The Joys Of Dropknee Competition.
By Matt Sullivan.
As a young fella I grew up about 1km from the beach in Coffs Harbour. That meant early surfs before school almost every day, and there was something special around the time I got into bodyboarding- the tension series were in full swing and I jumped on the bandwagon at number 3.
At the time being in early highschool meant that the visions of these guys ripping seemed so far fetched out of my skills and abilities that I wondered what it would be like to compete at pro level and how much time and energy that would take.
“No fucking way I was ever going to be that good” is what I thought but it didn’t stop me from the pure passion of chasing waves every day once I left highschool. I could hardly prone but I’d somehow managed to pick up the knack for the jackstance since idolising Dave Winchester and Matt Lackey.
How it came about I have no idea but I just enjoyed the awkwardness of the style and trying to master holding a rail.
A few years went by and the Coffs Coast Bodyboard Association reformed after a few years in hibernation.
Mustering all my socially awkward courage I decided to join and this was a major turning point. From riding for the lifestyle to riding to win, it seriously lit a fire up under my ass and I was in!
Over the years, as my DK improved, some things really struck me in a few ways.
- DK seems to resonate with surfers. If you ride with good style and flow, there’s something about that, that surfers seem to absolutely hate to love you and getting cheered on by surfers always makes my day in the water.
- The DK competitors. We are one bunch of eccentric dudes (the dk community in Aus) it’s so epic sharing dk stories with each other and having that really tight knit community of comradeship.
- The stoke for just being in a heat with other likeminded Dropknee riders.
My goal became to enter the A.B.A Pro Tour dropknee events. It just so happened that the year I planned to jump in on it, they pulled dropknee from the tour due to lack of interest and/or funding at the time.
All I wanted was to be able to have the experience of surfing against lackey or Winny in an event to see how I ranked, but that glorious moment never seemed to happen!
2018 however brought a changing opportunity. I was asked to fill a spot at the Dbah pro that I said I would take, and then last minute changed my mind …until I saw the heat draw put up that same afternoon.
I couldn’t believe my eyes that I would be up against Dave Hubbard in the first heat. So I was back in!
Conditions were horrendous… 1ft and onshore. But just to say I was in a heat with Dave Hubbard, shake his hand and congratulate the boys after and not even give a fuck about how bad the conditions were was worth it.
That to me is the DK spirit of competition. All the comps that I have travelled the whole east coast for- have never once been solely about winning, but sharing heats and waves with the wider dropknee community that I have since made some lifelong friends with.
I find being in this new dk/bodyboard generation, it’s evolved passed the point of being able to inspire people just by riding alone. And if I can inspire one kid to take on the same mentality toward competition that I have had, then I feel the future may grow in a tremendously positive way.
DK is so far from dead in my eyes and I hate even using those words together in a sentence. I feel that bodyboarding is finally holding its own again and dropknee even more so. We are one passionate group of people and that alone is what will keep us all coming back for more.