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He almost died, now surfer, muso Jock is living the dream

IT'S hard to believe that Lennox Head surfer and musician Jock Barnes doesn't have many low moments.

In 2008 he broke his neck and almost died after sleepwalking off a three-storey high balcony in Bali.

Lennox Head musician and surfer Jock Barnes will defend his title at The Boardmasters in Cornwall, England. Jock won the title last year in a return to competition surfing after breaking his neck in Bali in 2008.
Lennox Head musician and surfer Jock Barnes will defend his title at The Boardmasters in Cornwall, England. Jock won the title last year in a return to competition surfing after breaking his neck in Bali in 2008. Cathy Adams

He spent months in hospital and undergoing rehabilitation, forcing him to put an end to his professional surfing career and start one in music.

"The accident came so close to killing me that I came out of it just brimming with ecstasy and life," Jock said.

"I could walk. I was alive. It made me chase my dreams.

"My dad said to me, 'Jock, you are destined to do something amazing because otherwise, after that, you wouldn't still be here'."

He did something amazing in January 2012.

While running a surf school at Missingham Bridge at Ballina, he saved three Korean nationals from drowning.

He pulled them from the water, dragged them onto a surfboard and took them to shore. Sadly, a fourth man died.

"I am glad that I was there that day," Jock said.

"They were pulling each other down ... I have never seen hysteria like it."

Despite the traumatic experience, Jock continues to grab every opportunity with both hands, making a triumphant return to professional surfing and developing a successful music career.

Last year he competed at Boardmasters at Cornwall in the UK, one of the world's largest surfing and music festivals.

It was his first international surfing competition since he broke his neck, and he won the men's open.

On Sunday he will fly back to defend that title.

Jock Barnes, pictured after rescuing three Korean nationals from drowning at Ballina in 2012.
Jock Barnes, pictured after rescuing three Korean nationals from drowning at Ballina in 2012. Doug Eaton

But this year he's taking his guitar with him, because he's also been asked to perform at the five-day event.

Jock's in the line-up alongside bands such as Faithless, Rudimental, Arrested Development and De La Soul.

"I am loving that I can combine surfing and music," he said.

"I really want to win the men's open again and I feel like I can do it.

Lennox Head musician and surfer Jock Barnes will defend his title at The Boardmasters in Cornwall, England. Jock won the title last year in a return to competition surfing after breaking his neck in Bali in 2008.
Lennox Head musician and surfer Jock Barnes will defend his title at The Boardmasters in Cornwall, England. Jock won the title last year in a return to competition surfing after breaking his neck in Bali in 2008. Cathy Adams

"But it's also going to be amazing to perform. It's all happened so quickly and I'm really excited.

"I'm still pinching myself."

The trip to the UK for Boardmasters isn't cheap, so Jock is asking the community to get behind his Pozible campaign.

He's already sold his car and a guitar.

So far he's garnered support from his dentist, Angus Lambie of Lennox Point Dental, his personal trainer John Comer from Train Hard Eat Smart, and the Lennox Hotel.

To help Jock achieve victory in the waves and on the stage, visit www.pozible.com/project/198188.

Topics:  editors picks, lennox heads, music, surfing




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