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Gary Thatcher .... So who's going to be the first to sign him up, please form an orderly queue..

Gary Thatcher possibly the hottest DK Rider in Australia at the moment, 30 years old and from Coolum, Sunshine Coast.

I would like to thank Gazza for taking time out of his busy week working all the hours god sends without fail to support his family and love for our sport, Gazza your a legend and I hope some savvy company after reading this snaps you up and gives you the sponsorship you so thoroughly deserve....

In Gary's own words......

"My brother, Ben Thatcher, got me into bodyboarding and I was hooked right away.

I first rode a board at 13 and started Drop Knee when I was 15.

I became inspired by all the DK riders at the time and watching guys pushing the limits like Roach, he was like a god figure to me, his style and the moves he was pulling with speed were insane and so smooth.

The first wave I rode was at Maroochydore beach on a Wave Rebel Kainoa McGee.

I remember getting one hell of a gut rash but it was such a great board at the time.

Some of the best memories I have are of going on camping trips with the family, every time we went it was always incorporating the surf in some way.

This helped shape me as a person as my life revolves around my family and the ocean.

My crew as a grom were the bodyboarders and surfers at Maroochydore high school, every morning and afternoon no matter what we would catch up for a surf I loved that community we had, to this day it is still the same although these days we catch up for a surf and bevos.

At present I am not sponsored and I have done a lot of free surfing throughout my life so I thought I would give the comps a go.

2014 was my first year competing in the Jeff Wilcox Memorial Competition in Forster, New South Wales.

My mate Curtis Parter believed I had what it took to win the comp so gave me the courage to give it a go and I came runner up, my confidence was born.

In 2015 I came back stronger and fitter and managed to win so I made it my goal to go back to back and in 2016 I pulled it out the bag and won the event again, that was all time to me.

This has become one of the big bodyboard events in the Australian events calendar with many great names taking part in the Drop Knee division including Matt Lackey, Tyson Ryan, Thomas Donnelley, Shane Griffiths and Dave Winchester just to name a few.

Grant Moloney and I built a friendly, though strong rivalry, he is always consistent in DK and has the smoothest style.

The Jeff Wilcox Memorial has become more than a competition to me as I have now met so many people, made some great mates and always have an awesome time.

In 2017 I won the Australian Titles DK division held in Kingscliffe, New South Wales in small but fun conditions.

I found myself facing off in the final against Matt Sullivan, Scott Kitchen and last years winner Rory Nelson.

They were running the priority system throughout the comp and I did my best to use it to my advantage. The best two waves I got on my backhand and then I held priority to the end, no further sets were coming in so I knew I had it.

My most memorable win came at the recent DK Session in Port Macquarie. Thanks to Summer Winter Scene for making this event happen and for getting behind Drop Knee.

Intricate Shockwave, Minority Bodyboarding, Fulcrum Wetsuits and Cleave Bodyboards were the other great sponsors for the event.

The big names taking part in DK Sessions included Justin Welsh, Aaron Glossop, Stevie Maher, Tyson Ryan, Thomas Donnelly and many more.

The whole event I was raking in some great scores so became pretty confident to pull it off, all or nothing, as I'm not one to pull back.

Throughout the quarter finals so many great DK riders were getting knocked out , the conditions were getting harder which made me want to take out the event even more.

Seeing my good mate Dane Pope come runner up in the semi's took me by surprise, we had always had a friendly rivalry.

I faced Ryan Duck in the finals, a name I was not familiar with which made me a bit nervous. My nerves showed in my first couple of waves but I turned it on with big turns and floaters posting some high scores on the knee. Winning Dropknee Sessions has always been a dream of mine so I was stoked for the comp coming back after 7 years let alone taking it out and nailing the win.

My favourite wave back home on the sunshine coast has to be the Ledge at Old Woman Island.

It is a heavy slab that breaks onto a shallow reef, the air drop at the start keeps me going back, not many guys can DK this wave.

My favourite all time wave was in Honolulo, Hawaii.

At 17 I got the opportunity to go to Hawaii which was always going to be insane.

Seeing Jeff Hubbard going crazy at Back Door doing inverts and air reverses out onto the flats was sick. I remember getting pumped out Back Door and coughed up foam for like an hour.

I drifted over to Pipeline and managed to get the best barrels of my life which made it all worth it.

I want to explore as many waves as possible and never want to give up the opportunity to travel to new destinations.

I love watching some of the Aussie guys shred on the knee like Anza Glossop and Stevie Maher, they rip, along with Tyson Ryan and a few underground guys.

Overseas my all time favourite and inspiration would have to be Dave Hubbard, he is absolutely insane and guys like Sammy Morentino, Miles Kauhaahaa, Cesar Bauer and Michael Copetta are leading the pack, Drop Knee is not dead.

Moving into 2018 I’m hoping to take part in as many comps on the ABA tour as possible and I want to try and secure some sponsorship moving forward gaining as much exposure on the way for a sport I love so much.

I want to say a big thank you to all my family and friends for the support they have shown me so far along my journey, guys without you none of this would be possible and Lidlife Bodyboarding for the opportunity to tell my story and shine some more light on DK."

Photo credits:

Ethan Smith

Rachel Anderson

Ben Wells

Shane Griffiths

Shane Chalker

Corey O'Donnell

Matt Bond (The BodyBoard Perspective)

What an inspiring guy... Gary I hope that someone recognises your potential and commitment and backs you and we look forward to you keeping us updated with your progress in the 2018 season.....

If you guys have liked this feature please come and follow us on facebook: LidLife Bodyboarding or on insta @lidlifebodyboarding.

We have some exciting new features already locked in but if you have a story you want telling please get in touch... until next week x

 

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