Waves of success
By Matt Dunn
SANDY POINT’S Kelly Laity is riding a wave of success on her way to the big time. The 13-year-old surfer has all the right moves, recently winning the Victorian Under 16 surfing title as well as placing fourth at last weekend’s East Coast Open Women’s Titles, despite being caught in a rip for most of the final.
Kelly was surfing almost before she could walk, with dad Gene taking her out from an early age. While Gene is a mad windsurfer, mother Janine is a “novice at everything”.
One thing is clear: the Laity clan have a love of the water that has been passed down to Kelly.
“I remember surfing with Dad, and that was pretty fun,” she said.
She began to have an awareness of her talent when she was “nine or 10, maybe” – around the time she began competing. A member of the South Coast Boardriders, Kelly was always surrounded by other water babies.
Family friend Derek Bassed is Kelly’s unofficial coach. Kelly used to surf with Derek’s wife, Megan, when she was around 10 or 11.
“I think Megan had trouble keeping up with her around then,” Derek said with a laugh.
“Kelly’s a pretty talented surfer. Her future is really up to her. She’s got potential to be a professional surfer, if that’s what she wants.”
Derek took over the role of mentor some time around the time Kelly turned 11. While he talks, you can tell his mind is somewhere else.
Just like Kelly, another part of him is drifting down toward the clean breaks out past the entrance at Sandy Point. It’s like a siren’s song.
Derek said most professional surfers have a strict exercise program.
Kelly is no exception and in addition to surfing, she also plays basketball, does specialist exercises, runs and rides.
“I take every day as it comes, but I want to turn professional,” Kelly said.
Sandy Point, with its beautiful beach and relaxed lifestyle, seems like a place that was almost made to produce a world class surfer.
Gene and Janine like it for other reasons too.
“Mum and Dad don’t have to drive me anywhere,” Kelly said, smiling.
With the world at her feet and the surf at her doorstep, Kelly has nowhere she needs to go.
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