Weight: 165 lbs.
Hometown: Lennox Head, Australia
Sponsors: Ocean & Earth, Drew Anderson Surfboards, Water Cooled shoes
Bloody hell, Walshy's story is refreshing. Amid the current media blitzkrieg of colorful fin wafts, rail-grab cutties, and hand jives, this fella's earning his stripes the old-fashioned way–respect first, then glory.
Dropped by his major sponsor last year, Walshy watched helplessly as lesser compatriots jetted from Australia to plunder the big bad WQS. A painful setback for the big man, yes, but his respite was brief. The hard-hacking goofy simply sharpened his focus and dug his heels in on the local Oz junior circuit. A top-sixteen finish by year's end was almost a certainty and good enough for a trials berth in the Billabong World Junior Championship at North Narrabeen. Sure, the focus may well have been on names like Reynolds, Centeio, Durbidge, and Barron, who all faltered, but it was Walshy who, after surviving seven heats in the rolling lefts, drew some of the greatest applause from the intoxicated gallery atop Northy Surf Club's infamous upper deck.
So did it come easy?
“F–k, no,” laughs Walsh in reply (who, by the way, is doing his new sponsors proud). “I just went as hard as I could. There's no secret to surfing Narra, but I was happy with my result.”
Then there's Hawai'i. Five seasons down and a reputation that's just now beginning to mushroom. “I had a sick session this one day at Rockpiles. The Sunset finals were on, so everyone was watching that. I was the only one out for ages.”
TransWorld photographer Hilton Dawe knows, he shot Walsh's solo effort from the beach and states bluntly: “He's just a maniac in Hawai'i, he just goes like a f–kin' maniac. Is that a good enough quote for ya?”–J.J.