Gary Timperley during the Stubbies contest at Burleigh Heads.
Gary Timperley during the Stubbies contest at Burleigh Heads.

One of the region’s surfing icons in the spotlight

THIS week we profile a local boy by the name of Gary Timperley.

Probably not that well known to the people who arrived in the past ten years so hopefully this will give everyone an insight into one of the best athletes to come out of Byron Bay.

Gary was always a waterman and as he worked as an apprentice motor mechanic at Timperleys Garage and was always out surfing after work.

Back then word travelled about how good this kid from Byron was, not just good but a cut above most surfers.

Once Gary, or GT as he was known, won his first Queensland Title surfing against guys like Joe Engel, Wayne Deane and Bruce Lee, he started to get noticed.

And it was Stubbies director Bill Bolman that saw him and offered him a start in the Pro Contest at Burleigh Heads called The Stubbies Surf Classic.

It was then that Gary decided it was time to retire as a mechanic and move into the area of professional surfing. The Stubbies was, and still is regarded as one of the best events ever held.

Gary Timperley surfs at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa. Photo: Patrick Flanagan
Gary Timperley surfs at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa. Photo: Patrick Flanagan

Gary took on some of the best surfers in Australia and the world. This included Michael Peterson, Rabbit Bartholomew, Mark Richards, Cheyne Horan and then from overseas were guys like Larry Bertleman, Shaun Thomson and Dane Kealoa.

The level of talent was incredible.

Gary did well in the Stubbies with a third placing.

From here he took on the power of Hawaii, plus South Africa, Japan and California.

Gary’s favoured choice of boards back then was the twin fin and I was one of the fortunate few to watch Gary surf at his home breaks, a lot out at the Cape in north swells.

And what GT couldn’t do on a Twinny, no one could!

Gary had endless power and lightning speed and could place his board anywhere he wanted to go on a wave, to surf with him was awesome.

He can also be attributed with introducing the Duck Dive to Byron Bay, which none of us had seen before.

We were still doing Eskimo Rolls back then.

Gary also became a master of carving 360s, which he used in competitions for the extra points.

There wasn’t a lot of sponsor dollars around back then to live and travel on but Gary’s sponsors included Dropout Surfboards in Japan, Sky Surfboards, and Surfskin Wetsuits.

At the time he was going through about 50 boards a year, but being a big powerful guy, snapping boards in half was fairly regular.

After four years Gary decided to retire from the tour mostly due to the cost of travelling and earning a living.

He was acknowledged by his fellow competitors and locals alike as an extremely talented World Class surfer who took Byron Bay to the world stage.

Following his retirement from the tour, Gary and his family decided to shut down the servo on the corner of Lawson and Jonson Sts and build a new complex which would the allow them to start their new surf shop, Bay Action.

It was an era in which the three major surf brands, Rip Curl, Billabong and Quiksilver were all on a growth pattern, and with that and the discovery of Byron Bay by Aussies and international backpackers, Bay Action grew to become one of the most successful surf shops in the country.

Gary admitted none of us could have predicted how successful Bay Action would become.

They then opened up another three surf shops, all in Jonson St within 25 metres of each other.

After many years of running the businesses, the family made a decision to sell when they received an offer from Billabong that they couldn’t refuse.

Gary has always kept his country boy personality and still has the same group of friends he grew up with. Just a true Byron boy who took on the world. Well done kid.

PM agrees to $1500 cash splash

PM agrees to $1500 cash splash

$1500 payment is available to workers who have exhausted sick leave

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