Long boarder shows age no barrier as WSL goes live
THE first World Surf League event in Queensland, the Noosa Longboard Open will be broadcast live on 7 Plus, from February 22 - 25.
However, there's one longboard legend that won't be live on the TV coverage and that's former Australian and multiple malibu champion Ray Gleave of Kingscliff.
Regarded as the godfather of style with his classic hang-10 noseriding ability and drop knee cutbacks, this Malibu maestro is a throwback to the traditional 1960s longboard style.
Gleave who turns 61 next month, started surfing in 1971.
A country boy at heart, born in Murwillumbah, he began surfing when he moved to Kingscliff.
"It was challenging to learn with no-one to teach me," Gleave said.
He possesses a natural style with flow and rhythm that connects his turns in flawless fashion.
Instead of surfing on a shortboard, he turned to longboarding because he enjoyed it more.
Surfing is mostly about having fun, and catching waves and cruising on a longboard suited Gleave's laid-back easygoing manner.
He won numerous events including an ASP World Tour event at Surfers Paradise in 1990 and many Malfunction titles throughout the mid '80s to the new millennium.
"I have lost count of the number of comps I have entered. I have donated 360 of my trophies to charity surfing events, minus the plaques."
His favourite event was a runner-up place in the World ISA titles in 1992 at Hossegor, France.
Gleave was on the way to winning his first world title but during the final chose to rescue a swimmer in distress.
This selfless act reflects the type of human being Ray is, he sacrificed his world title to save another's life.
"My motivation for surfing comes from my love of longboarding and my best surf trips are the ones when I'm not at work," he said.
Gleave loves travelling with his wife Linda camping out at surf spots off the beaten track.
"My favourite wave is an uncrowded break!"
When longboarding returned in the early '80s not everyone was happy about the mals taking all the waves with such dominating paddling power.
He felt the brunt of localism when surfing a contest at Burleigh.
"I was snarled at by the locals due to my choice of weapon, until I came out of the water and the comment was 'Lucky you can ride that thing!'"
Ray Gleave commands huge respect as a waterman and the style he carries in the water and on land.
He is inspired by the godfather of the shortboard revolution shaper Bob McTavish.
"I love Bob's enthusiasm and together with his son Ben they are still backing me at age 60. They are both willing to try anything with design."
His choice of boards are 9 foot 4, and an 11-foot single fin.
Ray reckons he will surf until he dies - "If there's surf in heaven, I will be there."
His secret to maintaining his fitness, is to keep on moving.
"My tips for staying fit and healthy are my love of surfing, I have a healthy diet, I indulge a little and I think young."
Gleave has worked as an aged carer for 33 years and when he is not surfing, he rides motorbikes or likes getting his hands dirty in the soil.
"My motto is be happy, love your family and friends!"
I am grateful for everything I have received from my longboarding career, and the many people I have met along the journey."
Well done Raymondo long may you surf!
Global Wave Conference 2020
The Global Wave Conference 2020 held at Bilinga has opened a landmark year for surfing that will see the sport debut on the Olympic Games program in Tokyo.
This year is sure to be a game-changing year for the sport in Australia as the World Surf League's new exclusive broadcast partnership with the Seven Network takes the sport to a wider audience.
The deal will see all things WSL, including live contests and highlights, broadcast in Australia across the Seven Network's free-to-air TV channel and its online streaming platform 7 Plus. As mentioned in this column, the WSL Noosa Longboard Open, from February 22 - 25, will be the first WSL event to be broadcast live on 7 Plus.
The first WSL Challenger Series event, the Sydney Surf Pro, will commence on March 8.
The elite Championship Tour will kick off at the Corona Open Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks on March 26.
Visit Global Wave Conference website globalwaveconference 2020.com.au to replay conference sessions.