SURF GIANT: Former world longboard champion Andy Mac hitting his beloved waves.
SURF GIANT: Former world longboard champion Andy Mac hitting his beloved waves. Contributed

Calling it quits on the airwaves

THERE were no mobile phones and no beach cameras when Andrew McKinnon first hit the airwaves 28 years ago to tell Tweed and Gold Coast surfers if and where the "surf's up”.

A former world longboard champion surfer known to most as Andy Mac, McKinnon has decided to call it a day on his radio career, and will broadcast his final surf report for Sea FM on July 28 - 28 years since he first joined the station in March 1989.

"I never thought I'd hold a job longer than one month,” he said.

"It's been an amazing ride and I'd be lying if I didn't confess to some ups and downs but, in the end, it's been a huge privilege and a pleasure waking up early every morning to call the surf, where it's happening and being so stoked at doing a job I've loved.”

McKinnon files eight reports a day for broadcast across Sea FM and Gold FM weekdays from 6.30am.

"In the early days, not everyone was excited about me giving away their spots and where the waves were pumping,” McKinnon said.

"When more radio stations were established and surf reports were part of programming - meaning more surf reporters were hired - and then the online surf cams arrived, the doors were flung open and I was not so alone.”

A newspaper report of Andy Mac making a surf report with one of the first mobile phones.
A newspaper report of Andy Mac making a surf report with one of the first mobile phones. Sea FM

McKinnon's love of surfing and the ocean has made him a passionate advocate for beach protection, including leading the successful charge to have the southern Gold Coast declared the eighth World Surfing Reserve.

While his radio gig is often called the best job in the world, McKinnon, who turns 64 on July 23, said he was ready to try something new.

Gold FM Breakfast Show hosts Bridge and Spida said Andy would be missed.

"It is going to be really sad, Andy Mac has been my longest relationship - 10 years, as long as I've been here,” said Bridge.

"He has his finger on the pulse, knowing everyone from the old school surfers like 'Rabbit' Bartholomew to all the surfers now. He is a massive Gold Coast institution.”

Spida said Andy was always first to support a good cause:

"He is a great leader in the community not just on the radio.”

  • McKinnon will continue filing his weekly Surf Scene column, now in its 25th year, for the Tweed Daily News.

Andy with surf champion Mick Fanning at the Save Kirra rally in 2014, which Andy helped organise.
Andy with surf champion Mick Fanning at the Save Kirra rally in 2014, which Andy helped organise. Peter Sturms/My Perspectives


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