Handiwork impresses surfing star
BALLINA physiotherapist Richard Wallace will be helping nine-time world surfing champion, American Kelly Slater, test an innovative surfboard – because Slater asked him to.
Mr Wallace said the surfboard, autographed by Slater himself – with a message to ‘let me know how this works’– will create interest among local surfers when he does take it out because of its unique shape.
The 5’ 10” shortboard, designed by Slater and shaped by Al Merrick, has an unusual tail, where one side has a concave shape at the tip.
Slater called the board the ‘Righty tighty, lefty Lucy’.
But before Mr Wallace takes it anywhere near the water, he’ll be visiting his own shaper to get Slater’s autograph glossed over to protect it.
“But I’ve got to let him (Slater) know how it goes,” Mr Wallace said.
Mr Wallace received the surfboard as a gift from Slater for helping him to a win at the Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro held over the Easter weekend.
Mr Wallace was the official physiotherapist at the event – he’s been working there for the past seven years.
Slater came to see him for some work after breaking his foot doing a ‘big air’ in the early stages of the event.
“He thought not only this event was over, but possibly his whole year,” Mr Wallace said.
However, Mr Wallace’s hands did the trick and Slater went on to defeat current world champion and former Ballina surfer Mick Fanning – who also is a good mate of Mr Wallace.
“For Kelly to win with a broken foot, it’s pretty amazing,” Mr Wallace said.
“I was treating him every night with acupuncture and physio, and strapping his foot every morning so he could surf without pain and restriction.
“He probably wouldn’t have been able to surf without high-quality care of some sort. But it’s the nature of the sport these days. It’s becoming much more professional ”