PHILLIP Island surfer Glyndyn Ringrose defied the odds and qualified for the time-honoured Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach over the Easter weekend, surfing in his first World Tour event in 17 years.
Ringrose received a wildcard entry to the event after winning the Visit Victoria Trials at Bells Beach early last week.
The 44 year-old was pitted against the top seed at Bells, current world champion John John Florence, along with Jeremy Flores in Heat 6 of Round 1.
Ringrose scored 11.24 to finish third in round one behind Florence (17.20) and Flores (13.87); a highly creditable effort.
He came up against world number four ranked Jordy Smith in the next heat, which Smith won with a heat total of 18.40, to Ringrose’s 8.83 which saw Ringrose eliminated.
Despite the early exit, the recent cancer survivor was happy with his efforts in reaching his first World Tour event since 2000.
“Here I am at 44, and the cancer thing definitely did spur me on, it’s such an honour and a great opportunity to be here,” Ringrose told the Herald Sun.
“I encourage anyone if you do have any issues, don’t be ashamed. Go ahead and get tested and go see doctors, because life’s just so much more worth living than giving up and letting go.
“Luckily with your testicles when they operate and take it out, it’s usually contained within it, so now all I have to do is regular surveillance and blood tests.
“That really made me think that life is more than this, and that spurred me on to really try hard and give it a good go.”
Earlier in the week, Ringrose was simply thrilled to get the opportunity to surf against the world’s best.
“I’ve been close so many times to win the trials,” he said.
“This last two days I’ve just been thinking heat after heat and I’m just blessed to get into the main event.
“The last time I was in a World Tour event was 2000 at the Pipe Masters. It’s so awesome to be able to surf again against the best in the world.”
“There’s not a lot of time left in my surfing career. I still have the competitive drive and mental desire, but for me it’s about willing my body to do the things you want it to do.”
Glyndyn’s still got it