BEACH BUDDIES: Rally driver Andreas Mikkelsen shares a party wave with ironwoman and rally ambassador Courtney Hancock.
BEACH BUDDIES: Rally driver Andreas Mikkelsen shares a party wave with ironwoman and rally ambassador Courtney Hancock. Trevor Veale

WRC drivers rip up the surf before they start their engines

TRADING their rally cars for surfboards, some of the WRC FIA World Rally's finest took to the waves in Coffs Harbour to catch some downtime before this week's big rally.

Norwegian drivers Andreas Mikkelsen and Mads Østberg, Estonian driver Ott Tänak and New Zealand contender Hayden Paddon got some sand between their toes at Jetty Beach.

The four were instructed by some of Australia's best in ocean sports including Courtney Hancock , three-time Kellogg's NutriGrain Professional Ironwoman Series winner and former Sawtell local.

Courtney showed the drivers how it was done, demonstrating how to paddle out and catch waves on boards similar to those used in the Ironwoman and Ironman series.

For driver Mads Østberg of Norway, surfing is a rarity and he indulged in the opportunity to try his hand at the popular Australian sport in perfect learning conditions at Jetty Beach.

"It was great fun," Mads said.

"It looks easier than it is, it's not easy.

"Luckily the waves were small out there."

Courtney said during the short 30-minute lesson the rally drivers showed strong improvement and a keen interest for surfing.

"They took everything I said in and listened to me, it was really cool to see them improve in such a short period of time," she said.

"For me, it was great to have such fabulous athletes respect and enjoy a sport that I love so much."