Them?s the breaks
By Sports Editor IAN MONAGHAN
THE almost-mechanical waves of Lennox Point were pumping on a day back in 1984.
Local surfer Ross Caslick was into them ... perhaps a little too intensely, in hindsight.
He well remembers taking off behind the peak and trying to enter an inviting tube by, in surfing parlance, the back door.
The 'door' slammed shut and the then 42-year-old is still not sure whether he hit the sea floor. The wipe-out left him numb down one side, diagnosed as a cracked vertebrae and an enforced 10-year break from the surf.
In the 1990s, in a bid to deal with his neck injury, Caslick decided to take to the water again aboard one of the new-breed light longboards which owed their development to the Malibu boards of the 1960s.
Our oldest surf champ
Fast-forward to last Saturday and a 63-year-old Caslick standing tall as the Australian Over-60 longboard champion on the Sunshine Coast, essentially installing him as the nation's oldest surfboard champion.
It capped a life of surfing which began as a surf lifesaving club member in Newcastle in the late 1950s and took a quantum leap when his car broke down at Lennox Head in 1962 on his way to find work cutting cane in North Queensland.
It was one of the 'luckiest' breakdowns he could think of, leading to several decades enjoying the waves of Lennox Point, considered one of the world's premier right-handers.
Caslick, who now lives at Broadwater, credits the surfing environment of Evans Head with ensuring he keeps on hitting the waves.
There, he's a member of the Over-8s Longboard Club, a group which has spawned its fair share of national champions, including Amy Clarke, Ross Cribb and Ruben Roxburgh.
But rather than rest on his laurels as an Australian champion, Caslick prefers to seek inspiration from fellow New South Welshman Barry McGuigan, a fellow competitor in the titles last weekend.
After all, Barry's still competing at the age of 76.
"He's my inspiration," Caslick said, perhaps hinting at the fact there are plenty more competitions in store for a comparatively sprightly 63-year-old.