HE’s dropped 10kg to get back to ‘fighting weight’, and now Gary ‘Kong’ Elkerton is about to take on some of the world’s best as he defends his World Masters Surf title in Brazil next month.
The 47-year-old former pro-surfer, who runs a swim school at Billinudgel, says he has been training hard for the past five months to get in top shape for the ASP-rated event which will be held in Rio De Janeiro from July 25.
With high-calibre surfers like Jake Patterson, Tom Carroll, Barton Lynch, Taylor Knox and possibly 10-times world champion Kelly Slater, competing in the titles, Gary is hoping his soft-sand and gym training will pay off.
Now a resident of South Golden Beach, Gary lived in France for 27 years before moving back to the Byron Shire where his family live.
He was a former pro-surfer in the 80s and 90s and won two triple crowns in Hawaii – the Pipe Masters and Sunset.
Gary was judged world No 2 surfer in 1987, 1989 and 1991 and won the 2001 World Masters Title in France.
“I’ve won the world title three years in a row, so now I am going over to defend my title and win the 10-year anniversary event,” Gary said.
Formerly a Quiksilver event, the world titles have now been taken over by a Brazilian sporting company.
Gary will compete in the masters division for surfers aged 35 to 49. There is also a grand masters division for surfers 50 years and over.
“There are 16 surfers in both divisions - 27 of those 32 surfers are former world champions - so this is huge,” Gary said.
“I’m still very competitive and with $30,000 in prize money, the contest will be hard fought.”
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