But for the 54-year-old Byron Bay surfer the challenges were all worth it when he emerged from the finals of the Australian Short Board Surf Master Titles as the over 50s champion.
“I literally landed on the Gold Coast from Bali and then my wife Janice and I drove straight to Port Macquarie for the Aussie titles,” Neil said.
“It was a real shock going from the intense tropical heat and humidity of the Mentawais where I was surfing perfect reef breaks for six hours a day, to the cold, four-foot beach breaks back in Australia.
“But I was obviously in pretty good shape from all the surfing I had been doing and that certainly helped me win the titles.”
On the way to winning the final, Neil defeated the 2008 Australian surf champion from Western Australia.
“While I have won several New South Wales and Queensland titles, I have never won an Australian title and it feels pretty good,” Neil said.
“I had a game plan and I was lucky that I got some good waves.
“Even at 54 it still feels great to win an Australian title.”
Neil thanked his wife for her support and Geoff McCoy for his surfboards.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.