Scott Schindler and Charlie O’Sullivan – Australian surfing team.

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Scott Schindler and Charlie O’Sullivan are two of the nine surfers on the Australian surfing team. Randomly, they are both from Coffs Coast and are heading to Ecuador to compete in early April.





Are you originally from Coffs Coast? 

I moved to Sawtell in 1989. The first day I surfed at Sawtell, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. That’s because I learned to surf at Bondi. It was a place where the waves were terrible and if you didn’t surf well, you didn’t get any respect in the water at all and no waves. The upside was that the intensity, in and out of the water, meant that the general standard of surfing was very high. I surfed in the shadow of some of the all time greats of Australian surfing – guys like Cheyne Horan, Joe Engel, Richard Cram and Brad Mayes. It was a tough but privileged surfing apprenticeship, and I am grateful for what that time taught me.

How have you progressed your career?

I had the chance to have a professional career as a surfer when I was young, but there was just not the money in those days to maintain professionals. Most of my friends who turned pro in the ’70s lived on the generosity of others and only scraped by. I decided to get a qualification and enjoy competing as an amateur. Many of the other amateurs I have competed against over the last 40 years have become very good friends. Competitive surfing has kept me fit, healthy and always striving to do my best.

Are you excited about competing at Ecuador?

Yes. I get excited about any competition, however. It gives me an incentive to keep surfing every day, even if the waves and weather are rubbish. I am excited about meeting up with old friends from around the world and making new ones in Ecuador. That is really the best part.

Is this your proudest career moment? 

I am certainly proud to be the captain of the team. I finished second at the World Titles in NZ in 2003 and hope to go one better this time.

Which five words best describe you?

I like to go hard!

How would you describe your team mates? 

The best thing about surfing in the Australian team is that you are surrounded by like-minded people. They are the type who ‘suck the marrow out of life’. Seven-time World Professional Champion, Layne Beachley, is a good example. Each of my team mates is different, and hopefully we will support and complement each other well. Individual success is important but for me, more pride is derived for winning for our country.


Also a Coffs guy? Do you live here with your family?

I was born in Melbourne, but my mum and my older sister moved to Coffs when I was about 2 or 3, then moved to Toormina when I was 9. I had 2 more sisters arrive, so was the only boy as I grew up. My mum still lives in the same house, one sister lives in Melbourne, one in Cairns and one between Brisbane, Sydney and Coffs.

My wife, Karen, was born and bred in Sawtell and we have been married for 17 years now, but we’ve also been a couple since we were 16; we met at Toormina High School. We have 2 boys aged 14 and 9. Karen’s mum, dad and older sister are still local to the area too.

Who is in your team? Where are the others from? 

The Australian team consists of only 9 surfers. There is one other local, Charlie O’Sullivan, who is team captain; others include 7-times World Champion Layne Beachley, and former WQS surfer and ISA World Champ Jake Spooner. They have also invited Occy and Luke Egan, but they have not been confirmed as attending.

What career aspirations did you have as a younger man, and would you say that you’re achieved these goals?

I did try to have a career in surfing until I was 17, but the reality is unless you have money, you can’t travel to compete. I started working to earn money, and just never stopped, and the surfing stopped too. In the last 13 years, I have been right back into it. So for many years, I wondered what could have been if I had been able to have a crack, but that is the same as most young sporting kids; it’s tough to actually go above the teenage competitions to a career in sport.

What are five words that best describe your career? 

There are many words that could describe my surfing, and the best 5 words would be dedication, enthusiasm, love, training and persistence.

What’s the best lesson that you’ve learnt along the way?

The best lesson I have learnt is to enjoy the competition experience and make sure you are prepared. There are a lot of good surfers out there; the difference can mostly be put down to the mental strength and focus of competing. When you feel like you can win and you give it everything, you can do anything in sport.

Who has been your biggest influence?

A big influence of mine is Kelly Slater; he is only a year younger than I am and still pushing, but other locals such as Richie West, who still surf amazingly and is into his 60s, are the biggest inspiration of all.

What dreams do you hope to fulfil in Ecuador?

I am not going to Ecuador for a holiday; I definitely want the title and to see the team, and others in the team, win titles too. This is my first time on the Australian Surfing team; it is an honour and a privilege to have been selected, so I will be wearing the Green and Gold with pride. I will have my wife with me, and the family and friends can watch it live on the internet.

Thanks guys; safe travels.

This article can be found in issue 31 of Coffs Coast Focus

This article can be found in issue 31 of Coffs Coast Focus


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