For those of us out there that have had the privilege to surf Shark Island you will know how intense this wave can be, how shallow it is, the respect required and the commitment involved, even on the small days! Flicking through some of the pics of our next rider you can quickly see he has got the above nailed and has done so at a very young age, respect has to be given where respect is due so hats off.....
The way he charges reminds me of the way the young Andre Botha charged, I'm predicting big things, please let me introduce you to Nicholas Veldekis.....
"Hi I'm 14 and I live in Sydney on the east coast of Australia where the sick waves are.
I always had a bodyboard since I was 5 years old, I got into riding all sorts of boards when I was part of Wanda Surf Life Saving club.
Although we were encouraged to ride Nipper boards, I found them hard to throw myself into bigger waves and we could pretty much only go straight on them.
I did have a little surfing faze where I rode a surfboard for a whole season but I always took my bodyboard with me and when the swell was big I would ride my bodyboard instead.
When I was 5 my dad took me to the beach every weekend and would push me onto some white wash.
Then from there I started catching proper waves and enjoyed watching bodyboarding movies.
I got really into bodyboarding when I was 10, I was influenced by by Ryan Hardy, Ben Player, Jake Stone, Dave Winchester, Damian King, Andre Botha, Jared Houston, Mark McCarthy, Dallas Singer, Mitch Rawlins, Andrew Lester, Lewy Finnegan and Toby Player.
My childhood heroes were Ryan Hardy because everything he does on a bodyboard is perfect, Andre Botha because he charges harder than everyone and he charged heaps hard when he was really young, Damian King because his pocket surfing is superior and he is really funny, my mother because she beat breast cancer and is the strongest woman I know and watched me poolside for years and finally my dad, because he had me in the water bodyboarding, surfing, diving and coaching nippers.
Technically Wander beach is my local because I spent 9 years there, Shark Island and Suck rock is where I mostly surf now but I'm always down for a little road trip somewhere to ride sick waves.
My favourite break in my country is a tough one but I guess it would have to be Shark island in Cronulla but Box Beach in Port Stephens is an equal second with Suck Rock.
I haven't bodyboarded anywhere else in the world yet but would love to check out that wave in Namibia because you could get a one minute barrel, it's so sick watching people get barrelled for so long.
I got my first board when I was 5, it was a hand me down from my brother, it was an all blue kids board with no brand but my first top end black and orange board was a Dave Winchester VS board, then I went HandPicked.
My crew started with my nipper mates, mainly with Riley Webb and now Michael Ostler, Miki and Des from Emerald who has played a massive part in my Bodyboarding.
Last year I surfed the first Grom comp then Des invited me to surf the seniors comp at Shark Island. He put me in the AA division with the older guys, he called it "the one tone division" because Russel is a big bloke, if there was no AA I would surf AAA with the adults.
That year I was awarded most improved, scored a wettie and some other gear.
My highlight this year was the third place in the under 18 ABA tour at Whale Beach, since then I have had a couple of first and seconds and a fourth I think in the Cronulla bodyboard comp, I'm currently leading the comp and am training hard to win.
I help out at emerald at weekends because I like to give back when I'm not catching waves.
I am a team rider for handpicked Movement and I also ride for Emerald. My board is a custom hand shaped, HP board shaped by the best in the industry, Marc Rossouw.
I wear the super comfortable and warm fully sealed Attica wetsuits, I use limited edition fins and the guys have recently just sponsored me for which I am truly grateful, I reckon they have the best propulsion and it is easy to cross your legs whilst riding, I also use their leashes and board bags which are all great products.
I also love Grand Flavour clothing and accessories, I am very happy to announce my newest role as their brand ambassador such a fantastic opportunity.... they are stylish and smart, but more importantly they are a bodyboarding brand and we should also support them because they support our sport and its riders.
Rap and Rock get me going pre-surf, bodyboarding videos get me wanting to surf after I'm finished watching them, it's like this thing I can never resist because I love bodyboarding.
I have a few favourite memories but my most favourite has to be getting congratulated by Ben Player and Wesley fisher in the Whale beach ABA comp on my third place. They are both really nice guys, fancy ben Player watching me surf, but that's the down to earth guy he is.
My second favourite memory would be catching some pretty sick waves at Shark island.
I'm 14 now and my short term goal is to win both divisions in the Cronulla bodyboarding club comp, my long term goal is to be the best bodyboarder and surf all the best waves as well as to be able to surf in the Shark Island challenge!
I'm still trying my best to be the best, I will make you think I will never stop bodyboarding, I still have a lot to do and work on.
I love bodyboarding and everything to do with the ocean and if any kids want to bodyboard better and surf some reefs hit me up on Insta @nic_veldekis, single girls are also welcome to message me there too haha 😂
I would like to thank some people if I can, firstly Des from Emerald, he took me under his wing, showed me the local reef breaks, first to take me to Shark Island and down South.
He has improved my knowledge and my style and always supports me in the water, he is a great guy and a big supporter of the local GROMS, he is so funny, you gotta love this guy.
I would like to thank Michael ostler because I would definitely not have gotten to where I am now as fast as I have without him, he is my mentor, my coach, my mate.
He has taught me so much on the technical side of bodyboarding, he has taught me valuable life lessons and business tips, he gave me my first brand ambassador job and true to his word he gave me a team rider position as well, thank you so much for believing in me.
Luke O'Connor, an inspirational rider, a really nice person all round and a great ambassador for the sport, I like surfing with him.
Andrew White(Whitie) always helping me get good waves, he is really kind and most likely the first one out in the water in the morning. He always has something nice to say and creates great vibes when you surf with this guy and he's a great rider.
Micki Lewis, was the first bloke with Des to take me out at Shark Island, showed me the local breaks, always kept an eye on me and ripped me for being late to the line up.
I would also like to thank Chad from Grand Flavour, Mark from Attica and Shane from Limited edition for believing in me and now supporting me on my bodyboarding journey.
Photo Credits include:
Nic, thank you so much for catching up with us, still can't believe you charge as hard as you do at such a young age, what an inspiration, keep up with what you are doing and I've no doubt we will see you on the APB tearing it up with the best of the world.......
I would also like to give your dad Spiro @sveldekis a shout out for not only encouraging you to get in the surf but for his work behind the lens documenting both your passions, epic work 🤙🏻😎
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