Professional surfing days over for Danny

Danny Wills will now surf for pleasure, after retiring from professional world surfing.
Danny Wills will now surf for pleasure, after retiring from professional world surfing.
For the past 12 years, Byron Bay professional surfer Danny Wills has only spent only about three months a year at home.
Now newly retired from the World Championship Tour (WCT), Danny is looking forward to spending more time with his family and ‘surfing for pleasure’.
And the 33-year-old has definitely ruled out a comeback.
“I’ve had enough of the circuit and the constant travelling. Now it’s time to concentrate on my wife and two kids,” Danny said.
“I had made up my mind that 2008 was going to be my last year on the circuit, but I did surf the first professional event for 2009, the Quiksilver Pro at the Gold Coast, because I am sponsored by Quiksilver.
“I have lived the surfers’ dream for 12 years, chasing the best waves all over the world, but it’s financially and physically draining.
“Security at airports is tougher, it costs so much to take surfboards and you can’t have fun on planes any more because you can get arrested.”
Danny said he had missed a lot of his children’s childhood, even though at times, wife Kirstie, son Jayden, 11, and daughter Symone, 8, had travelled with him.
He said he was looking forward to taking his kids surfing and to focusing on his family.
“I’ve had my time in the limelight. It’s more about the family now,” Danny said.
Danny’s best results included a third in the world in 1998; two wins back-to-back at a contest in Japan; a second at Bells Beach in 2001 and a few wins on the World Qualifying Series (WQS).
He also spent many years in the top 10 and the top 16.
Danny’s favourite surf spots include Fiji and Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa.
“Surfing is my life and I still want to go surfing every day, but now the pressure’s off,” Danny said.
“The professional circuit is tough and very demanding, and the level of surfing is so high.”
Still sponsored by Quiksilver and with a share in the Quiksilver shop at Byron Bay, Danny plans to take the rest of the year off, and maybe do some coaching.
The Byron Bay Boardriders Club has organised a special tribute night for Danny at the Hotel Great Northern on April 18 from 6.30pm.
 Boardriders president Bryce Cameron said it was time for the Byron Bay community to come together and pay tribute to Danny.
He said the event would include a 30-minute film and speeches, including one from Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham.
The event will include food and entertainment by Solid Gold DJ.
Tickets are adults $25 and children under 18 are $10 (must be accompanied by an adult).
Tickets are available from the hotel; Quiksilver; All Above Board at Lennox Head and Byron Bay Boardriders (Jen King 0414858132) or Bryce (0412057672).
Dress is Byron-Bathurst 1000.

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