Surfers of the Century – The Hudsons

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A milestone in local surfing was met last month, with 100 years of surfing in the area showcased. Helen Cross-Glover has been researching the history of surfing for the past 2 years and along with the assistance of a team of supporters, was instrumental in organising the event. Chrissy Jones found out more about the night and who received the prestigious Surfer of the Century Award …

Where were the celebrations held, and what was on display?

The event was hosted by the North Haven Boardriders and held at the North Haven Bowling Club. The surfing community, including longboarders, shortboarders, bodyboarders, surf skiers, sailboarders and SUP riders came together to celebrate 100 years of surfing in the local area.

A vast array of surfing memorabilia and information about the past 100 years was on show and took locals on a journey through time, back to when the surfing stoke first came to our shores and a generation of young people fell in love with the ocean … All the way from 1912, when the first surf craft was shaped by Harry McLaren, through to 2012, where local young guns like Matt Banting have been making their mark on the elite international surfing scene.

Awards were given out at the event; who received those?

The top award of Surfers of the Century was a tie between the legendary Hudson family of Peter, Wayne and Grant Hudson and 3 times World Champion bodyboard rider Damian King.

There was a strict selection criteria for the award, which was voted by the local surfing fraternity.

Peter Hudson was honoured to win the award and said he felt very humble to accept the award in front of so many talented surfers of the area. Grant paid tribute to his mum and dad, saying that if it wasn’t for all their love and support over the years, the family would have never achieved the life they are all currently living as a family.

“Dad has done so much for surfing in this area; Wayne and I just followed in what was a family passion,” Grant said.

Peter’s eldest son, Wayne, said the award came as a huge surprise. “It’s really unexpected,” he said. “Dad has done so much, not only for us, but for the whole surfing community.”

The Hudson family have been surfing the local waters for many years. Tell us more …

Peter’s father, Arthur Hudson, surfed in the area in the 1930s and Peter still has his father’s first surfboard, which was built out of Canadian Cedar and shaped with an adze. Peter and his sons, Wayne and Grant, established Port Macquarie Surf School in the 1990s, and the family is well known in the local community as being highly successful surfers in the competition arena. They all hold numerous Australian and State Champion awards.

Peter has been surfing for over 50 years and started at the age of 9, when he found an old rickety board washed up on Town Beach.  Peter’s mother allowed him to surf with the older boys, who used to take him up and down the coast, sometimes all the way to Coffs Harbour, or they’d go to Crescent Head. Peter was small enough to sleep in the boot of the car and the older guys thought it was hilarious to lock him in there, but he was always looked after well.

How does it feel to be labelled the Surfers of the Century?

“I’ve enjoyed the whole 50+ years of surfing,”Peter said. “The whole journey has been fantastic and now to be recognised with my two sons just tops it off.

“I have always believed you have to give something back to the community, and our way of doing that is through Port Macquarie Surf School. This has given my family the opportunity to allow everyone to have the chance to surf and to learn about the ocean in a fun, safe environment.”

Peter, Wayne and Grant have done a lot for the surfing community over the years …

Peter helped establish Hastings Disabled Surfing with Jeff and Melissa Roughly and others in 2001. He started coaching surfing in 1981 – a time when surf coaching wasn’t heard of.

Wayne has achieved many honours, not only in the surfing side of life, but also in the academic field. He has been Australian Champion and NSW Champion on many occasions. He is the current Mid North Coast Regional Director of Surfing NSW, a position he has held since 2006 and also has an Environmental Science Degree (Honours) along with a Dip Ed/ Secondary Teaching. Wayne was previously the contest Director for NSW Titles and Australian Titles. Wayne also presents Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses for Surfing NSW on a regular basis. He is an integral part of Port Macquarie Surf School and writes all programs for the surf school’s surf safety and surf awareness courses.

Grant has also held Australian and NSW titles and was a vital cog in Port Macquarie Surf School and Surfing Australia until he was appointed head lifeguard for Hastings Council in 2011. For 5 years he was appointed the Australian Coach for the Australian Junior team, which won 4 gold and 1 silver medal at the world title events. He also participated in Elite Camps for Surfing Australia, such as the MR Camps and training camps for Australian Junior teams. He was Surfing NSW head coach for a number of years. Part of his expertise now as head lifeguard is conducting surf education programs to all primary schools in the area (over 3,000 local school children in the past 2 years) which not only targets surf awareness, but also beach education.

Both Wayne and Grant travelled the world competing in the World Qualifying Series (WQS) in the late 1990s, before returning home and helping Peter in the family business.  In their younger lives the family travelled extensively around Australia, competing in the Australian Junior Series.

Earlier this year, Port Macquarie Surf School took out the prestigious 2012 Greater Port Macquarie Commonwealth Bank Business Awards for the Childcare, Education and Training Awards, so the Surfer of the Century Award capped off a great year for the family.

Once the little grommet of the pack, a lot has changed for the 61 year old surfing legend and five times Australian title holder. Peter and his sons have become custodians of the new generation of local surfers; to many they are the epitome of the true surfing spirit, embodying all that is important to those who treasure the sport.

Well done Peter, Grant and Wayne and congratulations on your award! And congratulations to Helen Cross-Glover for her research into the history of surfing in the area for the past 100 years.

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