Surf Grom Rory riding a wave in Coffs Harbour. Photo: Blainey Woodham / Surfing Australia
Surf Grom Rory riding a wave in Coffs Harbour. Photo: Blainey Woodham / Surfing Australia

Groms surf a wave of worldwide opportunity

AT FIRST glance it’s a fun junior surfing program, but former pro-surfer Lee Winkler believes Surf Groms is a gateway into a world of opportunity.

The Surf Groms program introduces kids between the ages of 5-12 to the basics of surfing through a range of programs catering to different skill levels.

Surf Coach Lee Winkler has been part of the program for the last eight years and said while he was lucky enough to have his dad introduce him to the sport, it’s a transition which isn’t possible for every child.

“Surf Groms is an opportunity for parents who don’t have a surf culture in the family to provide (their kids) with a safe and fun environment to learn to surf through grassroots programs,” he said.

The Surf Grom programs are focused on fun, fitness and friendship and as the kids progress they are grouped with others of a same skill level.

“Whether it be school term or school holidays there is always some type of program on and (kids) advance their skills through level one all the way through to level five.”

Winkler said while the health benefits to surfing were well known, the sport afforded people a chance to travel the world, meet new people and experience other cultures like no other.

“Surfing lets you look outside the square and go and see where you can travel to, and surfing does offer that ability to enjoy yourself on your own.”

“Once the sun comes up until it goes down, the beach is open.”

The “impact free” nature of surfing also meant people could continue hitting the surf until they were much older than other contacts sports.

“My dads friends are 75 years old and they are still surfing with the five-year-olds getting pushed out by their fathers. It really ticks a lot of boxes.”

Winkler is a mentor and performance coach to many young surfers, keen to learn from his vast experience gleaned from 15 years on the pro-circuit surfing alongside some of the greats including Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and Mick Fanning.

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