Byron life a great change of pace for pro surfer Wilko
A LOVE of surfing and of nature goes hand-in-hand.
So, naturally, local professional surfer Matt Wilkinson is supporting a bid from local vets to create Australia's largest mobile animal hospital.
Wilkinson has been living in Possum Creek while the Pro Tour is in limbo due to COVID-19, and lapping up the winter swell.
Using his massive 231,000-person following on Instagram, he is promoting Koala Lager, developed by Seven Mile Brewery in Ballina. $2 from each tinny goes to Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital's appeal to get the mobile clinic up and running.
A friend who works at Wild Ark introduced him to the cause which he was stoked to get behind.
"It's been such a devastating summer for wildlife in Australia," Wilkinson said.
"To be able to help in any way is amazing. And this especially, a mobile wildlife hospital, there couldn't be a better way.
"They can be at any crisis that happens and save as many animals as possible."
He said his followers would likely be supportive of the cause.
"All the people who surf and follow surfing also love nature, you have to be connected to be a surfer," he said.
"We're also passionate about beer, so it's perfect."
Wilkinson said despite the frustration of not being able to compete, and not knowing if he's surfing as well as usual, he's seeing plenty of positives in the present situation.
"We're pretty lucky here as far as the rest of the world goes, we've been able to surf," he said.
"It's brought me back to why I started surfing in the first place. I'm not out getting photos or videos or there for the judges. It's been nice for us."