FISH Creek surfer Paul O’Neill, president of the South Gippsland Boardriders Association, is now “international surf legend” after winning the over 50 Kneeboard World title recently.
Paul competed in his first but, surely not last, World Kneeboard Championship in Somo, Spain situated on the famous Bay of Biscay.
Unknown to the international surfing community before this event he picked up the epithet of ‘The Dark Horse’ as he carved his way through the heats, making it all the way to the final of the Men’s Open and over 50s/Veterans events.
Competing in 3ft surf that Paul described as similar to local surf beaches such as Venus Bay, he managed to win the over 50s/Veterans World title. In addition to this he came third in the Open World title which is also fantastic achievement according to Kneeboard Surf Australia president, Jim Brown.
“Paul is the only Victorian to win a Men’s World Surfing title in the new Kneeboard only format.
“The only other male Victorian surfer to win a world title was Neil Luke, also a kneeboarder, back in 1978.”
Jim Brown, who was at the event, said Paul surfed at a high level throughout the events and knocked out other past world title holders along the way.
Paul said that the whole event was a fantastically well run, fun experience as is thrilled to have won a world title.
Paul was surfing on boards crafted by another local surf celebrity at Island Surfboards in Phillip Island, Glyndon ‘Ringa’ Ringroase.
The locals were so impressed by his boards that they brought his quiver before they could even leave the beach!
Paul will have to wait two and a half more years to defend his title at the next World Kneeboard Championship scheduled to be held in Dunedin 2020, New Zealand.
He may even go up an age group by then but he will, no doubt, still be a real contender.