TALENTED surfer Melissa Combo has blazed a trail in the world of longboarding and she is keen for indigenous kids to follow in her wake.
Combo, the co-ordinator of the aboriginal respite program at St Andrew's Retirement Village in Ballina, will next week take on the world's best female longboarders at Hainan Island in southern China.
Entrenched in the top 20 on the world rankings going into the final ASP women's longboard event of 2011, Combo has lofty ambitions for the next week's season finale after an impressive performance in the most recent event in France.
Combo finished 10th in the Roxy Pro at Biarritz, but believes she can do a lot better in China.
"I want to finish in the top three in China," she said.
"The conditions didn't suit me there (in France); the beach break waves were a bit too low.
"I'm pretty confident I can go better next week because the waves will be bigger and that's when I like to be out there surfing.
"I like performing backhand moves and I think I'll be able to do that in China."
While Combo has high hopes for the event next week she also wants to see more young indigenous people follow in her footsteps.
"I'm a bit of a role model for young indigenous kids and we need more of them surfing," she said.
"I've received a lot of help and funding support along the way but this is something I've done on my own.
"When I retire I want to set up some coaching schools for them.
"I have lots of little nieces and nephews who have an interest in what I do.
"My dad, Lee, was a great surfer and still is, and I learnt off him.
"I love the places surfing has taken me and the people I've met through it."
Combo will fly to China with best mate and Tweed Heads' fellow top 20 longboarder Chelsea Williams.
"Chelsea's only four feet tall," Combo joked.
"But she has a lot of courage for her size."