they’re doing; plus, you meet some great characters and make great friends.
What I’m loving at the moment is seeing the second generation of bodyboarders coming through the club. The kids who took up the sport when it became popular in the ‘80s now have kids of their own who are starting to bodyboard, and I’m stoked my own son will be joining the club this year and being able to watch him have the same good times I have.
Clayton, what special sign up/registration days are planned for early this year?
Clayton: Sign up day 1 – 28th January at Breakwall end of Town Beach from 2pm – 4pm. This will also encompass a “come and try” surf with our senior club members like Damian King, Charlie Holt, Jones Russell and Chase O’Leary!
Sign up day 2 – 24th February at Inner Vision Surf n Skate from 10am – 2pm. Members will have exclusive access to instore bargains and new member bodyboard set up packs!
Both days will see a FREE sausage sizzle and don’t forget … Parents are welcome!
Clayton, if the association actively seeking new members?
Clayton: Traditionally we have had great numbers that sat around the 80-90+ mark, but in recent years we have struggled a little with numbers – so yes, we are definitely seeking new members and parents who can be actively involved and generally help the club into the future years. Being a grass roots club, we can provide the pathway into state, national and international events that can really kickstart your career.
Luke, where can we find out more info?
Luke: If you need more info, the best way is to search PMBA the club on Instagram or Facebook. Any question can be answered by sending a message there. And if you’re thinking of joining the club in 2018, everyone should come down and check out our registration days.
Final say …
Thanks FOCUS, and indeed thanks for all the support we receive from local businesses. Without people and businesses committing to helping us run our club, we certainly wouldn’t be able to offer our members the experience of being part of such a great club and sport.
Thanks guys. Interview by Jo Robinson.