Kieren Perrow retires after 18 years making waves in surfing
AT the age of 18, Kieren Perrow deferred an architecture degree at uni-versity to chase thedream of becoming a professional surfer.
Fast forward to today and the 36-year-old Suffolk Park surfer has just retired after first qualifying for the World Championship Tour in 2002.
Perrow competed in the last event of his career at the Pipeline Pro in Hawaii last week where he was eliminated after dislocating his shoulder in the opening round.
He had surgery on Wednesday and is looking at three months' rehabilitation - but he doesn't have any regrets.
"It wasn't the way I wanted to finish but I've been pretty lucky with injuries throughout my career," Perrow said.
"It's turned out to be a pretty bad injury and I had to have surgery to avoid possible permanent damage."
Perrow always knew 2013 would be his last year competing on the tour after siging up forthe role of Associationof Surfing Professionals international commissioner.
It means he will continue to travel around the world and be able to make a living from the sport.
"Surfing has always been my dream and I've had to leave architecture behind," Perrow said.
"The closest I ever got to it was drawing up the plans for my new house and that's about it."
It wasn't an easy road for Perrow, who impressed on the junior circuit as a teenager and finished as high as sixth in the world rankings in 2003.
He struggled the following year and failed to qualify again until 2008.
"I did it really tough for a while there," Perrow said.
"In the third year (2007) I was just about ready to give up and try something else."
It was lucky he didn't because he eventually won his first and only WCT event at the Pipeline Pro in 2011.
And it was during his second run on the tour that he showed the ASP he would be a handy asset after retirement.
"The past six years has been an amazing ride and so rewarding," Perrow said.
"I'm glad I toughed it out and got to take my family along when I got back on the tour."