Jack Gradon, who is walking from Byron Bay to Sydney’s Northern Beaches to raise money for the Warriewood Surf Club, pictured at Shark Bay, Evans Head, yesterday.
Jack Gradon, who is walking from Byron Bay to Sydney’s Northern Beaches to raise money for the Warriewood Surf Club, pictured at Shark Bay, Evans Head, yesterday. Doug Eaton

Life's a beach for next few months

THERE are probably very few people who will spend as much time on the beach as Jack Gradon in the next few months.

The 20-year-old student is walking from Byron Bay to his home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches to raise money for his local surf club.

The money will be used to buy rescue equipment.

“I was born in England and didn’t move to Australia until I was six, so I missed out on nippers and all that,” Mr Gradon said.

“But since I’ve been here the beach has given me so much, so I want to give something back.”

Mr Gradon, carrying a 30kg backpack and his surfboard, will walk as much as possible on the beach for the 850km journey. He will camp most nights.

While on the North Coast this week he faced some of the most difficult sections of the trip.

“I went from Patchs Beach (at South Ballina) to Evans Head, which is a solid 20km in one day,” he said.

“That was really tough. I nearly didn’t make it. I was about a kilometre out and I could see Evans Head, but I didn’t know if I could get there.”

He is also dreading the section from Evans Head to Iluka, because there are few homes and only two camping grounds.

Finding drinking water will be his biggest concern, but if he gets into trouble he has a de-salination pump that will turn salt water into fresh.

It hasn’t been all work and no play. There have been plenty of stops for the keen surfer.

“When I surfed Patchs Beach the other day I had three dolphins swimming underneath my board,” he said.

“That was awesome. That never happens in Sydney. The beaches around here are just beautiful.”

Mr Gradon started planning his adventure a few months ago, after deciding he needed a challenge and a way to see the east coast. And he expects to celebrate his 21st while trekking.

“My birthday’s in April. Hopefully some of my friends can meet me at whichever beach I’m at,” he said.

To sponsor Mr Gradon’s journey email gradon36@gmail.com

Donations can also be made by contacting the Warriewood Surf Life Saving Club on 9999 2213.




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