IAN Williams is proof that older surfers, like fine wine, just get better with age.
The Ocean Shores man recently returned from Crescent Head having won the Old Malibu titles for the fourth time in the past six years.
Riding his vintage 9 foot 6½ inch Ted Kennison- shaped Gordon Wood mal, he took out the 1963-68 category.
He has owned the board for 25 years, having found it through the Trading Post and rescued it from under a tree in the seller's back yard.
Mr Williams backed up the major win with a second placing in the timber Okanui competition.
Okanuis are a 1950s-style hollow timber board that use an internal rib construction.
Mr Williams dedicated his win to his partner Amanda Byrne. "She has been so supportive of my competition surfing," he said.
He said the trick to riding a vintage mal was controlling the momentum of the boards, which can weigh up to 16kg (35lbs).
"It's about manipulating the nose of the board to go for the hang 10, which is the primo manoeuvre," he said. "My ability to get the hang 10 is what sets me apart from other surfers."
Mr Williams has been surfing for 46 years, having emigrated from England with his family in 1969.
"As a young boy I visited dad's cousin in Queenscliff, near Manly, and was totally captivated when I saw surfing. It became my focus," he said.
The young Ian then began travelling two hours by train from Parramatta, braving attacks from sharpies and skinheads, to get to Avalon Beach in Sydney's north.
It was there that his burgeoning talent was spotted by surfing legend Nat Young, who taught him the importance of the step-over in Malibu surfing.
"I was shuffling along the board when I should have been cross-stepping, which makes for a graceful style of surfing," he said.
"Surfing on a malibu is meant to be a graceful dance, especially on the older heavier boards.
"When you are riding a board like that, you really are not the one in control."
Mr Williams is already back in the surf twice a day, looking forward to the future with his new sponsor, Phil Myers, from Lennox Free Flight Surfboards
Most important things to remember when you are riding a longboard:
Focus on keeping the board in trim.
Learn to cross-step, rather than shuffle, along the board so you can position the nose for optimum performance.
Be mindful of others people when you are in the surf with such a heavy board - wear a legrope around crowds and kids.
Always observe the etiquette of the surf, be courteous, wait your turn and make sure everyone gets a go.
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