Kai Hing: one day he will be just like Mark Richards

Former world champion surfer Mark Richards is renowned for pushing the limits of performance surfing throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. But today, he wasn’t letting his own surfing take the limelight, rather mentoring Australia’s finest under 16 junior surfers participating in his MR Surf Camp.

MR, who won four consecutive world titles from 1979-1982, spent the morning with the countries up-and-coming junior surf stars as they participated in mock heats on a day trip to South Stradbroke Island before returning to the mainland for some high-performance sports training.

“It’s awesome to come up from Newcastle and be involved with the camp,” said Richards.

“The coaches do an amazing job with the kids. They go through such a different range of concepts, and not just surfing-based. It’s great to be able to give something back to our emerging surf stars.”

Richards gave plenty of hints and tips to the large group of star-eyed grommets as they tore up the small 2ft break waves on offer.

“It’s the first time I’ve been to South Straddie – It’s an incredible setup,” said Richards. The surf wasn’t exceptional, but the kids were pretty excited and enjoyed some fun, small ones.”

The MR camp is designed as an elite training camp for Australian junior surfers and is dedicated to giving young surfers the best coaching from Australia’s finest coaches and fitness experts by using a scientific approach to elite surf coaching.

Surfers & coaches live at the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre (HPC) at Casuarina and partake in a range of activities to enhance their surfing future.

“Australia is such a strong surfing nation,” said Richards.

“Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore have been winning World Titles for the last couple of years and we’re now in a winning era. An elite training program like this which picks some of the best young surfers from every state in Australia and gives them a week of intensive practical training is hugely beneficial and I think if the talent is there and we’re nurturing it, it’s a great pathway to continuing Australian success at the elite level.”

The twenty-one surfers selected from each state included Jackson Coffey, Bodi Smith, Jackson Baker, Jack Germain, Tylah Hutchinson and Sam Bond from NSW, Will Morrison, Kai Hing, Ethan Moller and Hayden Cervi from Qld, Cody Robinson, Joe Van Dijk, Francis Meade and Nicholas Alcock from Victoria, Sam Pike and Kyle Imgraben from South Australia, Zac Haynes-Love, James Fleming, Jake Edwards and Joshua Burke from WA and Gerome Bramich from TAS.

The surfers are being put through their paces by some of the country’s finest coaches and instructors including Jake Hardcroft, Patrick Moran, Surfing Victoria’s Head Coach Ross Slaven, Jamo Borthwick, Phil McNamara, who coaches two time ASP Men’s World Champion Mick Fanning and Surfing Australia’s own Head Coach Gary Cruickshank.

The five-day camp, which got underway on Monday and round up today, was organized by Surfing Australia’s HPC and focused on contest strategy, skills, technique and included video coaching, fitness evaluation, judging and equipment seminars, breath enhancement training, nutrition, and mental preparation techniques.

The camp has been running since 1982 and has seen the likes of reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning and 2009 ASP World Title runner-up Joel Parkinson come through its ranks - making it one of the most beneficial courses for a would-be professional surfer.

The Layne Beachley Girls Camp will be held next week from June 14th – 18th.

The Mark Richards Surf Camp is a joint initiative between the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre, State branches, and Australian Sports Commission.

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