Russel Bierke – Champion of Red Bull Cape Fear
Tell us a bit about your love for surfing and where it all started.
I was born on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii and much like the rest of the population, both of my parents surfed. My dad also made surfboards for a living so, naturally, I got into the sport at a very young age. We moved to Australia when I was 5 and I just kept on surfing over here.
How did it feel to surf and win Cape Fear?
It was amazing just being selected to take part - a lot of the other competitors were my surf heroes when I was growing up and the conditions looked amazing. No matter how I placed I was happy just to be able to surf out there. When I did win it was such a surreal feeling, I don’t think it will ever completely sink in.
Whats your best memory of surfing in the Shoalhaven?
I’ve had too many good surfing experiences down here to single out just one! I’ve had a lot of surfs at Racecourse Beach, which is my local. There have been a lot of great memories of catching fun waves with no one in sight, just a pod of dolphins to keep me company!
Where’s the best place to go for brekkie or a coffee after a long surf in the morning?
Hayden’s Pies is definitely the spot! Nothing beats a coffee and one of their pies after a good session.
What do you love about living and surfing in the Shoalhaven?
The Shoalhaven coastline offers nearly every type of wave you can imagine. You'll be able to find a wave to surf in every type of condition, you just need to know where to look! There’s a really supportive and tight-knit community down here too, everyone knows each other and sessions always have a really friendly vibe.
What are your top tips for a great surfing road trip?
When you’re exploring on a road trip the best tip I can give is to drive down every dirt track you see, you never know what kind of wave could be at the end!
Elliot Marshall - Local Ripper
Who taught you to surf and how old were you?
My dad taught me when I was around 9 years old. We used to go down and surf at North Mollymook Beach.
What's your favourite Shoalhaven surfing experience?
I guess for me it’s not one particular session. More like waking up on dark on winter mornings, looking at the boats as you drive past the harbour, going offshore and getting to the spot where the waves are pumping. Good atmosphere and friends are key to making the sessions really memorable.
Your top cafe recommendation after refreshing morning surf?
Pilgrims in Milton is great after a long surf. Their brekkie burger is delicious and the cappuccino goes down a treat. Plus the funny chats you have with your friends always adds to the atmosphere.
What's so unique about surfing in the Shoalhaven coastline?
It’s a combination of the people, plenty of waves and the climate. This place has a lot of soul to it.
What's your best advice for a surfing road trip?
Good friends and the adventure, plus Backstreet Boys on Spotify, of course!
Rubie Reents - Aspiring Pro Surfer
What drew you to surfing as a kid?
The ocean attracted me because of its unpredictability and simultaneous calming nature. It sparks something really spiritual inside me. I got lessons from Pam Burridge when I was 8yrs old at South Narrawallee and that's where it all began.
What's your fondest Shoalhaven surfing memory?
I think that every surf session that's challenged me in some way. These times in the water turn you into a better, more rounded surfer.
What are your top tips for a great surfing road trip? Best road trip tunes?
Surfboards, surfboards and more surfboards, I break a lot of surfboards. I just rock out to whatever is on JJJ radio at the time.
What is unique about surfing in the Shoalhaven and the coastline here? Why do you choose to live and surf here?
Because it’s awesome surf community who is supportive towards its surfers, after travelling the globe I find this rare and unique
What's your #1 cafe spot after a surf session?
I like a few but my favourites are Pilgrims, Tallwood and Milk Haus. Oh gosh there are actually so many I love! Native cafe and Treehouse are excellent too… we are blessed with so many fantastic cafes!
Bradley Parsons - Local Surfing Legend
How did your love affair with surfing begin?
I really didn’t have a choice, ha! I was pretty much pushed into it by my family. My big brother started my addiction when I was around 7 and I then graduated with mates to next level around 12 years old. I used to surf every day before and after school.
Can you share your favourite surfing experience with us?
I just love finding some perfect little peaks at any of the beaches and hiding in barrels all day - it'll leave me with a smile for days. The last huge swell that just passed us by was pretty special and will place in my memory, just to see huge waves break in areas normally dormant was amazing to see.
What is your go-to place to refuel with some food after a session?
Hayden’s pies and Gav’s Deli is always a treat to grab a bit after a long surf.
What is so special about living and surfing in the Shoalhaven?
Quality clean water, lack of crowds, the tight local surf community and of course the waves which offer a whole range from placid to scary. It’s my home.
What some good advice for a surfing road trip? Any recommendation for tunes?
Being spontaneous, good timing and good friends. Rat Cat turned up loud backed up by some sweet Jazz.
Bruce Heggie - Local Surfboard Shaper and Surf Legend
What started your love for surfing?
Just surfing, just doing it. I learnt when I was 8 years old and my cousin taught me how to surf.
Tell us about your number #1 Shoalhaven surf experience.
One day about 10 years ago when the seas were huge, I tried to head out into the surf but nearly drowned… it wasn’t good, not particularly a great memory but very memorable! Another epic experience was mother’s day 1980 where there was a perfect 8-10ft Mollymook point all day long, fanned by offshore winds.
What's your recommendation for some great food after some time out in the water?
Pilgrims or Hayden’s are both recommendable, depends on where you have surfed earlier in the day.
Why do you choose to live and surf here?
Because is the Shoalhaven is the best place in the world.
What are your top tips for a great surfing road trip?
Lots of good company, delicious food and a sleeping bag.